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E. Kolawole Ogundowole, Ph.D., D.Sc.

Professor & Head of Philosophy Department

University of Lagos.
Akoka, Lagos.

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A few words about the overall objectives of the course is appropriate as a starting point.

Historically, philosophy was the first form of theoretical knowledge. As a rational theoretical tool of comprehending the world, philosophy arose in ancient Greece in stiff battle with mythology and religious consciousness. It came out to lay the foundation for the evolvement of scientific consciousness and the emergence and development of the sciences - Mathematics, Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, etc.

In an environment rife with various and varying superstitions and myths, the study of the History of Science and Philosophy of Science becomes crucial, lest science itself falls within the ambit of mythology and superstition and becomes another form of myth even in the hands of the tutored. The study of the History of Science is particularly important since it is within its realm that the development of science can be made bare and the process clearly demonstrated stage by stage in a conscious manner as to show that science is the result of, and at once, itself a form of creative activity of man; a conscious creation for that matter which arose out of the need of man. It was a need borne out of the interaction of man with his environment. Man here is taken in a generic sense - meaning human (species) beings. In this sense perhaps we better talk about the interaction between the society and its environment, between society and nature.

You probably can recall some of the myths circulating in our ignorant environment concerning how the Europeans acquire their scientific and technological skills. Let me remind you one of such: The Europeans are the second in command to God. They acquire their knowledge, scientific knowledge by diving deep into the sea where they remain for a while during which period they converse with God. In the process, God reveals to them some "secrets" about nature and technology which they later put into practice as they return to normal human environment.

However, the study of History and Philosophy of Science debunks this and similar superstitions. Therefore, the overall objective of this course is to assist you to have an appropriate understanding of the subject-matter of the History and Philosophy of Science to enable you to acquire a liberated mind and develop the habit for scientific probe of natural phenomena, social occurrences and human thought. Consequently, you are expected, at the end of the course, to gain a good understanding of:

1. The nature of philosophy and its relation to science and scientific thinking, mythology, superstition and religion,

2. Man, his origin and nature, and how life came about on earth,

3. The fact that myths, philosophy and science are the creation of man,

4. History of science and significant achievements at major stages,

5. Man's cosmic environment and scientific study of it,

6. Man's energy and other resources - renewable and non-renewable; and the basic hazards man confronts: chemical, radio-chemical, and AIDS,

7. The methodology and procedures of scientific inquiry and character of good scientific work,

8. What constitutes scientific imagination, hypothesis, theory formation, generalization and, prediction,

9. The structure, classification and main branches of science,

10. The nature of scientific and technological revolution in the service of humankind and industry.

The main objectives are that students should:

1. Distinguish between superstitions and scientific facts.

2. Engage in active participation in the cultivation and development of science, scientific knowledge and scientific outlook.

3. Attain mental liberation that will impel them towards progressive thinking.

4. Explain the nature of philosophy and its relation to science and scientific thinking.

5. Discuss scientific achievements at major stages.

6. Relate science to human development.

7. Analyze the relationship betweens science and service to humankind.

Now with the knowledge of the history and philosophy of science you become aware of the facts that such myths narrated above are untenable. You begin to see yourself, your friend, your brother or sister as a potential contributor to the development of science only if the necessary conditions are created in the society. Some of these conditions are normal formal education, provisions of all facilities that make science education not only possible but make it a pleasant experience. This way, the path leading to science and science itself is de-mystified and our way of life liberated from myths and superstitions that enthrall man. Once liberated from the shackles of myth and superstitions surrounding the nature and practice of science you begin to see yourself an active participant in the cultivation and development of science and scientific knowledge.

No society, no country, can progress without first going through the firmament of mental liberation from the stranglehold of all sorts of myths and superstitions, old or new.


The term history provides the skeleton while philosophy penetrates and reveals the inner logic and rationale of science in the course of its development as the result of conscious creativite activity of man.

Demonstratively, this course is structured into 10 modules in line with the course outline provided by the National Universities Commission for the GST 104 required course - History and Philosophy of Science. The first 3 modules consider the origin and nature of man, his cosmic environment, man's energy resources - renewable and non-renewable, and chemical and radio-chemical hazards; the next 4 modules are concerned with philosophy and the emergence and growth of scientific knowledge, development of science, structure, classification and major branches of science and scientific and technological revolution; the last 3 modules deal with the methodology of scientific enquiry, scientific procedures, imagination, generalization, scientific theory, prediction and self-criticism in science. My acknowledgements go to my mentors at the of St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia: Professors Maizel, V. Schtoff and V.G. Marakhov. Professor Maizel introduced me to Philosophy of Science at the undergraduate level, V. Schtoff taught me modelling and methodology of scientific inquiry. I have found their works and lecture notes very useful for the modules. Professor Marakhov was my former Head of Department and later Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, of that University. His numerous works on Science and Technology have been very useful. Academician B. M. Kedrov of the then USSR Academy of Sciences has provided me with the materials needed regarding the classification of Science. Special gratitude goes to other authors and publishers for their cooperation in granting permission for making use of copyright materials. The publishers deserve special appreciation. This work was first written at the instance of The Distance Learning Institute of the University of Lagos (Nigeria) my special thanks go to the management of the institute for extending the invitation to me to write the modules.

The experience gained in the last three decades that I have been teaching various aspects of Philosophy including Philosophy of Science both abroad and at the University of Lagos turned out to be of great asset in preparing the present modules. I thank my students of the different periods who through the type of questions they asked have mediatory contributed towards the making of the modules.

Lagos E.K.O

September 2003



Preface iii


Objectives............................................................................. 2

Introduction.......................................................................... 2

1.1. On the Origin of Life and Man............................... 2

a. Before man: A Glimpse into the Emergence of

Life on Earth............................................................... 3

b. Conflicting Views about the Origin of Man................. 8

c. Instances of the Yoruba and Greco -Judaic stories..... 8

d. Creationism................................................................ 9

e. The Catastrophic and Diluvialist Theories................. 10

f. The Evolutionary Theory........................................... 11

g. Evidences in Support of Evolution of Man................. 12

1.2 Man, his Definition and Birthplace............................. 16

a. Man, Ape and the Question of the Missing Link........ 16

b. Africa - Birthplace of Man......................................... 19

c. Defining Man............................................................. 20

d. The Philosophic Approach......................................... 21

e. The Anthropological Approach.................................. 23

f. Comparing and Contrasting the Two Approaches........ 24

1.3 Summary................................................................... 25

1.4 Self-Assessment Questions....................................... 26

1.5 References................................................................ 26


Objective................................................................... 28

Introduction............................................................... 28

2.1 Meaning of Cosmos................................................... 28

a. Beginning of the Scientific Study of Man's Cosmic Environment....... 30

b. The Planets and Basic Facts about Man's Cosmic Environment.......... 31

c. Measuring Time by Observing the Heavens............... 32

d. Star Maps in the Service of Man................................. 33

e. The Two Natural Clocks............................................ 34

f. Newton's Laws of Motion and Man-made Clocks...... 35

2.2 About the Moon, the Earth and Other Planets............ 36

a. Concerning the Shape of the Earth............................. 37

b. Root of Ptolemy's Geocentric Theory of Universe.... 37

c. Asteroids, Meteors and Comets.................................. 38

2.3 The Milky Way System or Galaxy of Stars................. 39

2.4 Space Exploration and the Emergence of Cosmic Technology......... 39

2.5 Summary................................................................... 42

2.6 Self-assessment questions........................................ 42

2.7 References................................................................ 43




Objective................................................................... 45

Introduction............................................................... 45

3.1. Man's Interaction with Natural Environment and its Impact............. 46

a. Renewable and Non-renewable Resources................ 48

b. Man's Energy Resources: Generation and Utilization... 50

c. Primary Energy Production, Types and Potentialities.. 53

3.2. On Chemical and Radio-chemical Hazards............... 56

a. War and the Hazards of Radio-chemical Substances.... 57

b. Even Peaceful use of Nuclear Energy calls for Precaution against Hazards..... 61

3.3. On a Biological Hazard called AIDS.......................... 63

3.4. Summary................................................................... 65

3.5. Self-assessment Questions........................................ 65

3.6. References.................................................................. 66



Objective.................................................................. 68

Introduction.............................................................. 68

4.1. The Emergence and Nature of Philosophy................. 67

a. Philosophy as the First Historical Form of

Theoretical Knowledge............................................ 71

b. Defining Philosophy: The problems......................... 74

c. A Brief Survey of Definitions of Philosophy............. 76

4.2. Subject-matter of Philosophy of Science.................... 79

a. Scientific Knowledge: Its Emergence and the Growth of

the Sciences............................................................... 80

b. Distinction between Scientific Knowledge and the

Sciences.................................................................. 82

c. Myths and Superstitions are not Peculiar to Africans. 84

d. Liberated Thinking Pattern is the Foundation for

rapid Development of Science and Technology.......... 85

4.3. Summary................................................................... 88

4.4. Self-assessment Questions........................................ 89

4.5. References................................................................ 89



Objective.................................................................. 92

Introduction.............................................................. 92

5.1. The Emergence and Difficulty in the Growth of Science

in the Early Beginning.............................................. 93

5.2. The Greek phase in the Development of Science........ 90

5.3. The Romans and the Growth of Science..................... 103

5.4. Deification of Human Wisdom in the Christian Era..... 104

5.5. Re-affirmation of Human Wisdom.............................. 106

a. Regeneration of Science in the Renaissance Period.... 108

b. Francis Bacon and the Eminence of Human Wisdom....... 108

c. The Copernican Revolution....................................... 110

5.6. Summary................................................................... 112

5.7. Self-assessment Questions........................................ 113

5.8. References................................................................. 113



Objective................................................................... 115

Introduction............................................................... 115

6.1. The Evolution and Development of Scientific Method

and Science in the Seventeenth Century.................... 116

a. Descartes on the Method of Systematic Doubt.......... 117

b. Galileo's First Attempt to Tackle the Problem of

Free Fall............................................................... 118

c. Galileo on Motion and the Problem of Free Fall........ 119

d. Laws of Motion invented by Newton and Their Place in

the Development of Science....................................... 121

e. The New Science and the Fate of Religious Beliefs.... 124

6.2. The Newtonian Science and its Impact on the

Intellectual World of the Eighteenth Century.............. 127

6.3. The Golden Age of Science........................................ 129

6.4. Science in the Twentieth Century............................... 130

6.5. Regularities and Trends in the Development of Science 131

a. Scientific and Technological Progress....................... 133

b. The Scientific and Technological Revolution............ 135

c. The Scientific and Technological Revolution in the

Service of Man and Society........................................ 137

d. Optimistic Future of Science..................................... 141

6.6. Summary................................................................... 142

6.7. Self-assessment Questions....................................... 143

6.8. References................................................................. 143



Objective.................................................................. 145

Introduction............................................................. 145

7.1. The Structure and Major Branches of Science.......... 145

7.2. The Principles of Classification of Science.............. 147

a. Brief History of the Classification of Sciences......... 148

b. Contemporary Classification of Sciences................... 149

c. Practical Significance of the Classification of

Sciences.................................................................... 154

7.3. Organization and Management of Science as a Social

Institution.................................................................. 156

7.4. Summary................................................................... 158

7.5. Self-assessment Questions........................................ 158

7.6. References................................................................. 159



Objective.................................................................... 161

Introduction............................................................... 161

8.1. Philosophical World view, its Methodical and

Methodological Functions......................................... 161

8.2. The Subject-matter of the Methodology of Scientific

Inquiry...................................................................... 165

8.3. Empirical and Theoretical Levels of Scientific

Inquiry........................................................................ 167

a. The Empirical Level................................................... 167

b. The Theoretical Level................................................ 167

c. On the Distinction between the Empirical and

Theoretical Levels...................................................... 16

Clarification of some Correlated Concepts in Methodology such as

"sensuousness-mentation", and "empirical-theoretical"...................................... 169

8.4. The Search for Objective Knowledge in Science and

he Positivist Notion of Objectivity as Observability of Events.............. 171

8.5. Summary.................................................................... 174

8.6. Self-Assessment Questions....................................... 175

8.7. References................................................................. 175



Objective.................................................................. 177

Introduction............................................................. 177

9.1. The Nature and Characteristics of Good Scientific Work............................ 177

9.2. Scientific Procedures............................................... 181

9.3. Observational Procedure........................................ 183

a. On the Nature of Casual, Unplanned Observation....... 183

b. Systematic Research Programme................................. 183

c. Controlled Experiment................................................. 183

d. The Discovery of Empirical Laws and Formulation of

Scientific Theory........................................................ 184

9.4. Criticism and Self-criticism in Science..................... 185

9.5. Summary.................................................................. 189

9.6. Self-assessment Questions........................................ 189

9.7. References................................................................ 190



Objective................................................................. 192

Introduction............................................................. 192

10.1 Scientific Prediction - Its Nature and

Characteristics.......................................................... 192

10.2 Imagination, Conjecture and Hypothesis in Science.... 194

10.3 Scientific Theory....................................................... 197

10.4 Problem of the Correlation of Competing Theories in

Science.................................................................... 198

10.5 Generalization.......................................................... 199

10.6 Summary.................................................................. 201

10.7 Self-assessment Questions........................................ 201

10.8 References................................................................. 202

Dedicated to the mass of the people yearning to better their education


The purpose of this module is to acquaint you with various views concerning man's nature and his origin. At the end of the module you should be acquainted with the basic theories about the origin of man, the definition of man and man's birthplace on earth.


The emphasis here is on the creationist and evolutionary theories of the origin of man, and the anthropological and philosophical definitions of man.


The question concerning man's nature, his origin and purpose and his place in the world has been one of the fundamental problems in the history of philosophical thought. Perhaps it is expedient to start our lecture by trying to provide answer to the question: What is man? Man, we may say is the most advanced form of life on earth. He is the subject of social and historical activity and culture, i.e. he is the conscious self, the thinking mind. Man is studied by various branches of human knowledge. Some of these are, sociology, psychology, physiology, anthropology, pedagogy, medicine, anatomy, etc. Although man can be said to be studied practically by all existing branches of human knowledge, the above listed, are devoted to the study of man. Besides, philosophy and the sciences, commonsense, mythology and legends also attempt to say one or two things about man. In the process we have a jungle of ideas and views, about man, his origin and nature. Philosophy studies man by reworking the various types of data furnished by these sciences. By so doing, philosophy interprets and gives meaning to their findings. The task of philosophy in this matter is to provide objective authentic comprehensive knowledge of man. We shall come back to this later. First, I want you to have a glimpse into the emergence of life on earth in general.


A few words about the emergence of life on earth most probably would throw more light on the question of the origin of man; man himself being a form of life, and indeed, the most advanced form of life on earth. The question concerning the origin of life is one of the central problems of natural science and philosophy from antiquity to date.

Theologians and idealists assert that life is the creative act of a spiritual source and "higher intelligence", God. Materialists, on the other hand, believe that life is material in origin and arose naturally as a result of general laws of nature.

There was a time when the emergence of life was not taken to be amazing. Since Charles Darwin offered explanation on how specks of life through evolution became human beings, the question of where the specks came from seemed insignificant compared with the ensuring big ones. Presumably, if we let simple molecules reshuffle themselves randomly for long enough, some complex ones would get formed, and further reshuffling would make them more complex, until we had something like DNA - a stable molecule that just happened to make copies of itself.

However, a recent and more careful analysis suggests that even a mildly impressive living molecule is quite unlikely to form randomly. Then where did it come from? The question is one of the many that concern the now emerging interdisciplinary field of study known as complexity.1 One of complexity's main concepts is "self-organisation". Drab, lifeless physical systems, such as air and water, faced with increasing disruption, sometimes grow more structured. Air becomes more turbulent until it finally turns into whirlwinds, tornadoes, hurricanes. Water molecules heated from below grow wilder in their gyrations until they are finally snapped into a sweeping circular motion known as a convection cell. The Russian-born Belgian chemist, Ilya Prigogine, a Nobel laureate, sees a broad tendency for physical systems that are driven away from stability to regain it at a higher level of organization.

Some complexity theorists hold that self-organisation is a very basic principle in the attempt to account for the origin of life. According to Stuart Kauffman of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School "the probability of life is very much higher than anybody thought".2 He said this following an "autocatalytic" scenario some complexity theorists sketched out and animated with computer simulations.

Various scientists are pondering the prospect that a basic physical law lies awaiting to be discovered, a law defining the circumstances under which systems infused with energy become more complexly structured. This law would carve out local exceptions to the general tendency of things to become more chaotic and bland-higher in entropy - as dictated by the famously depressing second law of thermodynamics. Charles H. Bennet, of IBM's Thomas Watson Research Centre, holds that there is indeed a law that, if known, would make life's origin less baffling. According to him, such a law would play a role "formerly assigned to God"3.

The first attempt at a systematic explanation of the origin of life was A. I. Oparin's The Origin of Life published in 1924. It contained the first formulation of the origin of life on earth based on natural science. Oparin believed that life emerged as a result of the prolonged evolution by natural science, he traced the natural history of and subsequent evolution of organic compounds, single structures, energy processes, and biochemical functions that could have been present on the earth during the period of the emergence and establishment of life. Some scientists believe this theory to be the basis of almost all the modern concepts on the origin of life.

On the basis of facts accumulated over the past 70 years, the emergence of life on earth must be considered a natural process of the evolution of carbonaceous compounds. Radio astronomical studies, revealing the presence of carbonaceous compounds in the interstellar medium, and the study of comets and chemical composition of meteorites have shown that organic substances originated not only before the appearance of life (about which some scientists earlier harbour doubts and in some cases denied outright) but even before the formation of our planets. Consequently, organic matter of abiogenetic origin was already present at the time of the earth's formation. Chemical and paleontological investigations of the oldest Precombrian deposits and especially the numerous experiments reproducing the conditions of the earth's primeval surface have made it possible to understand how, under those conditions, the formation of increasingly more complex organic substances occurred, including polypeptides and polynucleotides. The abiogenesis of the simplest hydrocarbons - the first step in the development of organic matter - is thus indisputable.

The greatest contribution to the development of the theory of the origin of life was made by the Russian and American scientists - A. I. Op arin and H. Urey, respectively. They theorised that the initial atmosphere of the earth had reductional properties and that at a certain stage of its development it must have contained, along with gaseous hydrogen and water vapour, carbonaceous compounds (in the form of methane [CH4]) and cyanogen [CN]) and nitrogen (in the form of ammonia (NH3). With time, the composition of the atmosphere gradually changed. Its oxygen content increased as a result of the development of primitive anaerobic forms of life, and the atmosphere began acquiring oxidative properties. Scientists have established that the earth formed more than 4.5 bi llion years ago. The period of time when no life existed on the earth is called the period of chemical evolution. During this period, various chemical transformations occurred resulting in the formation of complex organic substances. These substances became the components of the phase-individuated systems of organic substances (probionts) and later the components of the simplest living cells (protocells). The emergence of protocells marked the beginning of bio-logical evolution. Theories that the chemical evolution of matter led to the origin of life have been confirmed by experiments, in which the most important organic compounds were abiogenetically synthesized in systems that simulated the chemical composition of the primeval atmosphere of the earth. These experiments are one of the basic proofs of the theory of the origin of life advanced by scientists.

Extensive geological investigations show that in the early geosynclinal period of the orogenic cycle of the earth's surface, the water that permeated the ground continually transported dissolved sub-stances from their places of formation to their places of accumulation and concentration. On the same subvital territories, increasingly more complex substances were synthesizing at the same time that the decomposition and subsequent new synthesis of other organic substances was also occurring. Such processes could have led to the repeated development of probionts. This concept completely excludes the hypothesis that life originated by chance and is especially significant in understanding the transition from chemical to biological evolution. This transition, scientists hold, most certainly have been the result of the emergence of polymolecular, phase-individuated, and open systems capable of interacting with the external environment, that is, of growing and developing by using the environment's matter and energy, thus avoiding an increase in entropy.

The emergence and perfection of the adaptability of the intramolecular structure of proteins and nucleic acids to their organic functions could only have occured by the natural selection of integral evolving systems - probionts - and the living systems that developed from them. Probionts were converted into systems of a higher order - living organism - as a result of prolonged evolution and natural selection. The appearance of nucleic acids as the bearers of genetic information and of enzymes as biochemical catalysts could have led to the emergence of life without a system that would ensure the transmission of genetic information and the constant synthesis of enzymes. Precisely for this reason it is impossible to imagine that a single nucleic-acid or nucleoprotein (virus) molecule was the beginning of life. The development of the genetic code meant that parents would transmit genetic information to offspring, which has become one of the basic characteristics of organism.

The emergence of complex organisms, animals, gave impetus to the evolutionary process that led to the emergence of the stock from which descended precursors of modern man - Homo sapiens.


There exists most probably as many views as there are human communities who at their various levels of development successfully invented their own language and cultures living, as it were in the beginning, isolated ways of life from one another. The truth is that with developed awareness, self-awareness, in particular, man tries to know, comprehend and proffer explanations both to objects of his surrounding and the world as a whole.


Tribal communities of different races of humankind have invented specific languages and cultural system and civilization composed variety of stories about objects around them, the origin of the world, individual beings within it, including man himself. Many have in the process linked their people's origin to specific animals, plants or any other living organism. Thus evolved Totemism - a form of religion based on the worshiping of animals, plants, objects or phenomena believed to be ancestral roots of a group of people living in a definite community. In some other instances, invented personages who are usually placed somehow in between man proper and deity (not totally deities yet at the same time in a way above normal mortal men) as objects of reverence. It is believed that from such a personage and through him alone came to be all people in the community, and in some cases including peoples far beyond. In Yoruba cosmology and cosmogony, for instance, the first man on earth was Oodua and from him came to be all other human beings, whether black, pink, yellow or what have you. This position not only contrasts with, but contradicts the Graeco-Judaic story of creation which purports Adam as the first man on the earth. The latter story is predominant in the Bible. There is divergence also as to the place on earth where the first man emerged. According to the Yoruba belief about creation, it was Ile-lfe; while the biblical Graeco-judaic version puts the place as the garden of Eden. The Yoruba version suggests that the first man. Oodua, came from Heaven (whatever that means and however he made it); the Graeco-Judaic story claims that Adams was created by God in God’s own image, etc.


There are numerous other stories concerning the origin of man prevailing in various human specific primeval cultures. However, they all can be summed up under one heading - creationism. This is because they all bear creationist nuances. What is creationism? Let us examine the term closely.

Creationism is a term applied in the later half of the 19th century to the theory of direct creation of man as opposed to that of his development through evolution. It is an unscientific conception that interprets the diversity of forms of the organic world, not only man, as a result of their creation by God. Historically, creationism goes back further than the Christian Church. Rudiments of it are found in the writings of Aristotle. In its extreme form, creationism denies the variation of species and their evolution. Many naturalists-researchers in the 18th and early 19th centuries could be described largely as creationists. This is because they were in one way or the other still under the influence of the creationist doctrine. For instance, the world renowned Swedish naturalist-researcher Carolus Linnaeus (1707-78) stated that all species of plants and animals existed since the "creation of the world" and were created by God independently of each other.


The French anatomist and paleontologist, Georges Cuvier (1769-1832), thought that vast catastrophes, or catalysms, occured during the history of the earth, after which devastated areas were inhabited by organisms that survived the catastrophes, in remote regions. Cuvier's position was one of such attempts then to explain the origin and nature of different kinds of fossils located in different geological strata of differing ages discovered in Europe in the eighteenth century and later owing to mining activities. Then, controversy raged as to the true nature of fossils when they were initially discovered. Scientific studies of them revealed however, that those were petrified remains of former living organisms. The fact that such fossils were found not only at different geographical locations but in different geological strata as well as at differing historical periods influenced Cuvier and his like minds to conclude that there must have been series of destructions and creations, with the creation of man coming last. The creationist view-point enunciated by Cuvier and his followers is called the catastrophic theory.

Apart from the catastrophic theorists there were also the diluvialists. The diluvialists believed that the fossils represented the creatures which were destroyed in the Great Deluge, Noah's flood. This doctrine is called the diluvial theory. All the aforementioned theories belong to the creationist group of theories. We call them all creationism.

Creationism was the prevailing view in the church after the 5th Century and was held by the great doctor of the church, Saint Jerome, the theologian Palagius, and most of medieval divines, or schoolmen.

Modern Creationism is characterised by attempts to "assimilate" the doctrine of evolution. Howbeit, trying to subordinate it to the idea of divine creation. However, even modern Catholicism (the encyclical of Pope Pius xii of 1950) has to recognise the inevitable – the possibility that the human body descended from ape-like ancestors, while attributing the act of divine creation only to the "soul" of man. Before then, in theology, creationism has long been used to designate the doctrine of the origin of man's soul in the special creative act of God, performed for each individual. So used, it is opposed to traducianism. What is traducianism? Traducianism is the theory which holds the that soul of the individual is derived by generation from the souls of his parents as truly as is his body. It is pertinent to note it here, that the Scriptures give no decision upon this question.

In whatever form it appears, Creationism serves as a weapon in the ideological struggle of religion against scientific biology, in particular, and scientific understanding of man, his nature and origin, in general.

From this perspective, one can state, therefore, that there are, broadly speaking, two fundamentally different approaches to the issues concerning man, his nature, and his origin. These are the creationist and the scientific approaches. The scientific approach derives from the evolutionary theory.


The very first serious effort at the study and understanding of man, his origin and peculiarity has been associated with the name of the British scientist-naturalist, Charles Darwin; particularly in his book, The Descent of Man which was first published in 1871. In the book, Darwin applied the general theory of evolution he had earlier developed and enunciated in his, The Origin of Species through Natural Selection, published in 1859, to explain the origin of man. He stated that in order to understand the origin of man, one needs first to establish scientifically the high antiquity of man. That is to say, man has been in existence since very long ago. He viewed this as an indispensable basis for the process of such understanding. Thus, Charles Darwin sought to do just this. To enable him demonstate the high antiquity of man, Darwin relied on the studies carried out by other scholars of his time, especially the studies carried out by the geologist, Sir Charles Lyell, and the prehistorian, Sir John Lubbock.

At that time, Darwin's The Descent of Man was sensational as was profoundly shocking. Why was this so? For centuries man had been flattered and uplifted by his convinction that he had been specially created by God and endowed from the very beginning with all the physical and mental attributes of modern man. However, Darwin maintained that although man had "risen to the summit of the organic scale, and had developed a formidable intellect, he still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin”. The vast majority of thinkers at that time were revolted by the new idea that they, human beings, had developed from some lowly pre-existing form. Their minds could not grapple with the idea of man having been in existence for hundreds of thousands of years, but tended to have preferred to stick to the pronouncements of the seventeenth century divines who had declared that the Lord God created the world on 23rd October, 4004 B.C. at 9 o'clock in the morning.


Contrary to this position held by the divines and similar others by some of his contemporary scientists, Darwin, on the basis of mass of factual materials and evidence he had gathered through studies he personally conducted and those carried out by other scientists, was convinced and so demonstrated it that human beings descended from the same stock within the evolutionary tree as the old world monkeys. The old world monkeys were known to have had a set of 32 teeth, just as have modern men, as distinct from the New World Monkeys that have a set of 36 teeth.

From a study of available data along the evolutionary path, Darwin pointed out that the living mammals of any specific area were closely related to the fossilized remains of extinct species which had been discovered in such area. Relying on this evidence, he argued that it would be reasonable to suppose that the birthplace of man would eventually be discovered in Africa. His supposition was grounded on the fact that the two living modern primates most closely resembling human beings are both found on the African continent. These two primates are Chimpanzee and gorilla.

Thus, Charles Darwin not only established man's animal origin, but pointed to the Afrian origin of the human species.

It is incredible that Darwin wrote his classic work on the evolution of man at a time when there was very little fossil evidence to support his ideas. However biologists who were convinced of his theory believed that a succession of evolving forms would be discovered leading to a single chain from modern man right back to the most primitive form of all and so at length to an intermediate form between man and apes. This way the notion of the "missing link" evolved, and the search to discover it began. The hypothetical "Missing link”; was christened pithecanthropus (meaning "ape-man") by a German evolutionist, Ernst Haeckel, in 1866.

However, the findings of the last hundred years have shown that this is a rather over-simplified picture of the actual process. These findings revealed that there are many branches and offshoots from the main line and that we have to deal with a number of "missing links", rather than a single identifiable one. Besides, another picture that emerged is that the whole process seems likely to have taken a good deal longer than many scholars used to believe. Leakey's work and findings in East Africa (which shall be discussed in detail shortly) indicate this glaringly. Before we discuss Leakey's contribution let us take a brief look at the state of knowledge and the ideas held on the subject especially in the last century before Leakey emerged on the scene.

At numerous sites in Europe during the first half of the 19th century, human bones and artifacts were found with remains of extinct animals, and were claimed by an unorthodox minority of researchers as indicating man's great antiquity. These finds were not, however, widely accepted as genuine associations so long as the climate of scientific opinion was dominated by creationist doctrine. In 1823 Dean Buckland discovered a genuine Upper Palaeolithic human skeleton under a covering of red ochre in Goat's Hole, Pariland, in South Wales, but he assumed that it was the skeleton of a British woman dating from about the time of the Roman conquest. He interpreted the numerous artifacts of mammoth ivory which were in contact with the skeleton as indicating that her kinsmen dug up the antediluvan elephant tusks from the floor of the cave and utilized this fossil ivory for making ornaments. That the human skeleton and the ivory might have been contemporaneous was outside Buckland's conceptual framework of thinking. The find which did most to destroy the `Catastrophic Theory' was that made by Lartet at La Madeleine in France in 1864, when he clearly demonstrated there the contemporaneity of man and extinct animals. The belief in a single universal deluge throughout the earth, the Diluvial Theory, just did not hold up to the geological evidence which accumulated during the nineteenth century.

In fact, a number of fossil men had been found before 1871, even if Darwin was unaware of them. In 1833 a Belgian anatomist called Schmerling discovered two skulls in the Grotte d'Engie near Liège, associated with artifacts and extinct animals, and unlike Dean Buckland at the Pariland Cave ten years before, recognised them for what they were and declared that they were conclusive proof that man had been living in Europe `long before the Deluge'.

None of the genuine discoveries so far were very far from Homo Sapiens forms, nor were they close to the ape-like form which had been posited in Darwin's theory about the evolution of man. In 1891 came the discovery that everyone was waiting for; it was made, not in Europe, not in Africa, but in Asia. Eugene Dubois was a young Dutch army doctor who had been inspired by the writings of Darwin and the evolutionists, and regarded the tropics as the area in which we should expect to find the fossilised precursors of modern man. Dubois had been collecting from fossiliferous gravels in Java for two years when he found at Trinil the top of a low-vaulted skull with prominent brow-ridges, and later, in the same deposit, a premolar tooth and femur (thigh bone), generally agreed to belong to the same individual. The size of the brain case was estimated to be half-way between that of man and gorilla, but the femur indicated an upright-walking being. Dubois accordingly christened his find Pithecanthropus erectus, using Haeckel's generic name (Pithecanthropus) for the `missing link' and a specific name (erectus) to indicate upright stance. Pithecanthropus erectus was more human than any known ape, and more ape-like than any known man. The skull had prominent brow-ridge but an estimated cranial capacity of about 1,000 cc. By the beginning of the twentieth century, more and more people were coming to accept the theory of organic evolution, and the finding of Pithecanthropus in Java helped to bring about a corresponding acceptance of the idea that evolutionary principles applied to man just as much as the other animals.



