Another post I’m stealing from Andy Gelman, which, in turn, leads to another article, this one from developmental psychology.
I think the article and the perspective it presents are an important, indeed, a critical contribution to our sense of epistemology. The truth is that we don’t know the whole truth, and we probably can’t even handle it. An elephant is a spear, a wall, and a column, and many more–and the key to knowledge is understanding how all these can be true at the same time, not that it is one thing and not the other. Scientists believe in many “truths” that must be true–not unlike what I had written earlier today about different people’s perceptions of the economy. Sometimes–indeed, very often–seemingly incompatible truths are simultaneously true. Scientific progress comes from syntheses, not by pruning branches and, in so doing, cutting off potentially fruitful courses of investigation. This comes from the recognition that our sense of the “truth” is limited necessarily and that we have much to learn about the truth that lie outside our limited beliefs.