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The Vagabond


Vag wandered listlessly out of Sanders Theatre and watched the shirtsleeve crowd restlessly loose itself in the tepid air. It was his second evening of struggle with the sterile god of science at the first Summer School conference, and he wearily confessed to himself that he was not equal to a third. Science and Society and Science and Philosophy left him in a strangely unscientific mood; he looked at his watch and remembered that he had forgotten to call Mabel. Science and History, he decided, would have to get along without him.

Vainly he tried to assemble his scattered thoughts which had been atomized by eight successive orators. On Monday night he had been startled to hear that scientific invention had a substantial effect on the social structure. He had also been urged to do his part as the member of an educated laity, devoted to serving the high priests in the temple of science. He had been abused for thinking that science and society were not dynamically interrelated, and then ridiculed for supposing that the connection had any logic whatsoever. A third suggestion then rudely imposed itself--that society might effect science. It was clear that the ultimate threshold of truth, the science of the meaning of science, was not to be crossed that night.

But here it was Tuesday, and he had sallied forth with courage to discover the relationship of science and philosophy. Here there was strong insistence that science did pretty good business without philosophy, followed by a round assertion that philosophy, in the image of somebody called David Hume, really created empirical science even if no scientists had ever suspected this. Vag was stimulated, to say the least, as he directed his steps towards Cronin's, self-advertised as the Morey's of Harvard. "In vino veritas," he murmured, "is enough philosophy for me. And science can wait for Friday's lab."

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