Luonnontuntemuksen tiet

Ways of knowing nature

The article discusses the use of generalisations in statements about nature. The use of generalisations is universal. Mathematics can, in a sense, be held as "pure generalisation" – as a system of generalisations about mathematical ideas and their interrelationships, which have no specific content. However, it is impossible to prove that generalisations are true because it is impossible to compare them with the material world "from the outside". As a justification, we have to refer to the continuous and successful use of generalisations by humans. But then, generalisations have also a cultural role, as means for interpreting and explicating the significance and value of facts and issues relevant for human existence. This builds a bridge between science and the arts. They are different ways of making statements about the world and the human condition, that is, different ways of "knowing nature".

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