Karl Pearson and the Human Form Divine

in Victorian Relativity

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2001 | ISBN: 9780226327327
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226327365 | DOI:
Karl Pearson and the Human Form Divine

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This chapter elaborates the theory of the Relativity of Human Knowledge, differently formulated by different authors, that human awareness was in some sense the foundation of reality, to which it inevitably imparted human characteristics. In the self-laudatory figure repeatedly invoked at the turn of the century, modern scientific knowledge, the sole standard of truth, is routinely contrasted to the thinking of what was complacently called “primitive man” specifically on the grounds of anthropomorphism. Adams understood with perfect clarity the Feuerbachian impulse that drives Pearson's critique of physics and his insistence, at the risk of being charged with “narcissism.” The model of scientific rationality as the instrument of the repression of human narcissism has no place at all from the standpoint of the mode of relativistic “humanism.”

Keywords: Human Knowledge; human awareness; primitive man; narcissism; humanism; Feuerbachian impulse

Chapter.  15655 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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