Social Scientist. v 6, no. 69 (April 1978) p. 67.


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M ANIS ALAM

Critique of Positivism in the Natural Sciences

PHILOSOPHY deals with the most general concepts and most general laws about nature, man, and their mutual relationship. The basic question it deals with is: What is primary, matter or thought?

Science, according to the prevalent ideas, also deals with nature;

but not as a whole. It separates nature into various parts, like the organic world, inorganic world, heavenly bodies, and so on, and tries to discover the laws operative in each of these parts. Thus the individual sciences have arisen: Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geology, Geography, and so forth.

But the importance of philosophy to ihe natural sciences lies in the position the scientists adopt, when interpreting their results or setting up their theories, on the question of the primacy of matter or thought. Throughout the history of the sciences, scientists have adopted various positions on this question. But the majority of scientists have always adopted a naive realistic point of view, regarding the objects and phenomena under study to be external to them and to have an existence independent of their consciousness. Thus



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