Tools and Questions

A field of study is not defined by the tools that it uses, but by the questions that it asks. The tools are secondary to the questions. Endel Tulving captured this point well in this interview for Cognitive Neuroscience (2002):

The single most critical piece of equipment is still the researcher’s own brain. All the equipment in the world will not help us if we do not know how to use it properly, which requires more than just knowing how to operate it. Aristotle would not necessarily have been more profound had he owned a laptop and known how to program. What is badly needed now, with all these scanners whirring away, is an understanding of exactly what we are observing, and seeing, and measuring, and wondering about.

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