Ancient conventionalism

From a few examples and particulars [the ancients] flew at once to the most general conclusions, or first principles of science. Taking the truth of these as fixed and immovable, they proceeded by means of intermediate propositions to educe and prove from them the inferior conclusions; and out of these they framed the art. After that, if any new parti­culars and examples repugnant to their dogmas were mooted and adduced, either they subtly molded them into their system by distinctions or explanations of their rules, or else coarsely got rid of them by exceptions; while to such par­ticulars as were not repugnant they labored to assign causes in conformity with those of their principles. But this was not the natural history and experience that was wanted; far from it. [I/125]

1 comment

  1. Cf. Popper’s treatment of conventionalism.

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