In 1907, when Louis Leakey was a child of four playing at Kabete with his Kikuyu age-mates, there was discovered in a sandpit at Mauer, near Heidelberg in Germany, a massive fossil jaw derived from a stratum that could not be later than Middle Pleistocene. It had a combination of human and ape-like characteristics which suggested that it, too, might represent an intermediate form of about the same age as Java man. It was named Homo Heidelbergensis, but is now generally agreed to be a European representative of the form which Dubois called Pithecanthropus erectus.

In 1931, twenty-four years after the discovery of Homo Heidelbergensis in Germany, Leakey (now 28 years old) had conducted a successful research for early Pleistocene fauna at Kanam, on the shores of the Kavirondo Gulf of Lake Victoria; in the course of this work a piece of a human jaw was discovered. After studying this jaw Leakey claimed that it exhibited features recalling Homo sapiens, but with certain major differences. He therefore proposed to call it Homo kanamensis, and regarded it as `an ancestor and not a cousin of Homo sapiens, who had lived in Africa in the lower Pleistocene'. This is an early example of Leakey's belief in a greater antiquity for the genus Homo than most of his contemporaries.

However, the most important new finds were the Australopithecines, or "southern apes", and it is here that Africa enters the story. The first was found at Taung, in South Africa, in 1924. In reporting the find, Professor Raymond Dart claimed that the cranium, dentition and mandible displayed hominid rather than anthropoid character; while it was definitely not an ape-man like Pithecanthropus, neither could it be regarded as belonging to a form ancestral to any living anthropoid ape. He called it Australopithus africanus, which means "the southern ape of Africa'. The remains were of a juvenile.

However, in 1936 the find of an adult australopithecine was made in a limestone cave at sterkfontein, not far from Johannesburg, and was named Plesianthropus transvaalensis, and two years later, at the neighbouring site of kromdrasi, parts of the skull and some post-cranial bones of another specimen, named Paranthropus robustus were discovered. Soon after the end of World War II, further specimens were discovered in South Africa at the sites of Makapanagat and Swartkrans and were given the names respectively of Australopithecus prometheus and Paranthropus crassiden. All these proliferating names are at first somewhat confusing. When a new genus is being discovered its range of variability is not known, and this tends to give rein to the predilections of the `splitters' rather than the `lumpers' in assigning names and status. The lumpers have now taken over and subsume all these different types under the one genus Australopithecus, divided into two species: Australopithecus africanus and Australopithecus robustus. The australopithecus africanus is small, light-boned and apparently omnivorous, while australopithecus robustus is larger, more heavily built and a vegetarian. By 1953 there were some forty sets of australopithecine remains from the South African sites; the ranks of the australopithecines were swelling. What are the important characteristics of these australopithecines?

The important characteristics of the australopithecines are: a much smaller brain-case than Java man (about 500 c.c.), jaws without projecting canines, and an upright gait. If Australopithecus is ancestral to man, as many believe, these characteristics at the beginning of the Pleistocene give different picture from the one in which increased brain size 'led the way' in the changes in man's morphology during the course of his evolution. The upright method of locomotion and the freeing of the hands are seen to be prior and initially more important than increase in brain size. The dating of the South African australopithecines had been difficult, and one of the contributions made by the Leakeys' finds of australopithecines at Olduvai from 1959 onwards has been to show, by means of the potassium/argon dating method applicable there, that they go back to the Lower Pleistocene with a date of not less than 1.7 million years.

Now about Pithencanthropus erectus: The old view that the Trinil fossils represented an intermediate form between man and ape became no longer tenable and a belief in the essential humanity of Java man began to be emphasized. This change is seen in a change of name to Homo erectus; numbers of other specimens of this general type have come close to light; they include the famous Pekin Man discovered at Choukoutien in 1929 and formerly known as Sinanthropus pekinensis, specimens from Upper Bed II at Olduvai Gorge, a later stratigraphical horizon than that of the Bed I australopithecines but also containing Australopitecus, and the famous Mauer jaw. Thus it has become feasible to see a possible line of evolution from Australopithecus africanus through Homo erectus to Homo sapiens.

However, further discoveries in East Africa have opened up other possibilities. The first find of an australopithecine at Olduvai in 1959 has already been mentioned. When first found, it was assigned by Leakey, an inveterate `splitter', to a new genus which he called Zinjanthropus - `Man of Zinj', Zinj or Zanj being an old name for East Africa. The species’ name boisei was given in gratitude to a Mr Charles Boise who had put up money for research. So it was at first known as Zinjanthropus boisei, or, more popularly in the newspapers, `Nutcracker Man', because of its huge molar teeth. Subsequently, and at first rather reluctantly, Leakey allowed Professor Tobias to publish the full details of this skull as an austrolopithecine, so that it is now known as Australopithecus (Zinjanthropus) boisei. It was the first time that an australopithecine had been discovered in undisputed association with stone tools and bones of extinct animals. It was therefore a reasonable hypothesis that australopithecines were the makers of the stone tools.


More recently still, the Leakeys' second son, Richard, has been exploring the desert area in the extreme north of Kenya near the Ethiopian border, east of Lake Rudolf. Here there are fossil-bearing beds of Plio-Pleistocene age which are probably older than those in the lower Omo valley. At the Pan-African Congress on Prehistory in 1971, Leakey said that from this area there were not only remains of male and female Australopithecus robustus but side by side with these there was a smaller mandible, with a type of muscle attachment for the tongue which might indicate speech, not seen in any Australopithecine, and that this jaw was fundamentally Homo. The combination of evidence from Olduvai and Rudolf, he felt, indicated that man was already in existence 2.6 million years ago and heading in a direction from Australopithecus. What is more, definite stone artifacts were associated at this date from the site of Koobi Fora, east of Lake Rudolf, which make them the earliest in the world. As such Africa is regarded to be the birthplace of man. More recently, Richard Leakey had found a remarkably complete skull, over 2.6 million years old, with a cranial capacity of 800c.c., a lack of brow ridges and other characteristics which make it a lot closer to Homo sapiens than the Australopithecines.

We have seen how the position of the group of fossils to which Dubois gave the name Pithecanthropus erectus has been renamed Homo erectus, since they are seen to be comparatively close to Homo sapiens to be removed from that intermediate form between ape and man that they were first supposed to be. However, it still remains of great interest to see if there is fossil evidence to chart the point of separation from a common ancestor where the apes developed in one direction and man in another.


There abound many writings in the attempt to define man, his essential features, i.e. the criteria of man and his place in nature, as well as determine his origin. If we ignore the still existing philosophical and abstract speculations, the problem of distinguishing the fundamental property, in which the radical features of man and human society would be reflected, has faced scientific thought ever since man's animal origin was established. Or rather, while this problem had arisen earlier, it was only after man's animal origin had been established that it acquired the necessary concreteness and began to be treated as a matter coming within the province and competence of scientific knowledge. The first researchers into this question such as Darwin, Karl Vogt, and Thomas Huxley pointed out several anatomical criteria which they considered decisive for distinguishing man from the animal kingdom. Darwin in his The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex first published in 1871, increased considerably the list of anatomy differences between man and animals. Today, the number is several hundreds.


It is not an easy task to systematise the attempts to define man's place in nature, since the complexity and philosophic interest of the problem generate views on it from varied standpoints. However, two trends in the history of its scientific discussion are specially important for our purpose. The first stems from man's special nature compared with the whole organic world, as a social creature, and as a fundamentally new phenomenon in the history of the planet Earth through whose activity was brought into being thought, language, social relations, and thus exerting an active influence on surrounding nature, in short, as the creator of civilization and all its attributes. With that approach man becomes the centre of attention, not in himself, but as a particle of society, while society itself comes to the fore as a single whole and is opposed to all the rest of nature. Human society is regarded as a definite social and natural stage in the development of all matter and the Universe, comparable with the preceding stages of evolution of matter and its form of motion.

The sources of that view of the place of man and the human race can already be found in ancient writings. In the scientific literature of modern times, it was clearly expressed by the famous French Anthropologist Armand Quatrefages de Breau (1864). Speaking about the eve of Darwin's literary formulation of evolutionary theory, and in sharp polemic with Thomas Huxley, Quatrefages singled out man in special, independent kingdom on a level with heavenly bodies, the kingdom of inorganic nature, or the kingdom of minerals, and the vegetable and animal kingdom. Being at once a zoologist, anatomist, and anthropologist, he did not shut his eyes to man's peculiarity in comparative anatomy, but saw it primarily in language, conscious activity, and social life rather than anatomy. When Darwinism was being substantiated and was flourishing, and at the time of the boom in comparative anatomy research stimulated by it, Quatrefages' views were appraised as anti-evolutionary, and even as directed against progressive science. It was thus overlooked that he had based himself on the whole aggregate of human culture and its effect on the face of our planet rather than on man's morphology. He suggested we distinguish all humanity and its gigantic effort in transforming our planet as a special kingdom, and not man as a separate organism and zoological species. Quatrefages, it can be said, expressed in the language of contemporaneous science the idea of the exclusiveness of man that has passed through all European philosophy in one form or another. As the idea of the divine nature of man, it figured for centuries in theological treatises, giving way later to the quite sober, realistic view of the power of human reason and its transforming effect on nature.

Over the past 40 years or so, literally before our eyes, a theory of the noosphere, or sphere of reason, has taken shape in the philosophical and scientific literature. This sphere is distinguished as a new envelope of our planet that arose with the advent of man and now embraces almost all the other envelopes. This is not only a scientific conception but also a marvellous prevision of the future of mankind in which a world outlook imbued with optimism found reflection. With man's entry into outer space, that prevision has been brilliantly justified, the boundaries of the noosphere have been extraordinarily extended, and it has been converted into a cosmic phenomenon. Quatrefages' approach in distinguishing humankind as an independent kingdom on par with the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms, is certainly quite inadequate. The human race can and must be counterposed to all the rest of matter, since its active effect on it is immesurably greater than that of animate matter, e.g. on geological process. I have the feeling that this counterposing is a truly philosophic approach to appraising man's place in nature in the broad sense of the term and a correct one. All other approaches suffer from a narrow under-estimation of man's qualitative distinguishing features as a social being, and of humankind as a planetary and cosmic phenomenon.


At the same time, attempts to find a place for the manifestation of separate aspects of human essence and activity in earth's history are possible and legitimate. It is legitimate, too, to compare man's conscious activity and the instinctive actions of animals, only in their case a difference in principle can be demonstrated between them. It is equally legitimate to equate the anatomical structure of man and animals, in order to bring out their morphological similarity and to pass from that to establishing the genetic kinship and differences. In the latter case one must speak of the anthropological approach to defining man's place in nature, more narrowly, within the limits of the organic world, to establishing his systematic rank within the framework of the biological classification and to singling out his comparative anatomical peculiarities. The history of the anthropological approach to evaluating man's place in the organic world should seemingly have been started with Carolus Linnaeus, who suggested the first successive classification of plants and animals and singled out an order of primates1 in 1758. Within that order, he distinguished a genus Homo, in which all modern human races have been classed. One species, sapiens seu diurmus, rational or daylight and the anthropoid apes, and also the mythological caudate or tailed, or nocturnal men. Another species, sylvestric seu nocturmus, forest or nocturnal. A hundred years later, Thomas Huxley demonstrated that man's anatomical features did not come within the framework of the criteria of genera and should be raised to the level of family.2 Since then a special family or Hominids has been distinguished with a genus Homo within it, in which modern man (Homo sapiens) classed, and has passed firmly into the anthropological literature. The term itself had been proposed almost 40 years earlier by John Gray.3


It is necessary to stress that the two approaches, the anthropological and the philosophical, are essentially different. They stem from different criteria and have different aims. If particular details are ignored, it is legitimate to say that the object of consideration with the philosophical approach is mainly society and its planetary and cosmic place, though rather schematised, while with the anthropological approach it is mainly man and his biological features. The introduction of elements of biology into appraisal of the place of the human race in nature ascribes less significance to its specific social features. It is impossible to reduce everything achieved by human society and its culture to features of comparative anatomy, and to appraise them from the standpoint of zoological or anthropological systematics. That vulgarised path has suffered fiasco many times in the history of human thought; in its extreme expression it leads to social-Darwinism and racism. The other path is also unjustified and leads to a confusing of concepts; it is the line of direct introduction of elements allowing for man's social nature, labour activity, etc., into appraisal or the characteristic features of his origin as a biological species.

Thus, to draw a line from the anthropological standpoint between the animal kingdom and man as a biological species, it is necessary to start from the morphological facts and observations proper, i.e. from the scale of the morphological differences between man and ancestral forms closest to him, rather than from the fact of the fashioning or not (and use) of tools - an idea so common in the anthropological and achaeological literature.


There are several views about the origin of man. The views at times conflict and contradict one another. Every human community has its own story about the origin of man, the world and heavens. Philosophy and science seek to establish a rather authentic theory about the origin and nature of man. The evolutionary theory is one such an attempt. The evolutionary theory is therefore in contrast to creationism.


1. Circle the two scientists who contributed greatly to the theory of origin of life?

(a) Ogundowole (b) Oparin (c) Omoregbe (d) Urey (e) Dakwin

2. Discuss the divergences between the Yoruba and Graeco-Judaic stories of the origin of man.

3. What is Creationsim?

4. The mian point in their theory is (select the most appropriate)

(a) Initial atmosphere of the earth had reductionary properties.

(b) Latter development brought forth gaseous hydrogen and water vapour and carbonaceous compounds in form of:

(c) …………………………………………

(d) …………………………………………

(e) ……………………………………… form of …………………………

5. Why, is Africa regarded the birthplace of man?


1. Some of the pioneer works in this field include: M. Mitchell Waldrop, Complexity, 1992 and Steven Levy, Artificial Life, 1992.

2. The Punch 01.01.93, p. 14.

3. Ibidem.

4. A. I. Oparin, Proiskhezhdenie zhizni, Moskva, 1924, also his, Vozniknovenie i nachal 'nee razvitie zhizni, Moskva, 1966;

J. Bernal, Emergence of Life; M. G. Rutten, Origin of Life through natural causes; M. Calvin, Chemical Evolution. Oxford, 1969.

5. Erich Jantch. The Self-organising Universe. Oxford, Pergamon Press, 1984



The general objective of this module is to make you understand the meaning of cosmos and man-universe relationship from the scientific perspective, thereby shedding off the myths, legends, and superstitions concerning the cosmic environment of man. At the end of the lecture material contained here, you should be able to appreciate basic facts about man's cosmic environment, the uses to which heavenly bodies have been put by man in the past, for instance, the idea of natural and man-made clocks, star maps, major and minor planets, and basic knowledge about contemporary scientific exploration of space - the cosmic environment.


The emphasis here is on the scientific study of man's cosmic environment to avail you with some basic facts about the cosmic environment - major and minor planets, shape of the earth, measuring time by observing heavens and the emergence of man-made clocks, and contemporary space exploration and rise of cosmic technology.


Cosmos ordinarily means ordered universe, or just "order" as opposed to "chaos". The adjective "cosmic" is pertaining to the universe or to the earth as a part of the universe.

Man-universe relationship began from the moment of the emergence of early men. As you look into the sky at night the "umbrella heaven" appears as a vast hemispheric canopy stretched over-head. Hanging on this canopy are countless tiny stars of varying brightness. Also the moon is seen in different shapes at different times. In the day, the sun shines brightly and hot, difficult to stare at with naked eyes. It rises in the east and sets in the west. Perhaps for millions of years all these remained sources of wonder.

Today, you and I know that this canopy is an illusion; the stars are not all equidistant from the earth as the points on such a canopy would be. They are all so far away that without special instruments of the greatest refinement, it is not possible to measure the distance to any of them.

Day to day common sense suggests that a body is taken to be at rest or in motion depending on whether its position relative to the earth's surface is fixed or changing. Given to this common sense view point as you watch the sun and stars rise in the east, sweep across the sky, and set in the west you are bound to conclude that these heavenly bodies revolve about the earth.

Precisely, the ancient men were tenacious on this opinion. To them, the universe was centred on the fixed earth on which they lived. Myths, legends, and superstitious stories evolved, concerning the cosmic environment of man. It is believed in the South East Asia that the moon you see upsky is but the face of a beautiful woman. Since she was beautiful men disturbed her and in reaction she climbed up into the sky from whence she has been staring at the earth ever since'. However, the scientific study of man's cosmic environment did not confirm this to be true. Thus, in the summer of 1969 when the American astronauts landed on the moon they did not do so on human head/face of any sort. But on solid mass of a planet which they dug and collected sample rocks from. Now we know better thanks, to science and technology.


Pupils are taught today that the sun and stars are actually at rest, while the solid earth beneath our feet spins through space and causes the illusions of motion in the sky. This interpretation of the basic geometrical facts of astronomy goes back to the ancient Greek astronomer Aristarchus of Samos, who lived about 250 years B.C. His interpretation did not gain widespread acceptance until the seventeenth century. Nonetheless his was the first recorded attempt at a scientific measurement of the relative distances of the moon from the earth. He also speculated on the sizes of the moon, the earth and the sun. According to him the earth is larger than the moon, though a good deal smaller than the sun.

The notion of the spherical form of the earth goes back to the early Pythagoreans - Philolaus, Hicetas and Ecphantus. Heracleides of Pontus, a contemporary of Aristotle, was another major figure in the study of man's cosmic environment in ancient Greece. Following the proposal of Hicetas and Ecphantus, he taught that the apparent westward rotation of the celestial sphere is due to an eastward rotation of the earth about an axis through its own centre directed towards the north celestial pole. His idea that the inferior planets, Venus and Mercury, revolve round the Sun laid the foundation for the development of complete heliocentric conception of the motions of the earth and other planets by Aristarchus, mentioned earlier on.

Heracleides and Aristarchus were far ahead of their time. Their contemporaries could not comprehend their science. As such their ideas did not gain general acceptance among philosophers then. In truth their ideas were generally ignored for nearly two thousand years. However, in the end, it was from the suggestions of these two ancient Greek scientists that Copernicus' conception of man's cosmic environment which sparked off the revolution that led to the development of modern science.


In antiquity, only the brightest planets were known. They are five in all – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. These heavenly bodies have the appearance of bright stars, but like the sun and moon they are in continual motion across the celestial sphere. Unlike the moon and sun, the motion of these planets is not uniform. This situation made the ancient Greek observers of them to call the five planets vagabonds.

Scientific observations of the movements of these planets in right ascension and declination over a very long period of time avail man with some basic facts about his cosmic environment:

i. All the paths the planets travel lie close to the ecliptic, yet they are not exact great circles.

ii. Two of the planets, Mercury and Venus, travel eastward around the celestial sphere at varying rates that place at times ahead and at times behind the sun. The angle which either makes with the sun is called its elongation. This angle never exceeds a well-defined maximum. The other planets are not subject to such limit in elongation. They, like the moon, pass regularly through points of opposition (elongation 180o) and points of conjunction (elongation 0o). Mercury and Venus are designated as inferior planets, the others as superior planets.

iii. Each planet behaves like a race horse that normally runs counterclockwise around its track, but from time to times, comes to a half, trots backward a fraction of a lap, then reverses its motion again and returns to its normal counterclockwise mode of progression. When the right ascension is decreasing the motion of the planet is said to be retrograde.

iv. The direction and speed of motion of a planet depend on the relative position of the planet concerned, the sun and the earth, and not on its location with respect to the stars. A superior planet exhibits retrograde motion when, and only when, it is on the side of the earth away from the sun at opposition or close to it. Retrograde motion of the inferior planets occurs at those conjunctions at which the planet is falling behind the sun.

v. The variations in the velocity of each planet on the celestial sphere pass through a fairly regular cycle. The time for a complete cycle, i.e. movement from the onset of the next is called the synodic period of the planet. The word synodic derives from the word "meeting" or "conjunction". For the superior planets the synodic period is the time between successive conjunctions while for the inferior planets, it is the time between the alternate conjunctions, meaning between successive conjunctions in which the planet is falling behind the sun. For example, the average synodic period for Venus is 584 days. For Jupiter it is 399 days.

vi. The apparent brightness of each planet changes with its passage from one phase of its cyclic motion to another.


How to measure time was one of the most naughty problems requiring a scientific solution in the early life of man after he had acquired the skill of counting. It was important to the ancient man to know how soon he might safely plant his crops, how soon the birds and fishes would begin to migrate, etc. The answer to this fundamental needs came through the observation of the heavens. There are two sorts of astronomical phenomena that pass through a regular yearly cycle which have been very useful to the early men in determining time:

shifting of the constellations overhead from night to night through the year, and the seasonal north-and-south motion of the midday sun with its attendant lengthening and shortening of midday shadows.

The two have been used since the dawn of civilization to fix the seasons and determine the length of the year.

The ancient calendar was based on three natural time units - the day, the lunar month, and the year. The ancient Egyptians based their year on observations of the times at which the sun passes Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. By 4000 B.C. Egyptian priests had fixed the length of the year as 365 days. By 2000 B.C. they had observations that indicate that the 365-day year was 6 hours too short. Today, an extra day every leap year is used to compensate for the 6 hours. Modern precision measurements fix the length of seasonal year as 365.24220 days, or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46.0 seconds. Present calendar in use (hence today's legal years of exactly 365 or 366 days) was established in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII. The mean Gregorean year is, in truth, 26 seconds longer than the seasonal year. Thus, in about 3300 years you have an accumulation of one day discrepancy.


Far back in antiquity, the brighter stars in the sky had been grouped in recognisable constellations. Either along the zodiacal belt or elsewhere in the sky. A great interest was shown in the night sky by those who have learnt to find their way around among the constellations and to recognise some of the named stars associated with them. A first step in the cosmic education was to learn the use of star maps. Star maps were very useful in the deserts before the invention of compass.


Today, accurate timekeeping is taken by all for granted. Only very few are aware of the astronomic basis of present day time standards. The choice of a fundamental procedure for the measurement of time is crucial matter for modern science and modern technology. The methods employed to determine accurate time are some of the things that make modern science and technology possible and tick. Any instrument used in dividing time into units similar to one another and is used to measure time is known as a clock. The motion of the sun in the sky is a natural physical system which gives you a natural clock. This natural clock is visible to all. It never stops. As such it requires no winding. Both in antiquity and now, it has always been the primary clock. However, its disadvantages are many. Some of them are that at night and or on cloudy days the sun clock cannot be of help, and the difficulty in using the sun's position to measure small intervals of time accurately. The ceaseless movement of the sun exerts a rhythm on all life on earth. All need to conform to this. As such, the sun clock, which defines apparent solar time, turns out to be the natural first choice as a standard timekeeper. The solar (or sundial) time is defined by the hour angle of the sun reckoned from its upper transit of the meridian, the moon, or from the lower transit - the midnight. Often, the Arabian sundial time, invented about 1000 A.D., is used to measure this.

The second natural clock is found in the motion of the stars. However, the sun clock and the star clock do not keep pace with each other. The star clock moves more rapidly than the sun clock. One major advantage of the star clock today is that the star clock had been chosen as the normal standard of good timekeeping. As such, it is used in the regulation of ordinary manufactured clocks all over the world. Besides, it is said to have made mechanical science possible.


Newton's laws of motion correlate the motions of the sun, moon, stars, and planets as seen with the behaviour of the pendulum clocks, spring-driven watches, quartz-crystal clocks, falling bodies, and gyroscopic compasses. They all constitute a single comprehensive mechanical scheme. This scheme is based on an imaginary "uniform" time scale. And it is at the heart of modern science.

Man-made clocks, capable of measuring small time intervals have been based on many different repeatable physical processes - the passage of a given amount of sand through an hourglass, or the vibration of a pendulum or a weighted spring. Also, the water clocks invented by the ancient Greeks measured time by the volume of water flowing out of an orifice at the back of a small reservoir in which a constant water level was maintained. All these devices for measuring time were used until the time of Galileo, who invented the pendulum clock in the seventeenth century in collaboration with Huyogens. Before then, crude mechanical clocks began to be produced in the thirteenth century, while in the fifteenth century cumbersome portable spring-driven watches called then "Nuremberg eggs" were invented. Contemporary clocks are not only more complex, but are far more accurate.


The moon is the most interesting of all the heavenly bodies. It has therefore attracted the attention of man since the dawn of civilization. For a long time, it remained the source of awe and superstition. I have already mentioned the popular South East Asian legend about the moon. In brightness, the moon is next to the sun. Its bright but soft light has been of great service to men across cultures and across ages. The familiar cycle of its phases provides man with a third natural clock and third natural unit time. The lunar month which consists of 221/2 days is a natural unit time.

From night to night the moon follows the sun across the sky but rises about 50 minutes later each night. The moon is always full when opposite the sun. Moonless nights occur when the moon is passing the sun, i.e., at those times of conjunction with the sun. The moon is a sphere shining by reflected sunlight. Apart from the condition of eclipse, the hemisphere directed toward the sun is fully illuminated all the time. Relative to the earth the moon rotates more slowly than either the stars or the sun. The attraction of the earth is the primary force controlling the motion of the moon.

Only Jupiter, of all the planets, has a surface gravity much larger than that of the earth. As such it is able to hold a substantially denser atmosphere. Unlike the Jupiter, the Mars is likely to have a very thin atmosphere because of its low surface gravity. Like Venus, the Mars goes through striking changes in brightness during its synodic period. It is brightest when in opposition to the sun and overhead at midnight. It is least bright when it approaches conjunction with the sun. The proposition is in consonance with the Tychonic (Tycho Brahe's) system of the sixteenth century.


To the question, "why are the sun, moon, and earth spherical?", Aristotle gave a metaphysical response: "Because the sphere is a perfect figure". In modern time however attempts have been made to provide a scientific answer to this question. The answer is found in the properties of fluids. It is taken that the bodies that makeup the solar system are either fluid at the present (Kemble ch. 9 & 6) or have passed through a non-rigid stage in which their shapes were determined by forces analogous to those that fix the shape of a fluid drop. The point here is that the constitution of a fluid (liquid or gas) is such that a sample in equilibrium under the sole influence of its internal forces must have a spherical form.

Beside the above, another evidence of the earth's spherical form is the fact that the shadow of the earth as it crosses the face of the moon at a lunar eclipse is bounded by a circular arc. It is generally believed that Aristotle might have been the first ever to take note of this fact in his work, On the Heavens.


Generally, talking of the motion of bodies on the earth or near its surface, the earth is thought of, instinctively, to be without motion and at rest. Precisely, it is on this assumption that Ptolemy built his geocentric theory of the universe. In this theory the stars were believed to occupy places on a giant sphere that rotates like a rigid body about the earth's polar axis. The sun was thought to revolve around the earth on a slightly eccentric circular orbit and the planets move with a combination of uniform circular motions on epicycles and deferents. Taken together they provided the basis for a description of a total motion in three-dimensional space. Reasonably, this is consistent with observations made from the surface of the earth. Nicolai Copernicus' observation later proved this to be totally illusive. Thereby introducing the heliocentric conception of the universe. This was further confirmed and developed by Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, and others.


The asteroids, or minor planets, numbered in the thousands. They are very small satelites of the sun which (apart from one) are not visible to the naked eye. Ceres is the largest of them. It is about 460 miles in diameter. It was discovered by accident on January 1, 1801 in the evening. Eros was discovered in 1898. It is a tiny one - just about 15 miles in diameter.

The orbits of these little heavenly bodies are elliptical, like the orbits of the major planets. However they have a wide range of eccentricity and lie in planes that sometimes tilted appreciably with respect to the plane of the ecliptic.


These are fragments of matter. Some small, some large. They are known to have entered the earth's atmosphere from outer space. The meteors usually heated to incandescence in their swift flight through the air. Since the temperatures generated are very high, only the larger meteors survive and manage to reach the earth's surface. Chemical examination of meteorites (fallen meteors) shows that they consist largely of iron and nickel. This finding suggests that iron and nickel are much more abundant in the cosmos as a whole than in the earth's crust.


Comets are very light satelites that move in highly elongated eccentric orbits and have almost enough energy to escape from the sun at each outward swing from the latter. The major axis of the orbit of a comet, its average distance from the sun, and its period are thus very large. The famous comet bearing the name of Edmond Halley, for instance, returns to the neighbourhood of the sun, where it can be seen, only once in every 75 years.


This is an enormous aggregation of distant stars that is most dense in the direction of Saggitarus. The stars of the Galaxy form a gigantic and slowly rotating cloud in the form of a disk thickened in the centre. It has been compared with an enormous pinwheel. The disk is some 100,000 light-years in diameter and 2000 to 3000 light-years in thickness. The sun is inside the cloud and somewhat more than halfway from the hub to the periphery. The high star density in the constellation of Sagittarius locates the galactic centre in that direction. The Milky Way contains vast amount of interstellar hydrogen as well as dust clouds.

Outside the Milky Way are other tremendous concentrations of stars. They include the normal external galaxies, formerly known as extragalactic nebulae, the quasi-stellar radio sources, or quasars, and the blue stellar objects discovered by Alan R. Sandage. There are Globular Star Clusters Omega Centauri, the Spiral Galaxy, and the Great Spiral Galaxy.


The study of man's cosmic environment took a new dimension and received great impetus with the first man-made earth satelite put into orbit in 1957 by the Russians. That was followed by a spaceship with a dog Laila on board. And by April 12, 1961 man took the first space trip on board the spaceship "Vostok" and back to mother earth safely. The first man ever to undertake the journey into space and back was Yuri Gagarin, a Russian colonel and test pilot by profession.

Several other trips into space have been undertaken since both by Russian Cosmonauts and later by American Astronauts. Amongst them are a number of women. However, the first spacewoman was also a Russian woman – Tatyana Terechkova who made her space flight in June, 1963.

Leonid Leotief, a Russian Cosmonaut, took the first space walk in March, 1965. About 10 years after man made the first flight into space, American Astronauts led by Armstrong landed on the moon and collected lunar rock samples which were brought with them back to earth.

A wholly automated unmanned Russian spacecraft was launched, landed on the moon, collected samples of lunar rock and returned back to earth with its cargoes. It landed at the Baika Nur Spacedrome whence it took off at the start of its journey in February, 1970.

Numerous unmanned spacecrafts have been launched toward and actually landed on Mars, Venus and Moon within the past forty years by the Russians and the Americans. The Americans launched one such craft toward Jupiter. It was meant to revolve round that planet and then move out of its orbit and fly into eternity. Several hundreds of man-made satelites now orbit the Earth. They are used for various purposes - for communication, weather monitoring, geological survey, spying, etc.

The first man-made space experimental laboratory was constructed and put into space about fourteen years ago by the Russians. It weighs 70,000 tons. The space laboratory is named "MIR" (literally - "peace"). Since then several experiments had been performed there on board. With Russian cosmonauts travelling there and back in turns. Some spending not more than 3 months, others up to 1 year and more. Food supply and/or new experimental materials are conveyed to those working on board the space laboratory usually, but not as a rule, by unmanned cargo spacecrafts.

In recent years, American astronauts and astronauts of other countries have been to, and carried out experiments on board the Russian space laboratory. The space laboratory "Mir" now said to be old was scheduled to be brought back to earth in April, 2000. Its initial life-span was said to have been put at about 7 years. When it descends closer to the surface of the earth in April, 2000 the giant laboratory is expected to burn off and the ashes sink into the Pacific Ocean.

An international effort to build a new, larger, space laboratory is on now. It is a joint effort among several countries. The first nuclei of the new laboratory designed and built by the Russians has been launched into space early in 1999. The second segment designed and built by the Americans has also been put into space and joined with the segment made by the Russians. It is expected that other parts would join soon. When completed it would be the first such laboratory built through the joint effort of several countries and would likely provide greater opportunity for an enhanced study of man's cosmic environment.

Academician Sergei Korolov, a Russian, was the General Designer of the world's first space rocket systems. He was the founder of practical cosmonautics - space science.

