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Solved Exercise for Precis writing with Title “Supremacy of Science” for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Fully Solved Precis Exercise

The period of history, which is commonly called ‘modern’, has a mental outlook which differs from that of the medieval period in many ways. Of these, two are the most important the diminishing authority of the Church and the increasing authority of science. With these two, others are connected. The culture of modern times is more lay than clerical. States increasingly replace the Church as the governmental authority that controls culture. The government of nations is, at first, mainly in the hands of kings; then, as in ancient Greece, the kings are gradually replaced by democracies or tyrants. The power of the national State, and the functions that it performs, grow steadily throughout the whole period but at most times the State has less influence on the opinions of philosophers than the Church had in the Middle Ages. The feudal aristocracy, which, north of the Alps, had been able, till the fifteenth century, to hold its own against central government, loses first its political and then its economic importance. It is replaced by the king in alliance with rich merchants; these two share power in different proportions in different countries. There is a tendency for the rich merchants to become absorbed into the aristocracy. From the time of the American and French Revolutions onwards, democracy, in the modern sense, becomes an important political force. Socialism, as opposed to democracy based on private property, first acquired governmental power in 1917. This form of government, however, if the culture it spreads, must obviously bring with it a new form of culture; with which we shall be concerned is in the main ‘liberal’, that is to say, of the kind most naturally associated with commerce. To this there are important exceptions, especially in Germany. But such exceptions are not typical of their age.

The rejection of ecclesiastical authority, which is the negative characteristic of the modern age, begins earlier than the positive characteristic, which is the acceptance of scientific authority. In the Italian Renaissance, science played a very small part; the opposition to the Church, in men’s thoughts, was connected with antiquity, and looked still to the past. The first serious interruption of science was the publication of the Copernican theory in 1543; but this theory did not become influential until it was taken up and improved by Kepler and Galileo in the seventeenth century. Then began the long fight between science and dogma, in which traditionalists fought losing battle against new knowledge.

The authority of science, which is recognised by most philosophers of the modern epoch, is a very different thing from the authority of the Church, since it is intellectual, not governmental. No penalties fall upon those who reject it; no prudential arguments influence those who accept it. It prevails solely by its intrinsic appeal to reason. It is, moreover, a piecemeal and partial authority; it does not, like the body of Catholic dogma, lay down a complete system, covering human morality human hopes, and the past and future history of the universe It pronounces only on whatever, at the time, appears to have been scientifically ascertained, which is a small island in an ocean of science. There is yet another difference from ecclesiastical authority, which declares its pronouncements to be absolutely certain and externally unalterable: the pronouncements of science are made tentatively, on a basis of probability, and are regarded as liable to modification. This produces a temper of mind very different from that of the medieval dogmatist.

So far I have been speaking of theoretical science, which is an attempt to understand the world. Practical science, which is an attempt to change the world, has been important from the first, and has continually increased in importance, until it has almost ousted theoretical science from men’s thoughts. The practical importance of science was first recognised in connection with war; Galileo and Leonardo obtained government employment by their claim to improve artillery and the art of fortification. From their time onwards the part of men of science in war h is steadily grown greater. Their part in developing machine production, and accustoming the population to the use, first of steam, then of electricity, came later and did not begin to have important political effects until near the end of the nineteenth century The triumph of science has been mainly due to its practical utility, and there has been an attempt to divorce his aspect from that of theory thus making science more and more a technique, and less and less a doctrine as to the nature of the world. The penetration of this point of view to the philosophers is very recent.

Emancipation from the authority of the Church led to the growth of individualism, even to the point of anarchy. Discipline, intellectual, moral and political, was associated in the minds of the men of the Renaissance with the scholastic philosophy and ecclesiastical government. The Aristotelian logic of the Schoolmen was narrow, but afforded a training in a certain kind of accuracy. When this school of logic became unfashionable, it was not, at first, succeeded by something better, but only by an eclectic imitation of ancient models. The moral and political anarchy of the fifteenth century. Italy was appalling, and gave rise to the doctrines of Machiavelli. At the same time the freedom from mental shackles led to an astonishing display of genius in art and literature. But such a society is unstable. The Reformation and the Counter—Reformation, combined with the subjection of Italy to Spain, put an end to both the good and the head of the Italian Renaissance. Modern philosophy, however, has retained for the most part an individualistic and subjective tendency.

