The Traditional, the Contemporary and Orthodoxy
The roots of the word ‘orthodox’ help to clarify the distinguishing qualities of established schools of thought to the neophyte arrangements which fit outside of the canon of currently accepted scientific knowledge.
The word orthodox arises from two Greek words, ortho and doxa. Ortho has the meaning; in composition, straight: upright: perpendicular: right: genuine: derived from the Greek, orthos, meaning straight, upright, right. Doxa has the meaning: derived from the Greek meaning opinion and relating sound in doctrine: believing or according to the received or established doctrines or opinions.
Thus ‘right opinion’ is the underlying essence of the expression orthodox, which is commonly used to express the canon of views held by established institutions and accepted schools of learning. The literal adoption of the word may be regarded to include opinions formed out-with the trodden path, which are themselves informed from objective truth.
Integral to understanding what is meant in the expression ‘orthodox’ is a basic knowledge of the ideas implied in the words ‘opinion’ and ‘doctrine’
Derived from the Latin opinio, opinion holds the meaning what seems to be probably true: judgment: estimation: favourable. Through the works of Shakespeare the word has gained the connotations of self-confidence, arrogance and reputation. Doctrine: derived from the Latin, doctrina, docere, meaning ‘to teach’: a thing taught: a principle of belief.
The further we delve into the etymology of the concepts contained in the expression, the further one presses into the complex philosophical considerations which contribute to its usage.
This page is intended as a primer merely to stir up important notions. Already in this short exploration we have encountered the ideas of ‘right’, ‘genuine’, ‘opinion’, ‘doctrine’, ‘true’, ‘estimation’, ‘favorable’, ‘judgment’, ‘principle’ and ‘belief’. All these words contain studies in themselves important to the philosophical foundations which underpin science itself.
The tension between the traditional and modern, old and new, the established and the novel has always been. This natural tension is a sieve through which the useful may be separated from the less useful or useless. In my opinion it should be considered a mistake to regard this innate tension as a dualistic war for dominance. One is borne of the other and each should be considered, a part and different extremity of a dynamic process.
In contemplation of scientific method, it is important to remain unattached to the individual parts of the process – the nostalgic adherence to the traditional, or the flippant rebellion of the modern. In the event of one becoming captivated by one aspect, the dynamic capability of the intellect becomes jarred and prevented in arriving at the most truthful, objective fruition of idea.