What Science can and cannot answer

As modern sciece, in its origins, restricted itself to the observable material realm, the main question it can explain is “change”. For other big questions (meaning, good life, etc) we must look somewhere else.

Uno de los mitos fundamentales de la Modernidad es el mito del progreso: como el conocimiento se acumula, cada época será mejor que la anterior.

Según esta lógica, siempre lo último será más bueno o más completo que todo lo anterior.

Por lo tanto, en la Modernidad, saber qué es lo último (en la investigación, en la publicación) es más importante que saber qué es lo verdadero.

La realidad nos bombardea con una cantidad de información inmensa, en cada fotón y cada onda que cruza nuestros sentidos. El cerebro en un filtro que agrupa estímulos y recoge patrones, es decir, que nos simplifica la realidad, para que podamos entenderla y movernos en ella. Todo conocimiento es una simplificación de la realidad para que ésta nos haga sentido.

Deberíamos, entonces, deshacernos de la idea de que educación consiste en dar acceso a más información (bibliotecas, conferencias,  internet).

Una persona educada es la que sabe extraer conocimiento, filtrarlo de una masa de información. No es la que trabaja con más datos sino con menos.

The primordial question that gave birth to, and drove, classical philosophy is, how do I get universal concepts (dog) if my senses only perceive particulars (this tail wagging creature in front of me, and this other)

Up to now, the two most succeful answers have been:

1) Plato: we already have ‘universal concepts’ in our soul (we came originally from the world of ideas), so we learn through memory.

2) Aristotle: through a mental  mechanism called abstraction, peeling the form out

of the matter.

Up to now, Aristotle is winning in number of votes.

But modern genetics is discovering the enormous amount of information that every living being is endowed with at conception. A written-down DNA code that allows plant, animals and humans to have answers to the everyday biological chalenges.

Perhaps, thus, we should believe that we are all depositors of very ancient wisdom, passed unto us from all our most remote ancestors.

Since modern Science took central stage in 17 century, the subject of “afterlife” was kick out of serious thinking because it is not verifiable.

However, the most fancy cosmological explanation at the beginning of the 21st century, is the Multiverse, that happens to have the same hurddle.

It seems that Science is softening its epistemological hard-core positions of old.

Deduction (steping on previous truths and making an inference) is the only way to be certain of a proposition. But certainty is not the same as knowledge.

Induction, on the other hand, is the proposal of a general principle, based on the regularity of a some observations.

Deduction (the use of logic) makes me very certain, but adds very little knowledge to me: the deducted truth is already into the previous ones (the premises).

Induction let me jump on completely new truths. But, who can guarantee that “swans are white” just because all that I have seen, happen to be white? Induction gives me joy of novelty, but, seldom, the comfort of certainty.

The moral of this story is: knowledge, as any human growth operation (like love, or virtue) can on be achieved “dialectically”, zigzaging between opposites. Forget about finding an optimun.