China and India are the first set of less developed countries that have acquired space-age technology. They both have designed, developed, built and launched into space artificial earth satellites using their own respective ballistic missiles independent of one another. On Saturday September 27, 2003 Nigeria made it first in road into space exploration as a Russian Kosmos-3M booster rocket successfully launched Nigeria Sat-1 into space. Designed for disaster monitoring constellation the Nigeria’s first satellite has the capacity for monitoring mineral resources, etc. The ground control station of the satellite which is being manned by Nigeria engineers is based in Abuja.


Man's cosmic environment and the attempt to understand man-universe relationship in the olden days led to the evolvement of myths, legends, superstitions and illusions. The emergence of science and man's rigorous scientific study of the cosmic environment has cleared man's illusions and the superstitions. Men have been to and back from the space, landed on the moon and journeyed back to earth, several man-made earth satellites now orbit the earth, man-built space research station on board of which several experiments have been conducted successfully for the past 131/2 years still hangs magnificently in space. Satellites are used to make communication (telephone, radio, television) more effective and efficient. They are used also for more accurate weather prediction, etc.


1. In the attempt to distinguish men from other animals Charles Darwin, Kar/Nogt and Thomas Huxley have pointed out several criteria they considered decisive. These are known as:

(a) Chemical criteria

(b) Anatomical criteria

(c) Historical criteria

(d) Microbial criteria

(e) None of the above

2. However, when we speak of the primary morphological differences between the family of hominids and the other families of the order of primates we must first of all name:

(a) Lack of hair all over the body, whiteness of teeth and washing hands before eating.

(b) The ability to make fire, tools and farming

(c) Erect gait adaption of hand to fine manipulations and large higher developed, relative to the rest of the body, brain.

(d) Ability to speak, sing, dance and laugh

(e) None of the above.

3. Solar system could be seen as

(a) the celestial bodies

(b) a collection of stars

(c)heavenly bodies

(d) the sun

(e) none of the above.

4. The distance between the sun and the earth is what?

(a) 100,000,000 kilometres

(b) 120, 000,000 kilometres

(c) 150,000,000 kilometres

(d) 160,000,000 kilometres

(e) None of the above

5. Ozone is in the upper part of the atmosphere called the

(a) statasphere

(b) statospere

(c) stratosphere

(d) strotasphere

(e) none of the above


1. Edwin C. Kemble Physical Science, Its Structure and

Development Cambridge, The M. I. T. Press, 1966, ch. 2 & 5.

2. Soviet History Illustrated. n.d.


Man evolved from nature, and without nature man's existence is impossible. But both the forms of the interaction and how far they are comprehended are constantly altering. Man has travelled a long way from an unequal and therefore inharmonious unity with nature, when he was subject to her, to the equal and harmonious unity of technically powerful environment that remains natural. In overcoming this inequality, man has subordinated the environment by every means at his disposal. The major objective of this module therefore is to understand clearly the path taken by man in his interaction with the natural environment and how with the aid of science and technology man is able to increase his power over nature. Also, how the properties of nature can turn hazardous if not properly handled. At the end of this lecture you should be able to appreciate better human-nature relationship and the utilisation of natural resources to improve the quality of life, depletion of resources entailed in the process, as well as the danger which may derive from the relationship and misuse of the resources of nature for war purposes.


This module focuses its attention on the unavoidable man-nature interaction, the helplessness of man at the early beginnings, how man transformed from ignoramus and became knowledgeable about nature. How, with scientific knowledge and technological know-how, man extracts his needs including energy requirements from nature's resources. The module deals also with primary energy production, types, utilisation, potentialities, volume and cost; renewable and non-renewable resources; chemical and radio-chemical hazards in war and the need for precaution in peaceful use of nuclear energy. The module ends on AIDS as a biological hazard.


During the whole of man's history, he has been constantly interacting with the natural environment. As Marx put it, the labour process itself is one of exchange of material between man and nature, in the course of which `he opposes himself to Nature as one of her own forces'.

Three forms are distinguishable in the historical development of the man-nature interation. The first form is characterised by man's profound dependence on nature. Myth and religion serve as forms of its reflection in ideas. The ‘little man’ is lost before great terrible nature. Man lives in constant fear which is due to the impossibility of winning from nature the vital means needed for existence.

The second form of the interaction of man and the environment is realised in practice in progressing production and ideally fixed in science. It received full development in the epoch of machine industry that began in England over 200 years ago. It is linked with the process of taming nature on an evergrowing scale. The man-nature relationship is a relation of conqueror. Newer and newer objective processes of nature are subordinated to man. The forces of industry, more powerful than ever before, act on the forces of nature. At this stage nature interests man mainly from the angle of food, material, and energy resources.

The third form is modern and of a special nature. It arises out of the substantial disturbances of dynamic equilibrum of the "industry-nature" relationship. The problem of the biosphere's renewable resources became more pronounced and is assuming especially complex dimension. The procedure for disposing of industrial wastes is becoming more and more complicated and it is becoming more and more difficult to supply man and his production with relatively clean air and fresh water.1

Whereas the influence of such forms of activity as crafts, mining, and building, with the rise of towns on the environment at the early stages of history was insignificant, man began to make significant impact on the environment through various forms of agricultural pro-duction. Man's husbandry often had an effect on nature in antiquity no less destructive, disastrous, and disruptive than that of modern social life, saturated with technique. Scholars have pointed to real distur-bances2 of the environment in Ancient Egypt that converted fertile land into deserts. Nevertheless, for thousands of years the productive possibilities of tools production were not in any acute, irreconcilable contradiction with humanity's material needs. It was not possible though, at the same time, to eliminate hunger and poverty with such a mode of production, and put an end to man's essential dependence on nature. Thus set in the gradual replacement of bio-energy (physical energy) with mechanical devices. In place of the oxen, tractors now pull the plough; instead of conveying goods on human heads or on don-keys or camels, motor vehicles now do the job, and in greater volume too. However, the passage from hand tools to more productive machine technique revealed the inherent contradiction in the productive forces of hand-tool production, i.e. by the substitution of mechanical technique for man as the means of physical labour. Here, all the functions of physical labour are transferred by man in one way or the other in mechanised production to appropriate machines, while the function of superintending these machines remains man's prerogative as the main actor in the direct realisation of the production process. Mechanical technique thus becomes an inexaustible technological basis for man's exploitation of natural resources in his own interest, for converting them into man's daily need items.

Truly speaking, the transformation of nature, in other words, the socialisation of it, is the necessary, natural, proper and objective basis of human history. The deepest foundation of society's historical development is material production, which is nothing else than society's interaction with nature, converting natural resources into a purposefully used process of shaping nature, and at the same time of the transformation of society itself and of man himself. The more sophisticated and effective the equipment we use the greater impact on shaping nature and thus the transformation of society and the quality of life of man himself. The end result of a town, or road, or a bridge constructed depending on cutlass, hoe and shovel cannot be the same as the one built with the use of sophisticated earthmoving equipment and technology. The passage from hand-tool to mechanical technique which enables man to make broader, deeper use of natural resources is an unavoidable integral factor of human history. Man can develop only to the extent that he masters nature and puts its processes and resources into the service of his own interests.


In so far, and in as much as nature is exploited and converted into man's daily needs and demands, it is gripped by far-reaching transformations that essentially alter the natural course of processes as a whole. In many cases the alterations of nature through the impact of mechanised material production take on essentially negative aspects; negative for some part of life on earth and thus for society and man: pollution of the environment on the one hand and rapid depletion of certain properties of nature which sets in the question of renewable and non-renewable resources. There are limited renewable resources. Basically, these are things we can reproduce as we consume, e.g. food crops, trees and similar things. As we cut down a tree for timber or fire wood, we plant another in its place.

Certainly, it is not science and technique themselves that have engendered these problems as the anti-science-oriented propagandist, anti-technist, and champions of environmental purity for purity's sake (and they are many nowadays) would want to mislead the world.

Man's activity has always been accompanied with wastes of some sort, resulting from used-up natural resources. Archaeology bears witness, for instance, that special places were already being set aside in ancient caves for the bones of animals caught in the chase and eaten. And so it has seemingly been in any civilization. So it was in the past century. Therefore, in our times the root of the problems of pollution and rapid depletion of natural resources lies in the aggressive form of the attitude to nature, to the appropriation of natural resources, the unregulated character of the use of natural resources for the sake of gain and the arms race which absorbs a mass of forces and means. We need to pass from the aggressive stage of taming nature, of the exploitation of natural resources, to the stage of harmonising human material production, in order to be able to conserve natural resources better and reduce problems associated with the rapid depletion of non-renewable natural resources. Some non-renewable resources are: petroleum-oil, natural gas, coal, gold, uranium, and other mineral resources.

While man exists he labours, and in labour he cannot help transforming nature. Because of that, the formula of the transformation of nature of utilising natural resources, cannot be abolished; it can only be refined from the standpoint of establishing a certain relative equilibrium of the movements of change of utilisation, consumption, and energy resources inclusive.

"Technicised labour" is becoming more and more common and dominant on our planet, but it certainly has to be reorganised, especially in relation to the use of natural resources. To succeed, there is need for broad development of research aimed at an optimum combination of production and the most rational use of energy and other natural resources. The role of pure science and methodological work as well as of applied research is increasing in the solution of these tasks.

Bionation has been suggested as a viable option in search of the optimal management of the environment, and of natural resources.3 "Bionation of all the functional components of production" - in S. N. Smirnov's view - "starting with implements of direct action on the material of nature and ending with cybernetic self-reorganising automatic devices, will enable a fully waste-free technology to be developed and will provide an opportunity to use it fundamentally right up to the breaking down of this "waste" into its constituent molecules and atoms and their use as secondary materials for a new production cycle".4


Human energy resources include conventional wood fuel, mineral fuel (coal, oil and gas), electricity, thermal energy, geothermal, hydro power, wind power, solar energy, and thermonuclear energy.

The scale, structure and trends in society's changing requirements in energy largely reflect the lines on which the technical re-equipment of production has developed. One of the most important trends in the present-day and foreseeable development of material production, and the non-production sphere of the services, is their steadily growing energy-intensiveness and especially their electricity-intensiveness. This trend is quite natural and is a reflection of the special role energy has to play in economic development and human life.

You would probably appreciate the role played by energy in the economic, social and cultural life of the society if you recalled the shortage in the supply of petrol and diesel during the regime of Sanni Abacha and throughout the administration of Abdusalami Abubakar. The shortage generated crises in transportation and production industries. Social cultural life was not left unaffected. The attendant hardship led to riots in several places. Imagine the losses to the industrialists when there was no fuel to run the machines in their factories. How about those losses sustained by the farmers of perishable crops when already harvested but no fuel to run the engines of the vehicles to transport such crops to market, etc. The total loss is incalculable.

Epileptic supply of electric energy is another instance that is likely to make you understand better the special role energy plays in economic development and human life. During the Abdusalami Abubakar regime there was a moment that for a number of hours there was no current flow in the national grid throughout the country. It was called "system breakdown". Apart from those individuals who may own their own private generators, it was reported that there was no electric energy supply from the National Electric Power Authority's (NEPA's) grid for that period. Now, you imagine how many lives were lost in operation theatres all over the country during that period. You may wish to guess as well how many babies in incubators also died then.

The development of social production, the extent to which man masters the forces and resources of nature, depends on the energy available per person in production, the non-production sphere and in everyday life. So also is the level of productivity of labour in any sphere of human activity, the level of mechanisation and automation, changes in working conditions, the development of culture and accessibility of all its values, and the creation of the utmost possible comforts for human beings.

Technical progress at its present stage is characterised by the extensive and ever growing introduction of electro-technological processes, and emergence of lines of production based entirely on the use of electric technology.

High-temperature processes are being increasingly used in modern production; the thermo-production is becoming an ever bigger consumer of primary energy-carriers. In some industries, the thermo-consumption is much greater in volume than the consumption of power, mainly electric energy.

That means that while electric power has an exceptionally important and leading role to play in the overall energy balance in the modern world, the development of energetics should be seen in a much broader context, taking into account all the consumption of energy in all its forms and also the relative efficiency in the use of electric and other types of energy in every sphere in which they are applied. That is the fruitful approach which could help to obtain a correct solution for the problems arising in the development of energetics today and in the future.

The steady growth of the volume of operations involving the transportation and movement of objects and products of labour and of human beings has led to the emergence of a major consumer of energy, namely every type of transport facility, including road, rail, air and water.

The growth of living standards in the present day conditions is also expressed in the most extensive equipment of diverse institutions in the everyday and cultural services and households with various devices and appliances operating on electric power. E.g. TV, video, ice block making machines, hair dryers, clippers, dishwashers, etc.


The steady growth in the consumption of energy both in production and in the non-production spheres has led to an unremitting growth in the production of the basic energy-carriers all over the world. The following data testify to this claim:


World output of the basic energy resources - coal, oil, gas and hydropower - expressed in their electrical equivalents, was as follows: 1860 - 1.1 trillion Kwh, 1900 - 6.1 trillion Kwh, 1940 - 15.9 trillion Kwh, and 1959 - 32.4 trillion Kwh. According to certain estimates, in 1970 it came to 60.4 trillion Kwh and 1974 to 69.1 trillion. It is noteworthy that over the past 30 years the pace has accelerated.

In 1976, mineral fuel (coal, oil and gas) accounted for 89.6 per cent of the world's consumption of energy resources, with oil and natural gas rising to the top of the list (61.5 per cent). While the share of hydroenergy resources has been growing, it still accounts for only 6.6 per cent, and bears no comparison with any of the mineral fuels.

In fact, the share of hydroelectric power stations in the production of electric power is larger than the share of hydro-energy resources in the overall consumption of energy, but they too are not at the top of the list.

In 1970, atomic power accounted for a very small share of the total electric power generated. With the exception of Britain, where it came to 7.4 per cent in terms of capacity, and to 99.1 per cent in terms of power generation. Thus, in the first half of the 1970s, energetics notably, electric power generation, was based on quite traditional energy-carriers, with atomic energy still accounting for a very small share. So also is traditional throughout the world (at least for the time being) the process of conversion of fuel into mechanical energy and the transformation of the latter into electricity with a low efficiency. The high level of electrification in everyday life is evidently the basic element in the people's rising material and cultural standards, and a necessary feature of the material and technical basis of national development.

There is the expert opinion which we need bear in mind: that the structure of energy consumption in the recent period and in the foreseeable future tends to change towards an increase in the share of forms which themselves require growing quantities of primary energy for their production and transmission. This is exemplified by the generation of electric power itself, for according to experts, it entails a loss of nearly 75 per cent of energy contained in primary ("raw") energy before it can be converted into useful work.

There is the estimate that within the framework of the existing techonology of energy production the possibilities for reducing losses and per-unit inputs of primary energy-carriers are relatively limited, because the technical basis of present-day energetics rests on highly uneconomical principles. There are large losses at every stage in the production and consumption of energy. Contemporary energy units are highly uneconomical. A turbine-and-generator block is a complex and costly machine based on the transformation of thermal energy into electric power. It contains rotating parts which are in friction with each other, to overcome which a large part of the energy is spent. There are also considerable losses in the transmission of electric power, and also in the energy-consuming units and instruments. As a result, a large part of the energy contained in the primary energy-carriers is lost, and this is a part which has the largest specific weight.

Thus, a United Nations calculation shows that only just over one-third (35 per cent) of all the primary energy in the world's production of fuel and energy (the calculation is for 1952) was converted into useful energy, with nearly two-thirds consisting of various types of losses.

Present-day internal combustion engines are designed based on the principle of conversion of thermal energy into mechanical energy with rotating parts, and this also makes for very low efficiency.

In truth, it comes to about 30 per cent for ordinary automobile internal combustion engines, which means that of every 100 litres of petrol burned up in the car almost 70 litres goes up in smoke. Even the most economical engines used in modern diesel locomotives, ships and planes use up something in the region of 75 per cent of the fuel without any returns.7

For the time being, the production of heat - technological and everyday, and the production of cold - remains the most important items in the overall expenditure of energy resources. As technology develops, there is a steady growth in the heat-intensiveness and cold-intensiveness of social production. Research results pointed to the facts that electricity could provide the most efficient and economical mode for obtaining heat and cold. In this respect, the consumption and therefore the production of electric energy is bound to increase tremendously. Of course, atomic energy could appear on the "market" as an efficient and powerful rival of electric energy in the production of heat and cold, but one could hazard the assumption that it will be thermonuclear energy, an even stronger rival, because atomic energetics gives rise to problems of radiation resistance.

Physicists in advanced countries believe that thermonuclear energetics will come to the fore in the first half of the 21st century. The thermonuclear process does not yield tangible quantities of radioactive sludge, it is not dangerous in an accident, and cannot be used as an explosive substance for a bomb, and the deuterium (the basic raw material needed) is larger than that of uranium (needed in atomic nuclear energy production).

Atomic energetics has its own merits and demerits. Hardly is there any need to argue the merits of nuclear fission. A kilogramme of nuclear fuel is equivalent to over 2,000 tons of coal.


Talking about chemical and radio-chemical hazards, what comes to the mind of every Nigerian is, most probably, the Koko radio-active industrial chemical waste dump (brought from Italy) and its aftermath. The greatest hazards posed to humankind by chemical and radio-chemical substances are in the sphere of warfare. The term "radiological weapon" and "radiological warfare" appeared in the late 1940s. The resolution of the United Nations Commission on conventional weapons, adopted on August 12, 1948, mentioned four types of mass destruction weapons: "atomic explosive weapons, radio-active material weapons, lethal chemical and biological weapon".1


Destructive chemical compounds that can kill or incapacitate by attacking the respiratory, blood or central nervous systems largely constitute chemical hazards. The whole doctrine centres around the use of lethal agents.

History has shown that the only real "defense" against chemical warfare is an "offence" of such weapons so formidable that it deters the enemy from using theirs. During the Second World War, for instance, mindful of Germany's use of poison gas during the First World War, the Allies sent word to the Nazis that use would result in over-whelming retaliation. Thus no gas was employed by either side. By as early as 1936 the Germans had made a devastating breakthrough in chemical warfare by perfecting "nerve gases", such as Tabun, that attacks and breaks down the nervous system. Unlike the readily detectable asphyxiating gases of the First World War, nerve gas is colourless, odourless, virtually, undetectable. Although the Allies had nothing comparable to Tabun, the German did not know this, and the general threat of retaliation deterred them.

Also during the 1991 Gulf War, christened "Desert Storm", despite the overwhelming fire-power of the American-led Western invading forces, the Iraqis did not use chemical weapon as earlier threatened. The reason was not because they lacked the capacity. At least the United Nations Weapon Inspection Team revealed immediately after the end of the war that the Iraqis had chemical weapons including chemical war-head rockets in their arsenals. The probable reason for their failure to employ weapon of mass destruction was the fear of an excessive retaliation with similar weapons by the invading forces. Other reason could be the fear of such weapon affecting the civilian population.

During the American interventionist war in Vietnam, the United States of America received intense worldwide criticism for using chemicals to defoliate jungles and other kind of gases on the Vietnamese Liberation forces. Over 6,400 sheep died on gazing lands in one instance, as the result of American chemical bombardment of Vietnamese farmland near Hanoi (now Ho Chi Min city).

The devastating effects of the atomic bombs that the United States of America dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, 1945 continue till today.

The idea of developing radiological weapon originated after the explosion of the first U.S atomic bombs followed by the radioactive contamination of vast areas. In those years the atomic bomb was called an indirect weapon of radiological warfare by the press, because the main purpose was believed to be destruction while radioactive contamination was considered of a secondary importance. At the same time the U.S.A. believed that specially manufactured radioactive materials placed in conventional means of destruction could be used as weapons, and Hiroshima and Nagasaki were used as the test-grounds for the new weapon.

The raw material used for the manufacturing of radioactive substance is the waste of nuclear power reactors. Usually this is a mixture of several isotopes differing in activity and the half-life period. Here the isotopes most suitable for military purposes are to be isolated. But there is another way when the necessary combination of isotopes is obtained by a neutron irradiation of a specially selected material in a reactor.

The practice has shown, however, that the production and use of radiological weapon are no easy matter because, apart from very sophisticated technology, there is difficulty of ensuring the security (safety) of the personnel during the production, assembly and use of radiological ammunition. The hazards do not end there. The stock of radioactive substances must be continuously replenished, since their activity peters out with time quite rapidly. Furthermore, radiological weapons cannot be used, in war situation, for tactical purposes because the biological action of radioactive radiation is not instant but begins at least in a few hours or even days.

For these reasons radiological weapons have not been widely accepted and developed. It was believed that radioactive contamination on large areas can be achieved easier and with greater effect with the use of nuclear explosive devices.

In recent years, however, experts began to speak about new possibilities of using radiological weapons and increasing their combat efficiency, because the intensive development of nuclear power generation has resulted in the accumulation of a large stock of radioactive material, which makes it easier to produce components of radiological weapons in many countries. At present, according to a section of world press, more than 50 countries having nuclear reactors are capable of producing radioactive substances for military purposes.

The interest in radiological weapons was revived after the emergence of improved weapons and means of their delivery. Modern air bombs, missile warheads, mines, shells and kinds of sprayers are believed now to be more effective for their combat use of radioactive substances than before. According to the U.S. Press, an explosion of radiological air bomb weighing 100 to 200 kilogrammes at a height of 300-400 metres heavily contaminates an area within the radius of 300-450 metres. Particular hopes are pinned on the use of guided missiles, cruise missiles in the first place. United States experts have estimated that with the use of 10 cruise missiles it is possible, by spraying one ton of radioactive substance, to contaminate an area of 100 square kilometres, where people would receive heavy injuries from radiation.

Radioactive contamination cannot be detected by organs of the senses. It can be done only by radiation dosimeters. The extent of people's destruction in the contamination zone depends on the density of contamination, the time of exposure to it and means of protection. Hence in the event of the use of radiological weapons the civilian population will be in greater danger than the troops. In this sense radiological weapons and their associated hazards do not differ from chemical ones, the use of which is banned under the 1925 Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and Bacteriological Methods of Warfare.

Since the radiological weapons ban issue was first put on the agenda of international disarmament meetings in the early 1960s (on the initiative of the then U.S.S.R.), beginning with 1979 the question has been a seperate item on the agenda of the U.N.O. General Assembly Sessions.

Nearly 370 reactors are now operating worldwide. Presumably, by the year 2000, over 20 per cent of the world's electricity will be generated by nuclear power stations. Even today, nuclear power stations in some countries generate more than a half of the total power, and are being used on a greater scale in many other countries, too. Nuclear power stations and pilot reactors are being built and operated in the underdeveloped countries of Asia, Latin America and Africa. Nigeria is yet to think about having one. The then General Olusegun Obasanjo's military administration established the National Energy Commission.


The world's first nuclear power station was commissioned in Obninsk, near Moscow, Russia, in 1954. The then Soviet Union thereafter initiated the first and, subsequently, follow-up international conferences on the peaceful use of atomic energy. Such a forum is used for sharing valuable experiences in the field of nuclear power station maintenance and for an exchange of plans and ideas by experts. The over forty-years experience in operating nuclear power stations has convincingly shown their vitality, economy and ample ecological purity.

Yet, atoms for peace and progress are also fraught with hazards, as witnessed by the aftermath of accidents at nuclear facilities in various countries – The Three Miles Island in the U.S.A. and at several British nuclear power stations and others. The Chernobyl accident in the Ukraine, being the most recent and most devastating of them all, occurred at 01 hour 23 minutes 43 seconds on April, 1986 when explosions rocked the fourth reactor of the nuclear plant.2 These various accidents are but stern warnings reminding mankind that even tamed for peaceful purposes, nuclear power possesses a formidable destructive potential. This is why the world must rid itself of nuclear weapons. However, at the present stage of human development, it would be hard to conceive world economic development without atomic power stations operating in many parts of the world and benefiting many national economies. By the year 2000 their number will grow considerably. It is therefore imperative to proceed with utmost care in all matters of nuclear power engineering development. The world's science and technology should concentrate its efforts in this field on dramatically increasing the safety of nuclear power projects and building a reliable system of safeguards and mutual emergency relief. In this connection the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency is of paramount importance. This is necessary, because for intents and purposes, the advantages of atomic power engineering outweigh the disadvantages. Scientists world-over are unanimous in this belief.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, one of the most respected academies in the world is recently at odds with the majority of Swedes. The conflict is over nuclear power engineering. According to Academy of Scientists, Swedes oppose nuclear power engineering because they don't understand it. "Officially Sweden plans to close down all of its nuclear power stations by 2010", said Academy President, Hans Forsberg. "But", he added, "we think that such a move will be disastrous for the country economically. Ecologically it will also be bad". For according to him, nuclear power engineering is, "among the safest and ecologically least harmful industry".

Other professionals of the calibre of the Russian Nobel prize lauret in physics, academician Sakharov, has suggested that if more nuclear plants are to be built, they should be built underground, one hundred metres or so down, in order to reduce the hazards associated with radioactive leakages.


No less devastating to human life is what has now become known and called AIDS - Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS is a disease that has come to be through unnatural, scientific artificial genetic engineering. There is no known cure to it as of now.

Whereas American sources try ceaselessly to misinform the world that the virus which causes the disease originated from African green monkeys, or chimpanzee as latest report seems to indicate a number of scientists of conscience however have pointed accusing fingers at Pentagon (Ministry of Defense) of the United States of America as being responsible for sponsoring the research and cultivation of the culture-virus, being part of its biological weapon development programme.

John Seale, a British Scientist, confirmed by experiment that AIDS was actually artificially produced in laboratory as a biological weapon and that it was either spread "deliberately or by mistake". According to him the virus causing AIDS is almost identical to another virus called VISNA, discovered in 1949 and which occured naturally in sheep, invariably causing death within 10 years. VISNA, he explained, has one gene less than the AIDS virus. Stressing further that inserting an extra gene into a known virus in order to change its structure and thus bring forth a new type of virus is a routine procedure in modern genetic engineering.

Certain pronouncements made some time ago by American politicians and legislators on the CNN (Cable News Network) give credence to the view that the AIDS virus is being spread deliberately in Africa through several media including medicine. As Supo Arobiodu reported, AIDS-contaminated polio vaccine was sent to Zaire from the United States of America in form of assistance to facilitate the immunization of children against polio. This report was corroborated in the said CNN discussion. The polio vaccine was developed at the Wistar Institute of Philadelphia, USA, according to Arobiodu's source. He (Arobiodu) observed: "Western medical investigators say they have traced the origin of the AIDS disease to the same location in the which the vaccine was first administered". However, the intelligent service of the then Soviet Union had claimed that it traced the origin of the AIDS virus to the door step of the Defense Ministry of the United States of America - the Pentagon.

In what looks like a corroboration of that claim, the participants in the discussion on CNN earlier referred to, which was then relayed on OGTV, recalled that during Ronald Reagan's administration, it was debated in the US Congress whether such a weapon as the AIDS was scientifically impossible; and if not impossible, why hadn't the USA developed one yet as at that time, was money the problem? If scientifically it is possible, but money was the problem, why not make money available to carry out the research and produce it? The discussants, however, added that they were not asserting that the present AIDS was the outcome of the research then instituted; neither were they asserting that it was not, stressing, what they were asserting was that there was such a debate and that there was a decision to embark on such a research.

Whatever the source, AIDS has today become the most dreaded scourge on earth whose best treatment remains, in the time being, effective popular preventive measure - stable sexual partner and/ or the use of condom.

No doubt, the insinuation suggesting an African origin of the disease is suspect. Especially when it is meant to connote that the disease was naturally transmitted from the green monkeys to human beings through Africans. Nothing can be farther from the truth than such a deliberate falsehood. It is a cheap way of attempting to cover up the actual origin of this earthly scourge.


Man evolved from nature and cannot stop inter-acting with nature if only because he derives his needs from that part of nature that is not man himself. As man interacts with nature he cannot avoid transforming nature, in order to extract his material needs. While transforming nature, man created waste and deplete natural resources that are not renewable. He is transformed, too, as he becomes more knowledgeable about nature and himself. As he creates wealth, man creates instruments of destruction, as well -various war machines, chemical and radio-chemical substances, explosives and AIDS.


1. At the very beginning in his intense interaction with nature man was powerless and unequal to the forces of nature. Then man was overwhelmed with

(a) The desire to make tools, shelter and other necessaries

(b) Superstious, fear, myths, religion etc.

(c) Feelings of fulfillment

(d) The sense of equal and harmonious unity with nature

(e) None of the above.

2. By the substitution of mechanical technique for man as the means of physical labour man’s impact on environment became

(a) Unstable and less significant

(b) Quite marginal and ineffective

(c) Dangerous to planets and animal husbandry

(d) Less useful and more injurious to man

(e) None of the above

3. Some renewable energy resources of man are

(a) Coal

(b) Oil

(c) Gas

(d) Uranium

(e) None of the above

4. Most efficient and economical mode of generating electricity today is

(a) Hydro-power station

(b) Thermal power station

(c) Nuclear power station

(d) Thermonuclear power station

(e) None of the above

5. As a product of nature man cannot avoid interacting with nature for his continual existence. In this process he cannot avoid:

(a) Incantation

(b)Dancing and singing

(c) Transforming nature

(d) myth

(e) None of the above


1. United Nations Document S/C. 3/32/Rev. 1

2. Moscow News No 29, 1987, p. 4

3. Moscow News No 19, 1988, p. 7

4. Moscow News No 29, 1988, p. 10

5. Punch 10. 12. 85, front page

6. Supo Arobiodu, "AIDS May have Originated from Polio

Vaccine", African Reader Digest Vol. No. 3, 1993, p. 48

7. Ibidem


For Modules 1 - 3

Write an elaborate essay on "Liberated Pattern of Thinking".


The general objective of this module is to enable you to grasp and digest the nature of philosophy as the first form of theoretical knowledge. In this regard a brief survey of the definitions of philosophy is given, explanation of the subject-matter of the philosophy of science is offered, how scientific knowledge evolved, as well as, the emergence and growth of the sciences are cogently discussed; so also the difference between scientific knowledge and the sciences is explained. The module equally demonstrates why myths and superstitions are not peculiar to Africans, and how liberated pattern of thinking forms the foundation for the rapid development of science and technology.


Module 4 deals with the emergence and nature of philosophy, its definition, and specific feature of the philosophy of science and its subject-matter. It unveils the source, emergence and process of development of scientific knowledge vis-a-vis the evolvement and growth of the sciences; clarifies the distinction between scientific knowledge and the sciences. Finally, the module demonstrates how and why myths and superstitous beliefs are not peculiar to Africans, and why and how liberated thinking pattern is the foundation of science and technology, and the source of their rapid development.


The essential feature of philosophy is its liberating effect. The emergence and development of philosophy in the ancient Greek society amply illustrates this point. In the then Greece, where mythology and religion held sway over people's minds and supersititions, together with their accompanying fears, predominated over human activities and ways of life, philosophy emerged in an attempt to know the true nature of things.1

Like many Nigerians of today, the Greeks of that period would see the cause of, say the drought, in the annoyance of the goddess of rain who is holding back rain until sacrifice is made to appease her. The lack of rains, still after sacrifices had been made and the accumulation of like discrepancies spurred the early philosophers into action to search natural processes themselves in order to determine and establish the authentic causes of phenomena, events, occurrences, etc. instead of relying on oracles or myths.

