Saturday, March 12, 2016
Lindberg, chapter 1-3
Honestly, the really ancient science, being so wrong, just doesn't appeal to me. Yes, yes, I'm aware of the significance of Aristotle, and I understand why philosophers and historians would pay attention to him. Be that as it may, it's just really hard to motivate myself to pay attention to him. Still, Lindberg made one point that I liked: Aristotle didn't eschew experiment simply because he was too dumb to understand the value of it, or because he was too elitist to dirty himself with hands-on science; indeed, he seemed to enjoy dissection. However, he considered observation and reasoning superior to experimentation because experimentation requires one to manipulate the system in unnatural ways, thereby perturbing the findings. The experimental method is nowadays sold as common sense, or even intellectual humility, but that humility is advertised with considerable arrogance at times. It actually takes quite a bit of careful thought to judge that an experiment is telling you something about the "natural" world (whatever that is), rather than just giving you experimental artifacts.