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The company of scholars

This is the light by which the working of society is to be examined. And in order to keep the study in a manageable field I will continue to choose a society in which the principle of truth rules. Therefore the society which I will examine is that formed by scientists themselves: it is the body of scientists.

It may seem strange to call this a society, and yet it is an obvious choice; for having said so much about the workings of science, I should be shirking all our unspoken questions if I did not ask how scientists work together. The dizzy progress of science, theoretical and practical, has depended on the existence of a fellowship of scientists which is free, uninhib­ited and communicative. It is not an upstart society; for it derives its traditions, both of scholarship and of service, from roots which reach through the Renaissance into the monastic communities and the first universities. The men and women who practice the sciences make a company of scholars which has been more lasting than any modern state, yet which has changed and evolved as no Church has. [67]

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