Philosophy Of Science Quotes

Quotes tagged as "philosophy-of-science" (showing 1-30 of 134)
Richard Feynman
“Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds.”
Richard Feynman

Terry Pratchett
“It's daft, locking us up," said Nanny. "I'd have had us killed."
"That's because you're basically good," said Magrat. "The good are innocent and create justice. The bad are guilty, which is why they invent mercy.”
Terry Pratchett, Witches Abroad

John N. Gray
“Humans think they are free, conscious beings, when in truth they are deluded animals. At the same time they never cease trying to escape from what they imagine themselves to be. Their religions are attempts to be rid of a freedom they have never possessed. In the twentieth century, the utopias of Right and Left served the same function. Today, when politics is unconvincing even as entertainment, science has taken on the role of mankind's deliverer.”
John N. Gray, Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals

John N. Gray
“It is a strange fancy to suppose that science can bring reason to an irrational world, when all it can ever do is give another twist to a normal madness.”
John N. Gray, Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals

Albert Einstein
“I fully agree with you about the significance and educational value of methodology as well as history and philosophy of science. So many people today - and even professional scientists - seem to me like somebody who has seen thousands of trees but has never seen a forest. A knowledge of the historic and philosophical background gives that kind of independence from prejudices of his generation from which most scientists are suffering. This independence created by philosophical insight is - in my opinion - the mark of distinction between a mere artisan or specialist and a real seeker after truth.
[Correspondance to Robert Thorton in 1944]”
Albert Einstein

Paul Karl Feyerabend
“Science is essentially an anarchic enterprise: theoretical anarchism is more humanitarian and more likely to encourage progress than its law-and-order alternatives.”
Paul Karl Feyerabend, Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge

Nelson Goodman
“We make versions, and true versions make worlds.”
Nelson Goodman

Lois McMaster Bujold
“In mysticism, knowledge cannot be separated from a certain way of life which becomes its living manifestation. To acquire mystical knowledge means to undergo a transformation; one could even say that the knowledge is the transformation. Scientific knowledge, on the other hand, can often stay abstract and theoretical. Thus most of today’s physicists do not seem to realize the philosophical, cultural and spiritual implications of their theories.”
Lois McMaster Bujold, The Curse of Chalion

“Love is a chemical reaction,
But it cannot be fully understood or defined by science.
And though a body cannot exist without a soul,
It too cannot be fully understood or defined by science.
Love is the most powerful form of energy,
But science cannot decipher its elements.
Yet the best cure for a sick soul is love,
But even the most advanced physician
Cannot prescribe it as medicine.


INCOMPLETE SCIENCE by Suzy Kassem”
Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

Bertrand Russell
“Physics is mathematical not because we know so much about the physical world, but because we know so little; it is only its mathematical properties that we can discover.”
Bertrand Russell

Alister E. McGrath
“Science proceeds by inference, rather than by the deduction of mathematical proof. A series of observations is accumulated, forcing the deeper question: What must be true if we are to explain what is observed? What "big picture" of reality offers the best fit to what is actually observed in our experience? American scientist and philosopher Charles S. Peirce used the term "abduction" to refer to the way in which scientists generate theories that might offer the best explanation of things. The method is now more often referred to as "inference to the best explanation." It is now widely agreed to be the philosophy of investigation of the world characteristic of the natural sciences.”
Alister E. McGrath

Lee Smolin
“On the way, I shared the backseat of Feyerabend's little sports car with the inflatable raft he kept there in case an 8-point earthquake came while he was on the Bay Bridge.”
Lee Smolin, The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science and What Comes Next

Peter Høeg
“We all live our lives blindly believing in the people who make the decisions. Believing in science. Because the world is inscrutable and all information is hazy. We accept the existence of a round globe, of an atom's nucleus that sticks together like drops, of a shrinking universe -- and the necessity of interfering with genetic material. Not because we know these things are true, but because we believe the people who tell us so. we are all proselytes of science. And, in contrast to the followers of other religions, we can no longer bridge the gap between ourselves and the priests. Problems arise when we stumble on an outright lie. And it affects our own lives....that of a child who for the first time catches his parents in a lie he had always suspected.”
Peter Høeg

Carlo Rovelli
“This does not mean that science is just the art of making measurable predictions. Some philosophers of science overly circumscribe science by limiting it to its numerical predictions. They miss the point, because they confuse the instruments with the objectives. Verifiable quantitative predictions are instruments to validate hypotheses. The objective of scientific research is not just to arrive at predictions: it is to understand how the world functions; to construct and develop an image of the world, a conceptual structure to enable us to think about. Before being technical, science is visionary.”
Carlo Rovelli, La realtà non è come ci appare: La struttura elementare delle cose

