The Nature of Explanation

“… owing to the Principle of Uncertainty. This lack of verifiability is an unfortunate fact but still does not justify, in my opinion, the confusion between a limit of observation and a limitation of experience. I am not asking physicists to make unverifiable hypotheses as to the nature of the electron (…); I am only asking them to refrain from saying that reality must have the same limitations as their methods of observation. Science surely is an attempt to find our the nature of reality by experiment, theoretical formulation of hypotheses, and verification; not an attempt to assert that reality has the same limitations as our methods of observation. This last is a kind of subjectivism into which science has fallen though it started out to be most objectivist, refusing to accept anything that was not verifiable. It is verifiability which is the fatal link. If a phenomenon is verifiable, it exists; but this does not mean that if it is not verifiable it does not exist. This is the old fallacy: ‘All S are P, therefore all P are S’. The verifiability of statistical predictions shows that the statistical laws are true -that actual objects do behave according to these laws; but it certainly does not prove that these are the ultimate laws which they obey and that there may not be more ultimate mechanisms. Science is not reality; it is a method of investigating reality. (…)”

Kenneth Craik

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