Thus, philosophy emerged by questioning the authenticity of popularly held views about the origins, causes and presence of things, events, etc. (or the lack of them) in a bid to establish their true origins or causes. Consequently, philosophy grew out of myth-steeped religious consciousness2 while raising doubt about the latter, and in a stiff battle with it. Philosophy took shape in the struggle to furnish mankind with a rational explanation of the world for effective communication and enhanced practical activity. From this perspective, it can be said that the emergence of philosophy coincides, historically, with the need for theoretical inquiry. Philosophy, thus, became the first form of theoretical knowledge while simultaneously fighting mythology and religious bigotry.

Do you know what mythology is? Mythology is an imagined reflection of reality which arose in the consciousness of the primitive man, who attributed spiritual life to surrounding nature, e.g. rocks, mountains, etc. In mythology, with its faith in imaginary spirits (good or evil) and gods, great importance is usually attached to questions of the origin and essence of the world.

Objective true knowledge of phenomena, events and occurrences in the surrounding world is impossible without a logically developed thinking. It was philosophy that assumed the task of elaborating logical categories and laws as a way of liberating mankind from illusions and the effects of superstitious or mythological interpretation of the world. It was as a result of this elaboration that other concrete forms of human knowledge such as physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, psychology, economics, sociology, history, etc, sprang up.

Any philosophical reasoning that lacks this liberating firmament certainly falls short of the stuff and cannot be said to be philosophic in the true sense of the word. It may be a mythology, a kind of mysticism or religion, but surely not a philosophy.

Crucial to the development of science is a critical liberating philosophy which has the goal of objectively comprehending reality, the true nature of things, phenomena, events, occurrences, etc. That is to say, a philosophy which has the task of attaining a true knowledge of the universe and while on the way to this true knowledge ensures the liberation of the people along the line, from all sorts of superstitious belief, mysticisms, mythical world views, common-place ignorance and misconceptions - all that make man the slave of his environment.

It is from this perspective that an enlightened, critical philosophy, which is in consonance with the self-reliancist orientation is a necessary corollary of that process in a rapidly changing environment. An environment in which development has assumed a chaotic character and progress therefore is retarded. In a society where "anything goes", but "nothing really works", an enlightened pattern of thinking rooted in self-reliancism helps to order the perception and orientation of the people along an optimal trajectory, thus helps to avoid dilly-dally in a situation where a quick perception and appropriate rapid change in orientation or reorientation is needed. Self-reliancism is a philosophical world view based on the principles of self-reliance.

An unenlightened thinking pattern, albeit unwittingly, promotes superstition, myths, mysticism and fosters ignorance at the expense of objective true knowledge of the universe and the world about us. Yet there is no gainsaying the fact that only an adequately objective reproduction in language form of the law governed processes, taking place in nature, society and human thinking can appropriately guide the activities of the humans in the universe.

The development of philosophy signified a progressive departure from mythology, particularly the mythological notion of the supernatural origin of wisdom. And from there onward the place of the oracle was taken by the self-consciousness of every thinking person. Myth on its part, as compared to real knowledge, is an expression of the impotence of thought that cannot establish itself independently.


An inquiry into the historical process of the genesis of philosophy entails the examination of the relationship between the emergent philosophical knowledge and the fairly copious information about everyday experience that man already possessed in the ancient world. From the very first, this relationship becomes a juxtaposition of philosophising, the search for truth alone, to both mythology and the pursuit of purely practical aims. The reason for this juxtaposition lies in the disappearance of the original immediate unity between knowledge and practical activity, i.e., the emergence of theoretical, which by its very nature is relatively independent of practical activity.

The emergence of theoretical knowledge both in the past and the present comes about only to the extent that knowledge can be relatively independent of practice. Geometry, if you judge by etymology of the word, began as land surveying and became theoretical knowledge only after it began to acquire relative independence from its practical function. Therefore, there is a relative independence between theory and practice.

Today, theory's relative independence of practice has grown considerably in comparison with the past. Indeed, this is what enables modern natural science to launch new branches of industrial production, whose foundations have been laid by research not devoted to any practical goal and by discoveries with no immediate applied significance. The unity of scientific theoretical knowledge and practice is a mediate unity. This means there exist numerous intermediate links both in the sphere of scientific research and in practical activity. It is the absence of immediate unity (identity) between theoretical knowledge and practical activity that creates the need to implement the achievements of theoretical knowledge in production and social practice in general.

In ancient Greece there were no narrowly specialised scientists. The philosophers were the all-in-all, the sole agents or representatives of theoretical knowledge. The theoretical knowledge of that time was at a historical stage that ruled out any possibility of its being systematically applied in production or any other sphere of practical activity. The effective linking of theory and practice, and particularly their complex and, of course, contradictory unity are the product of the historical development of both theory and practice, and their interaction.

To some extent, this explains why the first philosophers regarded the cognitive function of philosophy as something totally related to practical (including social) activity, while they regarded philosophy as a quest for knowledge for knowledge's sake. In antiquity, people's various practical (not only production but also political) activities could not yet be based on theoretical knowledge. Theoretical knowledge was yet young and feeble. Philosophy - the most abstract of all forms of theoretical knowledge - plainly demonstrated these objective features of the historical process of the development of theoretical knowledge

In Plato's Theaetetus, Socrates explains that knowledge of separate objects and arts is not yet knowledge in itself. He even suggests that he who does not know what knowledge is in general can have no notion either of the craft of boot-making or any other craft. Hence one can be a craftsman without having any notion of craft, i.e., possessing only manual skill. The philosopher on the other hand, according to Socrates, is interested in knowledge for its own sake, knowledge as such, regardless of its possible application. From this standpoint then philosophy has its roots in pure curiosity. It begins from wonder, from questioning, from reasoning, the goal of which is truth, and not what is of practical utility.

Plato's philosopher, who in this case is expounding a belief that had already largely taken shape in the Ionic period of materialist philosophy, is so remote from all the daily cares and anxieties of man. As such, his ignorance of what is known to all gives him the reputation of being a foolish person, and his helplessness in practical matters makes him an object of ridicule.

The point, of course, is not that philosophers did not want to solve practical problems, particularly in the field of politics. The example of Plato and especially his theory of the ideal state, contained in The Republic, as well as his practical political activity, indicate quite the opposite. The crux of the matter lies in the fact that philosophy was not and could not yet be a specific scientific form of knowledge.


The first task before you at this stage is for you to know what philosphy is.

It is often heard among students that there is no single universally accepted definition of philosophy. Such a view is not infrequently stated even by some academic philosophers in literature. The immediate impression you are likely to derive from this is perhaps that everyone has his own kind of definition. Therefore whatever definition you have is adequate and that is it.

Truly, there is difficulty in providing one all-embracing definition. Each philosopher gives the definition of his own system of philosophy. The difficulty here in a way confirms the realness of philosophy as an enterprise, as a concrete branch of human knowledge. As a definitive concrete object, philosophy has many aspects to it. It is a many-sided object. Hence the host of definitions of it. You will read more about this later.

Abstract objects are relatively easy to define simply because they are abstract, i.e, they are only an idealised image of a definite reality. The concept of the abstract-object is in fact no more than the meaning of a term as established by its definition, for instance, whiteness, sweetness etc. It is a different matter when we speak of real objects in all their diversity, contradiction and change ability, such as nature, life, mean, art, philosophy, and so on. The definition of such real objects has only formal significance. As Spinoza says "any definition is a negation". This dictum should be understood by you, however, not in the trivial sense that every definition negates other definitions; for that may not be the case, inasmuch as the concrete in theoretical thinking is a unity of different definitions. You should take note that every definition is not only an assertion it is also a negation of its own limited content because it is one-sided. Yet the concrete object which it seeks to define is many-sided. Every definition is a limitation of the content of a concept and therefore is itself limited.

As you know, concrete and consequently, diverse, many-sided objects can be defined only in a logically concrete manner. The logically concrete takes the form of motivated transition from one definition to another, resulting in a system of definition.

Every separate definition is abstract, one-sided and therefore untrue because there is no abstract truth (at least in relation to concrete objects). When you view it from this stand point, you find it easy to understand that the existence of a host of definitions of philosophy does not appear to be something exceptional, incomprehensive or discreditable to philosophy. The empirically established basis for the diversity of these definitions is not merely divergence of opinion concerning one and the same object, but the real diversity of philosophical doctrines. This is so because it is this fact that distinguishes the development of philosophy from the development of any other branch of knowledge. The actual relationship of any philosophical doctrine to its predecessors is far more complex: continuity, progress, the development of philosophy through the critical impropriation of previous advances of philosophical knowledge. All this does not, however, preclude irreconcilable contradiction between philosophical trends and incompatibility of philosophical doctrines, for these dectrines reflect various historical situations, needs, demands, interests, and take different attitudes to religion, science, and so on. The relationship of continuity between philosophical doctrines is not a relationship of determinism. Like any other form of social consciousness, philosophy is conditioned ultimately by social being.


We shall now make a brief survey of the definitions of philosophy in the course of its developments. This will give you a better understanding of the nature of philosophy. It is quite impossible, though, to enumerate all the definitions of philosophy that have been given in course of its historical development. It is not even necessary. It would be desirable, of course, to offer a rational classification of these definitions. It seems to me that the best way of arriving at a more or less clear and systematic motion of the variety of philosophical definitions is to review the basic mutually exclusive definitions of philosophy.

We shall now try to arrange the basic definitions of philosophy in a pattern, indicating with even and uneven numbers the most contrasting definitions.

i. Philosophy is the study of being, regardless of its special, particular, transient modifications. This definition of philosophy is to be found in ancient Indian and also ancient Chinese philosophies. In the philosophy of the Eleatic School in ancient Greece, it stands in contrast to the continuous becoming of Heraclitus. Aristotle defines philosophy as knowledge of essence in itself or of the essence of all that exists.

The metaphysical systems of the Middle Ages in Europe and modern times also define philosophy as the study of being. In modern Western philosophy, this definition is accepted by the neo-Thomists, a substantial number of Christian spiritualists, and also the Existentialists, and N. Hartmann's "new ontology". This means that it is accepted by those philosophers who claim to have finally overthrown the metaphysical systems. Those who counterpoise ontology to metaphysics, but interpret the former as a doctrine of being, that is, independent of the objective world perceived by the senses. Among existentialists, this view is formulated most clearly by Karl Jaspers and Martin Heidegger.

ii. Philosophy is the study, not of being but of cognition, or morality, or happiness, or of man in general. Such definitions of philosophy emerged in ancient times and constantly compete with opposing definitions of philosophy both in metaphysics and ontology. In Indian philosophy, Buddha rules out of philosophy such questions as: Is the world eternal or non-eternal? Is it finite or infinite? Is the soul the same as or different from the body? He declares these and other related questions to be indeterminable and at the same time having no bearing on the main problem of his time which is the elimination of suffering on earth. David Hume, a British philosopher, questioned the existence of any objective reality that was independent of the consciousness. He thus limited the sphere of philosophical inquiry to the study of mental activity, particularly the act of knowing. Hume was not interested in knowledge in general, but in the study of man, in self-knowledge. In this he saw the only way of overcoming the age-long errors of philosophy and arranging human life on rational lines.

Kant, a German philosopher who, unlike Hume, acknowledges the existence of a reality independent of the knower, nevertheless dismissed the problem of being on the grounds that it is unknowable. Accordingly, he defined philosophy as a doctrine of the absolute boundaries, of all possible knowledge. These boundaries, according to Kant, are determined by the very mechanism of cognition, its a priori forms, which may be applied only to sensory data but not to the transcendental "thing-in-itself". The "thing-in-itself" to Kant is beyond human knowledge.

The definition of philosophy as the study of cognition is also developed by the positivists, who argue that philosophy should be reduced to the theory of knowledge on the grounds that all other possible objects of cognition are studied by the specialised sciences and there is nothing left for philosophy but to study science itself, the fact of knowledge. Bertrand Russell shares this view.

iii. Philosophy is the study of that which does not exist in reality, of that which is juxtaposed to all reality and any knowledge of it as a measure or value scale. That which has a significance not in the least diminished by the fact that as an ideal, it does not possess resent being. This definition of philosophy is most consistently upheld by the Baden school of neo-Kantianism. Thus, according to Windelband, philosophy is the science of normal consciousness.

iv. Philosophy is the study of all that exists, and not any particular sphere or reality or cognition. From Hegel's point of view, a philosophical system is an encyclopedia of philosophical sciences, interpreting even questions studied by the specialised sciences but from its own peculiar speculative position which is beyond their scope. Philosophy, Hegel wrote, "can be preliminarily defined in general as the thinking examination of objects". What he means by this is that philosophy constitutes a peculiar mode of thought; a mode of thought by which it becomes cognition and cognition by means of concepts.

Further, philosophy studies not only everything, but rather that which exists in everything, constituting its universal essence. This last stated definition of philosophy, in my view, is more appropriate. I share this view. The definition establishes appropriate link between philosophy and science and vice versa.


What then, is philosophy of science? Philosophy of science sums up the experience in the development of all sciences and social applications of their findings.

Consequently, philosophy of science is important to researchers in the most diverse fields of science. It has a sort of synthetic function to perform. It provides a universal basis of knowledge. In other words, it helps to map out the scientific line for the solution of the problems in each individual scientific field.

Philosophy of science has to deal (directly or mediately) with the subject-matter of all the sciences, with knowledge about this subject-matter obtained by special natural sciences. After all, it is always connected with man's attitude to objective reality and its processes, and phenomena. That is why it is safe to say that knowledge of philosophy of science is not merely a substantial form of comprehension of reality; of man's comprehension, of his bonds with the surrounding world, but a creative reflection of the world; thus, establishing in man's consciousness a prospective and purposeful reality. That is, a reality in which man is able to set himself various tasks and work for their actualization. That is the substance of the nature of philosophy of science which has to establish (and does establish) its validity and has to be applied not in a science of sciences standing apart, but in the real sciences.


No society can progress without a parallel progress attained in the mental development of its people. Talking of mental development and progress, we mean the advancement from myth-ridden consciousness to a clear, unbiased, objective awareness of the world. Awareness liberated from all forms of superstitious beliefs. In other words, awareness that enthrones in its carrier a high and ever-increasing capacity to comprehend phenomena of nature, socio-historical processes, human relations and inter-state relations. Such awareness is possible only when the individual has acquired a scientific knowledge of the world.

You may wish to ask the question, what is scientific knowledge? Following that is the other question: What is the difference between scientific knowledge and knowledge in general? Furthermore, what is the correlation between the progress in scientific knowledge and the growth of sciences?

Knowledge, in the broad sense of the word, is a subjective image of the objective world; a reproduction in language form of the law-governed processes in nature, society and human thinking faculty. This means, in the first place, that knowledge does not and cannot exist irrespective of man, the carrier (the knower), in the second place, without man's relationship with the object he tries to know. Here the subjective and the objective constitute an indissoluble unity.

Knowledge may be classified as everyday, commonplace, scientific, empirical or theoretical. What is common to all these types of knowledge is that they are all based on practice or are connected, however indirectly, with practical activity of man and his requirements. Notwithstanding this, there is a substantial distinction between them. That distinction you have read about earlier.

Scientific knowledge implies not only a statement and description of facts but also their explanation and comprehension within an overall system of concepts in any given science. Everyday or commonplace knowledge amounts to a mere statement which is highly superfical, about how this or that event runs. Scientific knowledge not only answers the question, how but also of why the event tends to take a particular angle instead of some other course. The substance of scientific knowledge consists in its authentic summing up of the facts, in its discovery of the necessary and law-governed, behind the casual or accidental; also, in its unveiling the general (universal) behind the individual as a basis for anticipating the development of phenomena, events, occurrences and objects in the immediate and distant future. In truth, it consists further not only in anticipating events, etc., but consciously shaping and directing their development.

Another important and substantial feature of scientific knowledge is that it is systematic. Scientific knowledge is scientific precisely because it is not a mere agglomeration of scattered bits of knowledge but a coherent, united and interconnected system based on definite initial propositions and uniformities.


There is a strong connection between the advance in scientific knowledge, the growth and the development of the sciences. However interconnected and interdependent they may be, there are substantial distinctions between the two. The development and growth of the sciences are based on uniformities connected with the fact that they are determined by the requirements of socio-historical practice of men; that it is relatively independent; that it has continuity and is gradual, being periodically punctuated with revolutionary discoveries,3 while the advance in scientific knowledge is a purposeful collection of facts, the description of these facts, their analysis or explanation, and formulation on that basis of generalised scientific concepts, categories and theories. It is always the result of concentrated thinking and at times, indeed, long concentrated thinking, and law-governed consummation of earlier cognitive activity.

Scientific discovery gives man, first of all, an ever deepening understanding of the processes of nature. With this new understanding an unending stream of new technological possibilities becomes available. As economically advantageous possibilities are converted into activities, technology and the environment in which men live and work out the pattern of their lives are continuously transformed for the better.

Leaders of great nations have made the momentous discovery that technological exploitation of advances in science is a key to economic and military power. Whether we like it or not, we find ourselves driven by economic pressure and international subjugationist rivalry into scientific and thus technological race. In these circumstances you cannot doubt the immediate future will be a period of continued high-speed technological evolution. It will also be a period of stress for the unprepared individual struggling to adjust his own life to a rapidly changing environment and for our society as a whole in its institutional response to new knowledge, new economic patterns and other consequences of that process.

It is here that the self-reliancist philosophical orientation finds its immediate relevance in helping to prepare the individual and the society as a whole for this inevitability, instead of perpetrating all such myths, old and new, that tend to stultify our people and hold our society down in a state of eternal stagnation.

Fresh powers of imagination and collective wisdom will be needed to convert everyday knowledge into scientific knowledge and the latter into technical advances which in turn will be transformed into long-range human values. In the future, as now, we will have to face grave international problems arising in large part from the non-desire of technologically advanced subjugationist states in allowing the backward new states like Nigeria to share in the material benefits that advanced technology has brought to Europe, North America and Japan. Throughout the world, forces generated by the progress in physical, biological, social sciences and humanities are expected to grow in importance. Therefore, if we, as a people, are to understand the future and carry our share of its responsibilities (less of its burden), our scientists need to know more of the achievements, limitations and language of science, and less mythology, superstitions, etc.

"Science is primarily a way of investigating the timeless regularities of nature"4 and society, because these regularities are time-less, they can be checked at each moment by direct observation and experimentation. They are not mere hearsay which is the whole essence of mythology, superstition, etc. The ultimate authority in science is the fact of observation. Hence, as far as the role category of the self reliancist liberated thinking pattern is concerned, the process of evolving a viable scientific awareness will be to constantly and consciously employ this scientific approach in searching and exploring nature and your environment.

The scientific enterprise has essential contributions to make to our standards of value and our power to discriminate between truth, half-truth, wishful thinking, mere conjecture and outright falsehood coated in the image of knowledge.


The large part of our public seems to be too susceptible to the effects of superstition and falsehood being propagated as knowledge. Part of the problem is that each one of us is brought up in a myth-steeped environment from babyhood onward into a vast complex of superstitious expectations and beliefs that form a background for the interpretation of experience. A new myth is readily accepted on the basis of a small amount of unsubstantiated claim, hearsay, if it fits into the general background, in other words, if it "makes sense". However, our convictions are acquired, the unfortunate thing is that many of us continue to live in such even though they cannot justify their confidence in them (convictions) by completely rigorous logic.

How do we account for the unchanging feature of the superstituous worldview of our people? Does this then prove the claim that mythology and superstition are specific to the African as his peculiar modes of "knowing the world" the African science – as is commonly said often times? Certainly, not even the Europeans had their own share of superstitions, myths, etc. which they had to abandon as socio-historical developmental needs pressed hard on them. They had not completely liberated themselves from the stranglehold of myths and superstitions even up to the Renaissance period.

For instance, the medieval universe described by the Italian poet, Dante, consisted of a spherical earth surrounded by concentric, crystalline spheres, to which were attached the various heavenly bodies. Outside the sphere of the stars was Heaven, dwelling place of God and His host of angels. Beneath the earth was Hell where the damned live out their eternity of punishment. The universe was compact, complete, and essentially static. The entire creation was set at 5200 years B.C., according to Dante and the last judgement was expected in A.D. 1800. Of the total life of 7,000 years which Dante attributed to this universe, J.H. Randall noted:

During this brief period there was no growth, no development, no change outside human affairs; the world had been created for the one purpose of furnishing the background for the drama of man's salvation, and till the last trump.5


However, even though at the beginning of the eighteenth century the exploration of the new universe of modern science was still far from complete, imaginations kindled by the knowledge already gained, were leaping far ahead of "established" facts. Bruno, in the late sixteenth century was the first to perceive that the Copernican conception of the solar system had destroyed the reality of the celestial sphere and so removed the outer boundary of the ancient universe. By A.D. 1700 the distance of the earth from the sun had been measured; with this discovery of the vastness of the solar system came an inkling of what interstellar distances must be. Telescopes had proved the existence innumerable faint stars that must be infinitely more remote than the brighter stars visible to the naked eye. In such a universe the earth could make no further claim to its ancient position rooted in mythology as the centre of all.

The new universe based on scientific observations was orderly and harmonious, governed by universal mathematical laws to which Aristotle's notion of purpose seemed irrelevant. Thus, the study of motion, force and mass explained so much that men like Descartes saw in concepts like these the ultimate tools for dealing with all physical sciences. Boyle and Newton took a serious look at atomic views of Democritus, designed to explain the behaviour of gross matter in terms of hidden motions. Furthermore, Newton grabbed the distinction made by Galileo between primary qualities, such as extension and motion that belong to the domain of mechanics, and secondary qualities such as colour and taste, that describe the sensations produced when the objects in question interact with our sense organs.

This distinction leads naturally to the inference that the mechanical aspect of nature is much more real. Thus was built up the notion that the universe is a vast machine moving in accordance to its own natural (not supernatural!) laws. The motion of a freely swinging pendulum illustrates a somewhat generalised conception of the machine. The shape of the orbit of the bob depends on the way the motion is initiated, but once it is started it follows a definite law, just as do the planets. In this sense, the solar system as a whole is viewed as a machine. The essential character of a machine is that it is a structure put together so that each component part must move in a definite manner under the influence of the driving mechanism.

Under the influence of this scientific orientation, a liberated thinking pattern, were invented and developed in modern Europe an array of machines - the clock, typewriter, locomotive, plane, etc.

Now, what is law of nature or what do we have in mind when we talk about the law of nature? A law of nature is merely a description of what we observe to happen in certain appropriate circumstances. Although we say that such laws regulate or govern nature, they are not to be regarded as rules imposed by an ineffable external authority (supernatural authority), but as exact statements of what all qualified observers have seen in rigorous tests, repeated many times over many years, when they have looked at the given phenomena under identical appropriate conditions.

As far as processes of social development and civil history are concerned, parameters of historical time come into the description of events as well as into the formulation of laws. Events are individualized by fixing spatial and temporal co-ordinates, that is to say, of what country, or what spot, some event or another took place in, and when. When social theories are being applied in which the situations studied are considered within the context of historical time, it is important to indicate their spatial location. The fact is that the regularities with which we are concerned in the context of historical time have a strictly defined domain of application; they operate in concrete conditions of space and time. Such laws are abstracted from events, situations and occurrences that took place in such-and-such an interval in the past or are taking place in the present. Thus, the specific character of the laws of social development is that they are abstracted only from situations localized in certain conditions of space.

Consequently, in the course of historical time the object studied alters so much that it is necessary to limit the operation of former theories about it, and create a new one for the qualitatively new stage in the evolution of the object. This is precisely what we have done in Self-reliancism: Philosophy of a New Order6 when capitalism and socialism were both viewed as products of definite period of human development in the past and that both are marred with grave inadequacies in tackling problems that now confront mankind, hence, self-reliancism, the ascendant philosophy and ideological orientation of the contemporary epoch in human history. We are thus convinced that for a liberated thinking pattern to be effective, it must go through the self-reliancist philosophical liberation to become enlightened. In other words, it must be embedded with the principle and spirit of self-reliancism.


Philosophy emerged by questioning the authenticity of popularly held views about the origins, causes and presence of things, events, etc., or the lack of them, in a bid to establish their true origins or causes. Philosophy thus became the first form of theoretical knowledge while simultaneously fighting mythology and religious bigotry. That way liberated pattern of thinking evolved, laying the foundation of scientific knowledge and the emergence of the sciences. Advancement in science brought with it the emergence, development and growth of technology as a direct link between science and industry - material production.


1. The first fundamental invention of man was,

a) The notion of God

b) Music

c) Labour

d) Automobile

e) Superstition

2. Greek science grew out of:

a) Greek religion

b) Greek mythology

c) Greek oracle

d) Greek philosophy

e) None of the above

3. The dark ages in Europe brought forth

a) Imagination (b) Polytheism (c) History (d) Empiricism (e) Christianity

4. Philosophy, in Thomas Aquinas’ view, commands only,

a) The truths of mythology

b) The truths of materialism

c) The truths of reason

d) The truths of ideology

e) All of the above

5. According to Copernicus, the universe is governed by

a) Universal mathematical law

b) Universal existentialist law

c) Law of nemesis

d) Law of thermodynamics

e) Universal epistemological law


1. For further reading, see, Bertrand Russell: A History of Western Philosophy, London, Unwin Paperback, 1979

2. See, Theodore Oizerman: Problems of the History of Philosophy, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1966, for further reading on this issue.

3. Thomas S. Kuhn: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions Second Edition, Enlarged Vol. II No. 2, Chicago University Press, 1962 will prove an essential additional reading here.

4. Edwin C. Kemble: Physical Science, Its Structure and Development, The M.I.T. Press, Cambridge, 1966 p. 2.

5. J. H. Randall: The Making of the Modern Mind Houghton, Mifflin Co. Boston, New York, 1940 (revised edition) p. 33.

6. E. Kolawole Ogundowole Self-reliancism: Philosophy of a New Order, Ikeja, John West Publications, 1988.


The central focus of this module is to take you along the path trod by the human thought pattern that generated the first rudiments of scientific reasoning which grew into science. The purpose is to make you realise that the sciences as we have them today did go through the labyrinth of dark alleys bordered by the jungles of superstitions, myths, etc. This way you are able to appreciate the fact that science has its roots in practical activity of men in antiquity. Precisely, science grew out of philosophy through critical thinking by formulating impersonal naturalistic theory i.e. without reference to purpose, gods, God or devil. You are to realise, too, that gross forms of magic, myths, superstitions stultify human mental ability, shut off all questions that lead to disciplined inquiry into the details of reality as the Roman period and the Christian era clearly depicts. It was the re-affirmation of liberated human wisdom that brought back in Ibn Sina, Roger Bacon, Francis Bacon, Nicolai Copernicus and Giordano Bruno the authentic course of scientific development in Renaissance Europe. The Copernican Revolution signified this resoundingly.


This module surveys painstakingly the course of early history of science. It shows how philosophy was able to break through the labyrinth of myths, superstitions, religious world view and establish itself as an authentic search for an objective true knowledge of the world, thus paving the way for the emergence of scientific knowledge and science. It noted the Greek phase in the development of science, how the long adherence to gross forms of magic by the Romans hindered the development of science in the pre-Christian Rome. Similarly, the module points it out how Christianity, the sole ideological orientation of Medieval Europe, absorbed philosophical mysticism and irrationalism contained in Plato's philosophy and turned philosophy into the handmaid of theology and caused the evaporation of science and scientific thinking. Finally, the module stresses that the revival and re-affirmation of human wisdom by Ibn Sina, Roger Bacon, Francis Bacon, Nicolai Copernicus and Giordano Bruno brought back to life science and liberated scientific thinking pattern.


To tell a meaningful story of the beginning and development of science you need the help of archaeology. This is so because the history of early science, is intertwined with the whole vast and intricate history of ancient man. This way you will gain an insight to the nature of science and appreciate it as a social activity of men directed toward the liberation of himself from both the visible and invisible forces in the universe. (visible drought, flood, etc, invisible microbes, vira (AIDS) etc).

To establish a time scale, let us begin with the age of the earth. It is believed that the earth is about 4 to 5 billion years of age. Animals with hard shells became abundant about 500 million years ago. In Gordon Childe's What Happened in History (Peguius, 1942) you are informed that Neanderthal men, extinct cousins of Homo sapiens, were already giving ceremonial burial to their dead and providing the graves with food and tools over 100,000 years ago. The savage of the cave men and hunters of the Stone Age merged into the activities of the first settled agricultural communities about 10,000 years ago.

The first civilization with cities, specialized craft men, and the forms of writing appeared in the valleys of Tigris, Euphrates, Nile, and Indus rivers perhaps 5,000 to 6,000 years.

Therefore, in truth, clearly appreciable story of civilization may be said to have occupied only one or two percent of the existential history of man as a fully differentiated biological species being.

However, since the history of science in the broader sense includes the history of primitive technology, it goes back far beyond the first civilizations.

Moreover, the so-called primitive men accumulated enormous amount of practical knowledge. It is the "primitive" men that modern men owe the discovery and subsequent artificially selecting the edible plants from the wild vegetation, domestication of animals, development of agriculture, the art of pottery making, inventions of weapons for hunting, invention of technology for shaping stones into tools and for shaping bronze tools and weapons etc. A fundamental invention, which underlies all these achievements in physical and biological technology enumerated above is LABOUR the ability to work i.e. ability to act purposefully and attain the prescribed result. A second fundamental invention by the ancient men is language - a system of sound symbols used for communication with one another. The development of language, particularly speech language, and its elaboration led to yet another invention basic to human life - the creation of myths of various kinds.

Labour and speech language are surely the greatest of inventions and perhaps the most striking characteristic of human existence as distinguished from the being of even the higher non-human animals. The development of labour activity led to the inventions of series of physical and biological technology mentioned earlier, while the development of language, speech language, opened the way to the invention of abstract ideas, to the formulation of questions concerning the why and how of the order of nature, and thus to the creation of the myths by which these questions were first attempted to be answered and were answered, actually, in a way their own peculiar way. Such myths and the ceremonies by which they were acted out played a vital role in the organisation of the ancient, if you like the primitive, societies and still of certain societies even in the modern world of today (at least in our African and other underdeveloped world of today). Perhaps most striking of the ancient myths seems to be the one regarding the origin and nature of heaven, earth and man himself. There exist multitude of such myths and stories.

Archaeological data reveal that in ancient times activities connected with agriculture and the practical arts were interwoven with religious ceremonies and superstitious practices to form well-defined cultural patterns of behaviours and thought. As you know, on the basis of our people's experience in the rural areas, the so-called primitive cultural patterns are of vast importance in the maintenance of the stability of communal organisations. It was so also in Europe and other societies. Social anthropology indicates varieties of social forms created by primitive ancient cultures. It also notes the strict limitations which each of these cultures and their variables imposed on the range of thought of those who lived and participated in such cultures. Major of such limitations is perhaps the rigidity and permanence of the thought patterns exhibited by various tribes or communities, rigidity of thought patterns restricts the exploration of new ideas and new techniques. This seems a probable explanation of the fact that major advances in the evolution of early society were in most cases products of times of social stress due to changing climate, external aggression, the pressure of growing population, etc.

Physical anthropology suggests that the biological evolution of the brain of Homo sapiens was substantially complete well before the rise of civilization. Nevertheless the development and growth of science and technology had not been that rapid.

However, slowly, and step by step, our cultural ancestors in Africa and the Middle East discovered techniques that gave the way to civilisation. They invented and mastered the arts of drainage and irrigation so as to make the low lands along the lower river Tigris and Nile become useful farmlands. They invented the arts of brick-making, of converting copper ores into metallic copper, by heating with charcoal, of mixing tin with copper and, of casting and hammering the alloy into durable weapons and tools. They harnessed oxen and invented sailboats. An economic and social revolution occurred about 3000 B.C. which transformed self-sufficient villages into cities. These cities engaged in foreign trades and were structured internally to a number of different specialised crafts and other occupations. The new development brought with it rapid advances in the art of writing, in mathematics, architecture and technology. Evidence of this are the geometrically well laid-out pyramids built in ancient Egypt about 2500 B.C.


