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The emergence of science

from Asad Zaman and the WEA Pedagog Blog
{Continuation of previous post: Misconceived Project of Social Science}

WEA Pedagogy Blog | We welcome posts about your experiences and suggestions on teaching and learning economics, with a strong focus on methods leading to deep understanding of current real world economic issues.

Historical accidents have shrouded the emergence of science and the scientific method behind multiple veils of mystery. Misunderstanding the nature of science has led to seriously defective methodologies in modern social science, especially economics. The first barrier to understanding is created by Eurocentric history which states that roots of modern sciences originate with the Greeks. According to this account, the Muslims preserved Greek knowledge, and passed it on to Europe, without making any significant improvements. The Europeans took up the mantle of their Greek ancestors and have since made fantastic progress. The myth that “Europeans are unique in their capacity for rational and scientific thought” has been debunked effectively by many historians, notably Blaut in “Eight Eurocentric Historians.” Nonetheless, these ideas have been widely propagated, and permeate public consciousness.  read more

  1. blocke the
    May 20, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    “science and the scientific method originated in the Islamic civilization”

    Why does this matter? The important question is what happened in Islam afterwards and why Europe came to dominate the world economically and technologically after 1500 AD. I organized my lectures around that theme when teaching World Civilizations Since 1500 for 25 years at the University of Hawaii, and my views were not Eurocentric. Historians who teach World Civiilization in places similar to Hawaii are experts in China, Japan, India and other nonEuropean areas and do not fit into your view.

  2. blocke the
    May 20, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Just to follow up. At the University of Hawaii History Department during my tenure there, World Civilizations was taught by T Y Tau, an authority on ancient China, Danny Kwok, an expert on Chinese Intellectual History, Leonard Andaya, expert on the Philippines and Indonesia,Jerry Bentley, expert on World History and founder of the Journal of World History, Brian McKnight, expert on Sung Dynasty China, Elton Daniels, expert on Islam and Persia, George Akita, expert on Meiji Japan, H Kang, an expert on Korea, and many other nonwestern scholars. If there was a bias, it was anti-Western when it came to explaining the emergence of the modern World.

  3. May 20, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    The why it matters is explained in this and the subsequent post — see Economists Confuse Greek Method with Science: https://weapedagogy.wordpress.com/2016/05/20/economists-confuse-greek-method-with-science/
    By attributing scientific method to the Greeks, confusion was created about the nature of the scientific method.

    • blocke the
      May 21, 2016 at 7:18 am

      When I set out to explain the Europeans advance in science and technology in my course on World Civilizations, I did not deal with the history of ideas, of the capacity of people to think in certain ways but in the institutionalization of knowledge: to wit, I looked at the rise of universities (to use the title of the Medievalist A H Haskins in his book on the Middle Ages) within a feudalized Europe, as politically and religiously relatively independent entities with their own self-governing administrations, with teaching and professorial self-governance, free from autocratic state control or the zealous interference of religious bigots, who over the centuries managed to secularize the creation of knowledge in science and Technik. Everything is relative, of course, so there was plenty of state and church interference in educational institutions along the way, but between the Middle Ages and the 19th century, Europe institutionalized the pursuit of knowledge in such a way as to transform it into a state of constant “becoming” through free inquiry in higher education; despite early achievements in science and technology in Islam, centers of knowledge creation did not develop there after 1500 AD, as they did in Europe.

  4. May 21, 2016 at 10:08 am

    “Methink Asad doth protest too much”. In Aristotle’s era scientists were busy documenting the directly observable variety of nature whereas since Bacon we have been consciously taking things to bits to see how they work; but the logical relations of distinction ancestry or “cause and effect” were observed long before Aristotle: what Pythagoras and he did was to invent ways of talking about them which enabled them to generalise and Muslims to reason about the findings of their experiments. What the Muslims contributed was the arabic algorithmic number notation, without which they could hardly have envisaged infinite series, never mind the calculus; nor could moderns have reached for the stars or measured subdivided atoms. What economists have never grasped (because they have not learned to represent the past, present, future and new beginnings in terms of the right angles distinguishing the four quarters of a rotating clock) is that [money] flows are directional, not just “more” or “less”. I leave that message cryptic because it needs thinking about.

