Download E.A. Burtt, Historian and Philosopher: A Study of the author by D. Villemaire PDF

By D. Villemaire

Burtt's e-book, The Metaphysical Foundations of contemporary actual Science, is anything of a puzzle in the context of twentieth-century highbrow heritage, specially American highbrow heritage. Burtt's pioneering examine of the clinical revolution has proved to prophetic in its rejection of either scientism and positivism. released in 1924, Burtt's booklet is still learn in proficient circles and is still either the rose and the thorn on collage interpreting lists, elevating skeptical questions on technology equipment and technology wisdom simply because it did seventy-five years in the past.
This booklet examines Burtt's public, educational and private existence. From his politics of sense of right and wrong after global struggle I on in the course of the chilly conflict Burtt is proven to be a guy of extraordinary integrity, whose relentless look for philosophic realizing drove his extra quixotic philosophical quests and instructed his own lifestyles, together with its tragic size, towards uncomplicated advantage.
The many that were plagued by The Metaphysical Foundations could be specially attracted to this new standpoint at the existence and considered its writer. those that haven't learn Burtt's books will be encouraged to review this strange American thinker.

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Additional resources for E.A. Burtt, Historian and Philosopher: A Study of the author of The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science

Sample text

Would such an answer have any more logical virtue than an answer to the problem of the motion of the sun which ignores the fact that there are different points of view from which the motion of the sun appears differently? And surely such variations depend on the observer as well as on something outside him. Indeed, if we conceive mind as broadly as Professor Cohen does, may we not say definitely that at least some of them depend on the observer's mind? Our author himself admits that people see facts differently according to the different wishes and expectations which guide the seeing.

After a while Cohen came along, obviously in fine fettle. Catching sight of us, he came over, turned to one of the students present, and said, "The trouble with you A, is that you can't think. " I can still see that student blanch at this sentence of doom pronounced before his peers, and I blush to think that, so great was Cohen's authority with us, we didn't hold this judgment against him but against the hapless victim. Yes, Cohen unwittingly left scars, and--as I discovered when I ran into this student a decade later--some ofthe scars did not heal.

To read The Metaphysical Foundations correctly is to read the Russellian and medieval world-views as examples only, and not to saddle Burtt with a personal investment in either one of them. Burtt's later scholarly interest in the history of religion should not be read backward into The Metaphysical Foundations as has been done by Lorraine Daston. 20 Burtt became interested in religion from a scholar's point of view only after his appointment to a teaching position at Cornell many years later. As he relates it in his autobiographical article: One duty I accepted when coming to Cornell was that of teaching a course in the history and comparison of religions.

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