THE RELATIONS BETWEEN SCIENCE AND ETHICS

Abstract

I PROPOSE to touch very briefly on those points in Dr. Waddington's article with which I agree, although, even where I agree, I cannot resist the temptation of entering a disclaimer against his uncritical taking over lock, stock and barrel of the pretentious jargon with which psycho–analysts disguise the commonplaceness of their observations upon the obvious. What, for example, does all this talk about the super–ego and its imposition upon the personality—is it, for example, upon “a merely receptive and featureless individual” or upon one who is “himself a factor in the origin of. his super–ego” ?—really amount to ? That there is an individual person exhibiting certain specific characteristics which distinguish him from others—my dislike, for example, of the taste of marzipan, or my delight in the smell of privet; that this individual is born and grows up in an environment and that his resultant beliefs, including his ethical beliefs, are the result of the impact of the environment upon the characteristics which distinguish him from others, as well as upon those which he shares with others. That, as it seems to me, is all that Dr. Waddington and Melanie Klein are saying, and, put like that, it scarcely seems to justify the fuss.

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JOAD, C. THE RELATIONS BETWEEN SCIENCE AND ETHICS. Nature 148, 276–277 (1941) doi:10.1038/148276a0

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