Philosophy of Natural Science
DOI link for Philosophy of Natural Science
Philosophy of Natural Science book
THE relations between Philosophy and Science have never been closer in any country than in England. Since the efflorescence of the exact sciences in the XVIIth Century there has been an almost uninterrupted process of cross-fertilization between the two fields. It would be easy to show in a historical inquiry how continuous this process has been, and it would then become clear that philosophy has received far more than it has given, while science on the contrary has been more often giver than receiver. In dealing with earlier periods we had more than once occasion to notice this relation of reciprocal influence as it concerned the XIXth Century, and the chapter on the evolutionarynaturalistic tendency presents continuous evidence of a unique sort of this living interchange between the scientific investigator and the speculative thinker. At that time (and indeed, earlier, in isolated instances), there came into prominence two phenomena typical of the intellectual life of England: on the one hand the investigator of nature putting forward a philosophy, on the other the philosopher practising scientific investigation, or, at least, keenly interested in it. Both of these have to-day, indeed, more than ever before, plenty of representatives, in fact they are figures characteristic of the situation of the moment. In section iv of this part of the book, it was with representatives of the latter tendency (the scientifically-minded philosopher) that we were mainly concerned; in this section, on the other hand, we have to bring together a number of scientists who illustrate the former tendency, while leaving many without mention. We are not so much concerned with specialist investigators who, being in .touch with the philosophical movement, have from time to time dealt with speculative problems, as with those who have left their special field and proceeded to develop independent philosophical thinking, and even a Weltanschauung; of their own.