However, in spite of all this in ancient world, particularly in Egypt, the development of science and technology was seriously hindered by the practical interest of the people and by their yet primitive pattern of thinking and thus superstitious world out look.

It is not difficult for you today, given our own socio-cultural background, to imagine the mythological and animistic universe in which these early peoples lived. The major physical phenomena were personalized just the way our people still do to date. For instance when the river Nile failed to rise as expected, the ancient Egyptians believed it was because the River Nile refused to do so. This is similar to the views held by many of our people in modern time regarding the River Ogunpa flood in Ibadan some years ago. When it was alleged that the goddess of Ogunpa River was annoyed because of long neglect: no regular sacrifices made to appease her.

Of the Eygptians, there was not thought of how rainfall in the region of the headwaters could make the volume of water in the River Nile low. In the case of the Ogunpa flood similarly, there was no thought of high rainfall at the headwaters which led to the increase in the volume of the water in Ogunpa River; nor was an inkling of the numerous man-made obstruction on the embankment of River Ogunpa which hindered the normal free flow of water along the nature-established water ways.

In those pre-scientific days and as it is today among a large proportion of our population, men lacked contemporary conception of impersonal natural law and basic distinction between subjective opinion (or appearance) and objective knowledge (tested fact free from individual bias and superstitious veil). The truth of this position is well captured in the following passage from H. A. Frankfort et al. The idea expressed in the passage will help you to comprehend better the above stated fact. The passage runs thus,

On this distinction, scientific thought has based a critical and analytical procedure by which it progressively reduces the individual phenomena to typical events subject to universal laws. Thus it creates an increasingly wide gulf between our perception of the phenomena (of nature) and the conceptions by which we make them comprehensible. We see the sun rise and set, but we think the earth is moving round the sun. We see colours, but we describe them as wavelengths... In the immediacy of primitive experience, there is no room for such a critical resolution of perceptions.

(H. and H. A. Frankfort et allies, The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man pp. 11 and 13)
The distinction between subjective opinion and objective knowledge, between appearance and the true nature of things, reality, did not exist for the primitive mind. Dreams were not much less real than waking experiences. Symbols were identified with the things for which they stood. For instance, the Pharaohs of Egypt were known with a practice of inscribing the names of their enemies on pottery bowls. At a ritual, the bowls were solemnly smashed believing that as the bowls broke the enemies whose names had been inscribed on the bowls would automatically (magically) die. Similar practices are still very much popular with a large proportion of our people even today.

Philosophers and historians of science agree that this clumsy pattern of thinking explains why the Egyptians and Babylonians did not progress in science beyond the immediately observed facts. Same may be said of our own socio-cultural environment today.


Ancient Greek philosophy came into being as a powerful intellectual movement towards knowledge in its all embracing theoretical form. It proclaims the principle that knowledge itself is of no value and needed only because it teaches man correct path in life.

It is to the details of this and its place in the rise and development of science that you will read about in the next chapter.

As you read earlier in Chapter One, the emergence of philosophy in ancient Greece coincided with the struggle to liberate human reasoning and human thought pattern from the stranglehold of superstition created by mytholology and religion. Therefore you can safely state that modern world owe to the Greeks the idea of critical thinking and thus the creation of an intellectual life. Their achievements in philosophy, art, and science were distinct and demonstrative of the model of liberated pattern of thought, hence Bruno Snell aphoristically described them as having "discovered the human mind". (Bruno Snell, The Discovery of the Mind).

Greek science grew out of Greek philosophy. The latter having successfully established itself by dislodging mythical thinking and other superstitious religious thought patterns as fully discussed in Chapter One. Philosophy in its broadest sense is the search for a rational understanding and explanation of the universe.

The development and systematic use of the basic distinction between appearance and reality, between the true nature of things and the opinion you may form about these things, was the main focus of the Greek philosophic development. Precisely, it was this distinction that was lacking in the ancient Egyptian thought pattern and in the way of thinking of a large proportion of our people even today. The inability to make the distinction marred the development of science and scientific thinking in ancient Egypt. Where this distinction is not made, there is no reason to ask questions of the sort that lead to scientific discoveries. The Greeks developed the notion that the universe is an orderly one which man can hope to understand. Majorly, their approach to understanding was made through a critical discussion of broad general principles or insights drawn from everyday experience.

They had materialist philosophical orientation. This philosophical stand, no doubt helped in their emancipation partially from primitive thought pattern in interpreting natural phenomena in terms of the actions of gods and spirits. Thereby they were able to arrive at the conception of impersonal law by which human experience and observations of the surrounding world can be given an organised interpretation. The Ionian philosophers, Thales, Anaximander, Anaximene and Heraclitus, oppose the stories of creation in the mythology of the Babylonians and Egyptians and attempt to formulate an impersonal naturalistic theory. They try to explain the origin of the universe from nature itself. Thus to Thales the universe orignated from water. In Anaximene's view, air was the origin of the universe. While Heraclitus sees it in fire. Anaximander introduces the concept "arhé", the primary principle, or beginning of all things, which he considered to be apeuron. As you can see, unlike the first three philosophers of the Ionian Eleatic School, who try to explain the origin of the world by recourse to natural elements, air, water, fire, Anaximander conceives and formulates abstract concept "arhé" to represent the source, origin, of the universe.

This is a perfect impersonal concept which ignores the creator-gods of the Egyptians and the Babylonians. Impersonal law is nothing other than describing in words and other symbols (e.g. (beta), (gama),? (etc) those constant characteristics of the behaviour of the universe, i.e. law of nature. Democritus and his other atomist colleagues who formulated the first atomic theory several thousand years ago approached their doctrine from the same intellectual perspective. They were highly rational in their approach. The questions they asked were answered only by a succession of generations of scientists based on a painstaking study of the simplest natural process.

However, Greek science was by no means "all of a single piece". Its history, just as the history of Greek ideas in general, is one of conflicting currents and crosscurrents to which we cannot do justice in just one brief lecture on it. Suffice to note here that Plato afterwards distorted the beautiful paths of scientific development established by the early philosophers. According to Plato the good and the just are not the inventions or conventions of human societies but discoveries rooted in the rational structure of the cosmos.

Ocean waves, which merely come and go, are but appearances; the idea of a wave is timeless. Individual cats are born and die, but the idea of cat is timeless. Thus, the world of the logical mind was conceived by Plato to be the supreme reality of which the objects and occurrences of daily life are but imperfect shadows. Socrates, Plato and the Pythagoreans erroneously believe that moral purpose rules the universe. In Plato's view, the laws of the physical universe, like the laws of the spiritual universe, are expressions of a cosmic drive toward perfection. Given the development of modern science and its attainment, this emphasis on purpose and perfection in nature by the later philosophers was unfortunate. It is a distortion which is capable of consolidating the ignorance of unliberated primitive thought pattern. Religious people today share this Plato's views on moral order of the universe, and regard it as a reflection of divine purpose. However, the prime achievement of modern science and scientific reasoning is the discovery that the events and processes you observe in the physical world are controlled in detail by a system of universal "mechanical", or mathematical laws that can be formulated without reference to purpose, God or devil. The fact you need to take note of here is that the interpretation of such processes in terms of purpose tends to shut off questions of details which are the starting point of fruitful scientific investigation.

Aristotle reacted against the misconceptions of Socrates and Plato to formulate a philosophy of nature based solely on broad general arguments unconnected with the systemic gathering and organisation of scientific facts. This gave the initial impetus to the development of specialisation which characterised the subsequent stage in the development of science and scientific reasoning after the break-up of Alexander's empire. Aristotle wrote virtually on all subjects.

His numerous written works range cover physical and biological science, logic, etc. He was an observer as well as a thinker, but more of a scientific pathbreaker. With him began the systematic gathering and organisation of scientific facts. Aristotle's aim is to understand, to find out why things are as they are . It is not to control things, not to make them different from what they are.

After the death of Alexander the Great, Alexanderia, the new city in Egypt, became the new nerve centre of Greek intellectualism. There Ptolemy I, one of Alexander's friends, created a university and library which contained 400,000 volumes of manusccrit books. The big names in science at the Alexandrian then were Euclid, Appollonius, Claudius Ptolemy, Archimedes of Syracuse - the greatest of the ancient scienctists. He developed the equilibrium used in shipbuilding, and the rudiments of laser ray technology.


There was no appreciable growth in the development of science in the Roman Empire despite its sophistication in the art of governance and jurisprudence. The Romans had a different scale of value. They viewed science as fit only for casual speculation. They appreciated its value only in practical techniques. Stoicism and Epicureanism, the two leading schools of thought in the Roman Empire engage in scientific matters only in relation to ethical philosophies. They both promoted dignified resignation and the pursuit of happiness. The scholar of note in this period who did pay attention of some sort to science was Lucretius who wrote the work, On the Nature of Things. This was a masterpiece of speculative science. Its main focus were atomistic explanations of phenomena while the main purpose and functions of the work were to instil fear and obedience among the masses who then were ignorant and highly superstitious.

In the absence of indigenous scientists of substance in the 2nd century A. D., the Roman authorities, during the reign of Marcus Aurelius, hired two Greek scientists: Galen of Pergamon and Ptolemy of Alexandria. Galen's preoccupation was the advancement of medicine, anatomy and physiology, while Ptolemy advanced mathematical astronomy further to a near classic perfection. He also applied the scientific mathematical method to the early beginning of social science and astrological prediction.

In spite of the insignificant contribution by the Romans in the development of science, they attained a high level development of technologies of warfare and public hygiene. Slavery was the dominant labour force in the Roman Empire. Historians believe that that situation contributed to the low level of innovation in industrial production. Consequently production did not stimulate the growth of science. In addition to that was the Romans’ long adherence to gross forms of magic. As you read earlier, where superstitions and myths hold sway over people's mind, is no commitment to the search of knowledge. Myths, superstitions shut off all questions that lead to disciplined inquiry into the details of reality. The combination of these factors seem to have constituted the major hindrance to the development of science in the pre-Christian Rome.


The Dark Ages, another name for the Middle Ages in Europe, brought forth Christianity. Christianity, which became the dominant and virtually the sole ideological orientation of that period, absorbed the philosophical mysticism and irrationalism contained in Platonism. Platonism, the teachings of Plato, marks the age of the final decay of the ancient world.

Christianity is the charasteric product of the Graeco-Roman world. It replaced the Graeco-Roman polytheism. The apologists of Christianity, the new religion that ousted the polytheism philosophy, argued that the fundamental problems of Christian doctrine (i.e God, the creation of the world) had already been posed by ancient Greek philosophy, but only Christianity could provide the true answers. St Augustine, Quintus Septimius Florens, and other fathers of the church interpreted and elaborated the philosophical mysticism and irrationalism of neo-Platonism and other idealist doctrines related to it in a most profound theological way. An in-dept historico-philosophical analysis revealed that the New Testament, or as is also called divine revelation, recounted by the apostles of Jesus Christ is but a theological revision of the philosophical theories of later antiquity with the addition of numerous borrowings from other heathen teachings.

For instance, the ancient conception of the universe which places the earth at the centre that was developed by Eudoxus and Aristotle was beautifully adopted to the Christian conception of the divine plan that shapes human destiny. According to this Christian conception, man's lower nature tends to drag him down to the abode of satan in a hell, located by scholastic philosophy at the centre of the earth beneath our feet, while man's higher nature seeks union with God in a heaven in the empyrean (the highest heaven) beyond the whirling sphere of the stars. Between earth and heaven are spheres where the angels and archangels are housed who have charge of the movement of the celestial bodies. On earth are gross corruptible matter subject to perpetual change and seeking to reach the lowest possible level, while the changeless, incorruptible heavens are made of special substance to which the laws of terrestrial physics do not apply. Thus, the impression is created that the design of the universe is an expression of the divine plan for the salvation of man.

Similarly, to the medieval theologians and philosophers, the scriptures seemed to be radically different from the human wisdom of the ancient people. Thus it became a divine revelation, the indisputable source for all theorising about the divine and the things of this world. For the medieval thinker, therefore, divine wisdom existed in a form accessible to man i.e. expounded in the sacred books. The only problem thus was to be able to understand it to interpret it correctly. This is de facto a return to the pre-philosophic Greece when knowledge and wisdom were ascribed to the gods.

Theology, you can then see, is the meta-philosophy of the European Middle Ages. According to Thomas Aquinas, theology descends from the divine to the terrestrial while philosophy seeks to ascend from the terrestrial and temporal to the divine and absolute. Philosophy, in his view, commands only the truths of reason, whereas theology expounds superrational although not irrational truths, whose sources is Divine Reason. In the circumstance, philosophy inevitably becomes the handmaid of theology. Love of wisdom is transformed into an intellectualised religious feeling. And metaphysical wisdom can be only the interpretation of theological wisdom, authentically expounded in the Bible. Therefore the philosopher cannot, nor is he expected to arrive at any new or unexpected conclusions. No new idea is possible. The conclusions are given in advance and all that has to be done is to lay a logical path towards them, that is to say, to justify Christian dogma in the face of everyday common sense which is afraid not to believe in miracles and the supernatural in general and yet cannot conceive how all this is possible. Literate culture in Western Europe, ruled by Rome, was barely kept alive in the monastries.


The question you are likely to want to ask is, whether there were no thinkers throughout the period who upheld scientific outlook? There were some outstanding medieval thinkers who were corrupted with the Christian doctrine. These thinkers interpreted philosophical wisdom far more freely and independently. Their views were close to some of the ancient Greek thinkers, e.g. Aristotle's. In a sense they could be said to be the latter's followers. One such mediaval thinker was Ibn Sina (at times spelt Avecenna). According to him, wisdom may be of two kinds. First, it is perfect knowledge. Perfect knowledge with regard to a concept is such that it knows a thing through its essence and definition, and with regard to a judgement it is such that it is a reliable judgement on all causes of those things that have causes. Second, it is perfection of action. This understanding of wisdom by Ibn Sina has serious bearings on the subsequent ages in the development of philosophy and scientific knowledge as worldly, earthly, human wisdom. Ibn Sina belonged to the Islamic world whose civilization was at its peak in Spain and Palestine at that time. Thus, 12th century witnessed a renaissance of some sort. Speculative treatises appeared. Followed by the establishment of a number of universities, great monasteries which brought forth the age of scholastic teaching. Roger Bacon came into prominence during this period owing to his experimental orientation. He was known to have carried out a number of experiments. He is seen till date in the history of science as the precursor of modern experimental science. A materialist in outlook, though not consistent he was dismissed from teaching at Oxford University in 1277, because of what the authorities called his heretical views and was confined to a monastery by the order of the church authorities.

Roger Bacon condemned scholastic dogmatism and veneration of authority which are harmful to the growth of scientific knowledge. He advocated the experimental study of nature and a new and independent approach to learning. He upheld experiment and mathematics as a means of obtaining knowledge. The aim of all learning, according to him, is to increase man's power over nature. Roger Bacon was not totally liberated from the medieval thinking pattern. There were still traces of alchemist, astrological, and magical superstitions in his works. Nevertheless, he put forward a number of bold scientific and technical conjectures which furthered the development of human wisdom in general and modern science in particular.

Additional impetus to the development of science in Medieval Europe was the persistent influence from the development and growth of civilization in the far East - China and Japan. The magnetic compass, gunpowder and the printing and book-making technology were the products of the Chinese civilization.


The Renaissance period in Europe brought forth a new perspective of the world and thus a regeneration of science and scientific world outlook. One major source of this was Humanism. Humanism is a world view of a kind which places premium value on man qua man over every other thing. The emerged humanist scholars were responsible for the regeneration of science by revisiting and re-establishing appropriate civilization of the ancient world. Promient among the humanist scholars were Leonardo da Vinci, Giordano Bruno, Francis Bacon, Nicolaus Copernicus and others. These scholars helped mould mundane views.


Francis Bacon (1561-1626), an English philosopher played a vital role in shaping the new outlook on the world. His work entitled the Novum Organum (New Organon) was devoted to working out a systematic method of inquiry. The work was a direct response to the major logical principles evolved and elaborated by Aristotle in his Organon.

Aristotle is regarded the founder of deductive logical principles - a mode of logical reasoning which departs from general, universal, to particular, concrete; the act of proving or inferring a conclusion (effect) with certainty and necessity form one or more premises by the laws of logic. In a deduced conclusion the effects are concealed in the premisses and have to be inferred by methods of logical analysis. The modern concept of deducting is a far-reaching generalisation of Aristotelian interpretation of a syllogistic deduction stated above (from the general to the particular). Broadly, deduction denotes any inference. In contrast, induction, as a method of study, means a way of experimentally studying phenomena, in the course of which we pass from single facts to general propositions; the single facts lead to general propositions. Therefore you can state that inductive principle demands that you study each individual phenomenon or object concretely in details as much as possible and keep records of your observations of it fully. It is from here you derive the full meaning of Bacon's injunction that you should open your eyes to the ‘Big Book of Nature’. What he means is that you keep a close observation of the phenomena in nature and study same concretely and individually in detail, rather than engage in speculative or superstitious interpretation of them. Only in this way can you discover the actual processes that are taking place in nature; penetrate and lay bare the inner secrets of nature. For if the purpose of knowledge is to aid practical activity, you need to truly grasp the essence of a phenomenon before you can use it for an appropriate purpose. In this regard Francis Bacon writes:

Human knowlege and human power meet in one; for where the cause is not known the effect cannot be produced. Nature to be commanded must be obeyed.

While in the Middle Ages under the influence of religious dogmatism explanation of events things were sought in the imagined divine gospel truth, the new Baconean approach urges you to search for the explanation of events phenomena and things within the nature about such events, phenomena and things, and not import meaning, explanation from without. You see, a return to the ancient Greek orientation - the eminence of human wisdom.


As the Italian society was recovering from the cultural breakdown brought about by horrifying experience of the Plague of the fourteen century, new forces began to take shape. The public outrage caused by high corruption in the Church seemed to be preparing the ground for the Protestant Reformation wars which followed. Resistance to the over-rigidity of scholastic philosophy was mounting. It was a period marked by the urge for economic and political change. Thus, fresh interest in ancient cultural heritage surged. Many manuscripts, some in original Greek, found their way into Europe, fostering renewed interest in pagan humanism, in art and nature.

In astronomy, attention was focused on two different problems:

1. How to reconcile the epicycles of Ptolemy's Almagest with the concentric spheres of Aristotle.

2. Why was it that neither the original theory of Plotemy nor any of its numerous modifications made by the Arabs was adequate to fit all the observations available in the fifteenth century? This situation brought forth numerous theory patchings.

It was around this period that Nikolaus Copernicus was born in 1473. He grew up to become a monk. He studied at the University of Cracow in his nativeland, Poland. Later also studied in Universities at Bologna, Rome, Padua, and Ferrara in Italy. In Italy while studying medicine, law, mathematics and theology, he was acquainted with leading astronomers and different ideas concerning the discipline prevalent at the time. He returned to his native Poland after his studies. He was a man of many sides and interests. He was a monk (canon), astronomer, physician, economist, a manager of estates and translator of Greek verses into Latin prose.

But in spite of all that he made numerous astronomical observations and tried to work out the details of his findings to see if they could be fitted accurately to all the astronomical facts. The full account of his theory is embodied in his book, De Revolutionibus Orbium Caelestitum.

Copernicus assumed that the sun and stars are at rest, that the earth rotates about its axis of spin once every day and revolves about the sun once a year. Furthermore, that other planets revolve about the sun in orbits that never get far from the plane of the ecliptic and with the same direction of rotation as the earth's. The speeds of the planets are required to decrease as their distances from the sun increase. As a result the periods of rotation increase with distance from the sun. The moon alone, he holds, revolves about the earth itself.

In the late sixteenth century, Giordano Bruno was the first to perceive that the Copernican conception of the Solar System had destroyed the reality of the celestial sphere - the hallmark of the medieval universe. The medieval universe as described by the Italian poet, Dante (1262-1321) in his book, Divine Comedy, consisted of a spherical earth surrounded by concentric, crystalline spheres, to which were attached the various heavenly bodies. Outside the sphere of the stars was Heaven, the dwelling place of God and His host of angles and archangels.

Beneath the earth was Hell, where the damned receive their eternal punishment. The creation of the universe was 5200 years B.C. and the last judgement was to occur in 1800 A.D.

The new universe conceived by Copernicus was orderly and harmonious, governed by universal mathematical laws. Bruno was not an astronomer but an iconoclastic thinker who accepted the Copernican scheme with great enthusiasm. He wandered over Europe from university to university, teaching that the stars are suns spread through infinite space, each surrounded by whirling planets inhabited, probably, by living beings like ourselves. If the earth is not the centre, then the sun is not likely to be. An infinite universe has no centre. Since the universe is infinite in size, then it is inifinite in time. Thus, Bruno turned from Christianity to pantheism. Drunken with superstitions and religious dogmatism, the powers that be were after Bruno because of his views. He was urged to renounce his writings. He refused, upholding the validity of his claims. Consequently he was burnt alive at the stake in 1600 using his manuscripts as fuel.


Since the history of science in the broader sense includes the history of so-called primitive technology, it goes back far beyond recorded first civilisation. That means to tell a meaningful story of the beginning and development of science, you need the help of archaeology. This is so because the history of early science is intertwined with the whole vast and intricate history of ancient man. The first fundamental invention by man, labour, and language (speech language, regarded as the second most fundamental invention by man) could be said to have provided the needed foundation for emergence and triumph of science: labour fosters the intensive interaction between man and his natural environment whereby more is discovered about nature and man himself, language serves the means of codifying experiences, events, occurrences, etc. and above all of communicating all these and the impersonal formulation of theories, laws, etc. - the hallmark of science.


1. To tell a meaningful story of the beginning and development of science, you need the help of

(a) Archaeology (b) Sociology (c) Philosophy (d) Existentialism (e) Greek historians

2. Which of the following did not hinder the development of science and technology in ancient world?

(a) The practical interest of the people

(b) The discovery of planet Jupiter

(c) Primitive pattern of thinking

(d) Superstitious world outlook

(e) None of the above

3. Who described the Greeks as having “discovered the human mind”?

(a) Nicolai Copernicus

(b) Isaac Newton

(c) Bruno Snell

(d) Francis Bacon

(e) René Descartes

4. Deification of human wisdom was characteristic of ……………………………

(a) Islamic era (b) Judaic era (c) Budtist era (d) Pentecostal era (e) Christian era

5. The two leading schools of thought in the Roman Empire engaged in scientific matters only in relation to ethical philosophies were:

(a) Rationalism and Empiricism

(b) Idealism and materialism

(c) Stoicism and Epicureanism

(d) Taoism and Buddhism

(e) Humanism and existentialism


1. Gordon Childe What Happened in History Penguin Books, 1942, p. 63ff.

2. H. and H. A. Frankfort et. al. The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man pp. 11-13.

3. Bruno Snell The Discovery of the Mind Harper and Row, N. Y. 1960.

4. S. R. K. Glanville (ed.) The Legacy of Egypt, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1942, Ch, 1.


The general objective of this module is to let you see glaringly the second coming of science made possible through emphasis on concrete methods of observation, experimentation, mathematical calculation, and accurate measurement. This is demonstrated by the contributions made by Descartes, Galileo, Brahe, Kepler and Newton. Thus at the end of the module you should know concrete contribution made by the named scientists to the development of science, the impact of the new science on religious beliefs, major achievements made in science in eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Similarly, you should know how scientific and technical progress penetrated into industrial material production, and with the attainment of the scientific and technological revolution how science is converted into a direct productive force thereby creating a "science-technology-production system" (Afanasiev). Finally, you are expected to appreciate as well both the pessimistic and optimistic appraisals of the scientific and technological revolution.


This module provides cogent accounts of the history of science in the seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. It examines the fate of religious beliefs in light of the comprehensive achievements of science; the regularities and trends in the development of science, and the relationship between science and industry. Also, a subtle distinction between scientific and technical progress and the scientific and technological revolution. It concludes with a consideration of both the pessimistic and optimistic evaluation of the scientific and technological revolution and the future of science.


Today, science can rest on its achievements without too great a concern about its methods or their theoretical certainty. It was not so at the time when science meant a break with everything that people had reverenced as true - myths, religious beliefs, etc. The search for a method that would give certain knowledge was paramount scientific problem of the sixteenth century in Europe. Ironically the very discovery made by Nikolai Copernicus that the earth moved increased the distrust of the senses and experience. As the result more turned to mathematics as the only unshakable knowledge. The point was that daily experience shows that men see the sun rise in the east in the morning and set in the west in the evening. What men see here seems to conform with Ptolemy's claim that the sun moves around the earth. But when Copernicus proved this to the contrary, that it is the earth that moves, the question most important to all then was, if men's eyes lied here, where could they be trusted? The search for an answer to this question helps to explain why the mathematical method came up to its height in development already in Isaac Newton at a time when experimental science was just about starting to find its feet on ground.

One thing had become certain: Emphasis on measurement, quantity, and quantitative mathematcal relationships must dominate the search for scientific work. Already before Copernicus, Leonardo da Vinci held a strong convinction of the mathematical character of the natural law. For Kepler, certainty and objectivity can be reached only through exact measurements. The development of science gained new impetus when the predictions of mathematical theory were confirmed by quantitative measurements.

You have already learnt about Francis Bacon that he advocated concentration of facts made known to you through your sense. You shall now learn about René Descartes and his position with respect to the relative part to be played by reason in the discovery of scienctific truth.


René Descartes (1596-1650) was a French mechanistic philosopher, mathematician, physicist and physiologist, one of the founders of analytic geometry. He performed a great service not only to philosophy but also to science. This makes him still useful to all students of philosophy and science today. The service is the method of doubt which he invented. The method of doubt became necessary because human particular thought and feelings are characterised by primitive certainty. Thus to attain true knowledge, your instinctive beliefs should be brought into a definite hierarchy begining with those you hold most strongly, and presenting each as much isolated, and as free, from irrelevant additions as possible. Since any of your beliefs may be mistaken, you must not take anything for granted, i.e. all your beliefs ought to be held with at least some slight element of doubt. However, you cannot have reason to reject a belief except on the ground of some other belief. That is why, while organising your instinctive beliefs and their consequences, you consider which among them is most possible. If necessary, you modify or abandon them altogether. On the basis of acceping as your sole data what you instinctively believe, you can arrive at an orderly systematic organisation of knowledge in which, though the possibility of error remains itslikelihood, such is diminished by critical scrutiny. This is a proven way of the scientists. Many scientists evolved and developed precisely upholding the new perspective.

Thus, with the new perspective and new orientation of the world, Brahe, Galileo, Kepler, Newton and others built upon the Copernican revolution. The contributions of these scientists shall now be discussed in the following segment.


To make the story of the revolution accomplished by Copernicus complete and how modern science evolved, it is necessary to move from astronomy to physics. The growth of the latter was slower compared with the former. Understandably, physics involves the application of quantitative measurements to familiar natural processes about us. These have little of the poetic fascination of the glittering sky, less still of its religious connotation, and of the superstitous nuances which form the major interest of astrologers regarding the stars. Before the details of Galileo's, listen to Aristotle's.

Aristotle's authority and its impact

Not much was forthcoming in the area of the study of motion for a very long time. Though some achievements were registered in the area of statics. Archimedes of Syracuse of the Alexandrian age laid the foundation for the study of forces in equilibrium. He discovered the law of the lever and formulated the concept of destiny and did a major work in hydrostatics, followed by Leonardo da Vinci and the Dutch engineer Simon Stevin who invented the decimal fraction in 1586. Stevin's interest was focused on the study of the problem of equilibrium for a body resting on a frictionless inclined plane and carried out some experiments with falling bodies.

However the study of dynamics dates back into antiquity, the major authority in this area being Aristotle. For a very long time Aritotle's authority was a stumbling block on the way to progress. Aristotle had started with the supposition that inside the sphere of the moon, in the sublunary universe beneath the heavens, everything has a natural level to which it moves except if the way is barred. Accordingly, in air fire rises, but water, rocks and earth fall. In water, earth sinks, but bubbles of air rise. All these unforced motions to him and his disciples, were the products of a univesal strivig toward an ideal stable order in which the four basic elements earth, fire, water and air would occupy four successive concentric spheres. Therefore the continual flux of events in the universe is owing to an essential instability caused by the fact that the four basic elements are partially mixed with each other, as a result they were pulled out of their natural positions. Motions were therefore split into two classes. Natural and violent. Vertical motions of bodies ascending or decending toward their proper level are seen as natural. While all other motions are regarded as violent.

Since rest, at its proper level, is seen as the natural state of everybody, it was believed that violent motions are caused by the application of force, the pushing or pulling of some other body, or the medium in which the body in question moves.

Now more about Galileo's theory.


Galileo's analytic mind was focused at getting a clear understanding of phenomena of motion. He found the arguments to be inadequate and fought uncompromisingly against the resort to authority in matters that can be verified through experiment. Abandoning the Greek emphasis on purpose in nature and nature processes, Galileo paid greater attention to measurable aspects of physical processes. This way he was able to develop a quantitative theory to replace the confused qualitative conceptions of Aristotle.

Historians of science note that the first open clash Galileo had with Aristotle concerned the relative speeds of fall of bodies of different weight. Traditionally, it was held that the speed of a falling body is proportional to its weight. However, through observation, Galileo established that this is not true for heavy bodies.

If you drop two tubers of yam with the one having the weight of 1 kg and the other 3kg, the lighter one does not take three times as long to reach the ground compared to the heavier one. There is no perceptible difference in time of fall. Furthermore, since objects of different density which fall with nearly the same speed in air are observed to sink with different speeds in water, the resistance of air has something to do with the speed of fall. Therefore, the difference in speed of light objects is caused by difference of air resistance, which is more important for the light objects than for falling heavy objects. Galileo gave details of this analysis in his work, Dialogues concerning two New Sciences. At first all this was very difficult to do. One thing you need to take note of is that forces are not visible.

You have to infer forces from the behaviours of bodies on which they appear to act. If you are pulling or pushing an object, you experience bodily sensation that accompany motion of a kind or another induced in that object. The term force had been invented to represent the influence exerted by your muscles as you pull or push the object. (It is a good example of an impersonal term). When for instance, Muda Obi hits a ball, exerting a definite influence, it is said that a force has acted. However the force cannot be seen. You cannot observe the force. All you can see are the movements of Mikel’s leg and of the ball. The term force is employed as a measure of influence. Thus to quantify the relation between force and motion as you now notice is quite a difficult task, not to talk about the formulation of the theory itself. Precisely, this is one of the great achievements made by Galileo. He formulated the quantitative theory of free fall. v = at where v stands for speed, t is the elapsed time or "stop-watch time" and a means acceleration. This was truly a great achievement. Though this theory of Galileo presented a description of a limited class of motions where the accelerating force is constant in magnitude and direction, however it did prepare the ground for the Newtonian synthesis. The Newtonian theory enables you to deal quantitatively with motions under a wide variety of forces.

Other contributions by Galileo to the development of science include his emphasis on experimental science, his studies of projectiles which showed that projectiles describe a parabola (curve) because of the laws of inertia and of falling bodies. He was persecuted in 1616 because of his discoveries by Roman Catholic Inquisition.


Isaac Newton (1642-1727) was born into the family of a farmer. His father died before Isaac was born. When his mother remarried he was placed under his grandmother's care.

