The Mote and the Beam

Who’s Blind to Whom?
  • Jean-Marc Lévy-Leblond
Part of the The Frontiers Collection book series (FRONTCOLL)


This paper wishes to make the case that philosophers and sociologists are not alone in their sometimes questionable understanding of physical and mathematical sciences. As a matter of fact, physicists themselves have often led the way towards these abuses, as will be shown by a detailed study of the so-called ‘Uncertainty Principle’ and other examples taken from modern physics. Further, the lack of philosophical and humanistic culture on the part of scientists from the ‘hard’ disciplines, make them prone to pass as arrogant as poorly informed judgments on the endeavours of social and human sciences. In fact, the present socio-political conditions of science production lead scientific knowledge to a permanent state of immaturity, inhibiting its epistemological recasting and favouring a careless relation with language. Science needs to recognise the fecund ambiguities of ordinary parlance, and cannot shun away from metaphorical expression. More generally, no criticism coming from the hard sciences and addressed to the softer ones can be valid if it is not first of all an autocriticism.


Uncertainty Principle Modern Physic Conceptual Drift Complementarity Principle Metaphorical Expression 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

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  • Jean-Marc Lévy-Leblond

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