Nature

Nature
   Modern Science Focuses Not on Nature Itself, But on Abstract Representations of Nature
   To Newtonians, each question had its singular answer, one that would remain the same no matter who asked it, or why. But now, the uncertainty that undercuts every measurement of some fact in the real world compels the observer to choose which question to ask, which aspect of a phenomenon to study.
   The necessity of choice became overwhelmingly apparent when Heisenberg elevated uncertainty to a principle in quantum mechanics in 1927, having recognized that on the subatomic level the observer had to emphasize only one of a pair of properties to study at any one time. In one of the prominent interpretations of quantum mechanics, the idea took on a larger meaning: that in choosing what to study, the scientist in effect creates the object of his inquiry. . . . The impossibility of constructing a complete, accurate quantitative description of a complex system forces observers to pick which aspects of the system they most wish to understand. . . .
   What one studies from among this wealth of choice depends on what one wants to know; the questions create-or at least determine-the range of possible answers. No such answer can be completely "true": instead of saying "This is what nature is like," they can claim only, "This is what nature seems like from here"-a vastly diminished claim from that of Newton. The critical issue raised by such subjectivity is how to decide what value each partial answer has, what connection it actually makes between the real world and our understanding of it. The object of study, the focus of much of modern science, has therefore shifted inward, to examine not nature itself but rather to study the abstract representations of nature, the choices made of what to leave in and what to drop out of any given study. (Levenson, 1995, pp. 228-229)

Historical dictionary of quotations in cognitive science. . 2015.

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  • nature — [ natyr ] n. f. • 1119; lat. natura I ♦ 1 ♦ (Qualifié) La nature de... Ensemble des caractères, des propriétés qui définissent un être, une chose concrète ou abstraite, généralement considérés comme constituant un genre. ⇒ essence; entité. « on… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Nature — еженедельный научный журнал Обложка журнала от 15 февраля 2001 года Специализация …   Википедия

  • nature — Nature. s. f. Tout l Univers, toutes les choses creées. Dieu est l autheur & le maistre de la nature. l ordre qui regne dans toute la nature. il n y a rien de si beau dans toute la nature, dans toute l estenduë de la nature que le soleil. toute… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Nature — • Has reference to the production of things, and hence generally includes in its connotation the ideas of energy and activity. Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Nature     Nature    …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • nature — Nature, Natura. La nature et maniere de faire, qu un chacun a de nature, Ingenium. Bonne nature, Bonitas ingenij, Bonum ingenium. Nature pleine de vices, Mendosa natura. La nature et vertu des arbres et des herbes, Arborum atque herbarum natura.… …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • Nature — Beschreibung Fachzeitschrift Fachgebiet Naturwissenschaften Sprache Englisch …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Nature — Na ture (?; 135), n. [F., fr. L. natura, fr. natus born, produced, p. p. of nasci to be born. See {Nation}.] 1. The existing system of things; the universe of matter, energy, time and space; the physical world; all of creation. Contrasted with… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • nature — (n.) late 13c., restorative powers of the body, bodily processes; powers of growth; from O.Fr. nature nature, being, principle of life; character, essence, from L. natura course of things; natural character, constitution, quality; the universe,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • nature — The phrase of a…nature, with an adjective before nature, should be used sparingly and only when the adjective by itself will not serve for some reason. For example, a theologian of an enigmatic nature could easily be rephrased as an enigmatic… …   Modern English usage

  • nature — [nā′chər] n. [OFr < L natura < natus, born, produced: see GENUS] 1. the essential character of a thing; quality or qualities that make something what it is; essence 2. inborn character; innate disposition; inherent tendencies of a person 3 …   English World dictionary

  • nature — ► NOUN 1) the physical world, including plants, animals, the landscape, and natural phenomena, as opposed to humans or human creations. 2) the inherent qualities or characteristics of a person or thing. 3) a kind, sort, or class: topics of a… …   English terms dictionary

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