Philosophy Word of the Day – Knowledge and Science

“Science systematically corrects the errors of common sense.  Thus, from science we learned that, contrary to first appearances, the sun does not go round the earth each day.  But what happens when science seems to undermine not particular beliefs, but whole tracts of experience?  Can science really tell us that, say, the world is not in itself coloured or that the famous solid, unmoving table of Eddington’s physicist is mostly empty space thinly populated with rapidly moving particles?

Too radical a correction of common sense by science runs the danger of depriving scientific theories of the ultimately commonsensical evidential basis on which they depend.  It would be safer to regard the theories of science as a whole as offering highly generalized and effective abstractions from the richness of what there is, rather than as the only or the whole truth.”

Anthony O’Hear in The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (1995)

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