Monday, July 11, 2011

Not the job of science

"H. Gomperz, Weltanschauungslebre, II/I (1908), p. 63, points out that a piece of the world, such as a sparrow nervously fluttering about, may be described by the following widely different propositions, each corresponding to a different aspect of it: 'This bird is flying!'--'There goes a sparrow!'--'Look, here is an animal!'--'Something is moving here.'--'Energy is being transformed here.'--'This is not a case of perpetual motion.'--'The poor thing is frightened!' It is clear that it can never be the task of science to attempt the completion of such list which is necessarily infinite."
Karp Popper, The poverty of historicism, note 28 of section 23 "Criticism of holism".