A Reply to Dewey
We have seen that for Dewey, the classical argument in favor of the theoretic life is rendered obsolete by the reality of modern progress. The scientific and technological revolutions represent “an advance so marvelous that the progress in knowledge in almost uncounted previous millenniums is almost nothing in comparison.” The theory of progress – itself a fruit of Baconianism and the Enlightenment – poses the central challenge to any traditional view which venerates the classical ideals of the past. There are however a number of issues with this notion of progress. The first thing is that the scientific revolution itself cannot be set against the classical theoretical ideal, because it was built on it as its own foundation. It is true that the Greeks possessed no scientific-technological project comparable to what emerges in modernity. At the same time, what was absolutely necessary for this project was a product of the Greek theoretical mind. The modern scientific method brings together the Aristotelian principle of empirical induction with an advanced mathematics developed largely on the foundation of Greek mathematics (Euclid, Diophantus, etc.…). This debt was, as we have seen, acknowledged by Aristotle’s putative anti-type Bacon when he wrote of Aristotle:
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