Whitehead’s Defence of Rationalism

  • Dorothy Emmet


In the immense majority of men, even in civilized countries, speculative philosophy has ever been, and must remain, a terra incognita, yet all the epoch-making revolutions of the Christian world, the revolutions of religion, and with them the civil, social and domestic habits of the nations concerned, have coincided with the rise and fall of metaphysical systems.—Coleridge.


Propositional Content Logical Scheme Constructive Thought Terra Incognita Speculative Philosophy 
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  1. 1.
    A biologist has suggested to me that the reason why Biology at the present day is a backward science relatively to Physics is that its theoretical side is much less developed. It remains largely a mass of unorganised observations and experiments. Physics, on the other hand, through its closer association with mathematics, can have a highly developed speculative side which gradually finds important applications. He also suggested that further progress in some problems of Biology was waiting until biologists were ready to speculate with greater boldness about e.g. different possible types of living organisms. (See also J. H. Woodger, Biological Principles [London, 1929}], pp. 268–272} and passim, for a plea for a philosophical criticism of the logical foundations of their own science on the part of biologists, together with a readiness to explore other possibilities in interpretation.)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Dorothy Emmet 1966

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dorothy Emmet
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of ManchesterUK
  2. 2.Lady Margaret HallOxfordUK

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