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Vid vetandets gräns: om skiljelinjen mellan naturvetenskap och metafysik i svensk kulturdebatt 1870-1920
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts.
1987 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The object of this dissertation is to describe the opinions about the limits of natural science in their social and cultural context There exist two antagonistic positions to this matter restrictionism and expansionism. Restrictionism assumes that the natural sciences have no influence on metaphysics. Expansionism, on die other hand, argues that the natural sciences can legitimise the positions of beliefs and values. During the 1870b a restrictionist attitude on scientific knowledge established itself among influential German and British scientists. Emil Du Bois-Reymond, Rudolf Virchow, Hermann von Helmholtz and Thomas Henry Huxley were some of the famous scientists who rejected attempts to adduce science in religious and metaphysical matter. This restrictionism was rejected by other scientists and philosophers who believed that the modern natural sciences constituted a complete Weltanschauung, hostile to obsolete Christianity and philosophy.

The thesis primarily deals with the debate on the limits of scientific knowledge in Sweden. We follow the development of the discussion from the 1870's to the years after the First World War. At the end of the 19th century Swedish scientists freed themselves from dominant natural philosophy and natural theology. Restrictionism was later on supported, in different ways, by recognized scientists, theologians, conservative critics, and philosophers. At the turn of the centuiy the restrictionist view of science was turned against metaphysical materialism, monism, naturalism, and an emergent, radical counter-culture.

The controversies continued as long as the mechanical world picture dominated the natural sciences. With social and cultural changes, and the new physics of Rutherford, Einstein, Bohr, and Heisenberg, the debate slowly faded.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lund: Arkiv , 1987. , 238 p.
, Arkiv avhandlingsserie, ISSN 0347-4909 ; 26
Keyword [en]
Limits of Science, Science and Belief, Scientific World View, Positivism, Materialism, Idealism, Metaphysics, 19th-20th Century Sweden, History of Science, History of Ideas
National Category
History of Ideas
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-61928ISBN: 91-7924-017-8OAI: diva2:573841
Available from: 2012-12-03 Created: 2012-12-03 Last updated: 2012-12-03Bibliographically approved

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