Free Will pp 9-12 | Cite as

The Growth of Natural Science

  • D. J. O’Connor
Part of the Problems of Philosophy book series


in primitive societies and stages op civilization, it is only the most obvious regularities of nature that are brought to man’s attention. Night and day, the seasons, the natural rhythms of life and growth—these are obvious enough. But even these are not always thought of as events due to the unconscious operation of natural forces. The type of cause most familiar to everyone is our own agency in affecting the world around us. And the natural tendency of men at primitive stages of thought is to attribute all observed changes to conscious agencies. Wind and weather, storms and earthquakes, famine and disease, as well as the underlying regularities of season and sky are all attributed to the power of gods or demons. We emancipate ourselves only very gradually from this kind of animistic thinking. And in the history of science we find some very eminent men among its victims. (The great Christian philosopher St. Augustine writing in the fifth century attributed all the diseases that afflicted Christians to the action of demons.)


Seventeenth Century Natural Force Human Freedom Natural Rhythm Primitive Stage 
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© D. J. O’Connor 1971

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  • D. J. O’Connor

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