The Decline of Western Science: Defending Spengler’s Account of the End of Science: Within Reason

  • Gregory Morgan SwerEmail author


Haack classifies Spengler’s views on the end of science as what she terms annihilationist in that he forecasts the absolute termination of scientific activity as opposed to its completion or culmination. She also argues that in addition to his externalist argument that Western science, as cultural product, cannot survive the demise of Western Culture, Spengler also puts forward an internalist argument that science, regardless of the imminent demise of Western Culture, is in terminal decline as evidenced by its diminishing returns. I argue against Haack that Spengler’s argument for the diminishing returns of modern science is in fact an externalist one, in that he locates the sources of science’s current decline outside the discipline of science itself, attributing them to a change in cultural attitude towards scientific endeavours. I further argue that Spengler’s prediction of the imminent end of science was directed specifically at pure science, and that he in fact held that applied science would continue to develop. I also take issue with Haack’s suggestion that Spengler’s views on science were outmoded at the time that he wrote them.


Spengler Haack End of science Annihilationism Diminishing returns 



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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, Howard CollegeUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalDurbanSouth Africa

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