Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

Science Teaching and the Humanities (Introduction)

Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

Science Teaching and the Humanities (Introduction)

Article excerpt

[Due to the length of this article, only the introduction to Dr. Frank's article follows. The full paper can be read online at: www.time-binding.org/library/etc/4-4-frank.pdf.]

THERE IS A widespread belief that the rising contempt for tolerance and peace is somehow related to the rising influence of scientific thought and the declining influence of ethics, religion, and art as a guidance of human actions. This contention is, of course, debatable. There is hardly a doubt that the causes of war can be traced back quite frequently to religious or quasi-religious creeds and very rarely to the doctrines of science. The humanities, including religion and ethics, have been for centuries the basis of education and the result has been, conservatively speaking, no decline in the ferocity of men. The scientists have never had a chance to shape the mind of several generations. Therefore, it would be more just to attribute the failure of our institutions to educate a peace-loving generation to the failure of ethical and religious leaders than to construe a responsibility of the scientists.

I do not think, however, that it makes much sense to discuss the share of responsibility. For I agree fullheartedly with the critics of science in the belief that the training of generations of scientists in mere science without making them familiar with the world of human behavior, would be harmful to the cause of civilization. Whether we like it or not, scientists will participate more and more in the leadership of society in the future. Also there is hardly a doubt by now that the contributions of the scientists to our political life has been more on the side of peace and tolerance than the contributions of the students of law or government, or, for that matter, of philosophy proper. …

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