Meanwhile science as technique was building up in practical men a quite different outlook from one that was to be foe among theoretical philosophers. Technique conferred a sense of power; man is now much less at the mercy of his environment than he was in former times. But the power conferred by technique is social not individual; an average individual wrecked on a desert island could have achieved more in the seventeenth century than he could row. Scientific technique requires the co—operation of a large number of individuals organised under a single direction. Its tendency, therefore, i.e. against anarchism and even individualism, since it demands a well—knit social structure. Unlike religion, it is ethically neutral: it assures men that they can perform wonders, but does not tell them what wonders to perform. In this way it is incomplete. In practice, the purposes to which scientific skill will be devoted depend largely on chance. The men at the head of the vast organisations which it necessitates can, within limits, turn it this way or that as they please. The power impulse thus has a scope which it never had before. The philosophies that have been inspired by scientific technique are power philosophies and tend to regard everything none—human as mere raw material. Ends are no longer considered; only the skilfulness of the process is valued. This is a form of madness. It is, in our day, the most dangerous form, and the one against which a same philosophy should provide an antidote.

Aids to Vocabulary

  1. Clerical —religious order
  2. Ecclesiastical —clergy man
  3. Fortification -encouragement, to provide means of defence
  4. Eruption — out break
  5. Eclectic selecting, choosing
  6. Appaling — shocking
  7. Anti—dote — medicine that counter—acts poison

Points for Precis Writing

  1. Of the many differences the two most marked ones are those that distinguish the period of history modern and medieval. They are the decline of the church authority and the hold of science on the modern sates.
  2. In the modern times the power of national states has grown manifold, but the state has less influence on the opinions of philosophers than the church had in the middle age.
  3. Democracy as a form of govt. came into prominence from the time of American and French Revolutions. Socialism first made dents into government sphere in 1917.
  4. People had lost faith in religious authority much before science gained prominence. Anyway the struggle between science and religion stated in the real sense after seventeenth century only.
  5. The authority exercised by science is different from the authority of church. It is of the intellectual type. It has a direct appeal to reason and like religion it does not lay down a complete system. It only talks of the things it is capable of proving. Besides all this it does not claim its results as final.
  6. While theoretical science aims at understanding of the world, practical science aims at changing the world. It first gained recognition for the part it promised to play in wars and ever since its role in wars has been on the increase. Science has got the honourable place which it occupies today, because of its practical utility.
  7. As the hold of the church became less on people’s mind, individualism hovering on the border of anarchy cropped up, doctrines of Machiavelli were the result of moral and political anarchy of the fifteenth century Italy.
  8. Any how the freedom from the chains of slavery led to blossoming of the works of art and literature.
  9. Modern philosophy has retained the individualistic and subjective tendency.
  10. With the growth of Science man felt that he was not at the mercy of his environment. Science no doubt gave to man power, but only the social not the individual one. Scientific technique needs the co—operation of a large number of individuals. Thereby it has helped in the formation of a well and closely knit social structure
  11. On the moral grounds science maintains a strict neutrality, it enables a man to perform wonders but does not suggest what wonders to perform in real life, only chance will guide free course of these wonders.
  12. Science has made power impulse very strong. Consequences are no longer bothered about. So it is really a dangerous tendency and some sane philosophy must spring forth to counteract their madness.

Precis

Of the many differences the two most marked ones which distinguish the periods of history, modern and medieval are the decline of the church authority and the hold of science on the modern states. There has been a marked increase in the power of national states, but they have much less influence on the opinion of philosophers than the church exercised in the medieval times. The change of forms of Govt. from monarchy to democracy has been through stages and socialism which is expected to change many established values too made its dents in the recent past only. People had lost faith in religious authority long before science gained prominence, the result of the loss of the hold of church resulted in the following of individualism, the Doctrine of Machiaveli was the direct result of moral and political anarchy. The freedom from the chains of slavery from church also led to a fine blossoming of the works of art and literature. Modern philosophy has retained the individualistic and subjective tendency. Anyway the actual struggle between science and religion started after the seventeenth century. The influence exercised by science was different from the authority of church. It was of the intellectual type. It had a direct appeal to reason and like religion it did not lay down a complete system nor did it talk with finality on any issue. While theoretical science aimed at understanding of the world, practical science aimed at changing the world. It first gained recognition for the part it promised to play in wars, and ever since its role in practical world has been mounting up. With the growth of science man felt that he was no more a slave to his environment. He gained a power, but of course he could use it only in a well-knit social structure. On the moral around science maintained a strict neutrality.

It tremendously contributed to raise power impulse, without caring for the consequences. Some philosophy must spring up to counteract this madness. It enabled a man to perform wonders without suggesting which ones to perform. In real life it left the scope for chance to suggest the course

Suggested Title:-

i) Supremacy of Science

ii) Science versus Church Authority

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