The House of Values: Language and the Human Person

by Mark Anthony Signorelli (July 2010)

The following is a speech delivered by Mr. Signorelli to the 2010 New English Review Symposium, “Decline Fall & Islam,” on June 19, 2010.

[i] [iii] It was this attempt to generate mathematical descriptions of nature that constituted the intellectual “revolution” in the scientific revolution. For ourselves, who live in an era when propaganda concerning the unique truthfulness of the sciences abounds, it is helpful to remind ourselves of the genuine foundation of such claims. Undoubtedly, there are few things in the world more certain than a mathematical equation worked out correctly, so if the scientist can demonstrate how a particular natural phenomenon can be expressed by such an equation, he has a fair right to claim certainty for his conclusions. But it is only by the production, or at least the promise, of such mathematical demonstrations that the scientist earns the right to assert the certainty of his conclusions. Mathematical exactitude is the promissory note upon which all scientific propositions are written

[i] Quoted in Briggs, Robin The Scientific Revolution of the 17th Century (London: Longman, 1969) 43.

[ii] Cohen, I. Bernard Revolutions in Science (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1985) 140.

[iii] Boynton, Holmes, ed. The Beginnings of Modern Science (New York: Walter J. Black, 1948) 50, 63.

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