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CT's picture

Usefulness in Science

Firstly, after reading some chapters of Dennet, I am struck but how much of what he brings into question has been debated by us in class. These issues are evidently very apparent from the offset.

Secondly, the Hubble Deep Field image, I am reminded of the fact that they pointed Hubble Space Telescope towards that area because there wasn't going to be must other research going on during the Christmas period. The director could a substantial period of his discretionary time towards studying galaxies. The usefulness of this pursuit can be called into question.

It wasn't directly useful (cosmology has always had doubtful direct uses), but it revealed a lot about the origin of the galaxy.

We have argued that evolution is about usefulness. We have called it adaptability, it is equally translatable as what is useful in particular environments.

Yet I don't think that we should only be aiming to achieve usefulness. I think that it was William James who believed in the cash value of things. The question then is, should we be seeking usefulness or something else. Metaphysical I know. And horribly inconclusive.


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