Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Ian McEwan On Proof

"Proof, whether in science or daily life, is an elastic concept, interestingly beset with all kinds of human weakness, as well as ingenuity ... It has been surprisingly difficult to establish definitively what the truth is about any matter, however simple. It is always hard to get a grasp of one's own innate assumptions, and it was once perilous to challenge the wisdom of the elders, or the traditions that had survived the centuries, and dangerous to incur the anger of the gods, or at least, of their earthly representatives." - 'Is science driven by inspired guesswork?', The Telegraph.

1 comment:

David McCullough said...

"Is science driven by inspired guesswork?" is a misleading formulation of an old question. Misleading because it does not stipulate a level of description. (Is a car driven by a driver, an internal combusion engine, gasoline, air, compression, etc.?)

Is there a scientist alive who would not put in front of all her work: "speaking hypothetico-deductively?"

Speaking as a hypothetico-deductive dialectical material monist,

David McCullough