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Fact, Faith and Fiction in the Development of Science 1975–1977

Reijer Hooykaas


Table of Contents


R. Hooykaas’ lecture series, Fact, Faith and Fiction in the Development of Science,, and the resultant book of the same title, is far more concerned with the natural than the theological. Beginning from a discussion of the Pythagorean quest for the mathematical harmony underlying the created order, Hooykaas traces the history of humanity’s investigation of and faith in the fundamental rationality of the universe, moving through a discussion of faith derived from sensory observation (from Aristotle to the alchemists) to a protracted meditation on mechanical and organic concepts of the cosmos. From here, he moves first into a discussion of scientific ethics, examining the Faustian question of whether and to what extent experimentation within the natural order is permissible, and then on to the broader question of the purpose of science. Hooykaas identifies the two main movements of scientific theory as, on the one hand, an attempt at an exact representation of reality, and, on the other, a thought experiment intended to construct a useful, though not necessarily realistic, means of approaching and categorising observed phenomena. From this question, he is then able to move to the classic problem of ‘Nature’ versus ‘Art’ before finally unifying these two strands through an examination of Pascal and his natural theology.
Alana Howard
University of Glasgow

Publication Data

OnlineKluwer Academic Publishers1999
Original n/a
Not Available
Templeton Press