Newton was said to be an eccentric and solitary boy fond of constructing mechanical models and toys. He was an unpromising student. In the end, his studies improved and he got enrolled into Trinity College, Cambridge at the age of 18. He turned out in life to be the greatest of the scientists of his time. He attained the greatest height of the scientific endeavour initiated by Copernicus and for which Kepler and Galileo worked assiduously to maintain and improve upon. Isaac Newton clearly demonstrated a completely liberated thought pattern. He was given to periods of intense creative concentration. While in the university, mathematics, optics, and astromony absorbed him. He obtained his B. A. degree in spring 1665. The Great Plague of London, 1664-5, which spread to Cambridge forced the university to close down. This in turn imposed a period of seclusion at home on Newton. It lasted for almost two years. It was during this time that Newton's unmatched creativity ensued: he developed the binomial theorem, invented his method of differential and integral calculus, conceived the basic idea of the universal law of gravitation by watching an apple fall from a tree, he performed experiments which proved that sunlight is a mixture of independent colours, and also made contributions to the theory of infinite series.

From the three laws of motion, Newton deduced the laws of gravitation, showing that every planet at every moment has an acceleration towards the sun.

The central idea of the Newtonian gravitational law stipulates that everything attracts every other with a force directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of distances between them. With this theory he tried to explain virtually everything in the planetary system. Newton's physics was It for over two centuries. Other contributions by him include optical theory, reflection and refraction of light, spectrum of colours, and the conception of space and time. He became the President of the Royal Society in 1703, having been elected a fellow of the society in 1672 at the age of 30.

When he died at the age of 85, he was buried in Westminister Abbey where Britain's most honoured dead rest. His major published work was written in Latin, Philosophie Naturalis Principia Mathematica was published in London in 1686. A translation of the work into English was effected by Motte and revised by Cajori. It was published in 1934 by the University of California Press at Berkeley. Another important work of his is Opticks.

Other major contributors to the development of science in the seventeeth century are: Christian Huygens (1629-1695), a Dutch genius. He followed the lead of Galileo in combining experimentation with mathematical analysis and made important advance in the study of the clock pendulum, the collisions of elastic bodies and uniform circular motion.

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) is considered Tycho Brahe's scienticfic heir. However, his mathematical and speculative insight was far away from his master's. In Gerald Hoton's words, Kepler's mind was:

rooted in a time when animism alchemy, astrology, numerology, and withcraft presented problems to be seriously argued.

From the outset, Kepler accepted the Copernicus' point of view and conceived the idea of unified solar system governed by a physcial law of gravitation. He rightly attributed the ocean tides to the gravitational influence of the moon. He discovered three major laws about the motion of the planets in accordance with the Copernican frame of reference. These laws formed the foundation on which Isaac Newton erected his rational explanation of the solar system. The three as Kepler explains them are:

1. Every planet moves in an elliptic orbit with one focus at the sun.

2. The line joining the sun with any one of the planets sweeps over equal areas in equal intervals of time.

3. The ratio of the square of the sidereal period to the cube of the mean distance from the sun is the same for all planets.

It is known today that all the three laws actually apply to all bodies revolving about the sun. They include the minor planets, or asteroids, and comets.


The mechanical nature of physical law, no doubt, pushed God out of the physical universe. Man can construct a watch that will run without continuous supervision. Thus, the invariability of mechanical law is difficult to reconcile with the notion of a continuously active and all-knowing Being. As such God became for many a creator who watches the world from afar, an impersonal cosmic force.

This position led to the growth of a rationalistic religious movement both inside and outside the existing church establishments. Rationalism in religion calls for re-examination of religious dogma in the light of science, historical criticism, and human sense with the avowed intent of eliminating doctrines that cannot be supported by logical argument. It recognizes no authority in church or scripture higher than the critical intelligence of educated men.

The humanism of the Greeks which was incorporated into the cultural stream of European thought during the Renaissance provided the required nourishment to this movement. The traditional Christian emphasis on the sinfulness of man and on humility was totally foreign to the ancient Greek thought. In line with this came a flat rejection of the doctrine of man's total depravity and an insistence of man's moral and intellectual worth. Where Christianity claimed the sacredness of the individual, because he is a child of God who possesses an immortal soul that must be saved, humanism asserted dignity of man on the basis of the culture he has created and still continues to improve upon, and whose scope he continues to expand.

The self-confidence of Renaissance thought pattern as it liberated itself from the rigid authoritarian medieval mode of thought was reinforced in the highest degree by the great achievements of science in both the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Once liberated from the incubus of the superstitions, myths, and dogmas of the past, the vast powers and scope of human reason is proved and confirmed, positively. With the new frame of mind, nature seen through the eyes of science was lawful, intelligible, harmonious, and beautiful J. H. Randal, Jr. summed up the new dispensation as follows:

Nature was through and through orderly and rational, hence what was natural was easily identified with what was rational, and conversely, whatever, particularly in human society, seemed to an intelligent man reasonable, was regarded as natural, as somehow rooted in the very nature of things. So Nature and Natural easily became the ideal of man and human society, and were interpreted as Reason and Reasonable.

Thus the free thinkers of the eighteenth century criticized the religious dogmas and institutions inherited from the past. The positive result of this was that the mystical, paradoxical, and magical elements of Christianity were cast aside, leaving only a minimum of religious belief. Having cast away all elements that tend to stultify human thinking ability what remained was a simple creed designed to give divine sanction for human morality and altruism.

This was a natural religion which recognizes an omnipotent God, who demands virtuous living on the part of man in obedience to his will. A religion which holds there is a future life where God will reward the virtuous and punish the wicked.

In France, natural religion received a sharp criticism of its basic assumptions from atheistic materialism of the enlightenment period which gained, as the result, a wide following owing to the prevailing reactionary social policies of the Roman Catholic church there.

Today, in enlightened societies the rationalistic spirit persists both inside and outside the churches. Both within Protestantism and the Roman Catholic church serious efforts have been made to adjust theological doctrine to the findings of natural science and to an interpretation of the Bible consistent with scientific historical criticism. At the same time adhering to the spiritual essentials of the Christian interpretation of life.

In a contemporary world, where the development and achievements of science and technology are a central revolutionary force, and where the scientific world view dominates secular thought, once all-important religious faiths of European civilisation have made concessions to rationalism, even as religious leaders of fanatical mystical inclination hold that a purely rationalistic philosophy is inadequate for human life.


Although at the early part of the eighteenth century the new science's exploration of the universe was yet to be complete, the factual and theoretical knowledge already accumulated and the imaginations thus engendered were moving far ahead of the known. The study of motion, force, and mass explained so much that philosophers and scientists saw in concepts of the sort the ultimate tools in dealing with all physical science. The atomic views of Democritus received new impetus from Isaac Newton and Robert Boyle. The concepts of primary qualities - extension and motion, and secondary qualities like colour, taste, etc were clearly distinguished from one another. The former in the realm of mechanics, while the latter are the sensations produced when interaction takes place between the concrete objects of reality and human sense organs. The creation of impersonal laws and concepts became the major feature of the modern science. Quantification, measurement, mass, length, time, etc, became prevalent in scientific discourse. Quantitative experimental investigation grew tremendously.

As the pace of scientific progress quickened and as science assumed the dominant position in the emerging new conception of the world, scientific knowledge became a higher cultural value. Thus, most philosophical schools and movements oriented themselves toward science. In the study of social phenomena, the new orientation was manifested in a search for the "natural principles" of religion, law, and morality, based on the concept of human nature. This orientation was noticed largely in the works of H. Grotius, B. Spinoza, T. Hobbes, J. Locke, etc. Science was regarded as the bearer of the "light of reason". As such it was regarded as the sole antithesis of all the evils of society. Accordingly, the transformation of society would be possible only through enlightenment. As Marx and Engels put it, "thinking reason became the sole measure of all that exists".

The advances in mechanics, whose basic principles had been systematised and well developed toward the end of the seventeenth century, led to the emergence of the mechanistic conception of the world. This soon became a universal world view, well expounded by L. Euler, M. V. Lomonosov, P. Laplace, and others. Physical, chemical as well as biological phenomena were all perceived mechanistically. La Mettrie's "man as a machine" sums it all up succinctly. In fact, the ideals of mechanistic natural science became the basis for a theory of knowledge and for the study of scientific methods, which developed rapidly in this period. The reliance of science of this period on experiments and the development of mechanics permitted the establishment of a link between science and production. Truly, this link became permanent and systematic only in the late nineteenth century.

The later part of the eighteenth century witnessed the coming onto the stage of what later became known as the Industrial Revolution in Europe. It radically transformed the physical feature of European societies - from agrarian to urban industrial centres. The Industrial Revolution brought new challenges to the modern science which despite its numerous achievements was not yet in a position to cope with numerous problems that emerged as an aftermath of the revolution. No doubt, the emerging new problems thus expanded the scope of scientific activity as new avenues for scientific reflection and experimentation evolved. Industrial chemistry thermal/heat theory and engineering were the first areas that brought the industrial revolution and science into close contact.

With the social revolution in France in 1789 which saw modern political ideas and ideals being put into real social political practice, monarchical structure gave way completely, for the first time in human history, to a republican social political structure. In the new society, there were deliberate efforts to promote the growth of science and scientific knowledge. There were instituted awards for inventions and subsidies for experimental research, thus laying the foundation for the golden age in the development of science to emerge. The Paris-based Ecole Polytechnique became the centre of scientific endeavour of eminent scientists of the period.


The nineteenth century has been described by historians of science as the Golden Age. During this period a large body of materials pertaining to various aspects of reality had been amassed, systematised, and theoretically substantiated on the basis of the mechanistic world view. It became increasingly apparent that this materialism did not fit within the framework of a mechanistic explanation of nature and society and required a new, more profound, and broader synthesis that would encompass the results obtained by different sciences. The discovery made by R. Mayer, J. Joule, and H. Helmboltz pertaining to the law of conservation and conversion of energy enabled scientists to place chemistry and all branches of physics on a common ground, while the cell theory developed by T. Schwann and M. Schleiden demonstrated the uniform structure of all living organisms. Darwinean evolutionary theory in biology introduced the idea of development into natural science. D. I. Mendeleev proved the existence of an intrinsic relation between all known types of matter by working out the periodic table of the chemical elements.

However major changes in scientific thought and a number of discoveries in physics, namely electron and radioactivity, precipitated a crisis in science at the turn of the nineteenth century. This caused the collapse of its philosophical and methodological foundation, the mechanistic world view. The resolution of the crisis was effected by another scientific revolution which began in physics and subsequently encompassed all the main branches of science. The revolution was accomplished by M. Planck and A Einstein in the twentieth century.


In the twentieth century the development of science was closely bound up with technology. Here science is expanding its conduct with all spheres of social life, and is assuming a greater social role. As such science is increasingly becoming a direct productive force in advanced society.

Twentieth-century science is the most important component, in truth, the moving force, of contemporary scientific and technological revolution. The "points of growth" of present day science have generally occurred when the internal logic of its development has coincided with the increasingly diverse social requirements imposed by contemporary society. In the first quarter of the twentieth century, biology occupied a prominent position in natural science owing to such fundamental discoveries as the molecular structure of DNA by F. Crick and J. Watson, and the genetic code.

Now, about the revolution in physics by Einstein and Planck. Just as N. I. Lobachevski undermined the ultimate validity of the Euclidean geometry for astronomical space in the nineteenth century, so Albert Einstein in 1905 first came to the realisation that the common-sense ideas of space and time inherited from the Newtonian period are inadequate for the description of the real world. In particular, common-sense assumption that measured time and space are totally independent of one another. This may be satisfactory for day to day experience, but it breaks down when considering the behaviour or bodies that are very far apart and have high relative velocities.

In that part of his theory known as general relativity, Einstein demonstrated that the geometrical rules of Euclid, whereas are very satisfactory for small-scale problems, certainly cannot apply to the large-scale situation confronted, dealing with galaxies whose distance is measured in billions of light-years. Though some serious questions remain unsolved, nonetheless, Einstein's relativity theory has provided a language and framework for the study of cosmological problems.

Planck on his part, contrary to previous assumption that matter discharges energy in a continuous stream, discovered that matter gives out energy in quanta of definite sizes. In 1901 he introduced the quantum hypothesis. The quantum hypothesis provided a theoretical clue to the explanation of the various deviations from the equipartition law and led to a rash of measurements of specific heats at very low temperatures.


The history of science as you have noticed extends over 2,000 years. This history clearly reveals certain general lawlike regularities and trends. Beginning from the seventeenth century, globally, the amount of scientific activity, doubles approximately every 10 to 15 years. This is reflected in the rapid increase in the number of scientific discoveries and the quantity of scientic data. Added to that was the number of persons employed in science. According to UNESCO sources, between the 1920s and the early 1970s, the number of scientific workers increased by 7 per cent annually. At the same time, world population as a whole increased by only 1.7 per cent annually for the same period. Consequently the current number of scientists and scientific personnel is put at more than 90 per cent of the total number of scientists in the entire history of science. As F. Engels once observed, "Science advances in proportion to the knowledge bequeathed to it by the previous generation".

The development of science is cumulative. At each stage of its historical development, science sums up its past achievements. Each scientific discovery becomes an integral part of the entire body of scientific knowledge. Such discovery is not nullified by subsequent advances in knowledge but only reinterpreted and refined. The continuity of science assumes its development in a unified irreversible manner. Owing to its continuity science also serves as a social memory of some sort for mankind, such that crystallises in theoretical form past experiences in apprehending reality and mastering its laws.

Scientific development affects, as well, the entire structure of science. At every stage of its development, scientific knowledge employs a set of cognitive forms. These are fundamental categories and concepts, methods, principles, and schemes which constitute the mode of thought, e.g., observation as the basic method of obtaining knowledge is noted as the classical mode of thought. Modern science on its part relies on experimentation and on an essentially analytic approach. This directs thought to the simplest, individible elements of reality under inquiry, while present day science strives for an integral and multifaceted understanding of the objects under investigation. Having established itself firmly, each specific structure of scientific thought opens the way for an extensive development of knowledge, i.e. the application of knowledge to new spheres of reality. Where the prevailing mode of thought become helpless in interpreting new accumulated material, a search for new, intensive ways of developing science becomes necessary and inevitable. The usual results of such situation is a scientific revolution. By scientific revolution is meant a radical change in the primary components of the structure of science, the introduction of new principles of cognition and new scientific categories and methods.


First, there is the need to make a clear distinction between what is called scientific and technical progress and the scientific and technological revolution. Scientific and technical progress is widely regarded as encompassing the entire historical process of scientific and technological development from ancient times to the present day. Unlike the former, scientific and technological revolution belongs only to contemporary period.

Furthermore, scientific and technical progress is largely linked with evolutionary periods of socio-historical development. A revolutionary phase of its development sets in only at a time when rapid transformation in the process of social historical development begins to take shape and becomes vividly noticeable. Thus, the industrial revolution of the eighteenth/nineteenth centuries was the revolutionary phase of scientific and technical progress. This was linked with the transition from feudalism to the capitalist mode of production.

Scientific and technical activity has become one of the broadest spheres of application of human labour. The successful development of science and technology promotes the solution of the body of economic and social tasks of the development of the individual and the society as a whole. The compass, gunpowder, and printing were three great inventions that gave rise to the strong alliance between scientific and technical activity. Attempts to use water-powered mills for the needs of expanding main factory production prompted the theoretical study of certain mechanical processes. The theories of the flywheel, gyrational motion, and the channel were established, the study of water head resistance, and friction started. Scientific and technical creativity of large group of mathematicians, mechanics, physicists, inventors and skilled laymen made the rise of machine production possible. J. Watt's steam engine, a product of science and technical design, greatly changed the process and possibility of production. It took off the shoulder of man tedious physical labour by replacing physical-biological energy with artificially created physical-mechanical energy. Scientific and technological progress is the foundation of social progress. Scientific and technological revolution is seen today as the fundamental qualitative transformation of productive forces based on the conversion of science into a leading factor in the development of production.

In the first half of the twentieth century, especially during the 1940s and 1950s, there were fundamental shifts in the structure of most sciences and in scientific activities as a result of major scientific and technical discoveries. This in turn led to an increased interaction of science with technology and production. Precisely, it was during that decade that mankind entered the period of scientific and technological revolution.

Social production is the most important condition for the existence of science. Its requirement is the chief motive force behind the development of science. But in contrast to its role in the preceding period, science has taken on a highly revolutionising, active role. This is manifested in its discovery of new classes of substances and processes. Of particular note is the emergence, as a result of fundamental research, of entirely new sectors of industry that could not have developed from previous industrial experience. Examples of these are atomic reactors, modern electronics and the discovery of the code used to transmit the hereditary traits of the organism, etc.

The strengthening of the role of science is accompanied by an increase in the complexity of its structure, and in the rise of special disciplines that study the patterns of the development of scientific work itself and the conditions and factors that help increase its effectiveness.

The advances of science and technology in the first half of the twentieth century were able to grow into the scientific and technological revolution only after society had reached a certain level of socio-economic development. Similarly, modern science and technology can develop effectively only under a coordinated economy, with planned distribution of resources on a national or at least sectoral scale, and they require management of the entire complex system of socio-economic processes to the benefit of the society as a whole.


The scientific and technological revolution began in the middle of the twentieth century. This revolution is changing the entire face of social-material production. It is also changing the conditions, nature, and content of labour as well as the composition of productive forces, the social division of labour, and the sectional and occupational structure of society.

There are two main prerequisites for the emergence of scientific and technological revolution, namely, the scientific-technological and the social. The major role in paving the way for the scientific and technological revolution was played by advances in natural science in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It began with the discovery of the electron and radium, the transmutation of chemical elements, the origination of the theory of relativity and quantum theory. This signified a scientific break-through in the areas of the microcosm and high velocities. The theoretical foundation of chemistry underwent significant changes in the first quarter of the twentieth century as a result of advances in physics. Quantum theory explained the nature of the chemical bond; this in turn, opened up for science and industry broad possibilities for the chemical transmutation of matter. Genetics was developed as a result of the insight acquired into the mechanism of heredity, and chromosome theory was established. In the 1940s and 1950s owing to major scientific and technical discoveries, fundamental shifts in the structure of most sciences as well as scientific activity took place. The period therefore signified mankind's entry into the era of scientific and technological revolution.

The main trends of the scientific and technological revolution at its current stage are integrated automation of production and control management, the discovery and use of new types of energy, and the development and use of new structural materials. However, the scientific and technological revolution does not consist merely in the use of new types of energy and materials, electronic computers, or even integrated automation of production and management. Rather, it consists, as well, in the restructuring of the entire technical base and the entire industrial method of production, starting with the use of materials and energy processes and concluding with the system of machines, forms of organisation and management, and man's relation to production process.

In conclusion, the scientific and technological revolution creates the prerequisites for the emergence of a uniform system for the most important fields of human endeavour - theoretical mastery of the laws of nature (science), the body of the technical facilities and knowledge used to transform nature (technology), the process of creating material wealth (production), and the methods used to achieve a rational interrelation of practical actions in the production process (management).


Industrial revolution is a less extensive social phenomenon compared to scientific and technological revolution. The qualitative characteristics of the scientific and technological revolution as a contemporary stage of the scientific and technical progress are demonstrated through its role in human society.

Professor V. G. Marakhov specifically dwells on the connections between the scientific and technological revolution and the productive forces. According to him:

The scientific and technological revolution includes scientific and technological transformations both in the productive forces and in other spheres of social life - means of communication, medicine, culture, everyday life, etc.

Others have defined the scientific and technological revolutions as:

the radical qualitative transformation of productive forces completed as a result of the merger between the scientific and technological revolutions and the conversion of science into a direct productive force.

The impact and achievements of the scientific and technological revolution are greatly felt in the spheres of the productive forces more than any other sphere. The sphere of the productive forces serves as the leading material basis for the development of the revolution. Therefore, you may say that the scientific and technological revolution is a special social phenomenon connected with the conversion of science into a direct productive force of the society, the radical qualitative transformation of the structure of productive forces and the change in the character and content of human labour. The revolution stimulates all social processes. Some of its major characteristics are:

1. Change in the character of labour, connected with complex mechanisation, automation and the use of cybernetics in production.

2. Transition to modern comprehensively mechanized mass production in all spheres of social production.

3. Creation of sophisticated mechanised and automated industrial systems as a technological basis for social production: use of computers in managing production.

4. Conversion of science into a direct productive force: use of new forces of nature - intranuclear energy, modern chemical processes, electronics, biological and psychological processes, and so on.

5. Change in the social and professional structure of the society.

Viewed as "science-technology-production system", V. G. Afanasiev noted that each of the components is relatively independent, each with its own laws, inner logic of development and each fulfills a specific role: science is the generator of ideas; technology is their material, substantive embodiment; while production is the area where the functioning of technology occurs, where people use scientific and technological achievements to obtain their necessary material wealth.

Academicias B. M. Kedrov and S. Shukhardin consider the scientific and technological revolution an integral phenomenon encompassing the whole "man-science-production" system. While Professor V. G. Marakhov observes that the profound essence of the revolution is found in the change of functions of technological means of labour which alter man's position in production and relationship to the forces of nature, I. A. Maizel holds that a more rational approach to the study of the scientific and technological revolution would be to view it as an "arena" of development in "science-technology" system.

The scientific and technological revolution is a special type of social phenomenon which assumes a global or universal character. It is a global phenomenon of present day global development. It has direct impact virtually on all spheres of human endeavour. Movement of men and goods is now faster; gathering and disseminating information is rapid. How about the global communication network - fax, electronic mail, etc. The latter enables you to participate in conferences across continents from your apartment without leaving the shores of your country. Test-tube babies, cloning of animals, and possibly of human being, are part of the wonders of today's genetic engineering technological break-through.

Amidst the numerous advantages derived from the revolution coexist the negative effects of it, revealing the inherent contradictions of the scientific and technological revolution. The contradictions caused by the ecological crisis, information explosion, the man-machine relationships, etc. show some of the negative effects of this special social phenomenon. Mention must be made, too, of the destructive war machines, chemical and radio-chemical substances, nuclear and thermonuclear weapons, biological, bacteriological weapons and the most dreaded of it all in recent times - AIDS - a sort of biologo-virological weapon produced under laboratory condition.

It is perhaps under the influence of the negative effects of the scientific and technological revolution that some scholars in the Western world developed a pessimistic appraisal of the revolution. Thus, Bruno Bettleheim, René Dubos, John Vernon, Amitai Etzioni, Margaret Mead and others, as well represented in Lewis Mumford, think that the more significant man's progress in learning science and technology, the more man loses himself in the struggle with nature and the world he himself created. Mumford summarises this thus, man suffers from "future shock". The "machine civilization" is not leading society toward progress but to "dehumanization" and "sacrificial doom" by the demonical power of the machine.

This evaluation and related ones concerning the social role of the scientific and technological revolution is scientifically not totally tenable. We need quarrel here with the misuse of machines by man, rather than with machines per se. The demonical power of the machine is the end result of the morality of the designer of the machine and of the intended user. What the situation demands is ethical revolution, not pessimism.


Optimism regarding the future of the scientific and technological revolution is connected with envisioned directions in the development of the natural sciences and technology. Theodore Gordon and Robert Ament believed in 1977 that effective control of the weather in varying geographical regions will be accomplished before the year 2015 owing to break through in physics. Around the year 2000, artificial birth and cloning would begin to take place. In biology, also, they hold that after 2025, radiostimulation of activity of the human brain would be practicable. In the area of information, Gordon and Ament envisioned the elimination of traditional methods of teaching. There will be widespread use of computers, and the entire teaching process will go through a process of "technological rationalization".

In his own estimate of the dimension of the development of the scientific and technological revolution, V. G. Marakhov, believes that a new scientific and technological revolution must take place. The new phase of the revolution will change the functions of production as a whole in relation to nature, which is open to active influence of man. The contours of this new scientific and technological revolution will be determined by the use of biophysical and biochemical laws of production, the use of photosynthesis and hydrogen fuels, an effective means of neutralising harmful wastes from energy processes, and transition to machinesless and machine technology which will provide the material conditions for the harmonious development of society and nature.

J. D. Bernal sees the final stages of the scientific and technological revolution in the employment structure. The most important spheres of endeavour shall be science and technology, education, health, management, services and transportation. Industry and agriculture will account for 12-15 per cent of those employed.

There is no doubt that the role of science and technology will continue to grow if mankind is to gain in comfort, power over nature, better health, etc. The process seems irreversible.


Today, science can rest on its achievements without too great a concern about its methods of their theoretical certainty. It was not so at the time when science meant a break with everything that people had reverenced as true - myths, religious beliefs, superstitions, etc. This situation made methods and the search for them very crucial to the evolution of the new science in the seventeeth and eighteenth centuries. Appropriate scientific methods facilitated numerous scientific discoveries and inventions which enhanced the development and progress of science and technology. The history of the new science clearly demonstrates the fact that the emphasis was on measurement, quantity, and quantitative mathematical relationship in search for scientific work.


1. People’s general observation before the 17th century, that the sun rose in the east in the morning and set in the west in the evening, was in tandem with ……………claim that the sun moved around the earth.

(a) Aristotle’s (b) Ptolemy’s (c) Kelper’s (d) Newston’s (e) All of the above

2. René Descartes’ outstanding contribution to philosophy and science is known as (a) The law of motion (b) The conservation of energy (c) the methodic doubt

(d) The relativity theory (e) None of the above.

3. ……………….marked the beginning of scientific and technological revolution

(a) The middle of the 18th century

(b) The middle of the 20th century

(c) The middle of the 16th century

(d) The middle of the 19th century

(e) The middle of the 17th century.

4. The 19th century is referred to as the ……………………..of science

(a) Silver age (b) bronze age (c) Golden age (d) medieval age (e) Stone age

5. The two main prerequisites for the emergence of scientific and technological revolution are

(a) The scientific technological and the social

(b) The scientific- technical and moral

(c) The technological-scientific and religion

(d) The religious and metaphysical

(e) the social and scientific-technical


1. V. G. Marakhov Struktura i Razviitje Proizvodstvennikh Sijl

v Sotsialisticheskom Obchestve Moskva, Mysl, 1970, p. 204.

2. N. Dryakhlov The Scientific and Technological Revolution: Its Role in Today's World. Moscow, Progress, 1984, pp. 55-75.

3. Arthur O. Lovejoy The Great Chain of Being New York, Harper and Row, 1960, ch. 4.

4. Lewis Mumford The Condition of Man, Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1944, pp. 241-249.


The objective of this module is to make bare to you for easy comprehension the structure of science and let you know the major branches of science. You are expected to know also at the end of the lecture the principles of classification of the sciences, the history of classification, contemporary classification of the sciences through various diagrams. Finally you should know the practical significance of the classification of sciences, as well as the organisation and management of sciences as a social institution.


Module 7 provides clear insights into the structure and classification of the sciences, the principles and history of classification of sciences. Contemporary classification contained in this module is based on the classification offered by Academician B. M. Kedrov, though with some alterations. There are diagrams to illustrate. The module also touches on the practical significance of the classification of sciences. Finally, it offers a brief but cogent consideration of the organisation and management of science as a social institution.


The disciplines that make up the system of science may be subdivided into three major groups. These are the natural, social, and engineering sciences. They differ in their subject matters and methods. The boundaries between these groups are not well-defined. Besides, a number of scientific disciplines occupy an intermediate position. For example, industrial aesthetics brings together the engineering and social sciences, while bionics integrates the natural and engineering sciences, economic geography combines the natural and social sciences. Each group in turn consists of a system of individual sciences that are coordinated and subordinated in many ways in accordance with the subject matter and method.

Apart from traditional research which is usually conducted within the purview of a simple branch of science, present day problem-oriented character of science impels an extensive interdisciplinary and comprehensive research which draws upon several different disciplines whose combination is determined by the nature of the problem. For instance, the study of the conservation of nature by environmentalists integrates the applied sciences, biology, earth science, medicine, economics, mathematics, and some other disciplines.

The sciences are generally classified as fundamental or applied depending on their orientation and their relation to practical activity. The fundamental sciences' aim is to gain knowledge of the laws that govern the behaviour and interaction of the basic structures of reality - nature, society, and human thought. These laws and structures are studied in "pure form", so to speak, regardless of possible practical application. It is not surprising then that the fundamental sciences are also called pure sciences. The applied sciences, on their part, seek to employ the results of the pure sciences to solve both cognitive and practical social problems. The attainment of truth and the satisfaction of social needs serve as the criterion of success here. At the interface between the applied sciences and actual practice evolves a special branch of research. Here, the results obtained by the applied sciences are converted into technological processes, designs, industrial materials, and so forth.

The applied sciences emphasise either theoretical or practical problems. As an example, electrodynamics and quantum mechanics play a fundamental role in contemporary physics. They form such branches of theoretical applied physics as the physics of metals and semi-conductor physics. When electrodynamics and quantum mechanics are applied in practice, they rise to such practical applied sciences as physical metallurgy and semiconductor technology. The latter are directly linked with production through specific research projects. Generally, the fundamental sciences outstrip the applied sciences. The former provides the latter with a theoretical reserve.

It is to be noted, however, that all theoretical disciplines have their roots in practical experience. But as the various sciences develop, they break away from their empirical base, developing in a strictly theoretical manner. A good example here is mathematics. Theoretical disciplines revert to experience only in practical application.


The connections between the sciences are determined by the objects which the sciences study and by the objective relations between the various aspects of the objects. They are also determined by the methods and conditions for obtaining knowledge about the objects, as well as by the scientific knowledge. From the point of view of the theory of knowledge, the principles used in classifying the sciences are divided into objective and subjective ones. The principles are said to be objective when the connection is derived from a relation between the objects themselves. They are subjective when classification is based on characteristics of the subject. From the perspective of methodology, the principles of classification are derived according to how the connection between the sciences is interpreted. Specifically, the connection is external when the sciences are merely arranged in a certain order.

When the sciences are derived from one another, the connection is said to be organic, or internal. In the first, the operative principle is coordination. In the second, it is subordination.

From the logical perspective, classification is based on different aspects of a general link between the sciences. Here, the aspects represent the initial and terminal points of a main sequence of sciences. There are two principles of ordering the sciences here. One, the principle of decreasing generality, i.e. from the general to the particular. Second, the principle of increasing concreteness, i.e. from the abstract to the concrete. Following the principle of subordination, the sciences are arranged in order of development from the simple to the complex and from the lower to the higher. In this case, attention is focused largely on the points of contact and interpenetration between the sciences. There is also classification by content. Because of space and time factor, this will not be discussed here.


It was Descartes who developed the objective principle of classification according to aspects of the objects under study. Classification based on the principle of coordination from the general to the particular in order of decreasing generality was developed in the early and mid-nineteenth century in France by Saint-Simon and Auguste Comte. Classification in which the principle of coordination from the abstract to the concrete is employed was widely accepted in Britain in the mid and late nineteenth century by S. T. Coleridge, W. Whewell, J. Bentham, J. S. Mill, and H. Spencer.

The principle of subordination was elaborated idealistically as the principle of the development of the spirit, rather than nature, by I. Kant, F. von Shelling and G. Hegel in Germany, while the principle of subordination and an approach to the theoretical synthesis of knowledge from the perspective of materialism was developed in Russia by A. I. Herzen and N. G. Chernyshevskii.

With the spread of positivism (a philosophical school), a classification of the sciences on a logical positivist basis was developed by P. Oppenheim in Germany, P. Frank in Austria, A. J. Ayer in Britain, and G. Bergmann in the USA.

The neo-Thomists, E. Gilson and M. de Wulf, adhere to the view expounded by Pope Pius XII who wrote about the three implements of truth. Namely, science, philosophy, and revelation. In his view, the third is the highest and to it the first two must adapt. These neo-Thomists constructed a three-level pyramid with the particular sciences at the base, the general sciences, or philosophy, in the centre, and theology at the apex.


