The South-Eastern Union of Scientific Societies

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    Abstract

    THE twentieth annual congress of the South-Eastern Union of Scientific Societies was held at Brighton on June 2-5, under the presidency of Dr. J. S. Haldane, F.R.S. The presidential address was entitled “The Place of Biology in Human Knowledge and Endeavour.” Dr. Haldane gave to his hearers a deeper insight into the inexhaustiblefulness of reality which science only partly explores, and puts us on our guard against the error of mistaking partial and abstract results for complete knowledge. He explained the marvellous nicety of the natural regulation of the act of breathing, and of the means by which constancy in the composition of the blood was maintained, and used these instances to prove the unwisdom of declaring ourselves to belong to either of the opposing schools of “mechanists” or “vitalists.” In face of the evidences of “organic determination” which these instances gave, neither of these hypotheses could satisfy. In like manner, the partial character of even the highest conception of biology and of all science must be recognised, and recognising this, we should not be ready, merely because they are not susceptible of scientific treatment, to undervalue or ignore those higher elements of human experience which we designated moral and spiritual.

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    The South-Eastern Union of Scientific Societies . Nature 95, 465–466 (1915) doi:10.1038/095465a0

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