Ronald N. Giere Quotes
Total quotes (7)
Total quotes (7)
But if one imagines a world in which humans never appeared with their contingently evolved visual system, then there is no basis for assigning colors to any object. Why should a surface with a given surface spectral reflectance be called 'yellow'? Without reference to the particular characteristics of the human visual system, there is no physical basis whatsoever for this identification.
For a perspectival realist, the strongest claims a scientist can legitimately make are of a qualified, conditional form: 'According to this highly confirmed theory (or reliable instrument), the world seems to be roughly such and such.' There is no way legitimately to take the further objectivist step and declare unconditionally: 'This theory (or instrument) provides us with a complete and literally correct picture of the world itself.'
The nature of the knowledge itself was rarely questioned. It was taken for granted that scientists were discovering the objectively real inner workings of nature. These workings are there to be discovered. It only takes effort, sometimes requiring huge expenditures of resources, to uncover them. This pretty well sums up the attitude of most people at the beginning of the twenty-first century, including both scientists and nonscientists.
The notion of a law of nature did not arise out of the practice of science itself. Sometime in the seventeenth century, it was imported into discourse about science from Christian theology, both directly, and indirectly through mathematics. Originally, laws of nature were understood as God's laws for nature. Thus, behind the laws of nature was a lawgiver, from whence came the universality and necessity of such laws. It is still common for scientists and commentators on science to speak of nature as being 'governed' by laws of nature, which suggests that somewhere there might be a 'governor.'