Holism and Hempel's Theory of Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

In that sense, he was a victim of his time period. He may have felt very differently if he were alive today, because science, technology, and even the study of metaphysics have advanced a great deal. Hempel was a scientist, but he was a bit of a philosopher, as well (Sarkar & Pfeifer, 2006).

That is a large part of the reason why his opinions on the issue seem odd. Philosophers are often willing to consider the possibilities and implications of something more being 'out there' and available to them and the rest of the world, but Hempel appeared to have no interest in that. By insisting that the parts made up the whole, and that the whole could be simply broken back down into those parts, Hempel cheated himself out of a lot of other ideas and issues that he could have considered and studied. He was a man of his convictions, but sometimes that can be problematic, because people who view their convictions as things that are set in stone and can never be re-examined often fail to grow as human beings.

Holism really did not have to pose a problem for Hempel, either, because he could have just discounted it and moved on. It was not necessary for him to spend any time refuting it or dealing with it. For men of science, though, the goal often becomes to prove themselves right and also to prove everyone else wrong, which are not the same issue (Sarkar & Pfeifer, 2006). Just because one proves that something is scientifically accurate does not mean that there are no other scientifically accurate yet different things out there. In order for Hempel's response to holism to be accurate, Hempel would have needed to not only prove himself right, but to prove the defenders of holism wrong -- and that was not something that he adequately handled during his lifetime (Sarkar & Pfeifer, 2006).

Issues like the one that Hempel faced will continue to go on, however, because the line between science and metaphysics still exists. There are people who step over it and work in both areas, and there are people who are working every day to bring the two areas together. What is not seen, though, is a complete blending of the two areas -- and that is not something that will likely be seen anytime soon. Those who share Hempel's basic beliefs and those who adhere to the standard beliefs of holism are still too far apart to come together and study what they have in common as opposed to what they have that does not agree with one another.

Until the people on both sides of the equation are interested in working together, the beliefs of Hempel and the beliefs of the supporters of holism will continue to clash. That is unfortunate, because Hempel brought much to light and so did those who supported holism. If they could have worked together, science and metaphysics might both have been advanced much further than they presently are -- and it is impossible to tell what breakthroughs that might have lead to.


Sarkar, Sahotra & Pfeifer, Jessica.…

Sources Used in Document:


Sarkar, Sahotra & Pfeifer, Jessica. (2006). The Philosophy of Science: An Encyclopedia. New York: Routledge.

Cite This Term Paper:

"Holism And Hempel's Theory Of" (2010, March 02) Retrieved April 2, 2020, from

"Holism And Hempel's Theory Of" 02 March 2010. Web.2 April. 2020. <

"Holism And Hempel's Theory Of", 02 March 2010, Accessed.2 April. 2020,