History of science Science in a broad sense existed before the modern era and in many historical civilizations. In particular, it was the type of knowledge which people can communicate to each other and share. For example, knowledge about the working of natural things was gathered long before recorded history and led to the development of complex abstract thought.
If one were to imagine purely spiritual beings in a realm of persons which consisted only of such beings, then their coming-to-be, preservation, and development, as well as their extinction — whatever representations we may form of the background from which these The relationship of the human sciences appear and into which they disappear — would be dependent on purely spiritual conditions.
Tell us what you need to have done now! Even their disappearance from the realm of persons would be grounded in the spiritual sphere. The system of such individuals would be known by pure sciences of spirit.
In reality, however, an individual comes into being, survives, and develops on the basis of the functions of an animal organism and its connections to his natural environment. His feeling of life is, at least partly, based on these natural functions; his impressions are conditioned y his sense organs and the way they are affected by the external world.
We find that the abundance and liveliness of his representations, the strength and direction of his acts of will, are in many ways dependent on changing conditions within his nervous system.
His volitional impulses induce contractions in the muscle fibers when effect directed outwards is bound to molecular changes in his body; lasting results of his acts of will exist only in the form of changes in the material world. Thus the mental life off man is part of the psychophysical life-unit which is the form in which human existence and human life are manifested.
Only by means of abstraction is mental life separable from that psychophysical life-unit. The system of these life-units is the reality which constitutes the subject matter of the socio-historical sciences. Whatever the metaphysical facts may be, man as a life-unit may be regarded from the two points of view that we have developed: Inner and outer perception never occur in one and the same act, and consequently the reality of mental life is never even simultaneously with that of our body.
On account of this, there are necessarily two different and irreducible standpoints for a scientific approach aimed at grasping the connection of the mental and the physical as expressed in the psychophysical life-unit. If I start with inner experience, then I find the whole external world to be given in my consciousness and all the laws of nature to be subject to the conditions of my consciousness and, therefore, dependent on them.
On the other hand, I can start from the world of physical nature, as I see it before me, and perceive psychic facts ordered within space and time; I then see changes within spiritual life subject to external interference-natural or experimental-consisting of physical changes impinging on the standpoint into a comprehensive picture of the dependence of the human spirit on the body.
This results in a scientific approach which proceeds from Outer to inner, from physical changes to mental ones. Thus the antagonism between the philosopher and the natural scientist is conditioned by their antithetical starting mints.
Let us now take as our point of departure the perspective of the natural sciences. Insofar as this perspective remains conscious of its limits, its results are incontestable.
These results receive a closer determination of their cognitive value only from the standpoint of inner experience. Natural science analyzes the causal nexus of nature.
Where this analysis has reached the point at which a material fact or change is regularly connected with a psychic fact or change, without a further intermediary being detectable between them, only this regularity itself can be established; no connection of cause and effect can be applied to this relation.
We find uniformities in the one sphere of life regularly connected with uniformities of the other, and the mathematical concept of function is the appropriate expression for such a relationship. To conceive the course of mental changes running parallel to physical changes as comparable to the working of two synchronized clocks fits as well with experience as does a conception assuming only one clockwork, which, when taken informatively as a basis of explanation, considers both spheres of experience as but different manifestations of one ground.
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Dependence of the mental on the natural world is a relation according to which the overall natural context causally conditions those material facts and changes which are regularly, and apparently directly, connected with mental facts and changes.
Thus the natural sciences regard the chain of causality as reaching into the domain of psychophysical life. But here we find a mode of change in which the relationship of the material and the Psychical is not governed by this sort of causal approach, and this change then in turn generates a change in the material world.
By analyzing how the bewildering phenomena of life depend on each other, we can trace the sequence of natural changes which reach man, enter his nervous system through the senses, and give rise to sensations, representations, feelings, and desires which, in turn, affect the course of nature. The psychophysical life-unit which is filled with the immediate feeling of its undivided existence is analyzed into a system of empirically observable relations between facts of consciousness and observable relations of structure and the functions of the nervous system.
For every psychic act shows itself to be connected with a change in our body only by means of the nervous system; and a change in our body, in turn, is accompanied by a change in our psychic state only through its effect on the nervous system.
This analysis of psychophysical life-units provides a clearer notion of their dependence on the overall context of nature within which they appear and act and from which they withdraw again. It also clarifies how the study of socio-historical reality depends on our knowledge of nature.
From this, we can establish the extent to which the theories of Comet and Herbert Spencer are justified in locating these sciences in their hierarchy of all the sciences.
While the present work will attempt to ground the relative independence of the human sciences, it must also consider the other perspective, which places them within the which can show how the human sciences are conditioned by our knowledge of nature and constitute the final and highest member in a progression which begins with mathematics.
Mental facts comprise the uppermost limit of natural facts, and the latter the underlying Conditions of human life. Because the realm of persons, including human Society and history, is the highest phenomenon of the empirical world, knowledge of it must at countless points be based on the system of presuppositions which accounts for its development within the w hole of nature.
Man, because of his position in the causal system of nature, Is conditioned by it in a twofold respect. The psychophysical life-unit, as we saw, receives through its nervous system continuous stimuli from the general course of nature which it in turn affects.
Where the psychophysical unit affects nature this is characteristically in the form of action guided by purposes. On the one hand, nature and its constitution can govern this psychophysical unit in the shaping of purposes themselves; on the other hand, nature qua system of means for attaining these ends codetermines the psychophysical unit.
Thus even in those cases where we exert our will, where we act on nature, we are dependent on the system of nature precisely because we are not blind forces but rather volitional creatures that reflectively establish their purposes.
Accordingly, psychophysical units find themselves dependent on natural processes in a twofold manner:The human sciences corresponds to humanities and social sciences, but also includes aspects of psychology and even mathematics, as one of the key things we are concerned with is how we gather information in our study of human behaviour.
The extensive explorations of the relationships between science and spirituality over the past four decades have made it evident that the sense of oneness, which is the key characteristic of spiritual experience, is fully confirmed by the understanding of reality in contemporary science.
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