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Full text of "Man In The Modern World"

not lay the same stress on experimental verification as we do; and,
correlated with this, it had not invented the modern methodology of
publication of the data and methods used, as well as the conclusions
A few centuries later, the combination of Greek intellect and in-
genuity with the practical spirit of the Roman imperiurn made
Alexandrian science something much more like modern science in
outlook and methods of working. But this was swallowed up in the
anti-scientific Christian flood and the general collapse of Roman
During the Dark Ages in the West, the Arabs kept the scientific
spirit alive, and by means of their mathematical inventions paved the
way for immense improvements in the technique of scientific research.
Natural science, in its modern form, can fairly be said to date back
no further than the seventeenth century. With Bacon as its St. John
the Baptist, it developed its gospel and its ministry. Curiosity for its
own sake, but also interest in industrial techniques and practical con-
trol ; freedom of inquiry; experimental verification in place of auth-
ority; full publication and abundant discussion—with these a truly
new phase was inaugurated.
To-day it seems that we are again in the process of launching a new
phase of science—one in which social as well as natural phenomena
are to be made amenable to scientific understanding and rational
As with natural science, social science too has had its earlier stages.
It too passed through the stage of trial and error, in which social
organization shaped itself under the influence of unconscious adjust-
ment together with non-rational rules of conduct and non-scientific
interpretations of human destiny. It also had its traditional phases,
often tightly bound up with philosophical and theological interpre-
tative principles, as, for example, in the climax of the Middle Ages.
And it has had its birth of free speculative inquiry, parallel to the
Greek phase of natural science—but two thousand years later, in
the philosophers of the seventeenth and especially the eighteenth
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. Many, I am sure,
would put Herbert Spencer in this position; but I believe that the
true John the Baptist of social science is Karl Marx. Herbert Spencer,
for all his academic knowledge, or perhaps because of it, was more in