Scientific Method and Ideology

  • Brian William Head
Part of the Archives Internationales D’Histoire Des Idees/International Archives of the History of Ideas book series (ARCH, volume 112)


Tracy constantly professed his faith in the importance of facts, observations and rigorous scientific method, and yet his writings often have the appearance of rationalist deduction from basic principles. In exploring this paradox or tension in his work, it is necessary to consider the images of scientific method and scientific laws which were part of Tracy’s intellectual borrowings. Why did he believe that methods of observation, analysis, and the search for general causal explanations, were the key to attaining certain or reliable knowledge? What kinds of ideas were to be excluded from the realm of positive knowledge? What was the proper starting-point for reaching a scientific understanding of man and society? Could the models derived from mechanics, optics, astronomy, and the biological sciences be applied directly to the study of man? These and similar questions are the concern of this chapter.


Scientific Method Sense Perception Reliable Knowledge Positive Science Intellectual Faculty 
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© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht 1985

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  • Brian William Head

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