    • May 23, 2016 at 5:26 pm

      P.S. Let me emphasize I am NOT objecting to Asad drawing attention to Muslim science. I am arguing rather that someone discovering something about the real world is of less significance than someone making an invention like a telescope or algorithmic systems of enumeration (including negative and complex numbers and their Fourier transformation into clock-number units) which enable other people to discover real-world truths for themselves. Thus I am praising the Muslim world for its contribution of the arabic number system. Where I will venture to disagree most vigorously with Asad is on his assessment of Bacon’s contribution to scientific method in the blog he refers to on “Economists Confuse Greek Method with Science”. It is not just that the villain is Adam Smith’s mentor, Hume. Book II of my 1926 Oxford edition of Bacon’s 1604 “The Advancement of Learning” is prefaced with a most valuable analytical index, from which it is easily seen that Bacon deals with science as physics and its correlative information science (metaphysic, including mathematics) as branches of natural philosophy. Asad needs to go back to this primary source and read chapters vii thru’ ix.

      Bob Locke will like Bacon’s assessment of history at vii: “knowledges are as pyramides, whereof history is the basis. So of natural philosophy, the basis is natural history.” But Bacon has already answered in chapter iii.4 Asad’s complaint that he does not deal with hypotheses and their refutation. “There are also other parts of learning which are appendices to history. For all the exterior proceedings of man consist of words and deeds; whereof history doth properly receive in memory the deeds, and if words, yet as but inducements to and passages to deeds”. This concludes “But upon these three kinds of writings I do not insist, [nor indeed on their communication – still often via the reading of papers – in discussion with others], because I have no deficiencies to propound concerning them”. Then iii.5: “Thus much therefore concerning history, which is that art of learning which answereth to one of the cells, domiciles, or offices of the mind of man; which is that of the memory”.

      In the full copy of his posting, Asad justifies his position with an example: “Greek axioms and logic had led to two rival theories about vision, which had remained deadlocked for 800 years. One way of framing axioms led to the conclusion that light emanated from the eyes and struck the object, while the other led to the reverse conclusion. Ibn-ul-Haitham used observational evidence to definitively settle the matter. For example, he argued that staring at the sun burns the retina, establishing that light travels from the sun to the eyes”. Well yes, though Newton was still grappling with the nature of light, apparently both wave-like and corpuscular. But actually, this doesn’t “definitively settle the matter”. I can in fact show (in terms of physical processes too complex to detail here) how the light which hits the eyes changes the encoding of the neural impulses which direct and focus the eyes, memory of which enables the reconstitution of the state of the eyes of which we are conscious. Thus it is not a case of the one Greek hypothesis or the other, but of both (or neither, where this system is disrupted, e.g. by overload).

  5. May 21, 2016 at 11:17 am

    I am really trying to make a basic point, which is not at all cryptic. The Axiomatic Deductive method goes from primary, certain truths to logical deductions – observational evidence is minimally involved. Lionel Robbins put it this way:

    “The propositions of economic theory, like all scientific theory, are obviously deductions from a series of postulates. And the chief of these postulates are all assumptions involving in some way simple and indisputable facts of experience…”

    This is a mind-boggling mistake! Robbins is taking the Greek characterization of science, as the correct definition of scientific theory. It was precisely overcoming this idea that led to the creation of modern science. Instead of going from axioms and logic to the study of observations, Scientific method goes in the opposite direction, from observations to theories. These two OPPOSITE methodologies are considered to be identical and confused with each other in the most amazing violation of logical reasoning I have ever seen. How did we lose precious knowledge acquired over centuries regarding the virtues of scientific method as opposed to the Greek method? This is the CENTRAL point that I am trying to make.

    As a PERIPHERAL argument, I am trying to understand what makes this ENORMOUS MISTAKE possible My conjecture is that it has to do with the determination to deny all non-Europeans any part in history. As Max Weber said — Europeans are uniquely capable of rational and scientific thought. This is not central to my argument, nor do I insist on it. What is central is to understand that modern Economists is solidly axiomatic-deductive, and that CONTRARY to what Robbins says, axiomatic-deductive methodology defines Greek methodology, which was a major obstacle to the development of modern science — which is based on the opposite methodology.

    European sensitivities being what they are, the peripheral argument is being taken as central and the central argument is being ignored.

    • May 21, 2016 at 12:46 pm

      I think my basic point was that Aristotle first went from inductive observation to axioms. I agree that economists tend overlook that, and the succeeding phase: having deduced what on the basis of the theory ought to work, inductive observation of errors in its doing so.