Paul Karl Feyerabend
“The idea of a method that contains firm, unchanging, and absolutely binding principles for conducting the business of science meets considerable difficulty when confronted with the results of historical research. We find, then, that there is not a single rule, however plausible, and however firmly grounded in epistemology, that is not violated at some time or other. It becomes evident that such violations are not accidental events, they are not results of insufficient knowledge or of inattention which might have been avoided. On the contrary, we see that they are necessary for progress. Indeed, one of the most striking features of recent discussions in the history and philosophy of science is the realization that events and developments, such as the invention of atomism in antiquity, the Copernican Revolution, the rise of modern atomism (kinetic theory; dispersion theory; stereochemistry; quantum theory), the gradual emergence of the wave theory of light, occurred only because some thinkers either decided not to be bound be certain 'obvious' methodological rules, or because they unwittingly broke them.”
Paul Karl Feyerabend, Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge

Ray Kurzweil
“Fredkin [...] praat over een interessant kenmerk van computerprogramma's, waaronder cellulaire automaten: er is geen kortere route mogelijk naar wat de uitkomst wordt. Dit is het wezenlijke verschil tussen de 'analytische' benadering van de traditionele wiskunde, inclusief differentiële vergelijkingen, en de 'computer'-benadering met algoritmes. Je kunt een toekomstige toestand van een systeem voorspellen zonder alle tussenstappen te kennen als je de analytische methode gebruikt. Maar bij cellulaire automaten moet je alle tussenstappen doorrekenen om te weten hoe de uitkomst zal zijn: je kunt de toekomst niet voorspellen, behalve door de toekomst af te wachten. [...] Fredkin legt uit: 'je kunt het antwoord op een vraag niet sneller kennen dan wanneer je volgt wat er gebeurt.' [...] Fredkin gelooft dat het universum letterlijk een computer is en dat het gebruikt wordt door iets of iemand om een probleem op te lossen. Het klinkt als een grap met goed en slecht nieuws: het goede nieuws is dat onze levens een doel hebben; het slechte nieuws is dat onze levens het doel zijn van een of andere hacker ver weg die pi wil uitrekenen met een oneindig groot getal achter de komma.”
Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

Paul Karl Feyerabend
“In the first case it emerges that the evidence that might refute a theory can often be unearthed only with the help of an incompatible alternative: the advice (which goes back to Newton and which is still popular today) to use alternatives only when refutations have already discredited the orthodox theory puts the cart before the horse. Also, some of the most important formal properties of a theory are found by contrast, and not by analysis. A scientist who wishes to maximize the empirical content of the views he holds and who wants to understand them as clearly as he possibly can must therefore introduce other views; that is, he must adopt a pluralistic methodology. He must compare ideas with other ideas rather than with 'experience' and he must try to improve rather than discard the views that have failed in the competition. Proceeding in this way he will retain the theories of man and cosmos that are found in Genesis, or in the Pimander, he will elaborate them and use them to measure the success of evolution and other 'modern' views. He may then discover that the theory of evolution is not as good as is generally assumed and that it must be supplemented, or entirely replaced, by an improved version of Genesis. Knowledge so conceived is not a series of self-consistent theories that converges towards an ideal view; it is not a gradual approach to truth. It is rather an ever increasing ocean of mutually incompatible alternatives, each single theory, each fairy-tale, each myth that is part of the collection forcing the others in greater articulation and all of them contributing, via this process of competition, to the development of our consciousness. Nothing is ever settled, no view can ever be omitted from a comprehensive account. Plutarch or Diogenes Laertius, and not Dirac or von Neumann, are the models for presenting a knowledge of this kind in which the history of a science becomes an inseparable part of the science itself - it is essential for its further development as well as for giving content to the theories it contains at any particular moment. Experts and laymen, professionals and dilettani, truth-freaks and liars - they all are invited to participate in the contest and to make their contribution to the enrichment of our culture. The task of the scientist, however, is no longer 'to search for the truth', or 'to praise god', or 'to synthesize observations', or 'to improve predictions'. These are but side effects of an activity to which his attention is now mainly directed and which is 'to make the weaker case the stronger' as the sophists said, and thereby to sustain the motion of the whole.”
Paul Karl Feyerabend, Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge

