• 书名: 历史主义贫困论
  • 作者: 卡尔·波普尔
  • 页数: 184
  • 出版社: 中国社会科学出版社
  • 出版年: 1998-01
  • 第90页
    The school of thinkers whom I propose to call methodological essentialists was founded by Aristotle, who taught that scientific research must penetrate to the essence of things in order to explain them. Methodological essentialists are inclined to formulate scientific questions in such terms as ‘what is matter?’ or ‘what is force?’ or ‘what is justice?’ and they believe that a penetrating answer to such questions, revealing the real or essential meaning of these terms and thereby the real or true nature of the essences denoted by them, is at least a necessary prerequisite of scientific research, if not its main task. Methodological nominalists, as opposed to this, would put their problems in such terms as ‘how does this piece of matter behave?’ or ‘how does it move in the presence of other bodies?’ For methodological nominalists hold that the task of science is only to describe how things behave, and suggest that this is to be done by freely introducing new terms wherever necessary, or by re-defining old terms wherever convenient while cheerfully neglecting their original meaning. For they regard words merely as useful instruments of description.
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