Skip to main content

The role of language in science


It is argued that language plays an active role in the development of scientific thought. A research project is outlined which will investigate this hypothesis and, in addition, focus on such questions as the role of mathematics in science and the status of the genetic code.

“Nothing is more usual than for philosophers to encroach on the province of grammarians, and to engage in disputes of words, while they imagine they are handling controversies of the deepest importance and concern.”—David Hume.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. N. Bohr, in A. PetersonQuantum Physics and the Philosophical Tradition. (M.I.I. Press, Cambridge, Mass, 1968.)

    Google Scholar 

  2. D. Bohm and F. David Peat,Science, Order and Creativity (Bantam Books, New York, 1987).

    Google Scholar 

  3. D. Bohm,Wholeness and the Implicate Order (Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, Boston, 1980.

    Google Scholar 

  4. D. Bohm, “Quantum theory as an indication of a new order in physics,” inFoundations of Quantum Mechanics, B d'Espagnat, ed. (Academic Press, New York and London, 1971).

    Google Scholar 

  5. G. Fauconnier,Metal Spaces: Aspects of meaning construction in natural language (Bradford/M.I.T. Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1985).

    Google Scholar 

  6. Alan Ford, “Category theory and family resemblances” inQuantum Implications: Essays in Honour of David Bohm. B. J. Hiley and F. David Peat, eds. (Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1987).

    Google Scholar 

  7. C. K. Ogden and I. A. Richards,The Meaning of Meaning, 10th edn. (Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1966).

    Google Scholar 

  8. See, for example, L. Wittgenstein,Philosophical Investigations (Blackwell, Oxford, 1968).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ford, A., Peat, F.D. The role of language in science. Found Phys 18, 1233–1242 (1988).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Active Role
  • Genetic Code
  • Scientific Thought
  • Deep Importance