Science and Scientists in the Nineteenth Century

Sheldon Press, 1925 - 450 Seiten
"Five-and-twenty centuries have passed since the greatest of all Greek historians, Thucydides, wrote: "People do not distinguish; without a test they take things from one another: even on things of their own day, not dulled by time, Hellenes are apt to be all wrong. So little pains will most men take in search for truth: so much more readily they turn to what comes first." The Greek applied these mournful words to history. It is the purpose of this book to apply them to science. The scientist should be a man willing to listen to every suggestion, to every hypothesis, but should also be determined to be the slave of neither suggestion nor hypothesis. With an open mind, uninfluenced by preconceived ideas, he sets out on his quest for truth inspired by the desire of ascertaining what Virgil deemed the fortunate lot of him who found out the causes of events in the world of matter, just as the historian seeks the causes of events in the world of affairs. These pages have been written in the hope that scientists will read them in order to detect the presence of hypotheses that are inflicting grave injury on the progress of their several departments. In a sense my book forms an assault upon science, or, to put it more correctly, upon the preconceptions that lie at its base. I have confined my attention to the nineteenth century, and in the careers of the men investigated I stop my account of them ten years after they effect their chief contribution to their particular corner of the domain of knowledge. Had I gone to, say, the eighteenth century and studied Newton's career, I could have made my account a thousand-fold stronger. In order to be quite fair, I determined to concentrate my attention on the nineteenth century"--Preface. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved).

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