His dreams were unusual, even for dreams
- Killing Time: The Autobiography of Paul Feyerabend
Chicago, 192 pp, £18.25, June 1995, ISBN 0 226 24531 4
Never before has so much been known about the world, and the time has long passed – if it ever existed – when one person could collect it all in a single consciousness. Science is the paradigmatic case of the accumulation of knowledge: it has given us knowledge in the truest, most certain and genuine sense, and has been fabulously successful at it. Biologists have tracked life to its molecular basis. They’ve identified the main functional molecule of living things, DNA. They’ve mapped its structure, broken it apart, spliced it together again, and have manipulated the molecule to make new living organisms. They’ve corrected faulty gene sequences in human beings, thereby curing people of diseases from which they would otherwise die. And within the last twenty years they’ve wiped at least one ancient and dread disease off the face of the planet.