Die Entwicklung eines Fortschritts im wissenschaftlichen Wissen – dargestellt von John Dewey


John Dewey: Studies in Logical Theory (1903, University of Chicago Press, Seite 11-13)

We come a little closer to the problem when we recognize [anerkennen, begreifen] that every scientific inquiry [Ermittlung] passes historically through at least four stages.

(a) The first of these stages is, if I may be allowed the bull [Nonsense], that in which scientific inquiry does not take place at all, because no problem or difficulty in the quality of the experience has presented itself to provoke reflection. We have only to cast our eye back from the existing status of any science, or back from the status of any particular topic in any science, to discover a time when no reflective or critical thinking busied itself [beschäftigte sich] with the matter—when the facts and relations were taken for granted [als selbstverständlich angesehen] and thus were lost and absorbed in the value [Nutzen] which accrued [angesammelt] from the experience.

(b) After the dawning of the problem, there comes a period of occupation with relatively crude [unreif, unverarbeitet] and unorganized facts—the hunting for, locating, and collecting of raw material. This is the empiric stage, which no existing science, however proud in its attained [erreichte] rationality, can disavow [ableugnen] as its own progenitor [Vorläufer, Erzeuger].

(c) Then there is also a speculative stage: a period of guessing, of making hypotheses, of framing ideas which later on are labeled and condemned as only ideas. There is a period of distinction [Differenzierung, Unterscheidung] and classification-making which later on is regarded as only mentally-gymnastic in character. And no science, however proud in its present security of experimental assurance [Gewissheit], can disavow [leugnen] a scholastic [schulmäßig] ancestor.

(d) Finally, there comes a period of fruitful interaction between the mere ideas and the mere facts: a period when observation is determined by experimental conditions depending upon the use of certain guiding conceptions; when reflection is directed and checked at every point by the use of experimental data, and by the necessity of finding such form for itself as will enable it to serve as premise [Voraussetzung, Prämisse] in a deduction leading to evolution [Entwicklung] of new meanings, and ultimately to experimental [auf Versuchen aufgebaute] inquiry [Recherche, Untersuchung, Befragung, Ermittlung, Überprüfung], which brings to light new facts. In the emerging [Neuentstehung] of a more orderly [systematisiert] and significant [aussagekräftig, bedeutsam] region of fact, and of a more coherent [stimmig, folgerichtig, verständlich] and self-luminous [selbständig leuchtend, erhellend] system of meaning, we have the natural limit [Obergrenze] of evolution of the logic of a given science.

But consider what has happened in this historic record [historische Bilanz]. Unanalyzed experience has broken up [aufgebrochen, aufgeteilt] into distinctions of facts and ideas; the factual side has been developed by indefinite and almost miscellaneous [verschiedenartige, vielseitige] descriptions and cumulative [zunehmend, sich häufend] listings [Auflistungen]; the conceptual [begrifflich] side has been developed by unchecked [unkontrolliert, ungehemmt] and speculative [auf Vermutungen beruhende] elaboration [Ausarbeitung] of definitions, classifications, etc. There has been a relegation [Verbannung] of accepted meanings to the limbo [Vorhölle] of mere [nichts als, bloße] ideas; there has been a passage of some of the accepted facts into the region of mere hypothesis and opinion. Conversely [im Gegenzug], there has been a continued issuing [Ausgabe] of ideas from the region of hypotheses and theories into that of facts, of accepted objective and meaningful contents. Out of a world of only seeming facts, and of only doubtful ideas, there emerges a universe continually growing in definiteness [Klarheit, Eindeutigkeit], order, and luminosity [Leuchtkraft].

This progress, verified in every record [Bericht] of science, is an absolute monstrosity [Ungeheuerlichkeit, Greueltat, Mißgestalt] from the standpoint of the epistemology [Erkenntnistheorie, Wissenschaftslehre] which assumes a thought in general, on one side, and a reality in general, on the other.