Abhijit Naskar
“Science does not stand as a moral guardian of humanity, rather it attempts to stand as the least subjective, least biased and least sociologically conditioned friend to humanity, when humanity seeks answers of real significance.”
Abhijit Naskar, Morality Absolute

Owen Barfield
“Before the scientific revolution, [man] did not feel himself isolated by his skin from the world outside to quite the same extent that we do. He was integrated, or mortised into it, each different part of him being united to a different part of it by some invisible thread. In his relation to his environment, the man of the middle ages was rather less like an island, rather more like an embryo.”
Owen Barfield, Saving the Appearances: A Study in Idolatry

Milarepa
“At firs,money is like the wish-fulfilling Gem
Later,it becomes indispensable
In the end;you feel like a penniless beggar
These are my thoughts and feelings on money
So I renounced both wealth and goods”
Milarepa, Sixty Songs of Milarepa

Paul Karl Feyerabend
“The objection that science is self-correcting and thus needs no outside interference overlooks, first, that every enterprise is self-correcting (look at what happened to the Catholic Church after Vatican II) and, secondly, that in a democracy the self-correction of the whole which tries to achieve more humane ways of living overrules the self-correction of the parts which has a more narrow aim -- unless the parts are given temporary independence. Hence in a democracy local populations not only will, but also should, use the sciences in ways most suitable to them. The objection that citizens do not have the expertise to judge scientific matters overlooks that important problems often lie across the boundaries of various sciences so that scientists within these sciences don't have the needed expertise either. Moreover, doubtful cases always produce experts for the one side, experts for the other side, and experts in between. But the competence of the general public could be vastly improved by an education that exposes expert fallibility instead of acting as if it did not exist. (Chapter 19)”
Paul Karl Feyerabend, Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge

Abhijit Naskar
“Knowledge shall set the mind free.”
Abhijit Naskar, The Bengal Tigress: A Treatise on Gender Equality

“[...] One chief difference between the medieval "scientist" and the scientist of to-day[1948] lies in the nature of the first principles accepted and in the attitude adopted toward them. The modern scientist has seen the breakdown of too many first principles to accept any as eternal truths. He proceeds inductively, building up slowly on the basis of observed facts. His attitude to his own (or at least to his brother's scientist) first principles is one of hesitation, even suspicion. He looks on them as "working hypotheses" to be modified or changed in the light of further experience. The older scientist, although he too realized that his function wa to explain facts, closed the door on fresh evidence too soon. The modern, at least in theory, keeps it always open.

But there is a further and perhaps more interesting difference between them. The medieval thinker aimed at comprehensiveness. he seems not to be satisfied with anything short of the whole. The modern thinker is more modest and seeks the key not to the universe but to one group of facts within it. He likes to break problems up and resolve them bit by bit. He is not interested (that is professionally speaking) in the world as a whole, but only in one small corner of it.

Herein lies the traditional distinction between "science" and "philosophy." both science and philosophy try to discover principles and interpret detail in their light; but whereas science tries to clear up small areas of the world, philosophy aims at the world as a whole. it stands in relation to the various sciences much as each science stands in relation to the various sciences much as each science stands in relation to its particular subject-matter. It is the science which seeks to reduce to the scientific unity and order the results of the various sciences. [...]”
Leon Roth, The Guide for the Perplexed: Moses Maimonides

Abhijit Naskar
“No field of human excellence can progress without a genuine humane conscience driving it in the right direction.”
Abhijit Naskar, Lord is My Sheep: Gospel of Human

Abhijit Naskar
“I don’t do metaphysics. Neither do I have the luxury to talk about my beliefs.”
Abhijit Naskar

Abhijit Naskar
“The scientific community has lost its original sense of responsibility.”
Abhijit Naskar

Herbert A. Simon
“We have adopted the policy of Sorel of propaganda of the deed. The best rhetoric comes from building and testing models and running experiments. Let philosophers weave webs of words; such webs break easily.”
Herbert A. Simon, Models of My Life

Abhijit Naskar
“Real science begins with curiosity and madness.”
Abhijit Naskar

Crystal Evans
“You are so fixated on the now, but what if you could see the future, if you could tell what lies ahead, i guarantee your reaction would be different, in the now. You see this place, where we were born will never be remembered as your birthplace, only mine. Thousand years, it is me, i will be remembered as a child of this district.”
Crystal Evans, Jamaican Acute-Ghetto-itis: Jamaican Sociological Commentary

Abhijit Naskar
“Science works through replication, rectification and modification.”
Abhijit Naskar

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