"One might get the impression that I recommend a new methodology which replaces induction by counterinduction and uses a multiplicity of theories, metaphysical views, fairy tales, instead of the customary pair theory/observation. This impression would certainly be mistaken. My intention is not to replace one set of general rules by another such set: my intention is rather to convince the reader that all methodologies, even the most obvious ones, have their limits."
"There is not a single rule, however plausible, and however firmly grounded in epistemology, that is not violated at some time or other. It becomes evident that such violations are not accidental events, they are not results of insufficient knowledge or of inattention which might have been avoided. On the contrary, we see that they are necessary for progress."
"Science is neither a single tradition, nor the best tradition there is, except for people who have become accustomed to its presence, its benefits and its disadvantages. In a democracy it should be separated from the state just as churches are now separated from the state."
"Let us say, then, that both the realist and the antirealist accept the results of scientific investigations as "true," on a par with more homely truths.... And call this acceptance of scientific truths the "core position." What distinguishes realists from antirealists, then, is what they add onto this core position ... a third alternative emerges--and an attractive one at that. It is the core position itself, and all by itself.... Let me introduce the acronym NOA (pronounced as in "Noah"), for natural ontological attitude, and, henceforth, refer to the core position under that designation."
"Furnished as all Europe now is with Academies of Science, with nice instruments and the spirit of experiment, the progress of human knowledge will be rapid and discoveries made of which we have at present no conception. I begin to be almost sorry I was born so soon, since I cannot have the happiness of knowing what will be known a hundred years hence."
"The pace of science forces the pace of technique. Theoretical physics forces atomic energy on us; the successful production of thefission bomb forces upon us the manufacture of the hydrogen bomb. We do not choose our problems, we do not choose our products; we are pushed, we are forced--by what? By a system which has no purpose and goal transcending it, and which makes man its appendix."
"The real accomplishment of modern science and technology consists in taking ordinary men, informing them narrowly and deeply and then, through appropriate organization, arranging to have their knowledge combined with that of other specialized but equally ordinary men. This dispenses with the need for genius. The resulting performance, though less inspiring, is far more predictable."
"It is a commonplace that all religion expresses itself in mythological or metaphorical terms; it says one thing and means another;it uses imagery to convey truth. But the crucial fact about religion is not that it is metaphor, but that it is unconscious metaphor. No one can express any thought without using metaphors, but this does not reduce all philosophy and science to religion, because the scientist knows that his metaphors are merely metaphors and that the truth is something other than the imagery by which it is expressed, whereas in religion the truth and the imagery are identified. To repeat the Creed as a religious act it is necessary not to add "All this I believe in a symbolical or figurative sense": to make that addition is to convert religion into philosophy."
"Science is a dynamic undertaking directed to lowering the degree of the empiricism involved in solving problems; or, if you prefer, science is a process of fabricating a web of interconnected concepts and conceptual schemes arising from experiments and observations and fruitful of further experiments and observations."
"In its use of words poetry is just the reverse of science. Very definite thoughts do occur, but not because the words are so chosen as logically to bar out all possibilities save one. No. But because the manner, the tone of voice, the cadence and rhythm play upon our interests and make them pick out from among an indefinite number of possibilities the precise particular thought which they need. That is why poetical descriptions often seem so much more accurate than prose descriptions. Language logically and scientifically used cannot describe a landscape or a face. To do so would need a prodigious apparatus of names for shades and nuances, for precise particular qualities. These names do not exist, so other means have to be used."
"In spite of the fact that religion looks backward to revealed truth while science looks forward to new vistas and discoveries, both activities produce a sense of awe and a curious mixture of humility and arrogance in their practitioners. All great scientists are inspired by the subtlety and beauty of the natural world that they are seeking to understand. Each new subatomic particle, every unexpected object, produces delight and wonderment. In constructing their theories, physicists are frequently guided by arcane concepts of elegance in the belief that the universe is intrinsically beautiful."