“Settled Science” is a political notion far removed from Science itself, for…

Pierre Duhem, 1861-1916, Physicist

Pierre Duhem, 1861-1916, Physicist

“Every law of physics accepted today is destined to be rejected someday.  Laws are symbolic.  They apply not to reality but to an oversimplified schema.  All physical laws are essentially provisional.  They are always applied to an infinitely small number of cases in comparison to the number of cases that escape them.  They are unceasingly modified and made more complete to accommodate the facts which refute them, but they never exhaust the exceptions.

Above all, let philosophers not forget the symbolic character of physical laws.  The magnitudes connected in the equations expressing these laws are no more than signs.  In order to interpret these signs, we need a key, a complicated key made up of physical theories.  Philosophers who wish to make use of the laws of physics must possess a profound understanding of these theories.  Lacking this understanding, the significance that they attribute to these laws would be no more than nonsense.” ― Pierre Duhem, Essays in the History and Philosophy of Science, translated and edited, with introduction, by Roger Ariew and Peter Barker, Copyright © 1996 by Hackett Publishing, Inc., Page 110.

About Michael

Retired military officer; retired Air Force civil servant; retired executive, DS Information Systems Corporation; writer; researcher; reader and avid yachtsman.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.