      As to what Max Weber said, if non-Europeans (not to say women and workmen) are deliberately not taught rational and scientific thought, they are very unlikely to become competitors capable of it.

      ..

      • blocke the
        May 21, 2016 at 1:10 pm

        “if non-Europeans (not to say women and workmen) are deliberately not taught rational and scientific thought, they are very unlikely to become competitors capable of it.”

        Agreed

        Most historians consider the use of ideas (the history of ideas) as causal agents to explain the development of science as bad history; it is not the specific debates about empiricism or formalism that matter, but the institutional environment in which debates take place and most scientists cannot describe that environment because they do not have a sufficient knowledge of history

    • May 22, 2016 at 10:01 pm

      i agree with taylor.

      modern science is in a sense based on ‘physical axioms’—basic things like ‘conservation of energy’, ‘commutation relations’ in quantum theory, metrics , constant and finite light speed and relativistic invariance in reativity–these axioms (or postualtes, or hypothesis) are derived from experinece and also combined with logical ones usually viewed as being a
      priori.

      Modern science is a ‘dialectical’ inteprlay between accepted axioms and experience or experiment—people mathematically derive predictions about how nature acts from the axioms, and then test them to see if they are confirmed.If not, they seek modifications. Alot of people say this method is not only practiced by scientists, because analogs can be seen in how children learn (see ‘scientist in te crib’ by Gopnik) and also in animals—though in their cases the axioms are not formalized and written down, but basically internalized heuristics. ‘there are no black swans’.

      Maybe the standard problem is these exaims get ‘fetishized’ as if they are commandments of god one must believe and follow. Also, people can get so mired in formalistic manipulations of the axioms they basically ignore whether they are relevant to reality–and may not care, since like piuzzles such manipulations are of intrinisc interest. (Sometimes since they. dont want to be seeen as playing games on the public payroll, they make various claims about they lead to social progress—good trade deals, increased social welfare, rational behavioral choices.)

      Debating whether this is a euocentric approach or not, and who gets priority for discovering it, seems mostly an ideological or poltical concern, though also of historical and sociological interest. I read a certain amount of stuff on this—from history of science (eg see ‘mathematicians of the african diaspora’ compiled by a mathematician to document that africans also had a mathematical culture though some europeans said africans had no culture at all ) to ‘cranky’ stuff (just about every culture and religion, including extraterrestrial ones (i think based on direct conversations with and observations of aliens on UFO spacecraft) — seem to have people claiming priority, originality and being the origin of ‘western civilization and science’ —hindus, muslims, catholics, afrocentrics, etc.I used to hear people say ancient egyptians had spacecraft and planes, or see http://www.inerton.org .—by a ukrainian physicist who claims ukrainians invented much of civilization and also built the pyramids of egypt ) . .

      The ‘non-western’ contributions to modern science are pretty well documed in part if in need of further doumentation and awareness of. (But even contributions of the past 100 years by europeans and others are often little known by current students, who only learn the most recent formailisms of sciences. In this area, one area gaining some popularity is the role of women, non-cacucasians, and GLBT people to modern scince, because often it was portrayed as mostly a product white straight and often protestant makes. ; when i was in school, profs who were not SWMs uncommon. One reason this is popular is to encourgae less represented groups to go into STEM fields—‘women can be as good rational choices theorists as J Lucas’.

      The sociology or social psychoogy of different groups I fin d interesting—why do people go into certai fields and have certain beliefs? Why do some prefer orthodoxy over heterodoxy? Why do some prefer doinf ‘identity politics’ and others doing science and other history
      ?

      • May 23, 2016 at 6:12 am

        “i agree with taylor”.

        I really appreciate this coming from such an acute observer with such an extraordinary ability (which I myself certainly do not possess) to share his/her “stream of consciousness”.

        May I ask you to go further, Mart, and apply your fascinating mind to the proposition I ended up with?

        “What economists have never grasped (because they have not learned to represent the past, present, future and new beginnings in terms of the right angles distinguishing the four quarters of a rotating clock) is that [money] flows are directional, not just “more” or “less”. I leave that message cryptic because it needs thinking about”.

      • blocke the
        May 23, 2016 at 6:35 am

        Right, so when we deal with the “Century of genius” (17th), we are not interested in the ideas, but in what happened at the time in politics, religion, and society networking that made the effervescence of scientific creativity occur.

