Questioning scientific faith in the late nineteenth century

Zygon 43 (3):651-664 (2008)
The late nineteenth century was not only a time in which religious faith was questioned in light of increasing claims of natural science. It is more accurate to see the familiar Victorian crisis of faith as but one aspect of a larger historical phenomenon, one in which the methods of both religion and science came under scrutiny. Among several examinations of the status of scientific knowledge in the waning decades of the century, the treatment of the subject by the German theologian Wilhelm Herrmann and philosopher Hans Vaihinger rejected its objective nature and denied that either scientists or theologians had access to the truth of nature. Although this stance regarding the nature of science, religion, and their relationship was limited to intellectuals in German society at the time, it foreshadowed developments in our own day in which the traditional search for truth has been problematized.
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