We live in a science-based culture dominated by measurements, graphs,
statistics and calculations. The more we think in terms of quantity, however,
the more we value the richness of qualitative experience which we seek for in
nature, in our food, in the arts, in religious experience and in human relationships
as an inwardly fulfilling, yet elusive antidote to our obsession with numerical accuracy.
In the end, most of us would choose quality over quantity. But qualitative experience seems
at first to be the antithesis of scientific objectivity. Is there—can there even be—such
a thing as qualitative science?
1. What are qualities?
We generally distinguish between good quality and poor quality
when we judge almost anything: shoes, tools, even education and
human relationships; food, water, soil, etc. Man-made products are
of good quality when they are well made, durable, …