The influence of scientific paradigms is much more widespread than usually realized. According to Harris, it permeates the whole of the culture of which science is an integral part. The paradigm of Newtonian science was essentially mechanistic and atomistic, and thinking in these terms not only penetrated philosophy, economics, morals and politics for the next three centuries, but remains latent in 20th century ways of thought.
As Harris illustrates, the Newtonian paradigm is obsolete in confronting today's global problems. While Planck and Einstein introduced a new scientific revolution at the beginning of the century, it has yet to be reflected in common habits of thinking. It is now urgently necessary to adopt the new conceptual scheme in other fields as it has come to dominate science if global issues are to be resolved. A provocative analysis that will be of particular interest to students, teachers, and policymakers involved with public policy, the history of science and philosophy, and ethics.
Rather than rehearse the well known environmental dangers confronting the human race, Harris (philosophy, Northwestern U.) investigates why there seems to be no political will to address them. He figures that the paradigms so obvious to scientists are for some reason not resonating with politicians and the general public. He concludes that the Copernican revolution in the 16th century introduced a conceptual scheme that so permeated and transmuted philosophical, ethical, and political thought and social practice that more recent paradigms have made no headway against it. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)