THE RELATIONS BETWEEN SCIENCE AND ETHICS

Abstract

COMMENT on Dr. Waddington's important and interesting paper is difficult because it raises so many questions which are highly controversial. Only a treatise could deal with them all. I must confine myself to some rather disconnected jottings. Frankly, I am not quite clear about the main thesis. If it is that the natural sciences have a valuable contribution to make to the study of ethics, few would deny it; if it is, as I think, the contention that the central problem for ethics can be solved by the method of natural science, that seems to me a disastrous error. No doubt science can throw light on the way in which minds come to apprehend values but, as it seems to me, it cannot determine whether they are truly values or only appear to be such, nor can it determine the scale of values, if any.

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MATTHEWS, W. THE RELATIONS BETWEEN SCIENCE AND ETHICS. Nature 148, 274–275 (1941) doi:10.1038/148274b0

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