By Theodore M. Porter
Karl Pearson, founding father of smooth information, got here to this box when it comes to passionate early stories of philosophy and cultural heritage in addition to ether physics and graphical geometry. His religion in technology grew out of a deeply ethical quest, mirrored additionally in his socialism and his efforts to discover a brand new foundation for family members among women and men. This biography recounts Pearson's striking highbrow experience and sheds new mild at the internal lifetime of science.
Theodore Porter's intensely own portrait of Pearson extends from spiritual drawback and sexual tensions to metaphysical or even mathematical anxieties. Pearson sought to reconcile cause with enthusiasm and to accomplish the impersonal standpoint of technological know-how with no sacrificing complicated individuality. at the same time he longed to adventure nature without delay and in detail, he pointed out technological know-how with renunciation and positivistic detachment. Porter unearths a turning aspect in Pearson's occupation, the place his humanistic pursuits gave technique to statistical ones, in his Grammar of Science (1892), within which he tried to set up medical approach because the ethical academic foundation for a refashioned culture.
during this unique and fascinating booklet, a number one historian of recent technological know-how investigates the internal adventure of 1 man's clinical lifestyles whereas putting it in a wealthy tapestry of social, political, and highbrow movements.
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Extra resources for Karl Pearson: The Scientific Life in a Statistical Age
1881 and 16 Sept. 1881; also Fanny P to KP, 7 Nov. 1879, Pearson Papers 787. 14 KP to Fanny P, 19 Jan. 1896. 15 E. R. ” Figure 3. Karl Pearson. Schoolboy with cricket bat. ”16 Fanny’s response, though consoling, reaffirmed the implacable necessity of work if he was to “get on in life. . Papa & I ever feel that you will do your best to get on. ” He was sincerely religious, attending services regularly during this period. ”17 Carl Pearson’s depression was, as his parents recognized, partly a matter of homesickness.
At the 1877 meeting of the Congress of German Scientists and Physicians, Haeckel had argued for reorienting education around an evolutionary monism, which, he proposed, could bridge the divide between the two great competing modes of instruction, the classicalhistorical and the exact mathematical. Virchow, his former teacher, replied a few days later that the Darwinian ideas of human descent and of the spontaneous appearance of life were mere hypotheses, and dangerous ones, since they had been appropriated by the radical Social Democrats.
As for theosophy, apparently written as “Neosophie” in Pearson’s letter, Madame Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled was published in 1877. 48 Lawrence Green to KP, 15 Aug. 1878 and undated, fall or winter 1878–79, Pearson Papers 706/3. Lehrjahre of a Poetic Wrangler • 35 Figure 5. Robert Parker. Philosophical partner (Courtesy of UCL) It appears from this correspondence that Pearson and Parker first encountered Hegel in early 1878 in Jowett’s commentaries on Plato. Pearson later formed the habit of sneering at Balliol men, and perhaps implicitly also at Green, for what he saw as rearguard efforts to make Hegel a support of Christianity and for the Oxford neglect of science.