      • May 23, 2016 at 8:02 am

        No, Bob. You are missing the phase of “new beginnings” stemming from Copernicus and Gallileo.

      • blocke the
        May 23, 2016 at 9:34 am

        Quite willing to reach back into the 16ths century; Dave, these era designations are quite fluid. If you want to read a different take on the Papacy and Galileo, I think you know Giorgio de Santillana, The Crime of Galileo, and to read a defense of Pio Nono in the 19th century controversy about his Syllabus of Errors,E.E. Y. Hales, Pio Nono, to which my Jesuit colleagues directed me when I taught at Fordham University in NYC.

      • May 26, 2016 at 4:10 pm

        Well, I guess I am agreeing with you, with Taylor and with Assad.

        Modern science is a ‘dialectical’ inteprlay between accepted axioms and experience or experiment—people mathematically derive predictions about how nature acts from the axioms, and then test them to see if they are confirmed.

        We are man the ‘explainer’. We seek Causes or Reasons, as it were, for every and all forms of behavior, from lightning and thunder in the skies to our own. We are mythopoeic creatures always, inventing or seeking reasons that ‘explain’.

        And we do so grandly. When I look at the rise of conscience :: the “I am this, but also that elliptical consciousness at the heart of human identity … of self-aware self-identity … that underlies the conflict between good/bad-‘for-me’ and good/bad ‘for us’ … [and that has us seeking a perplexity called the ‘good’] and when I look at various explanations given, from Eve or Pandora to egoism versus altruism, competition versus cooperation, what I see are different branches of knowledge, i>scientias, each seeking to ‘explain’.

        The conflict between natural philosophy (as described by Bacon as based in observations which then led to hypotheses which could be formulated mathematically and then ‘tested’/’revised’ for explanatory power) and ‘metaphysics’ (like Euclidean geometry logically derived from simple self-evident axioms (postulates/hypotheses taken to be self-evident) lay in the formers abandonment of the theory of Forms within the natural philosophy school. Natural philosophers insistence that observations should guide hypotheses about how to think about the nature of reality challenged the eternal veritas of absolutes ‘grounded’ as it were in conceptual constructions.

        Science, in contrast to other mythological and metaphysical scientias as branches of ‘knowledge’, is. as you’ve pointed out, an interplay and a dialectic between observations and ‘Forms” as hypotheses that observations permit to be ‘tested’/’revised’. And, yes, hypotheses may come before the observations, but they never displace confirmation by observation (and/or prediction of what may be observed if the hypotheses is ‘correct’).

        I think it is a red herring or chicken-egg controversy about which comes first: Forms grounded in concepts/axioms or Forms grounded in observations. Both, as you say, interplay with each other.

        Modern neoclassical economics combines mythology with mathematical forms consistent with the mythology. As such, it merges syncretic notions (‘utility’ or ‘capital’) with no observational basis with particular mathematical forms which are valid within mathematics but not in the manner that these economists are using them. Thus, mainstream economics is about fitting ‘acceptable’ observations categorized to fit into preconceived mathematical forms to make predictions which, it appears, have little to do with much that can be observed to be happening.

        I don’t know if this adds to this discussion, but I think it does.

  6. May 23, 2016 at 7:54 am

    Having asked Mart to address my key point, I really ought to do the same myself for Asad:

    “How did we lose precious knowledge acquired over centuries regarding the virtues of scientific method as opposed to the Greek method? This is the CENTRAL point that I am trying to make”.

    I see the beginnings of an answer in the second sentence of Asad’s quote from Robbins:

    ““The propositions of economic theory, like all scientific theory, are obviously deductions from a series of postulates. And the chief of these postulates are all assumptions involving in some way simple and indisputable facts of experience…”

    The question is, whose experience? That of a scientist, not generalising but abstracting from all they can see to leave simple residues (wherein Doubting Thomases will fail to “see” invisible motion); or that of children or other ignorant people who equate “experience” with direct “observation” and fail to see the difference between generalisation from particular cases [as of economics to buying and selling] to abstraction from all of particular types of case [as in a world before today’s type of economics]: ultimately from all but either energy or things, and formal linguistic conventions which enable us to make distinctions within them.

