"The great scientific achievements are research programmes which can be evaluated in terms of progressive and degenerative problemshifts; and scientific revolutions consist of one research programme superceding (overtaking in progress) another. This methodology offers a new rational reconstruction of science."
"Life is a thin narrowness of taken-for-granted, a plank over a canyon in a fog. There is something under our feet, the taken-for-granted. A table is a table, food is food, we are we--because we don't question these things. And science is the enemy because it is the questioner. Faith saves our souls alive by giving us a universe of the taken-for-granted."
"Philosophical questions are not by their nature insoluble. They are, indeed, radically different from scientific questions, because they concern the implications and other interrelations of ideas, not the order of physical events; their answers are interpretations instead of factual reports, and their function is to increase not our knowledge of nature, but our understanding of what we know."
"If a sound justification for most scientific activity is going to be found, it will eventually come perhaps from a recognition that man's sense of curiosity about the world and himself is every bit as compelling as his need for clothing and food.... Making sense of the world and one's place in that world has roots deep within the human psyche.... We can drop the dangerous pretense that science is legitimate only in so far as it contributes to our material well-being or to our store of perennial truths. Viewed in this light, the repudiation of theoretical scientific inquiry is tantamount to a denial of what may be our most characteristically human trait."
"The rationale for accepting or rejecting any theory is thus fundamentally based on the idea of problem-solving progress. If one research tradition has solved more important problems than its rivals, then accepting that tradition is rational precisely to the degree that we are aiming to "progress," i.e., to maximize the scope f solved problems. In other words, the choice of one tradition over its rivals is a progressive (and thus a rational) choice precisely to the extent that the chosen tradition is a better problem solver than its rivals."
"It is impossible to dissociate language from science or science from language, because every natural science always involves threethings: the sequence of phenomena on which the science is based; the abstract concepts which call these phenomena to mind; and the words in which the concepts are expressed. To call forth a concept, a word is needed; to portray a phenomenon, a concept is needed. All three mirror one and the same reality."
"The great pagan world of which Egypt and Greece were the last living terms ... once had a vast and perhaps perfect science of itsown, a science in terms of life. In our era this science crumbled into magic and charlatanry. But even wisdom crumbles."
"Science has done great things for us; it has also pushed us hopelessly back. For, not content with filling its own place, it has tried to supersede everything else. It has challenged the super-eminence of religion; it has turned all philosophy out of doors except that which clings to its skirts; it has thrown contempt on all learning that does not depend on it; and it has bribed the skeptics by giving us immense material comforts."
"The insidiousness of science lies in its claim to be not a subject, but a method. You could ignore a subject; no subject is all-inclusive. But a method can plausibly be applied to anything within the field of consciousness."
"For more than twenty-five years my mind had been deeply troubled by the fact that these mechanical and scientific achievements ofman had outrun his intellectual and spiritual power. ...Throughout the Second World War this terrible problem hung in the back of my mind. As I write these words the problem and the danger are as threatening as ever. We hope our nation will survive, but in its effort to survive will it transform itself intellectually and spiritually into the image of the thing against which we fought?"
"Give a scientist a problem and he will probably provide a solution; historians and sociologists, by contrast, can offer only opinions. Ask a dozen chemists the composition of an organic compound such as methane, and within a short time all twelve will have come up with the same solution of CH4. Ask, however, a dozen economists or sociologists to provide policies to reduce unemployment or the level of crime and twelve widely differing opinions are likely to be offered."
"In the case of our main stock of well-worn predicates, I submit that the judgment of projectibility has derived from the habitualprojection, rather than the habitual projection from the judgment of projectibility. The reason why only the right predicates happen so luckily to have become well entrenched is just that the well entrenched predicates have thereby become the right ones."
"Philosophers of science constantly discuss theories and representation of reality, but say almost nothing about experiment, technology, or the use of knowledge to alter the world. This is odd, because 'experimental method' used to be just another name for scientific method.... I hope to initiate a Back-to-Bacon movement, in which we attend more seriously to experimental science. Experimentation has a life of its own."
"The main objection to religious myths is that, once made, they are so difficult to destroy. Chemistry is not haunted by the phlogiston theory as Christianity is haunted by the theory of a God with a craving for bloody sacrifices. But it is also a fact that while serious attempts are constantly being made to verify scientific myths, religious myths, at least under Christianity and Islam, have become matters of faith which it is more or less impious to doubt, and which we must not attempt to verify by empirical means. Chemists believe that when a chemical reaction occurs, the weights of the reactants are unchanged. If this is not very nearly true, most of chemical theory is nonsense. But experiments are constantly being made to disprove it.... Chemists welcome such experiments and do not regard them as impious or even futile."
"Since we are assured that the all-wise Creator has observed the most exact proportions of number, weight and measure in the make of all things, the most likely way therefore to get any insight into the nature of those parts of the Creation which come within our observation must in all reason be to number, weigh and measure."