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Sorokin On Europe And N. America: 1946


Pitirim A. Sorokin, The Crisis of Our Age

(New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc.; 1946), pp. 280-281.


‘On both continents we have witnessed the rise of science, manifested in an enormous increase of scientific discoveries and technological inventions during the period considered.

The only difference is that the comparative share of the United States in all the natural science discoveries and technological inventions has been systematically growing from 1.1 per cent of the total in 1726-1750, to 25.3 per cent in 1900-8, and probably to still larger per cent at the present time, while respectively the role of Europe has been decreasing. . . .

On both continents the universities, research institutions, and schools generally have been rapidly increasing, again faster in the United States than in Europe. But these are secondary differences.

The main point is that Europe and America have both been progressing in science and technology; both have elevated science to the level of religion, and have seen in it the main hope for the future.


‘Parallel with this growth of science, a profound but similar transformation has taken place in the field of the system of truth and philosophy.

The truth of faith the divinely revealed truth of religion has been rapidly declining, and the empirical truth of senses, based on the testimony of our sense organs, has been rising. Science is mainly an embodiment of the truth of senses, while a super-rational religion, like medieval Christianity, is mainly a system of truth and faith. . . .


‘On both continents there was a decline in idealism in favor of materialism in its open or milder form, and in favor of monism or pantheism. . . . For Europe the trends are rather certain . . . . Have they also taken place in the United States? The history of American thought and philosophy answers the question positively.’



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