What are the limits of scientific explanation?

Sara Gottlieb, Tania Lombrozo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


One possibility is to accept that scientific knowledge is limited in an important respect. A complete scientific explanation for human color perception leaves something out: it doesn’t supply Mary with what she needs to know what it’s like to experience color. First-person experience can supply something that falls beyond the scope of science - something that cannot be captured by a scientific explanation. Philosophers and scientists have debated the correct response to Frank Jackson’s argument, with no clear consensus. But anecdotal evidence suggests that for many people, the view that first-person experience can supply something that falls beyond the scope of science is especially compelling. One piece of evidence for people’s “intuitive dualism” comes from a clever study by J. L. Preston, R. S. Ritter, and J. Hepler. They had people read about the psychology of love, but only some people were given additional information about the neuroscience of love.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationWhat is Scientific Knowledge?
Subtitle of host publicationAn Introduction to Contemporary Epistemology of Science
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781351336611
ISBN (Print)9781138570160
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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