In the lecture series given in Cambridge in 1951 that formed the basis of his book Science & Humanism, the physicist Erwin Schrödinger observed:
It seems plain and self-evident, yet it needs to be said: the isolated knowledge obtained by a group of specialists in a narrow field has in itself no value whatsoever, but only in its synthesis with all the rest of knowledge and only inasmuch as it really contributes in this synthesis toward answering the demand, τίνες δὲ ἡμεῖς; “Who are we?”
Schrödinger is recalling the words of the third-century Greek philosopher Plotinus; but his point is of a contemporary relevance that it is impossible to overstate. It is reinforced by the words of the neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield, whose work on mapping the brain is renowned: “The problem of neurology is to understand man himself.”
From the Marginalia Review of Books
Thank you for writing with the Marginalia Review of Books. We are delighted to publish your essay, “Science and Metaphysics: A Family Quarrel”, which is available to read and share both as a web-page and PDF.