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HUMANITIES SCIENCE POLITICS

Science, People & Politics ISSN 1751-598X ISSUE THREE (July - Sept) 2017 PAGE 7

BOOKS

A philosophical potpourri for ethics
A book review by Helen Gavaghan

Esssays on the foundation of ethics.
By C.I.Lewis
Ed. John Lange.
$85.00
Hardback: 266 pages
Available in electronic formats
Release date August 2017
Suny Press
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-6493-0

"We know ... any straight line we can draw can be prolonged in either direction, so a priori, there can be no logical contradiction in supposing a straight line of infinite length. But we also know from experience .... we can-not draw a line of infinite length, and that it is a practical absurdity to attempt it."

From the chapter, "We Approach the Normative Finalities" in Essays on the
Foundation of Ethics by C.I.Lewis, edited by John Lange. P 211.

The Pythagoreans, it seems, "committed to the thesis that numbers and ratio lie at the root of all that is", became hoist on their own petard of logicality, with only irrational numbers a solution to their problem. What a solution that is!

Philosopher C.I. Lewis brings the Pythagorean dilemma to light in his final chapter, which enticingly is entitled, "We approach the normative finalities."

Much in this book could engage the mind of both scientists and politicians internationally. What it expounds of philosophy and logic look to me like splendid tools for independent assessment and verification of hypotheses.

It is not an easy read. One needs to follow closely what the author is saying about deductive logic, namely,

"Do not believe, or even take seriously as hypothesis, what contravenes itself by
requiring that if it be true it must also be false."

From page 182 of the same chapter.

In other words, if the hypothesis is that nothing can travel faster than light, then for the hypothesis to be true it cannot be contravened by saying that requiring for the statement to be true, some-thing must travel faster than light.

Or, transpose the question to ethics, which C.I.Lewis seeks to trace the roots of. If one has not proven oneself of good character, deduction implies bad character. Thus the hypothesis becomes Mr or Ms XYZ is of bad character. One cannot contravene that hypothesis by saying Mr or Ms XYZ is of good character. Thus the null hypothesis becomes Mr or Ms XYZ is of bad character, and that becomes the thing to be disproven. If good and bad character are not defined how can [...continued on page 8]

7 SCIENCE, PEOPLE & POLITICS [ISSN 1751-598X]


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CONTENTS

PAGE 3
LIGO

PAGE 4
LIGO

PAGE 5
LIGO

PAGE 6
LIGO

PAGE 7
BOOK REVIEWS:Ethics, Pythagoras, Megatech

PAGE 8
BOOK REVIEWS:Ethics, Pythagoras, Megatech

PAGE 9
BOOK REVIEWS:Ethics, Pythagoras, Megatech



PAGE 13
BOOK REVIEWS:Ethics, Pythagoras, Megatech

PAGE 14
From British Courts

PAGE 15
From British Courts

PAGE 16
From British Courts

PAGE 17
Poems of Science

PAGE 18
Poems of Science

PAGE 19
Quiz

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