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Conclusion The Debate's Legacy

Conclusion The Debate's Legacy

(p.323) Conclusion The Debate's Legacy
Reforming Philosophy
University of Chicago Press

This chapter shows that understanding the Mill–Whewell debate, and the particular positions expressed by each within it, has a value that goes beyond the historical. Those interested in reforming science and society today can learn much from their controversy. In particular, Mill's conception of liberty, far from being an exemplar of the “negative liberty” position, indicates many of the problems with this stance. And Whewell's notion of inductive reasoning, which is richer than that presented by Mill and his modern followers, can provide a starting point for developing a view of the kind of reasoning used in discovering scientific theories.

Keywords:   Mill–Whewell debate, reforming science, social reform, negative liberty, inductive reasoning, scientific theories

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