WE EXAMINE SEVERAL GENERAL QUESTIONS about the nature of science and its place in the matrix of social institutions in a society in this chapter. Our discussion begins with the question of the role that mathematics plays in science. Because the issues are important for understanding developments in later chapters, and because there is much confusion in the literature about what mathematics contributes to science, the discussion is extended. In subsequent sections, the relationship of science to other abstract disciplines like sociology, history, or art is examined in the context of the canons of organization that communities have used in defining their role in our culture.
KeywordsSeventeenth Century Proportionality Constant Euclidean Geometry Free Fall Ordinary Language
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- †.This story is told forcibly and clearly in N. R. Hanson, Patterns of Discovery (Cambridge, 1958) chapter 2. It is significant, as Hanson points out, that the kind of mistake made by Galileo was made by others at about the same time and the steps that led Galileo to the proper formulation were also taken by others.Google Scholar
- †.The MKS system is actually only a core part of an extremely comprehensive system of units known as SI which has recently been adopted by the majority of countries in the world. There has always been a good deal of heat generated about which system is the best system. Some insight in that controversy can be found in the following: U.S. Metric Suty Interim Report: A History of the Metric System Controversy in the United States NBS SP 345–10 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1971).Google Scholar
- *.The reader might consult the following: R. K. Merton, “Puritanism, Pietism, and Science,” or “Science and Economy of Seventeenth Century England,” in Barber and Hirsch (eds.), The Sociology of Science (New York, 1962) pp. 33–88.Google Scholar
- M. Purver, The Royal Society: Concept and Creation (Cambridge, Mass., 1967).Google Scholar
- M. C. Jacob, The Newtonians and the English Revolution, 1689–1720 (Ithaca, 1976). There are many other studies which might be consulted. The reader is directed to the excellent bibliographic essay in Jacob’s book.Google Scholar