chapter  2
7 Pages

Two The Problem and the Method of the Natural Sciences

Before we can understand the reasons for the trespasses of scientism we must try to understand the struggle which Science itself had to wage against concepts and ideas which were as injurious to its progress as the 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 infl uenced by the ways of thinking of Science, we must not forget that the Sciences had in their beginning to fi ght 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.1 But even if the pendulum has now defi nitely swung in the opposite direction, only confusion could result if we failed to recognise the factors which have created this attitude and which justify it in its proper sphere.