Friday, February 07, 2014

Science Says Nothing About Value

Trees in our backyard
Can science give us knowledge of everything, in principle? Of course not. Science qua science says nothing about value. Value does not inhere in brute physical matter as something empirical to be discovered, tested, weighed, measured, dissected, and quantified. ("Let's gather some lab samples of beauty.")  

Here, e.g., is Nobel-winning physicist Erwin Schroedinger:

"I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives a lot of factual information, puts all our experiences in a magnificently consistent order, but is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, god and eternity." 

Note: an evolutionary history of value is irrelevant to Schroedinger's claim.