Brain and Values: Is a Biological Science of Values Possible

By Karl H. Pribram | Go to book overview

Conclusion

It is informative to compare the goals and dynamics of individual development with those of the scientific process. The following two quotations suggest the parallels.

"Not only is the description of every single fact dependent on some theory but there exist facts which cannot be unearthed except with the help of alternatives to the theory.. This suggests that the methodological unit .. of test and empirical content is constituted by a whole set of partially overlapping, factually adequate, but mutually inconsistent theories. ... Comparing the old and the new is thus appears that the relation of empirical contents is like this (A), or perhaps, like this (B) while in actual fact it is much more like this (C)" Feyerabend, 1996, pp. 27, 156).

Finally, Albert Einstein has defined the purpose of science as follows:

"Although it is true that it is the goal of science to discover rules which permit the association and foretelling of facts, this is not its only aim. It also seeks to reduce the connections discovered to the smallest possible number of mutually independent conceptual elements. It is this striving after the unification of the manifold that it encounters its greatest successes, although it is precisely this attempt which causes it to run the greatest risk of falling prey to illusion" ( Einstein, 1994, p.52).


Acknowledgments

This research was supported in part by NASA grants NAS2-1370 and NAS-13283, NSF grant DMI-9460057, and U.S. Army Strategic Defense Command grant DASG6097C0019. Tom Sheridan of the NUT was consultant and collaborator in the research. Steven Yantis of the Johns Hopkins University helped with the experimental design, and made other contributions. Danielle Burke conducted the experiments. I am grateful to Jordan Grafman of the NIH for his thoughtful comments on an early draft of this paper, and particularly to Karl Pribram for advice and discussions that helped me to correct some of my misconceptions. All the remaining ones are my responsibility. My special thanks are to Leo Vekker and other colleagues who contributed in the development of views that partially overlap but are inconsistent with theirs.

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