In the Dialectics of Nature, F. Engels seemed to have laid the foundation for the dialectical materialist perspective for the classification of the sciences. K. A. Timiriazev, N. N. Semenov and others toe his line. In an attempt to overcome the limitations of the two extremes represented by Saint-Simon and G. Hegel, they critically revised the valuable aspects of the concepts entailed in the two extremes.

The classification of the sciences by Academician B. M. Kedrov, based on dialectical materialist perspective, appears to be comprehensive and yet simple. It is reproduce below with some modifications. It represents contemporary classification of the sciences. The modifications effected are as follows. I have removed Kedrov's classification of the social sciences, as the result of which the table 3 in the original scheme becomes 2 in the present while the previous table 4 is 3 and 5 is 4 here. Also the social science portion of table 4 has not been included in the present table 3. For clarity I have inserted the adjective "physical" before Anthropology to make a clear distinction from social anthropology.

The general classification of modern science rests on the relationship between the three main branches of scientific knowledge: natural science, the social sciences, and philosophy. Each of the main branches represents an entire group of sciences. The basis, or "skeleton", of the general classification of science is shown in Table 1.

Here the boldface in lines designates the primary relations between the three main branches of science. Comparison of the right-hand and left-hand parts of the table reveals the essence of the principles of objectivity and development with respect to classification. The positioning of the sciences in this table directly reflects the historical sequence of the appearance of and the correlation between the stages of the world's development. It shows as well the correlation between the most general laws of development (the prerogative of dialectics) and the particular laws of development (the sphere of other sciences).

In addition to the three main branches of science, there are major subdivisions that border on the main branches but are not entirely included within any of them. Connections between these subdivisions and the main branches are represented by secondary (broken) lines. These subdivisions are the engineering sciences in the broad sense (including the agricultural and medical sciences). They stand at the interface of the natural and the social sciences. Also mathematics, which stands at the interface of natural science (primarily physics) and philosophy (primarily logic). Psychology stands between the three main branches as an independent science that studies man's psychology from the standpoint of natural history and social development. Psychology is even more closely related to logic, the science of thought within philosophy. Tertiary relations are not depicted in Table 1. For example, mathematical logic (for the most part a mathematical discipline) stands between logic (part of philosophy) and mathematics. Zoopsychology stands between the physiology of higher nervous activity (within natural science) and human psychology.

Occupying a special position are a group of sciences that form the boundary between history (chiefly cultural history) and natural science - the history of the natural sciences themselves. In as much as they are simultaneously socio-historical and natural sciences, these sciences are related to philosophy.

Table 2 shows in schematic form the mutual relationships between contemporary physics and chemistry. Furthermore, it indicates the chief "mechanism" by which transitional sciences fulfil the role of case-hardening the beginning in relation to the basic branches of natural science.

The sequence of contemporary natural sciences is given in Table 3, which is a more detailed form of Table 1. The division of a number of sciences is a result of the appearance of sub-atomic physics by the boldface line. The transitional sciences are enclosed in rectangles.

The classification of the engineering sciences is presented here in relation to the classification of the natural sciences. The engineering sciences are also connected with economics and with the main sectors of economy - industry (heavy and light, processing and extracting, transport and communications), agriculture (crop cultivation and animal husbandry), and public health. The engineering sciences are linked to the social sciences through these sectors of production and through the material life of society in general.

On the border between the natural, mathematical, and engineering sciences classification takes into account the qualitative transitions from lower and simpler forms of motion to higher and more complex ones. Also, it takes care of the contradictions found in nature that cause a split in the lines of trends of nature's development and the polarization of new types of matter and forms of motion.

Nature's development can be analysed not only in terms of individual forms of the motion and types of matter that coexist at any given stage of development. In this case the subject matter of the natural sciences is the individual stages of nature's development as part of the universe. Individual celestial bodies, a system of such bodies, or even the universe as a whole (cosmology) may be chosen as the area of study. This is the subject of astronomy with its associated sciences of astrophysics, astrochemistry, and astrobiology, which have been developed as a result of man's breakthrough into space. A narrower field of study is the earth as an individual body (planet), whose history as a whole is the subject of geology and whose surface is the subject of physical geography and the related sciences of phytogeography and zoogeography. A still narrower field is the earth's biosphere, which constitutes the subject of biology and the related science of biogeochemistry. Thus, still another sequence of sciences is formed that essentially coincides with Table 3, if astronomy is placed beside mechanics and physics and physical geography is placed between geology and biology: astronomy-geology-geography biology.


Classification is the theoretical basis for many branches of practical activity. It is used in organising scientific institutions and determining the relationship between them. It is vital in planning research projects, particularly comprehensive ones. Also in coordinating the work of scientists with different specializations. Classification is useful in applying theoretical research to practical tasks stemming from the requirements of the economy and from the demands of ideological, political, and economic activity. Classification is important in education, particularly in universities and in other tertiary institutions, where it is employed in integrating the theoretical and technical disciplines and in determining the relationship between philosophy and other disciplines. Classification is also used in writing comprehensive, encyclopedic works (particularly in defining their structure), in writing related teaching aids and manuals, in planning general exhibitions, and in organising library science and library classification. In library classification it is important to be able to move from a branch or closed classification to a linear one. Table 4 offers an example of such a transition.


Science did not become social institution until seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. It was at this time that the first learned societies and academics were founded in Europe and the publication of scientific journals began. Before this period, science as an independent social institution were preserved and developed informally by traditions transmitted through books, instruction correspondence, and personal contacts among scientists. In spite of all this, science remained far into the nineteenth century a not large scale affair.

However, at the turn of the century, a new method of organising science started to take shape. Namely, large scientific establishments in form of institutes and laboratories, with extensive technical facilities, were founded. This new method brought scientific activity closer to the forms of modern industrial labour. Thus, essentially "small-scale" science of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and till late nineteenth centuries was transformed into "large-scale" science. Present day science is fast becoming deeply involved with all other social institutions. It permeates not only industrial and agricultural production but also politics as well as administrative and military fields. Today, in serious minded societies, science, as a social institution, has become the most important element in socio-economic potential which requires rapidly growing expenditures. In this way scientific policy has become one of the leading branches of social management in any society aspiring for rapid advancement.

One factor that influenced the rise of "large-scale" science was a change in the relation of science to technology and production. Until late nineteenth century science was subordinate to production.

Therefore, it began to outstrip technology and production, bringing forth a unified "science-technology-production" system sort of, where science became the dominant element. With the scientific and technological revolution setting in, science has been transforming the structure and content of material activity. The production process is no longer a process subordinate to the direct skills of the worker, it has become increasingly a process of technological application of science.

In present day science, problems of organising and directing scientific development have become vitally important. The centralisation and concentration of science have stimulated the founding of national and international scientific organisations and centres as well as the systematic undertaking of large-scale international projects. Governments have created special agencies for the direction of scientific activity. In Nigeria, for instance, there is the Ministry of Science and Technology. The scientific policies formulated through these agencies assure the development of science in a goal-oriented manner. In many countries initially, scientific research was associated almost exclusively with universities and other tertiary educational institutions and was organised according to branch of science. However, in the twentieth century there has been a proliferation of specialised research institutions. With the declining rate return from expenditures on scientific activities, a search for a new form of research organisation has been stimulated. To solve specific scientific problems of an interdisciplinary nature, often special groups, comprising problem-oriented teams, are created to carry out projects and programmes, e.g. the space programme. Centralisation in the supervision of scientific activity is being combined more and more with decentralisation and autonomy in research. Just informal problem- oriented groups of scientists are frequently formed so also the informal scientific trends and schools, which arose during the period of "small-scale" science continue to exist and develop within the "large-scale" science framework.


The knowledge of the structure and major branches of the sciences is important for practical purposes, since classification of the sciences consists in the disclosure of the connections between the sciences on the basis of certain principles. These connections are expressed in terms of logically valid groupings of sciences. Classification is vital in planning research projects, particularly comprehensive ones. It is also important in education, particularly in universities and in other tertiary institutions, where it is employed in integrating the theoretical and technical disciplines and in determining the relationship between philosophy and other disciplines.


1. Major branches of science are:

------------------------- ---------------------------

------------------------- ----------------------------

------------------------- ----------------------------

2. Contemporary classification of science based on dialectical materialist perspective was offered by:

(1) J.A. Ayer

(2) P. Frank

(3) G. Bergmann

(4) B.M. Kedrov

(5) E. Gilson

3. Four different grounds on which classification of science are based are:

(1) ---------------------------------------

(2) ---------------------------------------

(3) ---------------------------------------

(4) ---------------------------------------

4. Provide a general outline of the structure of science

5. What is the practical significance of the classification of science?


1. B. M. Kedrov "Klassifikatsiia Nauki", in Filosofiskaya

Ensyklopedja. Tom 3, Moskva, 1964, ss. 577-583.

2. Edwin C. Kemble Physical Science, Its Structure and Development, Cambridge, The M. I. T. Press 1966, pp. 7-8.


For Modules

4 - 7 Defend/debunk the position that Africa is the birthplace of man.


The objective of this module 8 is to get you to know the methodical and methodological functions of philosophical world view, the subject-matter of the methodology of scientific inquiry, the empirical and theoretical levels of scientific inquiry and the difference between them. So also you should be able to know correlated concepts such as sensuousness-mentation, and empirical-theoretical as well as the positivist notion of objectivity as observability of events and its criticism.


This module clarifies the essential concepts that relate to the question of the methodology of science and reveals that general philosophical world view fulfils certain methodological functions. It spells out the subject-matter of the methodology of scientific inquiry, the distinction between the empirical and theoretical levels of inquiry. Finally it scrutinises the positivist notion of objectivity as the observability of events and offers a criticism of it.


It is necessary to ascertain in the first place what "method" is and what is "methodology". The words "method" is derived from the Greek word meta - `along' and o'do - `path'; therefore, it literally means the movement along right path. Method is the mode of behaviour in any area, the totality of moves employed for the attainment of certain end. Since the Greek word logos means "studying", we can define the term "methodology" as the study of method or the theory of method. In every branch of mental and practical activity there are relevant methods distinguishable from other methods employed in other mode of activity. Methods employed in chemistry differ from the methods used in jurisprudence, etc., which is why methodology may exist for each branch of activity in form of a discipline which describes or theoretically establishes the methods that are applicable to a specific branch of activity. In our case, such particular methodologies shall not interest us. Particular methodologies are outside the limit of philosophy, epistemology and general methodology of sciences.

General philosophical world view fulfils certain methodological functions; at the same time it acts as a general philosophical methodology, a most general methodology of sciences. Definite methodological function is inherent in every philosophical system. Each philosophical thought system formulates, or at least, suggests (even if not in a clear form) certain philosophical principles which as a whole are determined by the character and theory of epistemology. Thus, for instance, Francis Bacon, who upholds the principles of materialist philosophy, worked out a methodology in line with his teaching about his belief in experimental, inductive method. The fact that matter, its varying forms, the laws inherent in it, and causal relationships, as objects of genuine science, and his belief in the inviolability of sensual data, made Bacon to hold that the only effective method of scientific inquiry which rests on observation and experiments is the method of systematic induction, which consists of a planned gathering of experimental data, their comparison, analysis and generalisation.

The methodological theory which Francis Bacon developed in "Novum Organum" as a whole was determined by the materialist character of his philosophy. Similarly, the rationalist method which René Descartes developed in his Le Discours de la méthode (1637) in opposition to Bacon's empiricism was also an expression and the consequence of definite philosophical principle. Relying on his dualistic ontology and idealistic epistemology according to which consciousness (mind) is equally an independent substance as is matter, Descartes considered as the only and a universal method of scientific inquiry the method of deduction which he understood as a logical inference from clear, self-evident, and as such, true propositions (innate ideas).

The link between methodology and basic philosophical principles appears to be even more clearly spelt out in Hegelian thought system. Being an objective idealist who regards thinking, as such, (or idea) as an absolute substance which in an ordered manner materialises in the first place into nature, and afterwards into human society, Hegel considered cognition, the process of inquiry, as a dialectical process of self-cognition by the idea of its own essence, a process which is gradually accomplished in human history, in religion, art and philosophy.

Over and above that, Hegel declared as a method, the dialectical movement of thought through contradictions. According to him: "We must view in form of a method only the movement of a notion itself, the nature of which has been cognised by us ... bearing in mind such (aspect of) its meaning, that notion is all and that its movement is a universal absolute activity which is self-determining and self-organising .... Method therefore is not only the highest force or, more correctly, the single and absolute power of reason, but it is as well, the highest and the only might by which reason can attain and cognise itself in everything through itself". Such is the idealistic dialectics which formed the content of Hegel's methodology. It is obvious that the Hegelian methodology so based on the principles of idealistic philosophy, on the Theory of knowledge as the cognition by reason of its very self, conflicts with the interests, aims and tasks of scientific inquiry.

Owing to time factor we shall not examine in detail the link between various methodological theories and definite philosophical systems, more so that the few examples offered are sufficient to illustrate in a way as to enable you to discover the types of inadequacy inherent in methodological theories that are based on unscientific philosophical principles. There is the false conviction that there exists or there can be one single method, i.e. a single methodological device which is supposed to be valid for all cases of scientific inquiry, for all sciences and all stages of scientific inquiry. Often, erroneously though, empirical methods are contrasted to theoretical ones, induction to deduction; analysis to synthesis; logical construction to description, systematisation and generalisation of facts, etc.

The rationalist version of idealist methodology undermines the importance of experiment in scientific inquiry; idealists of the empiricist trend having declared materialist understanding of experience, or practice as "metaphysics" having considered experience to be "sensuous data", conclude that there is no connection between empirical and theoretical forms of knowledge. David Hume epitomises this version.

In opposition to idealist methodology of scientific inquiry is the one based on the principles of materialism and dialectics. Such a methodological theory relies on practice as the criterion of truth in seeking solution to scientific problems. It takes off from the understanding of the organic connections between philosophy and concrete sciences. One of the distinguishing features of this type of methodology is that it rejects the mystical metaphysical imagination by which it is believed that a single universal method exists, or that such a universal method should exist which would be valid for all sorts of inquiry - the mastery of which, it is believed would help one to resolve any kind of scientific problem. There is a number of methodological devices and means of scientific inquiry. These devices and means are mutually interconnected, as are all phenomena of the objective world, but at the same time they vary since they are applied in the study of qualitatively diversed objects. In contrast to the methodology in broad philosophical sense, that methodology which centers its attention on the analysis of the methodological role and heuristic significance, in the first place; of ontological principles; laws and categories, the methodology of science in the narrow sense, is a part of epistemology. It represents theory of knowledge and its main calling is to study the regularities of the complex process of scientific inquiry in its multiple features, multiple forms of connections, and appearances which are the characteristic features of science. As is clear from the already stated, being a part of epistemology, the methodology of scientific inquiry is a philosophical discipline. It differs from general philosophical methodology only by the fact that its focus is not much on ontological issues, as is on epistemological processes, namely issues that are specific to science in its historical development, especially science in modern times.


Experience of scientific work shows that there is a need for methodology as a special discipline which preoccupies itself with the study and generalization of methods for constructing scientific knowledge, and methods with the help of which scientific knowledge is being attained.

That is to say methods and forms of scientific inquiry. Having included into the sphere of its consideration relevant questions, methodology seeks to solve them in the main, from epistemological position. It gives them specific epistemological evaluation and with minimum degree studies technical questions.

Since scientific knowledge is such a knowledge which is expressed in form of a system of objectively fixed statements, i.e. sign, language constructions, methodology of scientific inquiry cannot but be interested in the problem concerning the role of signs in scientific inquiry. By this same reason methodology cannot be uninterested in philosophic analysis of the language of science. But in distinction to relevant special sciences, like semantics (sign science) and general linguistics, methodology does not undertake special study of different sign systems, which play important role in various forms of social communication. In contradistinction to the science of language, methodology does not specially study grammar, morphology, phonetics, but it studies the role of language as a means of forming and developing scientific knowledge. While methodology is concerned with the logical aspect of the formation and construction of scientific knowledge, it does not study the technique of logical conclusion, nor construction of different types of logical calculations. Even though it studies the problem of the application of mathematical methods in various branches of science and the statistical nature of scientific facts, methodology can not as a result become mathematics or statistics. The task of methodology consists in the analysis of cognitive possibilities and the perspective of the development of relevant methods.

In short, methodology of scientific inquiry entails in itself the theory of scientific knowledge; it is that aspect of epistemology which studies cognitive processes that take place in science. It studies methods and forms of scientific inquiry.

In a way, methodology is a kind of meta-science. As a meta-science and part of the study of science, methodology is at the same time a philosophical discipline, a part of the theory of knowledge, epistemology.



Under empirical level are such methods and moves as well as forms of scientific knowledge that are directly connected with scientific practice, with those features of activity by means of which are guaranteed the accumulation, fixation, classification and generalisation of available material for the purpose of constructing an indirect (mediate) theoretical knowledge. Here we have observation, different forms of real scientific experiment, including experiments based on material models; the description of attained results, and as such, scientific facts__ Their classification, systematisation, analysis and generalisation. True, the modes of analysis and generalisation of facts lead us already into the theoretical level of scientific inquiry. However, since the researcher at this level deals with facts and the working of these facts he is still totally at the empirical level of scientific inquiry.


All methods and types of cognitive activity and modes of organising knowledge that are characterised by certain degree of mediacy and enhance the creation, the construction and the building up of scientific theory as a logically organised knowledge about objective laws and other essential, that is universal and necessary connections and relations in objective world come under the theoretical level of scientific inquiry. These include theory, and such its elements and component parts as scientific abstractions, idealisations and imaginative models; scientific laws and their various formulations, scientific ideas and hypothesis; different methods of operating with scientific abstractions and of constructing theories (deductive methods, imaginative experiments, etc.), logical devices and so on and so forth.


The distinction between the empirical and theoretical levels of scientific inquiry is relative and strictly dialectical. It is essentially just to allow the student to grasp the qualitative difference in the content and modes of scientific activity as well as in the character of knowledge itself. Otherwise there is no such brand of empirical activity or of empirical knowledge that is possible without its theoretical consideration, without relevant concepts, hypotheses and theories. Just as is the contrary, any theory, no matter how abstract it might be must in the final analysis rest on practice, on empirical data and must be oriented towards objective reality, mediated by practice and consequently by experience.

In an attempt to resolve the problems of logical organisation of already established knowledge, some philosophers and methodologists confuse the difference between the empirical and theoretical levels of scientific knowledge with the difference between various modes of knowledge. They confuse the latter with the difference between two modes of statements or even with the difference between two modes of sentences in scientific language, whereas such an approach is conceivable within the boundaries of pure logical analysis or in the semantic analysis of scientific language. In methodology of science which is a part of epistemology and as such which has the task of exposing the dialectics of the process of the emergence of scientific knowledge and to penetrate into the essence of this process and mechanisms which gave birth to it (scientific knowledge), to describe those modes of practical and theoretical activities as a result of which emerged a scientific knowledge, certainly such an approach is highly inadequate.

In methodology of scientific inquiry, when we speak of empirical and theoretical levels of knowledge we have in mind not only and in fact not much about the difference between empirical and theoretical statements, as is about the difference (as well as the link) between two levels of cognition as stages or steps of one dialectical process. These levels include forms of already attained knowledge, and also various modes of scientific activity - practical and in this sense empirical-experimental, and theoretical.


Some methodologists have the trait of confusing these sets of concepts. They employ them as if "sensuousness" were synonymous to "empirical", while "mentation" is confused with "theoretical". Worse still, others have the inclination to believe that the pair concepts "sensuousness-mentation" coincides with the other pair, "empirical-theoretical" or that they both are mutually interchangeable. This is not really so. The character of dividing cognitive activity itself into empirical and theoretical, as was the basis for this division, is essentially different from the division of knowledge into sensuousness and mentation. In the first place, we need to bear in mind that the division into sensuousness and mentation is applicable to any kind of process of cognition, to any form of thinking about the external world in human consciousness. Therefore this division is characteristic of, and important for the general theory of knowledge. However, the division into empirical and theoretical levels characterises the specific feature of scientific cognition, i.e. the cognitive activity, which is carried out in the sphere of science. This division helps to understand the differences and mutual connections of modes and forms of cognitive activity in the process of which scientific theories are created, tested and effectively put into practice. That is the reason why such a division is so important and is characteristic of a theory of scientific inquiry, and consequently of the philosophy or methodology of science.

Furthermore, sensual images (sensations, perceptions, imaginations and their associations) are developed and exist in nervous system and in the brain of the individual, whereas by their origin and specific features they have social images in animals. Similarly, in the brain of separate individuals flow the processes of thinking, even though they too have an exceptionally social character. That is why notwithstanding the social nature of human cognitive capabilities, the division of cognition into sensuousness and reflection characterises mainly, the dialectics of individual cognitive activity. On the contrary, the division into empirical and theoretical levels is related to scientific inquiry, in as much as scientific activity is possible only as a social activity which presupposes (in the form of a condition of exchange of ideas and results) direct and indirect communication with special means, including language. That is why the division of the process of cognition into empirical and theoretical levels is said to characterise mainly the dialectics of social cognition. (Apart from the scientific, there exist other forms of social cognition).


Philosophy of science sums up the experience in the development of all the sciences and social application of their findings.

Consequently, philosophy of science is important to researchers in the most diverse fields of science and has a sort of synthetic function to perform. This is so, because it provides a universal basis of knowledge, or, in other words, helps to map out the scientific line for the solution of the problems in each individual scientific field.

Philosophy of science has to deal (directly or indirectly) with the subject-matter of all the sciences, with knowledge about this subject-matter obtained by special natural sciences: after all it is always connected with man's attitude to objective reality and its processes, and phenomena. That is why it is safe to say that the knowledge of philosophy of science is not merely a substantial form of comprehension of reality, of man's comprehension of his bonds with the surrounding world, but a creative reflection of the world, establishing in man's consciousness a prospective and purposeful reality. That is, one in which man is able to set himself various tasks and work for their fulfilment. That is the substance of the nature of philosophy of science which has to establish (and does establish) its validity and has to be applied not in a science of sciences standing apart, but in the real sciences.

We find a profoundly scientific and comprehensive elaboration of world view problems of philosophy in Engels' Dialectics of Nature. Engels regarded the concept of the dialectics of nature as the relation between objective dialectics, the dialectics intrinsic to nature itself, and subjective dialectics, which is a reflection of the former in man's mind, or in other words, in the knowledge of nature as a science.

However, Henri Poincaré, giving an incorrect interpretation of radio-activity, which was discovered in 1896, and which entailed a spontaneous, tremendous and apparently inexhaustible emission of energy, hastened to declare that radio-active radium refuted the principle of the conservation of energy, and that the law of the conservation of energy and other general propositions of theoretical natural science were, in fact, purely tentative premises which depended on the human mentality. Not too long thereafter, Rutherford and Soddy established experimentally that radio-active phenomena did not entail any creation of energy out of nothing, because this was a process of spontaneous fission and mutual transformation of elements, attendant with a release of a large quantity of energy contained within the atom.

Subsequently, the fundamental laws of the indissoluble interconnection between energy and mass discovered by Albert Einstein in 1905, the theory of the structure of the atom developed by Niels Bohr in 1913 through a combination of Rutherford's planetary electron-nuclear model and Planck-Einstein's quantum theory, the discovery of Compton's phenomenon in 1923, Schrodinger's wave equation, the discovery of the Beta radiation spectrum, etc. fully

confirmed the fundamental law of physics and its foundation in objective reality.

Above all, if the sensations of time and space can give man a biologically purposive orientation, this can only be so on the condition that these sensations reflect an objective reality outside man: man could never have adapted himself biologically to the environment if his sensations had not given him an objectively correct idea of it. Man's correct understanding of the objective reality was quite obviously obtained in the process of protracted and complicated cognition involving the relativity and changeability of the notions worked out by the various sciences.

Thus objectivity of knowledge has been a key issue in the course of the entire history of philosophical thought and of science in particular. In our time, too, it remains a touchstone of the true attitude of one or another philosophical school to science revealing the extent of its influence on social and practical life. Those philosophers who show interest in this problem have always been aware, vaguely or keenly, that knowledge which cannot be regarded as objective is powerless or useless, and that the practices relying on such pseudo-knowledge are adventurist and even harmful.

In its attempts to reject all unscientific, metaphysical problems, including the problems of the independent existence of objective reality and such "absolutes" as matter, substance, space causality and others, positivism has proved to be no more fortunate than other philosophical schools. However, it would be interesting and instructive to trace the impact of the objectivity problem on positivist philosophy in general, and on its specific concepts and notions in particular.

Being always opposed, as it was, to the discussion of the so-called metaphysical problems and, in particular, refusing to investigate the relation of knowledge to the objective world and bother about the origin of scientific knowledge and what lies behind this knowledge, positivism could not afford to discard completely the principle of the objectivity of knowledge. This would have otherwise led to opposing the fundamental scientific tradition. In fact, the entire history of science has always held that objectivity was its chief goal and basic trait distinguishing it from other forms of knowledge and intellectual culture.

Positivism has regarded traditional philosophy as metaphysical first and foremost because it postulates the existence of transcendental reality different from and independent of the senses. Many of the adherents of this school of philosophy mistook objectivity to mean the observability of events.


General philosophical world view fulfils certain methodological functions and yet acts as a general philosophical methodology - a most general methodology of sciences. Francis Bacon's materialist philosophy led him to the belief in experimental, inductive method. The link between methodology and basic philosophical principles appears even more clearly spelt out in Hegelian thought system, who declared as a method, the dialectical movement of thought through contradiction. Experience of scientific work shows that there is a need for methodology as a special discipline which preoccupies itself with the study and generalisation of methods for constructing scientific knowledge, and methods with the help of which scientific knowledge is being attained.


1. ……………………and ……………………..offered two contrasting general philosophical world views which informed methodological functions of philosophy.

2. Dialectical methodology was developed by:

(1) Albert Einstein (2) Niels Bohr (3) Henri Poincere (4) Francis Bacon

(5) W. Hegel

3. Two levels of scientific inquiry are ---------------------and -----------------------

4. Major work on method by Francis Bacon is named:

(1) Systematic doubt

(2) Novum organum

(3) Descent of man

(4) Scientific revolution

(5) None of the above

5. That the pair concepts “sensousness-mentation” concides with the pair concepts ‘empirical-theoretical” Yes or No.


1. Cohen and Nagel Logic and Scientific Method. London

2. Schoff Vedenje v Methodologju Nauchnogo Isledovanja, Leningrad, 1970.


The objective of this module is to provide you with a brief description of the nature of what constitutes a good scientific work and its characterisitcs. This is done by using the work of first-rate scientists to illustrate. Therefore at the end of it you should know the `secret' behind known successful scientists: what they do and how which made them to be so successful. In order to achieve the set goal, the module equally characterises scientific procedures including in particular, observational procedure which is the basic ingredient of scientific inquiry so you can master them appropriately. Finally, you are expected to have a clear picture of why criticism and self-criticism form essential aspect of scientific endeavour.


Module 9 deals with the nature and characteristics of good scientific work in a comprehensive manner point by point. It explains clearly scientific procedures with emphasis on observational procedure. And finally it terminates with an elaborate illustrative discussion on criticism and self-criticism in science.


The discussion of the general principles of scientific procedure began among the Greeks in the conflict between the naturalistic school of thinkers (Thales, Empedocles, Democritus, Epicuros) and the mystical, idealistic school of Pythagoras and Plato. It was a subject of debate among theologians, philosophers, and scientists in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. In the early controversies, the main issue was the relative importance of observation, rational argument, philosophic principle, and mathematics in building up scientific knowledge. The relation of the authority of the scriptures and of Aristotle to scientific truth was a point of bitter controversy during the period of Kepler and Galileo.

From the Newtonian period, the divorce of science from philosophy, and particularly from religion, became complete. While outbreaks of controversy between religionists and scientists continued, neither authority nor a priori philosophic principle had much direct influence on the development of scientific knowledge. Even arguments between such philosophers as Francis Bacon and René Descartes concerning the proper places of observation and reason in the development of science could recede into background in view of the growing realization that both are essential. Experience demonstrated that neither rational argument alone nor empiricism divorced from analysis can serve as a satisfactory basis for science. So there was little room for further difference of opinion.

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, however, much was made of the revolutionary successes in physical science. The methods of physical sciences were held up as models for scholars in every other field. High hopes were entertained that it would be possible to construct a science of man and a science of society based, like Newton's mechanics, on a few fundamental principles from which a host of practical consequences could be deduced. One result was the writing of numerous books and essays on scientific method. Another was the effort to work out a simple formula or recipe for scientific work: a rule of procedure that contains the "magic secret" and can be transferred from one area of investigation to another. The truth is, however, that the attempt to reduce the practice of science to the application of a formula has not been successful. [J. B. Conant Science and Common Sense Yale Univ. Press 1951 esp. ch. 3]. The procedures actually used by competent scientists very widely with the subject to be investigated, with the special abilities of the investigator, and with the conceptual and experimental setting in which the scientific problems present themselves to him. No method is unacceptable that leads to positive results, whether it be a patient gathering of data whose significance is not yet understood or the eager search for confirmation of a theoretical "hunch".

Nevertheless, it may be worth while to point out briefly some of the general characteristics of the work of first-rate scientists.

a. The scientist seeks an understanding of the world about him in terms of impersonal law. As a human being, he has his own purposes and may be deeply interested in the purposes of others. In his professional capacity as a scientist, he tends to avoid such matters and to shut out the Aristotelian notion of purpose in nature. (Unless, of course, he is a worker in the area of the social sciences, where the motives of the members of society are a subject of study). His ultimate goal is a description of nature that ignores the question of first causes. In thus restricting the scope of his inquiries, he accepts a basic law of experience: Nature provides answers to the question How? but has little to say in response to the question Why?

b. The successful scientist tries to free his work from personal bias and from the many illusions to which our sensations are subject. His work must bear the stamp of objectivity if it is to be acceptable to other scientists.

c. The successful scientist tries to approach nature with an open mind. He seeks not the confirmation of established opinions, but insights that will help him to correct them. On the other hand, he tries to avoid jumping at conclusions, for he knows that 99% of the bright ideas that come to him will turn out to be wrong. He must be self-critical and tentative.

d. The scientist must have the patience to take almost unlimited pains in the design of his instruments and a willingness to tackle small problems ripe for solution while waiting for the time when greater questions can be answered.

e. The natural scientist is nearly always analytical. His endeavour is to resolve complex phenomena into relatively simple elements that are repeated again and again. Thus, the orbits of the planets and their satelites, the ocean tides, the precession of the equinoxes, etc., provide a bewildering array of observational facts. However, the Newtonian theory reduces them all to examples of the operation of the relatively simple laws of motion and gravitation. By analysis the scientist achieves synthesis. That is why Voltaire described the scientific method as one of dissection and recombination.

f. Finally, the successful scientist must be a person of outstanding imagination and inventive genius, fond of solving problems with a mind disciplined to long periods of concentrated reflection. This point is very important, because it has become a common practice among many Nigerian scholars to make hasty conclusions, where caution is are called for.


We turn now from the consideration of the general qualities of successful scientific work to a brief examination of the general procedures in use. As was indicated at the beginning of the previous lecture, there is no fixed technique, no fixed pattern of attack. In fact none is necessary. Science is a social enterprise with well-organised purposes and ideals. Ingenuity in overcoming obstacles is at a premium and could only be fettered by rules that go beyond the inherent necessities of the job to be done.

