Scientific discovery has made so much progress over the last 300 years that humans are now able to defy the law of gravity, speak to one another across the globe, examine the atomic structure of physical matter, store volumes of information on a tiny USB stick, put a man on the moon, and all sorts of wonderful things.
In fact, science is often perceived as a kind of irrepressible force that forges ahead in a continuous progression, a force that gradually uncovers the secrets and wonders of nature, inexorably augmenting our knowledge and understanding of the universe–a sort of “magic box” full of ever new discoveries which will, in the final analysis, liberate humanity completely from subjection to the laws of nature.
The truth is, however, that the history of scientific endeavour is replete with errors and false starts, that scientific theories often need revision and correction, that most scientific questions remain unanswered, and that science is still dumbfounded in the face of the many problems, wonders, and puzzles that remain unsolved or unexplained.
What is the real power of science? Where does science fit into the greater scheme of human exploration, discovery and knowledge? Does science have limits? And, if so, what are they?
The fact is, science does not exist in a void. Science is a product of the human mind and, as such, is limited by the limits of our own intelligence. But is there some way we can rise above such limitations? Do we have intellectual resources that transcend the simple logic of scientific method? And can we define scientific method in a way that is perennially valid?
Read more: Science Grounded in Philosophy