Tag Archive: curiosity

The spirit of science

Whether our work is art or science or the daily work of society, it is only the form in which we explore our experience which is different; the need to explore remains the same. This is why, at bottom, the society of scientists is more important than their discoveries. What science has to teach us here is not its techniques but its spirit: the irresistible need to explore. Perhaps the techniques of science may be practised for a time without its spirit, in secret establish­ments, as the Egyptians practised their priestcraft. But the inspiration of science for four hundred years has been opposite to this. It has created the values of our intellectual life and, with the arts, has taught them to our civilization. Science has nothing to be ashamed of even in the ruins of Nagasaki. The shame is theirs who appeal to other values than the human and imaginative values which science has evolved. The shame is ours if we do not make science part of our world, intellectually as much as physically, so that we may at last hold these halves of the world together by the same values. For it is the lesson of science that the concept is more profound than its laws, and the act of judging more critical than the judgment. [82-3]

Trial and error—it’s what we always do anyway

The natural as well as the social sciences always start from problems, from the fact that something inspires amazement in us, as the Greek philosophers used to say. To solve these problems, the sciences use fundamentally the same method that common sense employs, the method of trial and error. To be more precise, it is the method of trying out solutions to our problem and then discarding the false ones as erroneous. [3]