- The relationship between science and philosophy is less intimate now than it was in the time of Herbert Spencer. During his lifetime, scientific discoveries dramatically transformed the view that educated people had of themselves and of the world in which they lived; but the direction of scientific investigations, and often the interpretation of particular experiments, were themselves profoundly influenced by the philosophical positions that scientists adopted.
- The mainstream of philosophy is nowdays a specialized discipline from which most scientists are excluded; and recent philosophical advances have had essentially no impact on scientific practice.
- Science continues, none the less, to change the way we see ourselves. To have one's view of oneself changed radically remains a painful process; and major scientific discoveries, once their implications have been understood, continue to provoke cries of public outrage.
- Many of us are temperamentally opposed to discovery and would much prefer things to stand still. But no one educated in the twentieth century, whether he knows it or not, and whether he likes it or not, is immune to the intellectual consequences of Harvey, or Newton, or Darwin, or Planck.
- In this, the 1976 series of Herbert Spencer Lectures, we have gathered together a group of distinguished men from different disciplines to tell us how current work in their own subjects is changing their views of man. Sooner or later, in greater or less degree, the change of vision will affect us all.
→ H. H. Oxford, Hilary 1978.
Herbert Spencer Lectures
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