Social Scientist. v 6, no. 61 (Aug 1977) p. 74.


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DISCUSSION

Problems of Philosophy and Science

The Indian School of Social Sciences is initiating a debate on Problems of Philosophy and Science. Contributions to the discussion will be published in the SOCIAL SCIENTIST and later perhaps in book form. The debate maybe preceded by group discussions (lasting two or three days at different centres in India) where, it is hoped, papers written by the participants will be presented for deliberation.

As a first step it is necessary to identify individuals and groups working on specific aspects of science and philosophy These who wish to take part in the debate are invited to write to the Indian School nf Social Sciences, Trivandrum 695001.

THE FRONTIERS between philosphy and science have been radically shifting with every advance of human knowledge. In antiquity both were undifferentiated: natural philosphy provided a naive and spontaneous interpretation of nature's phenomena ^by putting in the place of the real,, but as yet unknown, interconnections ideal, fancied ones, "filling in the missing facts by figments of the mind and . . . the actual gaps in imagination."

With the increase in human productivity, it was the need for specialized knowledge that gave rise to a number of natural sciences. By the seventeenth century natural sciences separated from philosophy passing from being merely an immediate observation of nature to a synthetic reconstruction of nature in its universality. The myth of the power of speculation in comprehending nature in totality has been blown up in the process,

Contemporary research in all branches of the natural sciences has raised problems that are no longer confined to the limits of specific branches. Apart from the problems of interaction (leading to the emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches in bourgeois academic circles), are such fundamental issues as the nature and mutual relations of matter, life, consciousness.and the method of the sciences. Since the answers offered have a direct bearing on the method of comprehension of social



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