The evolution of problems

This consideration of the fact that theories or expectations are built into our very sense organs shows that the episte­mology of induction breaks down even before taking its first step. It cannot start from sense data or perceptions and build our theories upon them, since there are no such things a sense data or perceptions which are not built upon theories (or expectations—that is, the biological predecessors of linguistically formulated theories). Thus the ‘data’ are no basis of, no guarantee for, the theories. They are not more secure than any of our theories or ‘prejudices’ but, if anything, less so (assuming for argument’s sake that sense data exist and are not philosophers’ inventions). Sense organs incorporate the equivalent of primitive and uncritically accepted theories, which are less widely tested than scientific theories. …

Thus life proceeds, like scientific discovery, from old problems to the discovery of new and undreamt-of problems. And this process—that of invention and selection—contains in itself a rational theory of emergence. The steps of emergence which lead to a new level are in the first instance the new problems (P2) which are created by the error-elimination (EE) of a tentative theoretical solution (TT) of an old problem (P1). [146]

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