Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Scholars are People Too

From I. Cohen, “Orthodoxy and Scientific Progress,” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 96 [1952]: 505-506.

I have never encountered [a scientist] of any importance whatever who would welcome with joy and satisfaction the publication of a new theory, explanation, or conceptual scheme that would completely replace and render superfluous his own creation . . . The scientist actually tries often in vain to fit each new discovery or set of discoveries into the traditional theories [as he] clings to conceptions or preconceptions as long as it is humanly possible.” Hence, “Any suggestion that scientists so dearly love truth that they have not the slightest hesitation in jettisoning their beliefs is a mean perversion of the facts. It is s a form of scientific idolatry, supposing that scientists are entirely free from the passions that direct men’s actions, and we should have little patience with it.