The end of science: Can we overcome cognitive limitations? (1998)

Alexander Riegler

Evolution & Cognition 4(1): 37-50

“Why is the universe knowable?” Davies (1990) wonders. In this paper, I argue that science is not a matter of knowing any universe. Rather, it is a — as history has shown — superior method of guidelines of how to organize experiences yielding predictive power. Historically, two types of models have given rise to the effectiveness of science, narrative and mathematical models. Based on cognitive psychological investigations, I point out that due to the human nature of scientific reasoning both types of models are limited. With the advent of computational devices scientific investigation may now be extended to “externalized deductions”, which are not subject to a limited shortterm memory and slow performance. To shift this to computational science we have to recognize that models in all three approaches have basically the same function. Although this might not solve the realist’s question of how models relate to the world (at a deep philosophical sense), it will guarantee the continued existence of contemporary science beyond the cognitive barrier.

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