The capacity of the human mind for formulating and solving complex problems is very small compared with the size of the problems whose solution is required for objectively rational behavior in the real world or even for a reasonable approximation to such objective rationality.
I agree that our methods of control are unlikely to be sufficiently delicate or sufficiently powerful to maintain continuous full employment. I should be quite content with a reasonable approximation to it, and in practice I should probably relax my expansionist measures a little before technical full employment had actually been reached.1936 Letter to E F M Durbin, 30 Apr.
Each such answer to the great question, invariably asserted by the followers of its propounder, if not by himself, to be complete and final, remains in high authority and esteem, it may be for one century, or it may be for twenty: but, as invariably, Time proves each reply to have been a mere approximation to the truth tolerable chiefly on account of the ignorance of those by whom it was accepted, and wholly intolerable when tested by the larger knowledge of their successors.thomas henry huxley
Mr. Darwin's hypothesis is not, so far as I am aware, inconsistent with any known biological fact; on the contrary, if admitted, the facts of Development, of Comparative Anatomy, of Geographical Distribution, and of Palaeontology, become connected together, and exhibit a meaning such as they never possessed before; and I, for one, am fully convinced that if not precisely true, that hypothesis is as near an approximation to the truth as, for example, the Copernican hypothesis was to the true theory of the planetary motions.thomas henry huxley
The principle of bounded rationality [is] the capacity of the human mind for formulating and solving complex problems is very small compared with the size of the problems whose solution is required for objectively rational behavior in the real world or even for a reasonable approximation to such objective rationality.Herbert A. Simon, (1947). Administrative Behavior: A Study of Decision-Making Processes in Administrative Organization. p. 198
In geometry his greatest achievement was an accurate value of ?. His rule is stated as: dn^2+(2a-d)n=2s, which implies the approximation 3.1416 which is correct to the last decimal place.In, p.245 (Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures)
To a good approximation, all species are insects.Robert May, quoted in Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene (1989), p. 251.
The societal division of labor obtains the dignity of an ontological condition. If truth presupposes freedom from toil, and if this freedom is, in the social reality, the prerogative of a minority, then the reality allows such a truth only in approximation and for a privileged group.Herbert Marcuse (1964), One Dimensional Man, pp. 128-130
Spirituality is much wider than any particular religion , and in the larger ideas of it that are now coming on us even the greatest religion becomes no more than a broad sect or branch of the one universal religion, by which we shall understand in the future man's seeking for the eternal , the divine, the greater self , the source of unity and his attempt to arrive at some equation, some increasing approximation of the values of human life with the eternal and the divine values.Sri Aurobindo in The Renaissance in India (1918)
The differences between minds might be... like the differences between languages, or styles of music or art inexhaustible in the limit, but approachable to any degree of approximation you like. But the difference between having a mind and not having a mind at all being something with its own subjective point of view and being something that is all outside and no inside, like a rock or a discarded sliver of fingernail is apparently an all-or-nothing difference.Daniel C. Dennett, ibid., Kinds Of Minds...
Let us suppose that we have set the problem of finding a solution to the equation This is a problem for which the Babylonians around 1700 BC found the excellent approximation ...This is the identical problem which Pythagoras asserted had no fractional solution and in whose honor he was supposed to have sacrificed a hecatomb of oxen the problem which caused the existentialist crisis in ancient Greek mathematics. The exists (as the diagonal of the unit square); yet it does not exist (as a fraction)!Philip J. Davis and Reuben Hersh, The Mathematical Experience (1980) p.180
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