Menu
Home
Log in / Register
 
Home arrow Environment arrow Research Methods in Anthropology: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches
Source

THE DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENCE: FROM DEMOCRITUS TO NEWTON

The scientific method is barely 400 years old, and its systematic application to human thought and behavior is less than half that. Aristotle insisted that knowledge should be based on experience and that conclusions about general cases should be based on the observation of more limited ones. But Aristotle did not advocate disinterested, objective accumulation of reliable knowledge. Moreover, like Aristotle, all scholars until the 17th century relied on metaphysical concepts, like the soul, to explain observable phenomena. Even in the 19th century, biologists still talked about ‘‘vital forces’’ as a way of explaining the existence of life.

Early Greek philosophers, like Democritus (460-370 все), who developed the atomic theory of matter, were certainly materialists, but one ancient scholar stands out for the kind of thinking that would eventually divorce science from studies of mystical phenomena. In his single surviving work, a poem entitled On the Nature of the Universe (1998), Titus Lucretius Carus (98-55 все) suggested that everything that existed in the world had to be made of some material substance. Consequently, if the soul and the gods were real, they had to be material, too (see Minadeo 1969). Lucretius’ work did not have much impact on the way knowledge was pursued, and his work is little appreciated in the social sciences (but see Harris [1968] for an exception).

 
Source
Found a mistake? Please highlight the word and press Shift + Enter  
< Prev   CONTENTS   Next >
 
Subjects
Accounting
Business & Finance
Communication
Computer Science
Economics
Education
Engineering
Environment
Geography
Health
History
Language & Literature
Law
Management
Marketing
Mathematics
Political science
Philosophy
Psychology
Religion
Sociology
Travel