    The primary answer I have been offering to this question is the Doubting Thomas one, explaining the exclusion of the relevant simple (but evidently still disputable) facts. The current methodology of the social sciences does not start with the relevant Greek advice: “Know thyself”: it starts with the sceptical David Hume not knowing how to, and trying to preceed from the observation that he cannot see inside other people’s (or even his own) head, hence Economic Man.

    I would here like to propose a secondary answer: the earlier argument for Occam’s Razor, which perhaps helps explain the errors Hume made and his followers still make today (if not the baroque arguments economists delight in despite it). Einstein’s rejoinder was very much to the point: “Keep things simple – but not TOO simple”.

    If you simplify your conventional universe to a line, it contains no space in which to accomodate facts. The minimum definition of a space requires two dimensions, and hence the need for the concept of a right angle to differentiate these. Working with computer languages, the paradoxical fact emerged that while referring to the dynamic logic of the computer’s programming as well as the problem’s objective made Algol68 more complex, it made the solution of complex problems easier: in fact as Raymond Turner put it in “Logics for Artificial Intelligence”, it “facilitates the derivation of theorems [programs] which are not even expressible in the language of the predicate calculus”. Translating that into a more everyday example, the way to make a car easier to drive in a complex city environment is not to make the car simpler, but to embody references to the car itself in facilities like power steering and automatic gearboxes.

  7. May 24, 2016 at 6:46 am

    Eureka! With what do you associate this word? How about Archimedes. A Greek of the 3rd century BCE. Arguably the greatest mathematician of the ancient western world, an engineer, inventor, and maybe the world’s first streaker. The point is Archimedes combined the concerns of everyday engineers, surveyors, and builders with a love of “pure” mathematics. Archimedes I think better represents “Greek” (ancient) science than Aristotle. Even though Aristotle fit better the need for structure and conformity that drove “science” under the Roman Catholic Church and the dozens of monarchies that ruled over Europe from 500 CE onward. It’s also important to recognize that the common folk (Plebeians, Hoi polloi, the mob) worked out solutions in many areas of concern regarding ballistics, agriculture, metallurgy, astronomy, weather forecasting, mathematics, etc. long before their counterparts the elite scientists. And they used these solutions long before formal science or scientists recognized them. In the Ancient world these conclusions are even clearer with Egypt, Mesopotamia, Crete, and China. And though not ancient the Islamic world shows the same actions. The ancient Greeks certainly liked to tinker with “logic.” In “Prior Analytics” Aristotle develops his theory of the syllogism. All men are mortal; Socrates is a man; Therefore Socrates is mortal. The Aristotelian syllogism dominated Western philosophical thought for many centuries. Depending on whose history you prefer as early as the 14th century or as late as the 17th century the dominance began to end in the west. Induction gradually became dominant. Multiple explanations are created for the change. Among them – the reformation, the decline of the Papacy, the decline of monarchies, the development of liberalism (business philosophy), world-wide trade, the expansion in both size and population of cities, the end of feudalism, etc. But even with syllogisms deduction was necessary. After all, how do we know Socrates is a man and that all men (at least the ones we’ve known) are mortal? So as we should expect science is a “hodge-podge” of beliefs, syllogisms, propositions, observations, experiments, and hunches. Like astrology, shamanism, alchemy, Buddhist ritual, Catholic dogma, etc. science is a summary notion that is used to give formal structure to a search for knowledge and understanding. And as we see even today science remains only one among many such ways to structure our attempts to understand and explain our attempts to live in the world. And science omits much and misses much, as do the others. Alaskan Yupiaq indigenous educator Oscar Kwagley teaches both indigenous and “modern” science. In this way he attempts to prevent the “loss of knowledge” that results from teaching only modern science (required by most US schools and embedded in most US textbooks). In appears Asad wants to pin science down to a certain particular method and set of assumptions about the world. This is in my view a good example of the kind of “loss of knowledge” Oscar Kwagley attempts to prevent. Investigating the world, making explanations, and trying out what we think we know is a process, and open ended one. To figure out what’s happening with any single science we need to follow the process and see where it leads. The process followed by many economists seems to lead, to snatch a phrase from “Alice in Wonderland” “Down the Rabbit-Hole.” And if you remember the book from your childhood Alice has fantastical and curious adventures but gains nothing in understanding or awareness. In the case of these economists alchemy or astrology would have been a better choice for organizing their search.

