Things, Ideas And Reality: What Persists?

So beginning with Peter Galison's lovely work on the history of science, yesterday we asked "Which comes first Ideas or Things".

Lots of interesting responces to that one,

  • "The thinking molds the forms as the forms mold the thinking. Ideas And Things: Which Comes First? The twins walk hand-in-hand from birth."
  • "thinking is thinging".
  • "They exist together, certainly. But I often wonder what started the whole process of deductive reasoning."
  • It appears that Peter Galison found himself caught in a hermeneutic circle."
  • "Observation, presence, awareness – either internal or external -
  • seems to be the starting point."
  • "it would seem that in the past things moved from practice to theory. In the modern age, this trend seems to have reversed, and things move more from basic research and theory to practice."

OK, so here is the 64 million dollar question. To what extent do things shape our ideas about reality such that it becomes the reality we experience?

We like to imagine that science shows us the one true objective world.  But if our encounter with things shapes our ideas does it do so in ways that force "thing-colored-glasses" on to our noses.  Are we always just seeing a "mask of the universe", as Edward Harrison would say, that is bound to some extent by the times and things we create?

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