It is the role of scientists to ask questions. “The New Scientist” asked in one of its recent editions the fundamental question of what are the limits to knowledge? Nice, they provide 5 parts of an answer to the question. (1) According to Karl Popper, the falsification guy, knowledge is only valid as long as it has not yet been falsified. Hence, a limit to knowledge exists where we cannot falsify a hypothesis or theory, i.e. for example when empirical measurement is impossible. (2) Mary Douglas’s messy problems have been claimed as another limit, or as the New Scientist puts it, “when things are outrageously complicated”. Chaos theory, applied in climate modelling leads us to learn about the potentially huge impact of tiny, little things. (3) Our tools to look into the sky have improved since Ticho Brahe‘s time before the telescope was invented. Most of our knowledge about the universe has only be as accurate as the tools to capture radiation or to observe planetary movements. Therefore, the next limit arises from the fact, “when our best tool to describe the universe may be unreliable”. (4) “When we can’t directly experience something”, we might be unable to understand the concept of colour another person or animal is experiencing. Listening to colours is possible for some, but generally we would not accept such experiences without recourse to drugs, maybe. Bats use ultrasound frequencies, especially trained blind persons use “click sounds” for orientation. Dialetheism is another branch of the philosophy of science and knowledge, a bit hard to digest, as empirical evidence may lose its importance. Its all dialectic or what? (5) If “logic itself is fatally flawed”, what are we left with to construct as knowledge, beyond logical sequences or even causality itself is in question. The Condorcet paradoxon or the impossibility theorem shown by Ken Arrow is an example where it is impossible or very tricky to arrive at a logically consistent solution to a social choice issue. Our tree of science and knowledge grows, undeniably, every second even. Where are we located in this forest now? Thinking of a tree up-side-down shows some have roots even bigger than the visible branches.
Does the Panda bear in the Berlin Zoo have a cognitive map of the cage in his mind? Do they care? Only recently they even had a baby Panda bear there.