Erwin Schrödinger on the value of science

You may ask – you are bound to ask me now: What, then, is in your opinion the value of natural science? I answer: Its scope, aim and value is the same as that of any other branch of human knowledge. Nay, none of them alone, only the union of all of them, has any scope or value at all, and that is simply enough described: it is to obey the command of the Delphic deity, get to know yourself. Or, to put it in the brief, impressive rhetoric of Plotinus […] ‘And we, who are we anyhow?’


I own a little, uninteresting-looking book I found in a second hand bookshop in the UK for two-pounds-fifty. I’ve never seen it for sale in any shop since. Yet it contains thoughts about science I think are so important I’ve quoted from it in at least a dozen public presentations that I can remember, most recently last Tuesday.

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