Steve3007 wrote: ↑
February 17th, 2020, 12:57 pm
by Steve3007 » Today, 4:57 pm
Yes, science gathers knowledge, not understanding. Some scientists must derive some understanding from the work they do, but my suspicion is that this is something the scientists do of themselves, independently to the science they practice. Maybe I'm wrong? Whatever the truth, to grok is very different from fact-gathering and testing.
So, as I asked in that last post, what does it mean to understand something?
Suppose that science tells us there is a force called gravity which, if we propose it to exist, very successfully describes and predicts the movements of various objects. Does this mean that we have, in any sense, understood why objects fall to the ground? Or does it just mean that we can predict when and how they will? Is there some way in which we could grok the phenomenon of objects falling to the ground or grok gravity?
I take your point and that of Pattern-chaser.
I am unsure what it would mean to truly understand something in the way that you describe.
It’s an interesting question.
I don’t think we can understand ourselves or external reality fully. (I’d prefer not to debate idealism here). Our understanding is at best partial. And some (much, most?) is likely inaccurate.
Are you hinting perhaps at the Kantian distinction between noumenal and phenomenal? We are necessarily stuck with the phenomenal universe (how it seems to us) because the noumenal universe (the thing in itself) is a universe seen from no perspective at all and so is unknowable? Science describes the relations between phenomena (and as you say tries to predict). What else can it do?
I think you will agree that is no reason to abandon science. It is a reason for science to acknowledge some pretty severe limitations. Do you say many have forgotten those limitations and would benefit from some reminding? I am not sure if that is fair. I am not sure it’s not fair either. It certainly seems true of some.
Do you think that, in general, Western culture tends to value scientific enterprise, and efforts to answer scientific questions, more than other sorts of questions which are equally if not more important? The modern “age of reason” if it be such, is inherently unreasonable? A reflection of cultural bias perhaps?