more from Sextus Empiricus

Single Idea 6026

[catalogued under 14. Science / A. Basis of Science / 1. Observation]

Full Idea

A preconception and conception must precede every object of investigation, for how can anyone even investigate without some conception of the object of investigation?

Gist of Idea

How can you investigate without some preconception of your object?


Sextus Empiricus (Against the Professors (six books) [c.180], 8.331a)

Book Reference

'The Hellenistic Philosophers:Vol.1 translations', ed/tr. Long,A. /Sedley,D. [CUP 1987], p.249

A Reaction

The Duhem-Quine thesis about the 'theory-ladenness of observation' is just a revival of some routine ancient scepticism. As well as a conceptual scheme to accommodate the observation, there must also be some motivation for the investigation.