Chapter

The Problem and the Method of the Natural Sciences

Edited by Bruce Caldwell

in Studies on the Abuse and Decline of Reason

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780226321097
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226321127 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226321127.003.0004
The Problem and the Method of the Natural Sciences

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This chapter explores the problem and the method of the natural sciences. Before one can understand the reasons for the trespasses of scientism, one must try to understand the struggle that Science itself had to wage against concepts and ideas that were as injurious to its progress as scientistic prejudice now threatens to become to the progress of the social studies. Although we live now in an atmosphere where the concepts and habits of thoughts of everyday life are to a high degree influenced by the ways of thinking of Science, we must not forget that the Sciences had in the beginning to fight their way in a world where most concepts had been formed from our relations to other men and in interpreting their actions. It is only natural that the momentum gained in that struggle should carry Science beyond the mark and create a situation where the danger is now the opposite one of the pre-dominance of scientism impeding the progress of the understanding of society. But even if the pendulum has now definitely swung in the opposite direction, only confusion could result if we failed to recognize the factors that have created this attitude and which justify it in its proper sphere.

Keywords: social problem; Science; social phenomena; social interactions; positivists; social behavior; human behavior; economic planning; scientistic prejudice

Chapter.  3987 words. 

Subjects: History of Economic Thought

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