Sunday, October 21, 2012

Holmes and Scientism

"One's ideas must be as broad as Nature if they are to interpret Nature"
      - Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet

Holmes doesn't use it this way (in fact he uses it with reference to Darwin), but this statement is an excellent summation of the problem with scientism. What happens in scientism is that principles that have been shown to be highly effective in interpreting certain aspects of nature are, for that reason, taken to define the extent of nature. What cannot be interpreted in their terms is dismissed as non-existent, a myth, or "emergent." But this is to contradict Holmes's principle, for it must be Nature that judges how broad out ideas must be, not our ideas how broad Nature must be.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good points Dave, I had not thought about it this way. --Ed