  8. May 24, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    Still in the proto-scientific wood
    Comment on Asad Zaman on ‘The emergence of science’

    Heterodoxy once had a methodological edge over Orthodoxy. To see this one needs only compare Georgescu-Roegen with Zaman.

    “Yet even Plato, Aristotle’s teacher, had no idea of syllogism. He did talk of scientific propositions following from some basic truths, but a clear picture of the logical edifice of knowledge did not appear before Aristotle. And the important fact is that even Aristotle himself was inspired by some Elements of Geometry which existed in his time and have come down to us in highly polished form from the hands of Euclid.” (1966, p. 6)

    “We are therefore justified in saying that with Euclid’s Elements the causa materialis of geometry underwent a radical transformation; from a more or less amorphous aggregate of propositions it acquired an anatomic structure. Geometry itself emerged as a living organism with its own physiology and teleology, …. And this true mutation represents not only the most valuable contribution of the Greek civilization to human thought but also a momentous landmark in the evolution of mankind comparable only to the discovery of speech or writing.” (1966, p. 9)

    Or compare Einstein with Zaman: “We honour ancient Greece as the cradle of western science. She for the first time created the intellectual miracle of a logical system, the assertions of which followed one from another with such rigor that not one of the demonstrated propositions admitted of the slightest doubt — Euclid’s geometry. This marvellous accomplishment of reason gave to the human spirit the confidence it needed for its future achievements. The man who was not enthralled in youth by this work was not born to be a scientific theorist. (1934, p. 164)

    This obviously refers to Asad Zaman who maintains: “It was precisely overcoming this idea that led to the creation of modern science. Instead of going from axioms and logic to the study of observations, Scientific method goes in the opposite direction, from observations to theories.”

    Obviously it escaped Asad Zaman’s attention that the Greeks did not observe atoms but first developed the concept of atom by pure logical thinking which eventually led to the observation.

    Obviously it escaped Asad Zaman’s attention that science is ultimately the perfect SYNTHESIS of logic and experience: “Hilbert and Einstein again agree that geometry is a natural science based on real experiments and measurements. Thus, similarly to Einstein, Hilbert can assert: Geometry is nothing but a branch of physics; in no way whatsoever do geometrical truths differ essentially from physical truths nor are they of a different nature.” (Majer, 1995, p. 280)

    The scientific method is well-defined: “Research is in fact a continuous discussion of the consistency of theories: formal consistency insofar as the discussion relates to the logical cohesion of what is asserted in joint theories; material consistency insofar as the agreement of observations with theories is concerned.” (Klant, 1994, p. 31)

    Logical consistency is secured by applying the axiomatic-deductive method and empirical consistency is secured by applying state-of-the-art testing.

    Science was there before economics was there. Economists either conform to well-defined scientific standards or they are thrown out of science: they are in NO position to redefine scientific criteria. This holds for Orthodoxy AND Heterodoxy.

    As Schumpeter put it: “We are not yet out of the wood; in fact, we are not yet in it.”

    Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

    References
    Einstein, A. (1934). On the Method of Theoretical Physics. Philosophy of Science, 1(2): 163–169. URL http://www.jstor.org/stable/184387.
    Georgescu-Roegen, N. (1966). Analytical Economics, chapter General Conclusions for the Economist, pages 92–129. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
    Klant, J. J. (1994). The Nature of Economic Thought. Aldershot, Brookfield, VT: Edward Elgar.
    Majer, U. (1995). Geometry, Intuition and Experience: From Kant to Husserl. Erkenntnis, 42(2): 261–285. URL http://www.jstor.org/stable/20012620.

    • May 26, 2016 at 2:40 am

      I do not entirely subscribe with your theoretical characterizations, but appreciate these quotes & views. Much of the commentary here is lamentable- belittling the enormous achievements of groups A or B to exalt groups C or D, which writer E may have wrongly belittled a century ago. (Who cares?). Deprecation of the essential cumulative quality of science – how D built on C who built on B who built on A. Ignorance of the current almost too good state :-) of historical scholarship of science in favor of unfortunate views (semi)popular decades ago. Weird inverted criteria for “good” & “bad” history, etc. More later.

  9. May 25, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    Euclidean geometry as a scientia :: axiomatic-deductive, of course :: was once considered ‘universally and eternally true, ordering the world and governing its structure everywhere and always’. {Infinitesmal by Amir Alexander, p. 67}

    Just a thought.

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