It is imperative in science to doubt; it is absolutely necessary, for progress in science, to have uncertainty as a fundamental part of your inner nature.

To make progress in understanding, we must remain modest and allow that we do not know. Nothing is certain or proved beyond all doubt. You investigate for curiosity, because it is unknown, not because you know the answer. And as you develop more information in the sciences, it is not that you are finding out the truth, but that you are finding out that this or that is more or less likely.

That is, if we investigate further, we find that the statements of science are not of what is true and what is not true, but statements of what is known to different degrees of certainty.

Every one of the concepts of science is on a scale graduated somewhere between, but at neither end of, absolute falsity or absolute truth.

3 thoughts on “Feynman on the value of uncertainty

  1. Fantastic quote …
    I have his autobiography …”Surely you’re joking Mr Feynman” …. Adventures of a Curious Character….
    It’s a thoroughly entertaining read .
    I’ve had the pleasure of lending it to several friends that have all loved it.

  2. Well said. There is no abslotue falsity nor absolute truth – otherwise it is PTV (Plato truth virus).

  3. Compelling quote. How, do you expect he would view the AGW, Climate Change proponents mantra of “the science is settled”?

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