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General Theory of Norms$
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Hans Kelsen

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198252177

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198252177.001.0001

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Poincaré's Conception of the Relation between Science and Morality

Poincaré's Conception of the Relation between Science and Morality

(p.87) 21 Poincaré's Conception of the Relation between Science and Morality
General Theory of Norms

Hans Kelsen

Oxford University Press

French philosopher Henri Poincare is not very consistent in the matter of the impossibility of deriving an Ought from an Is (norms from is-statements). He wants to defend science against the reproach of immorality; and in doing so, he ascribes a moral function to science. At the end of his essay he comes to the conclusion that ‘there is not, and cannot be, any scientific morality in the strict sense of the word’, but adds: ‘but science can be indirectly a helpmate of morality; science in the broad sense cannot but serve morality’. His justification for this function of science is the claim that a man of science is filled with love for the truth.

Keywords:   Henri Poincare, science and morality, immorality, scientific morality, truth, is-statements

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