David Bohm reflects on Scientific knowledge, perception and truth

“Theories do not give final true knowledge, they give a way of looking at something. The very word “theoria” in Greek means “theatre” so it is the theatre of the mind which gives insight into the thing.

Science is primarily a perceptual enterprise, and not in gaining knowledge, though knowledge appears. Knowledge is a by-product. By understanding something, you can have contact with it, so long as it is coherent. It shows that our perception is correct. So we must distinguish between correct appearances and incorrect or illusory appearances.

Our thinking process should be called an extension of our perceptual process when done rightly, and not primarily the accumulation of knowledge.”

Bohm makes an interesting assertion in this interview. He claims that Science is not about creating new knowledge, rather it merely develops new ways of looking at the world. He claims that such ‘lenses’ have as much to do with and that they are of their time and context. He also argues in a really compelling way that Science (and our very thinking) is fundamentally formed by perception. He acknowledges the limits of our sensory apparatuses and, in turn, makes those the limits of Science itself.

Bohm also exemplifies the ways in which quantum physics forces wider philosophical and religious debate.

The Limitations of Thought – an interview with David Bohm 1995

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One Response to David Bohm reflects on Scientific knowledge, perception and truth

  1. danieltrump says:

    “theatre of the mind”, I love the phrase – it’s evocative of the range of truths that can be experienced by the mind. I wonder whether many of these truths are beyond the realms of hypo-thetico deductivism, maybe science is “theatre of the brain” rather than the mind? However, it’s still a great post!

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