Both [Quine and Feyerabend] want to revise a version of positivism. Quine started with the Vienna Circle, and Feyerabend with the Copenhagen school of quantum mechanics. Both the Circle and the school have been called children of Ernst Mach; if so, the philosophies of Feyerabend and Quine must be his grandchildren.
The best reaction to a paradox is to invent a genuinely new and deep idea.
Despite a certain amount of rhetoric, such as 'the second American Revolution,' there is a fair consensus about which events in the affairs of a people can rightly be called revolutions. It is also clear that such revolutions are proper objects of study for the historian.
The social risks that worry us are not a random bundle of frights.
Among the lesser effects of quantum theory are gaping holes in old ideas about causality.
Life on a factory farm is well-nigh unbearable for the animals or birds, and it is often foul for the women and men who process the meat that results - especially in factories for chicken parts. But do not sentimentalize. Do not imagine barnyard life is a bowl of cherries.
The word 'revolution' first brings to mind violent upheavals in the state, but ideas of revolution in science, and of political revolution, are almost coeval. The word once meant only a revolving, a circular return to an origin, as when we speak of revolutions per minute or the revolution of the planets about the sun.
Foucault's genius is to go down to the little dramas, dress them in facts hardly anyone else has noticed, and turn these stage settings into clues to a hitherto un-thought series of confrontations out of which, he contends, the orderly structure of society is composed.
The walking wounded, impaired in life and dissected in death, were our primary clues to where and how parts of the brain work.
I think it's unfortunate when people say that there is just one true story of science. For one thing, there are many different sciences, and historians will tell different stories corresponding to different things.
I'm a dilettante. My governing word is 'curiosity.'
Amartya Sen is best known to the general reader for his powerful essays on famine. He is an optimist about some of our gravest economic problems, such as mass starvation in a world that at present can easily produce more food than everyone can eat. Reason and voluntary participation are his watchwords.
The debate about who decides what gets taught is fascinating, albeit excruciating for those who have to defend the schools against bunkum.
Kant taught us that we should follow just those rules of conduct that we would want everybody to follow. Few find this generalization of The Golden Rule a great help.
Some people say they use images to help them remember intricacies. Others say they just remember. If they are able to form an image of the face, it is because they remember how it was: it is not that an image guides memory, but that memory produces an image, or the sense of imaging. We have no agreed way to talk clearly about such things.
It is so hard to make important decisions that we have a great urge to reduce them to rules.
Molecular biology has routinely taken problematic things under its wing without altering core ideas.
What are the relationships between power and knowledge? There are two bad, short answers: 1. Knowledge provides an instrument that those in power can wield for their own ends. 2. A new body of knowledge brings into being a new class of people or institutions that can exercise a new kind of power.
Although some secrecy is odious, some is essential just to preserve our sense of self.
Many of us will be obsessed with one or another kind of secret or revelation, be it gossip about friends or ourselves, a fantasy about spies, or a worry about the most personal information now stored in data banks. But few of us think about secrets in general, or about the moral rights and wrongs of hiding or exposing them.