Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Archive for November 25th, 2017

The liturgy of the laboratory

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A student may acquire laboratory methods as so much isolated and final stuff, just as he may so acquire material from a textbook. One’s mental attitude is not necessarily changed just because he engages in certain physical manipulations and handles certain tools and materials. Many a student has acquired dexterity and skill in laboratory methods without its ever occurring to him that they have anything to do with constructing beliefs that are alone worthy of the title of knowledge…They are part of the arcana in process of revelation to him. In order to proceed in the mystery one has, of course, to master its ritual. And how easily the laboratory becomes liturgical! In short, it is a problem and a difficult problem to conduct matters so that the technical matters employed in a subject shall become conscious instrumentalities of realizing the meaning of knowledge—what is required in the way of thinking and of search for evidence before anything passes from the realm of opinion, guesswork, and dogma into that of knowledge.

John Dewey, “Science as Subject Matter and as Method”

Written by nevalalee

November 25, 2017 at 7:30 am

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