The primary categories of procedure are: (a) observation and experimentation, (b) formulation of empirical laws, (c) reflection and theory making, and (d) the communication of results to other members of the scientific community by which the "private science" of the individual is converted into "public science".

Let us consider first the role of communication, which is an essential feature of the scientific process.

There is a continual interchange of ideas between scientists at work in the same laboratory and between workers in different laboratories and different countries. This exchange takes place in private discussions, scientific meetings, by publication, and through personal correspondence. The free flow of ideas brings a cross-fertilization of minds and creates an atmosphere of mutual stimulation that is of immense value. It is for this reason that the restriction on communication between scientists imposed by the need for economic advantage, military secrecy, and some other considerations is inimical to the development of science itself.

Moreso as communication is indispensable to the continuous process of checking, it becomes the great safeguard of the scientific enterprise. Scientist are human, subject to prejudice, and prone to error like other people. But because they form a community intent of developing their shared profession, they learn from each other. So mistakes and the bias of prejudice are likely, sooner or later, to be discovered and eliminated. An important piece of experimental work is almost certain to be corroborated, or shown to be in error, by parallel but independent investigations in other laboratories. Important theoretical calculations are repeated by others using different techniques. The communication of new theoretical concepts may lead to the design of new instruments for experimental research as well as to new machines for industry. Successful applications of an idea are part of the evidence for its validity.

Of course the exchange of ideas and mutual criticism by professionals is important in other intellectual activities. But in this exchange scientists, especially natural scientists, have one advantage over the other groups or specialists. Unlike lawyers, for example, they have excellent methods for reconciling differences. They work in an area of investigation in which relatively simple and unambiguous experiments are possible, and they accept the well-established experimental result as final. Although differences of opinion arise, they do not last very long unless they have to do with matters beyond the reach of experiment. Herein lies the central reason for the power of science as a reliable source of exact information.

Let us next consider some of the major sorts of scientific activity that come under the general headings of observation and the construction of theories.


Observational procedures vary with the nature of the field to be investigated, with progress already achieved in the field, and with the scientific climate of the time.


Casual, unplanned observation has given the first impetus to many scientific advances. By casual observation men were first aware of the major characteristics of motion of the sun and stars with respect to the earth. By casual observation Galileo's attention was first drawn to the fact that the period of vibration of a pendulum executing small oscillations is independent of its amplitude. By casual observation we become aware of the fact that water is cooled when it evaporates, that the trade winds flow from east to west on both sides of the equator, that most trees are leaveless in dry season and are leafy in rain.

9.3.b. At the other extreme to casual observation are the systematic research programmes carried out by teams of scientific workers in the great laboratories of today. But even in a planned research programme, the element of accidental observations may play an important part, as it did in the discovery of radioactivity by Becquerel.

Exact measurements and the gathering of statistical data serve to give quantitative form to the facts of casual observation and to reveal many additional facts. Such measurements constituted the lifework of Tycho Brahe and absorb the energies of great number of scientists today.

9.3.c. Controlled Experiments create artificially simplified conditions in which the effects of various factors on a physical phenomenon can be measured separately or in which forces or processes can be observed that would otherwise be hidden completely. For instance, in studying the behaviour of a given sample of gas, the experimenter arranges his apparatus so that he has independent control over the pressure and temperature. By varying the pressure at constant temperature, he establishes Boyle's law, and by varying the temperature at constant pressure he establishes the law of Charles and Gay-Lussac.

Modern science and technology have cooperated in developing a bewildering array of ingenious and complex tools for controlled experimentation: Spectroscopes, oscilloscopes, ammeters, voltmeters, centrifuges, telescopes, cyclotrons, and many others.

A new basic experimental device frequently opens up a new area of experience to be explored. One technical invention leads to others, and no one can foresee in advance what the ultimate scientific and technological consequences may be.

9.3.d. The discovery of empirical laws and the formulation of scientific theories are essential parts of scientific exploration as is the making of observations and experiments. The observed facts are necessary, but it is the organisation of these facts by examination of their relationships and their interpretation by suitable theories that gives meaning to observational data and binds them together into a rational fabric of thought. The first stage in the organisation of the facts in a given area depends on the nature of the field under consideration.

The relation that is finally disclosed constitutes an empirical law, i.e. a law derived directly from observational data, as distinguished from a law deduced from an interpretive theory. Empirical laws are the normal prelude to the formulation of theories. Boyle's law relating the pressure and volume of a sample of gas at a constant temperature is a good example in this case.


As you have already seen, the scientist is not satisfied with untested or uncritical explanations. An explanation would be said to be uncritical, if it has been arrived at without its being based on a critical analysis and evaluation of facts. And because science is a rational inquiry, criticism is its hallmark. Criticisms are also important to science because of its continuous checkings and re-checkings of its explanations with the intent of revising, correcting and changing such (its explanations) whenever the occasions demand that they should be revised, corrected or changed.

Thus the hypotheses, theories and laws that science arrives at inductively and through the great imaginative insights of its practitioners are held to be fallible, no matter how very successful they are.

And the history of science has shown again and again that scientific laws are really fallible. "There is today almost no scientific theory which was held (in the strong sense) when, say, the Industrial Revolution began about 1760. Most often today's theories (flatly) con-tradict those of 1760; many contradict those of 1900. In cosmology, in quantum mechanics, in genetics, in the social sciences, who now holds the beliefs that seemed firm sixty years ago?" Thus the highly successful Newtonian Laws and Newtonian physics had been shown to be fallible by Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. Einstein's Theory of Relativity has altered the Newtonian concept of gravity showing for instance, in opposition to Newtonian physics, that light does not always travel in a straight line. This gravitational "bending" of light (that is, light does not always travel in a straight line) was actually observed to occur as a result of noting the relative observed position of stars from different "positions" of the sun, that is, during a total eclipse, and at night. Again, Soddy and Rutherford were able to confirm Marie Curie's suspicion that the atom was divisible contrary to Dalton's Atomic Theory of Matter. Doctor Willison Harvey, through observations and experiments as well as reasoned-out logical analysis and arguments, criticised and refuted the traditional theory on Blood Circulation elaborated by Doctor Galen which states that blood ebbed and flowed in the body from tissues through the same veins and arteries. Instead, through careful observations and experiments and a keen sense of imaginations, he showed that blood in fact circulated and passed from the arteries through the tissues to the capillaries and veins, and that the heart was a muscle which acted as the pump in the circulatory process. By so doing, Harvey made a vital discovery about the human body, namely The Circulation of the Blood. This discovery is therefore one of the landmarks in the history of medical science.

According to the Phlogiston Theory, the four basic elements were "earth", "air", "fire" and "water". Chemists who upheld this theory believed that metals could be obtained by heating certain materials with charcoal, and that metals were at first very much the same. Other solids were called "earths", and still others such as his Theory of Astronomy asserted that if others "form any opinion contrary to that we have stated we must indeed respect both parties, but be guided by the more accurate".

The scientist engages himself in self-criticism because he is committed to discovering the truth and not in projecting, and protecting at all cost, any pet theory. He is aware that his profession is a noble profession whose goal is the discovery of truth through rational and critical inquiries. He thus will not make wild claims, nor want to cheat, and is aware that his colleagues are trained to resist every form of persuasion but the fact, and that a scientist who breaks this rule will be ignored.

Thus Kepler, concerning planetary motion, first upheld "the circular theory" - that Mars, and thus other planets too, move in a perfect circle. He then went onto the immense collection of data on Mars' movements compiled by Tycho Brahe and Longomontamus. But he found out these collected data did not support his circular theory hypothesis. For the calculated distances (the data) required Mars' eccentricity to be very great such that his resulting equations concerning Mars' orbit's elements seemed false. However, Kepler did not give up on his circular theory hypothesis, for he next determined these orbit's elements by other methods. But the result that he obtained showed that the method of equal areas in equal times gave errors of 8o in excess and defect meanwhile, if Mars' orbit was really circular, then this method should not have given more than 1o in error (in excess and defect).

After some hesitations, Kepler slowly came to support that his circular theory hypothesis was perhaps wrong and so he gradually abandoned it and gave three tentative arguments against it. But afterwards, he still began again to question his method of areas -that is, he began again to question the logical implications of the data - and he actually abandoned these equations given by this method of areas - that is, he actually abandoned the data.

But it was only when the distances given to him by the circle were repeatedly inconsistent with those observed by Brahe that Kepler began systematically to doubt this circular theory hypothesis, and eventually abandoned it.

He then proposed another hypothesis - that Mars' orbit was "a plani oviformis". But he had problems with this new hypothesis in that his mathematical calculations on Mars' movements contradicted this "plani oviformis" hypothesis. For he found out while the plani oviformis hypothesis seemed to indicate an orbited system with two foci, his mathematical calculations provided a system with one (geometrical) focus. Again Kepler took some time before abandoning this new hypothesis (for he still went on upholding this plani oviformis hypothesis until a comparison between the distances given by the oviform and Brahe's corrected observations - the data - showed differences at forty points).

He eventually after an enormous heap of calculations based on Brahe's collected data, came to realise that Mars revolved around the sun in an elliptical orbit with the sun in one focus, for he discovered that this elliptical orbit hypothesis pulled his enormous heap of mathematical calculations, velocities, positions and distances,together into a geometrically intelligible pattern. The elliptical areas were seen to be equivalent; similarly the sum of the corresponding diametral distances were equal - and the equations following from the ellipse fitted in with Brahe's collected data (because they were general expressions of these data). And of course Kepler extended this hypothesis to the other planets whose movements he did not observe.

This essential feature of science - self-criticism - is one major reason why scientists take time before eventually proposing their final hypotheses. For they struggle, as it were, from one hypothesis to another, and then to another, and then to another, and so on. Science is thus a self-critical rational inquiry. It demands patience and a very long time reflection.


The discussion of the general principles of scientific procedure which began among the ancient Greeks persisted through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. In eighteenth and nineteenth centuries high hopes were entertained that it would be possible to construct a science of man and a science of society, based like Newton's mechanics, on a few fundamental principles from which a host of practical consequences could be deduced. Numerous books were published in that direction. The truth however is that the attempt to reduce the practice of science to the application of a formula has not been successful. The lesson then is that no method is unacceptable in science that leads to positive results.


1. Two philosophers that made great contributions to the debate about the general principles of scientific procedure are:

(1) Isaac Newton and (2) O. Oparin (3) Galileo and (4) Kepler

(5) None of the above

2. The work of first-rate scientist is noted for two general characteristics. These are: ………………………and ……………………..

3. The primary categories of procedure in scientific inquiry are:

……………………… ……………………………… ……………………………

…………………… .. ………………………………. …………………………….

……………………. ………………………………. ………………………………

4. …………………….constituted the lifework of Tycho Brahe and formed his major contribution to the development of science.

5. Who of the two, Dr. Willison Harvey or Dr. Galen states “that blood ebbed and flowed in the body from tissues through the same veins arteries”.


1. J. B. Conant Science and Common Sense, Yale University Press, 1951, ch. 3.

2. Edwin C. Kemble Physical Science, Its Structure and Development, Cambridge, The M. I. T. Press, 1966, ch. 10.


Module 10 has the objective to explain to you the nature, characteristics, and basic principles of scientific prediction, imagination, conjecture, hypothesis, theory formation, and generalisation. At the end of the lecture you should know these afore-stated concrete moves which are crucial to scientific inquiry. In addition to that you should have a clear understanding of what the correlation of competing theories is.


The module explores into the nature, characteristics and basic principles of scientific prediction; discusses imagination, conjecture and scientific hypothesis. It states briefly some factors that make for a good theory, after which it discusses the problem of the correlation of competing theories in science. Finally, Module 10 explains what generalisation is constituted of, how it is attained in scientific inquiry and its significance.


Scientific prediction is a type of theoretical activity that consists in determining and describing various natural phenomena, social occurrences, or mental states that are not present at the moment but that may arise or be studied and discovered in the future.

The history of prediction dates back into antiquity. Initially prediction arose in the form of prophecy, soothsaying, and fortune-telling. In ancient India, China, Egypt, Babylonia and Greece prediction was divided into three main branches. These were: 1. natural phenomena - solar eclipses, harvests, changes in weather; 2. Social phenomena, the onset of war or its outcome, the victory or defeat of a political faction, and 3. events in the life of the individual such as death, illness, birth, marriage, the acquisition of wealth.

At the early stage of its development, prediction not infrequently assumed a mystical, irrational, and religious form and was monopolised by special groups such as priests, oracles, prophets, and babalawos. Even in Nigeria in our times, these forms of predictions still abound. Nevertheless, in antiquity prediction and foresight based on personal "secular" experience and the rudiments of scientific knowledge were also carried out. E.g. Thales' prediction of a solar eclipse in 585 B.C. and a rich grape harvest. The demand for prediction arose out of the need to regulate society, industry, and trade, to organise agriculture, and to plan political, economic and cultural measures. Thus, it can be said that scientific prediction arose out of prescientific forms of prediction that originally evolved within the framework of practical activity. In a more matured form, scientific prediction evolved concurrently with the development of modern science between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries. A scientific theory, which is a chain of causally related, logically connected laws, is the basis for scientific prediction. The consequences which contain information of the properties, relations, and other characteristics of a given phenomenon are derived from certain laws on the basis of previously established procedures. When applied to the future, the derived consequences become acts of prevision. A prevision which is more or less localised in time and that contains fairly complete information is usually called a prediction. An example is the description of the chemical properties of some as yet undiscovered elements on the basis of the chemical periodic table developed by Mendeleev. Another is P. Dirac's prediction of the positron.

There are basically two types of predictions. Prediction founded on deterministic principle, and another, based on probablistic scheme. In the deterministic prediction, each phenomenon is predicted with a high degree of accuracy and is strictly localised in time and space. The more complex the phenomenon, the greater the need to use probablistic-statistical methods of prediction. The former is usually used in the fields such as mechanics, classical physics, chemistry, and some branches of astronomy. Various forms of probablistic-statistical prediction are used for phenomena of complex systems and which are influenced by numerous factors that cannot be accounted for, e.g. in quantum physics, economics, or psychology.

The nature of a scientific prediction and the degree of its reliability depend on the structure and objective truth of the laws of a particular branch of science, as well as, on the accuracy and completeness of the empirical data describing the initial circumstances of the given event.

In accordance with the feedback principle, each act of scientific prediction affects the course of historical events by altering them within the framework of objective laws.


With great imaginative powers Newton constructed a picture of the universe, man's cosmic environment. Newton's picture has to meet more detailed and powerful experimental tests because it is a construction which claims to fit from movement to movement a world in constant motion.

Thus for instance when the distant planet Uranus seemed to be keeping time in line with Newtonian physics, physicists believed that some unseen planet still farther away must be disturbing it by its gravitational force. Thus two scientists, Adams (in England) and Leverrier (in France) working independently of one another used the laws of Newtonian physics to calculate where such a planet (the disturbing planet) must be. And when the great telescope at Berlin was turned to the spot, there was Neptune, the disturbing planet, clear to the eye!

Newton's greatness as an intelligent imaginative thinker lies in the facts that he had that insight which cannot be distracted, that gift for isolating and eliminating each logical alternative, which makes the profound experimenter and as well as the theoretical scientist; in short, which makes the profound mind. His was a mind whose power lies in his ability to construct hypothetical parts and assemble them into a mechanism (that is, providing theoretical frameworks) which shall fit at each stage of the experimental checks and the real world. He thus sought to fuse logical thoughts and speculations with empirical and experimental facts. "At the basis of scientific method lies the kind of imagination which Newton used, who defined a world of particles, postulated laws or axioms which these particles individually follow and then showed that they combine to make a world much like that we know". For, "at the hypothesis stage the need for imagination in scientific method becomes important: `learn to dream, gentlemen', one famous physicist once remarked to his students. `Only connect', was the instruction of another. The process of `connetion', especially as advancing science becomes increasingly complex in form, needs, however, `trained minds as well as a fertile imagination'".

Thus the scientist is a great intellectual who makes a lot of bold conjectures (or hypotheses) about the world. These conjectures are said to be bold because they are hypotheses which are not just based on observations and experimental facts, but rather they go beyond these observations and experimental facts and postulate hypotheses which cannot be immediately (or even at all) found in experience. Obviously this was what Newton did above; and Galileo's Frictionless Motions Law as well as other of science's high level abstractions generally are the bold conjectures made by science. Newton's mathematical unification of Galileo's Free Fall Law and Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motions is a good example of what it is for a scientist to make bold conjectures.

Galileo, after a thorough refutation of Aristotle's incorrect speculations on falling bodies, formulated various laws on the motions and fall of physical bodies. From these he arrived at a more general hypothesis (or law), The Law of Free Fall: "Everybody near the surface of the earth falls at a constant acceleration".

Meanwhile, Kepler who was his contemporary, having also refuted the speculation that planetary motions were perfect concentric circles, generalised from the fact that the planet Mars revolved around the sun in an elliptical orbit with the sun in one focus, that all planets move in elliptical orbits with the sun in one focus. This generalisation is the first of Kepler's Three Laws of Planetary Motions. The other two are: "During any given time interval, the imaginary line connecting planet and sun sweeps out the same area anywhere along the elliptical path", and "The squares of the times of revolutions (or years) of the planets are proportional to the cubes of their average distances from the sun".

Newton, who was born in the year that Galileo died, did what neither Kepler nor Galileo could do or did - showing that the two sets of laws propounded by both of them were actually consequences of a more general and elaborate laws. Kepler on his own part could not explain why the planets obeyed the elliptical orbits they follow. He just said that they did; while Galileo did not realise that his Free Fall Law could be extended and applied to heavenly bodies as well.

It thus required Newton's boldness and based on his insight to propose that every particle of matter in the universe attracts every other particle, and that the attraction varies directly as the product of the attracting masses, and inversely as the square of the distance between them - and thus the planets would move in elliptical orbits with the sun at one focus as well as the fact that any body near the surface of the earth would fall to the earth with a (nearly) constant acceleration - because the sun attracts the planets and the planets attract the sun, and the earth attract all physical bodies near it and they attract the earth as well. This is a very bold conjecture requiring a great and bold mind to make. Many great scientists (Einstein, Heisenberg, Rutherford, Lavoisier, Dalton, and so on) engage themselves in such bold conjectures.


A scientific theory is an interpretation of observations or experiences that fits them into the general pattern of thought or organises them by showing that they are tied together by one or more broad general principles. It is concerned with a range of related facts or observations that have scientific standing because they have been scrutinised and accredited by trained and trustworthy observers. It organises and explains the facts or observations in terms of a mutually consistent set of ideas and assumptions.

Some factors that make for a good theory include the following:

a. For a theory to be good its assumptions need be consistent with the well-established facts in the area of applicability of the theory.

b. As much as possible a theory should be simple. In this wise, the number of independent assumptions employed should be small compared with the range of facts accounted for.

c. A theory, if good, should have a wide range of application.

d. A theory that is good has the propensity to suggest new facts and relation for further inquiry.

e. The social applicability of a theory to the solution of important socio-economic and technological problems remains a crucial indicator of its merit. The value of such a good theory is enhanced by the nature, scope and range of problems to which it is employed to solve. It needs be stressed, however, that the inherent significance of a theory as a contribution to knowledge-for-knowledge sake is independent of such application.


The problem of the correlation of competing theories, as well as theories that replace one another in the course of the development of knowledge, has been analysed by many in the past 30 years or so. This has been done in connection with the thesis of their incommensurability. Primarily, Paul K. Feyerabend, Thomas S. Kuhn, and Stephen Toulmin, maintain a thesis of their incommensurability in principle.

What makes it possible to formulate the idea of the incommensurability of scientific theories is the absence of a language of observation such that is neutral as regards theory that would provide a basis for checking theories.

Suppose you weigh a piece of load, which proves to be 60kg 20g. In view of your practical needs you can ignore the 20g and say that the weight of the load is 60kg. In both instances you are dealing with true statements. In the second instance your statement is still true because you can, if necessary, make your weighing more accurate. You need to bear in mind, too, that the accuracy of weighings is always relative. When that is not borne in mind, the first statement should be declared false.


Generalisation, as a rule, is the transition from knowledge of the particular to knowledge of the general (universal), from knowledge of the less general to that of the more general. Included here are the results of these transitions recorded in corresponding concepts and judgements.

Assume that certain sets of objects A1, A2, A3 ...An relating to one and the same subject domain are being studied separately at first. Their specific characteristics will be thereby revealed. Then the results of studying A1, A2, A3 ... An will be generalised. Certain common pro-perties of them are discovered in sets A1,A2,A3... An. Then by abstracting from the specific elements of each of the sets A1,A2,A3...An, certain general relations are formulated as a function between elements of the sets and elements of the sub-sets of the sets, and so a generalised theory is constructed. Each set from A1, A2, A3 ... An proves to belong to a set A1E, A2E, A3E ... EAn.

The task of identifying and generalising classes A1, A2 ... An is done by formulating characteristics and laws common to each of the classes belonging to their association - A1E, A2E ... EAn.

At the empirical level, laws of the sort may be descriptive or phenomenological. At the theoretical level, they correspond to what are called fundamental theoretical schemes. Such laws can be formulated as those laws whose intrinsic characteristic is their explanatory function. (Check E. K. Ogundowole "The Correlation of Explanation and Understanding in Scientific Inquiry", Vestnik Leningradskogo Universiteta No 17, 1975, p.141 (in Russian)).

Kepler's first law was originally formulated in relation only to the motion of the planets around the sun: every planet moves in an ellipse, at one of whose foci the sun is situated. Later it was made clear that other celestial bodies could also describe cosmic sections - circles, ellipses, parabolas, and hyperbolas - around the sun under the effect of its attraction. Given this, the original formulation of Kepler's first law was generalised: a body moving about the sun describes a cosmic section, at one of the foci of which the sun is situated. This was a generalisation of a broader range of astronomical objects.


Hardly can there be knowledge or understanding without generalisation. Generalisation is a sine qua non of both everyday and scientific knowledge, since the latter is not satisfied by the recording of the separate and individual at the level of sensory knowledge. Precisely, it is through generalisation that you form general concepts and general judgements, formulate norms, bans, and limitations, problems, conceptions, and theories.


Scientific prediction is a type of theoretical activity that consists in determining and describing various natural phenomena, social occurrences, or mental states that are not yet present but that may arise or be studied and discovered in the future. It is a very valuable theoretical activity. Without a great imaginative power a scientist can not do much. Conjecture - a product of imaginative mind leads to setting forth of hypothesis, and the formulation of theory. There is a problem of the correlation of competing theories. While generalisation is the transition from knowledge of the particular to knowledge of the universal, from the knowledge of less general to that of the more general, it is through generalisation that you form general concepts and general judgements, formulate norms, bans, and limitations, problems, conceptions, and theories. Therefore, generalisation has a significant role to play in science.


1. At the early beginning in ancient world prediction arose in the form of:

(1) ……………………………. (2) …………………………. and (3) ………………………..

2. In antiquity prediction was divided into three main branches. These were:

(1) Natural phenomena, e.g…………

(2) Social phenomena such as: (3) events in the life of the individuals, e.g.……………………

3. Complete the following: Generalization, as a rule, is the transition from knowledge of the …………………… knowledge of ………………………………………

4. Some factors that make for a good scientific theory include:

(a) ……………………………..


(c) ……………………………..


(e) ………………………………

6. Why is generalisation regarded as a sine qua none of scientific knowledge? Give a descriptive feature of generalisation.


1. Dmitry Gorsky Generalisation and Cognition Moscow, Progress, 1987, ch. III.

2 "Scientific Prediction", in The Great Soviet

Encyclopedia Vol. 17, Macmillan, pp. 579.

3. I. S. Alekseev "Science", Ibidem, pp. 668-673.


For Modules

8 - 10 Discuss cogently scientific procedure and what makes for good research work.


The most general
















Physics Chemistry, etc



Engineering Sciences

Table 1: General Classification of the Sciences

Table 2

Transition Area Transition Area

Atoms Molecules

Macrobodies i.e. aggregate of molecules

Branch of Physics (Molecular)

Branch of Pysics (Subatomic)

Branch of Chemistry

Atomic nuclei

Physical Chemistry

Elementary particles

Table 3: Classification of the natural and engineering sciences


(broadly defined)

Applied Mathematics

(narrowly defined)

Applied mechanics


Power-engineering sciences (electrical, thermal, photographic radio-engineering sciences)

Nuclear power engineering

Industrial chemical sciences

Metallurgy Mining

Agronomic Zootechnical




Cybernetics and automation PHYSICS

Superatomic or Macro

Quantum or micromechanics

Subatomic or Microphysics

Physical chemistry and chemical physics









Human Physiology

Physical Anthropology

Transition to History

Transition to PSYCHOLOGY

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...OF PSYCOLOGY* 1.GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY- field of psychology that explais the underline principles of human behavior-the study of how and why people behave this way or that way. 2.COMPARATIVE PSYCHOLOGY- traits of the behavior & mental processes of the different species. 3.DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY-is concern itself with the study of human behavior in all its aspects of growth & development. 4.CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY-is concern with the investigation of the varied facts of marketing & buying behavior affects of advertising studies of mass media & other problems arising from the relationshipbetween the buyer & the seller. 5.EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY-deals with observation and experiments in a psychological laboratory. 6.DIFFERENTIAL PSYCHOLOGY-is a branch of study which deals investigates differences & similarities existing among individuals groups and races. 7. PSYCHOLOGY-applied in medicine it concerned with the treatment of mental diseases. 8.CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGICAL-pertains to the diagnosis of psycho therapy of the milder behavior disorder. 9.EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY-deals with learning motivation & other subject in the actual eductional process. 10.SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY-is the study of the behavior of groups & individuals in their relationship to other group. 11.PERSONALITY PSYCHOLOGY-study between personality and behavior. 12.ADOLESCENE PSYCHOLOGY- study of behavior of man from poverty to later life approximately from 12-20 yrs.old. 13.SENESCENT PSYCHOLOGY- is the scientific of human...

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...1—What Is Psychology? Learning Goals 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Explain what psychology is and how it developed. Describe six contemporary approaches to psychology. Describe two movements that reflect a positive approach to psychology. Evaluate careers and areas of specialization in psychology. Apply some strategies that will help you succeed in psychology. After studying Chapter 1, you will be able to: Define psychology. Describe the influence that philosophy, biology, and physiology had on the beginnings of psychology as a science. Compare the two early scientific approaches in psychology: structuralism and functionalism. Describe the focus of each of the six contemporary approaches to psychology. Describe the positive psychology movement, and discuss why this movement recently emerged in psychology. Discuss career opportunities in psychology. Profile the main areas of specialization in psychology. Say how studying habits may be optimized. Understand how to be a critical thinker. CHAPTER 1: OUTLINE Psychology is a science dedicated to the study of behavior and mental processes. In this chapter you are introduced to the history of this science, a variety of contemporary perspectives in psychology, the positive psychology movement, and an overview of psychology-related careers. At the end of the chapter, the reader learns about the most effective methods of studying and learning. There are three concepts important to the definition of psychology: science...

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...Page 1 PSYCHOLOGY IN THE CONTEXT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE • What is ‘psychology’ and why is it so important in the context of health and social care? • What do we mean by ‘health’ and why is psychology central to the effective delivery of health and social care? • What are the main approaches to psychological thinking and research? • Who are psychologists and what do they contribute to the promotion of health and well-being? Introduction This chapter emphasizes the importance of psychology in the context of health and social care. For many years, psychology and the other social sciences were viewed by the medical profession as ‘soft sciences’, interesting but unimportant. With the advent of research into the links between physical and mental states in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries it is now possible to demonstrate that psychology can make a fundamental difference to physical as well as mental health. In this chapter, we explore the nature of psychology and its relevance to health and social care. We outline the different schools of thought and methods of inquiry in psychology. We seek to distinguish between psychology as an academic discipline and popular notions of psychology, and identify professionals whose practice is mainly concerned with the application of psychology. In order to show how psychology can be applied to health and social care, we introduce a family scenario whose characters appear in examples throughout the book. What is psychology...

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...Social psychology is the scientific field that seeks to understand the nature and causes of the individual behavior and thought in social situation. Social psychology investigates the ways in which our thoughts, feelings, and actions are influenced by the social environments in which we live. Social interactions help to shape who we are and how we act in different situations. The factors affecting social interaction fall into five major categories. They are the actions and characteristics of others, basic cognitive processes, ecological variables, cultural context and biological factors. The Cognitive processes such as perception, memory and inferences play a key role on the understanding and behavior of every individual in the society. Reactions to certain situations by an individual strongly depend on the memories of others past behaviors and the inferences an individual formed about these behaviors. If anybody wants to clearly understand the causes of others behavior in a social situation it is a must that one should understand what went on in the thinking pattern and understanding process of those people when they behaved in a particular social situation. For example, if your friend sets an appointment with you in a particular time. You are waiting for him at a particular point in a particular time, if he comes late what would be your reaction. In such a situation, cognitive process plays a crucial role in the social behavior and social thoughts of every individual...

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...eBook Psychology Myers 7th Edition PDF at Our Huge Library PSYCHOLOGY MYERS 7TH EDITION PDF ==> Download: PSYCHOLOGY MYERS 7TH EDITION PDF PSYCHOLOGY MYERS 7TH EDITION PDF - Are you searching for Psychology Myers 7th Edition Books? Now, you will be happy that at this time Psychology Myers 7th Edition PDF is available at our online library. With our complete resources, you could find Psychology Myers 7th Edition PDF or just found any kind of Books for your readings everyday. You could find and download any of books you like and save it into your disk without any problem at all. We also provide a lot of books, user manual, or guidebook that related to Psychology Myers 7th Edition PDF, such as; - Experimental Psychology Seventh Edition - Social Psychology Myers 7th Edition free Ebooks download - EXPLORING PSYCHOLOGY 7th Edition in Modules David Myers - Psychology By David G Myers 7th Edition Online Pdf - Exploring Psychology 7th Edition David Myers Learning - Psychology Myers 10th Edition mybooklibraryCom - EXPLORING PSYCHOLOGY Personality Model of Mind The - EXPLORING PSYCHOLOGY 7th Edition David Myers Emotions - EXPLORING PSYCHOLOGY 7th Edition in Modules David Myers - Psychology David Myers 10th Edition Study Guide - Part 1 Psychology 8 Edition by David Myers Prologue and - myers exploring psychology memory chapter Bing - Experimental Psychology Seventh Edition - myers introduction to psychology Bing - psychology myers 7th edition Bing PDF Downloads Blog - Health Psychology 7th...

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...Cognitive Psychology Definition Paper Jennifer Flynn PSY/360 October 27, 2014 Terry Blackmon Cognitive Psychology Definition Paper Cognitive psychology is the study among psychology that discovers the internal mental processes by encompassing learning, memory, problem solving, perception, thought or language (Galotti, 2014). While still relatively new comparatively as a formal branch of psychology, its roots extend back to Descartes who sought a way to explain how the mind worked, proposing the analogy of a “hydraulic system of nerve function” (Willingham, 2007, p. 26) after he observed animated statues in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. It has been the relentless pursuit of not only how did the mind work but also what exactly constituted the mind that eventually led the foundations of cognitive theory. As psychologists examined how mental processes produced behavior, it was evident a different approach would be needed. The school of thought that arises from tactic is called Cognitivism and is also interested in how people mentally represent information processing (Galotti, 2014). According to ScienceDaily (2014), Wilhelm Wundt, the Gestalt psychology of Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Kohler and Kurt Koffka, and Jean Piaget was the foundations in this work. However, they presented the theory or segments that articulate children’s cognitive development and the two styles that cognitive psychologist use to realize, detect, and solve problems. These two approaches are psychophysical...

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