Essay On Science And Social Application

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But at least Marx, like Bacon, gave expression to a new outlook and a new method of attack, and helped to alter materially the intellectual climate so as to make it propitious for scientific work in his field.

The question immediately poses itself as to why the emergence of social science into large-scale and efficient operation has been so long delayed.

But science in this phase was still, to our modern view, unscientific in two major respects—it was traditional and it was esoteric.

Scientific knowledge was confined to a limited group among the priesthood and it was cast in a mold of tradition which rendered change and progress slow.

It is different and must be different for one basic reason—the investigator is inside instead of outside his material.

Man cannot investigate man by the same methods he uses to investigate external nature.And it had its birth of free speculative enquiry, its parallel to the Greek phase of natural science—but two thousand years later, in the philosophers of the seventeenth and especially the eighteenth centuries.Finally, its modern stage now dawning has had, like the modern stage of natural science, its scattered precursors, its Roger Bacons and Leonardos—and it has had its precursor in the restricted sense, its equivalent of Francis Bacon in the Renaissance.Natural science, in its modern form, can fairly be said to date back no further than the seventeenth century. John the Baptist, it developed its gospel and its ministry.Curiosity for its own sake, but also interest in industrial techniques and practical control; freedom of enquiry; experimental verification in place of authority; full publication and abundant discussion—with these a truly new phase was inaugurated.Once agriculture had given the possibility of settled civilizations, with written record and specialized social classes, the hand-to-mouth methods of common sense could be replaced by something much more scientific.Science was born—witness the astronomy and geometry of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt.The scientific spirit remains unaltered whether it is contemplating a nebula or a baby, a field of wheat or a trade union.But the methodology of social science is inevitably different from that of natural science.Being associated with the priesthood, it was also intimately bound up with non-scientific practice and non-scientific interpretation—magic and theology.The era of groping trial and error lasted from the first dawn of essentially human intelligence, as marked by true speech, to the beginnings of settled civilization—perhaps a million, perhaps half a million years.


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