By Bertrand Russell
How can we be aware of what we "know"? How did we –as members and as a society – come to just accept yes wisdom as truth? In Human wisdom, Bertrand Russell questions the reliability of our assumptions on wisdom. This great and arguable paintings investigates the connection among ‘individual’ and ‘scientific’ wisdom. First released in 1948, this provocative paintings contributed considerably to an explosive highbrow discourse that maintains to at the present time.
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Extra info for Human Knowledge: Its Scope and Limits
When geology revealed extinct species, they were supposed to have perished in the flood. All now existing animals of any given species were descended from a pair in the ark, though some naturalists wondered how the sloths could have got from Mount Ararat to South America in the time, and why none of them had lingered en route . There was, however, an inconsistent theory that some animals were spontaneously generated by the action of the sun on slime. As late as the middle of the nineteenth century, men of considerable scientific attainments were troubled by perplexities which now seem astonishing.
The seventeenth century, with the telescope, the science of dynamics, and the law of gravitation, completed the triumph of the scientific outlook, not only as the key to pure knowledge, but as a powerful means of economic progress. From this time onwards, science was recognized as a matter of social and not merely individual interest. The theory of the sun and planets as a finished system was practically completed by Newton. As against Aristotle and the medieval philosophers it appeared that the sun, not the earth, is the centre of the solar system; that the heavenly bodies, left to themselves, would move in straight lines, not in circles; that in fact they move neither in straight lines nor in circles, but in ellipses; and that no action from outside is necessary to preserve their motion.
There was, however, an inconsistent theory that some animals were spontaneously generated by the action of the sun on slime. As late as the middle of the nineteenth century, men of considerable scientific attainments were troubled by perplexities which now seem astonishing. It was held, for example, that before the Fall there were no beasts of prey; lions and tigers contentedly munched grass, while vultures regaled themselves with fruits and herbs. When geology seemed to show that carnivorous animals had existed before there were human beings, it became difficult to hold that all pain, whether of men or of animals, is a punishment for Adam’s sin in eating the apple.