Whitehead points out that while Einstein’s theory replaced Newton’s, it also showed exactly how far Newton’s extended over the range of phenomena. It was only in being refuted that Newtonianism became perfectly defined; and we did not know exactly what it was about until we saw we needed another theory to tell us about phenomena. We thus can get perfect clarity about the structure of a theory only from our reason to abandon it. If this is right, the truth of science is described by a weaponized form of Russell’s claim about the truth of mathematics: we never know what science is about until we know that it is not true.
March 24, 2016 at 2:59 pm (Uncategorized)