Philosophy

Articles

The New Cosmology in Its Historical Aspect: Plato, Newton, Whitehead

Professor T. M. Forsyth

Recent developments both in science and philosophy are tending to converge upon an outlook on things that constitutes or at least foreshadows a great new synthesis. The advances made more especially in astronomical and physical knowledge—the one concerning the indefinitely vast and the other the indefinitely minute—and the similarities disclosed in the two spheres, recalling Pascal’s insistent relating of the two infinites (the infinitely great and the infinitely small), and also Bacon’s contention that such similarities are not mere analogies but “the same footsteps of nature treading or printing upon several subjects or matters,” 1 have both widened and unified our conceptions of reality. Along with this has gone the influence alike on philosophy and on the sciences generally of the development of mathematical and biological ideas. Under the combined influence, especially, of Bergson and Einstein a restatement of fundamental principles is proceeding apace.