” Science without conscience is the ruin of the soul “François Rabelais
This quote is a must for anyone who wants to think about science. But what does this sentence of François Rabelais really mean?
The meaning that we traditionally give to this meaning, in the light of the vocabulary of the 21st century, is not exactly what François Rabelais meant.
In order to better understand it, we offer you the possible interpretations of this quote, then some explanations, as well as a mini biography of François Rabelais.
Interpretations of the quote by François Rabelais
” Science without conscience is the ruin of the soul” — François Rabelais
At first sight, it can be understood as a principle, which advocates mastering for the good of humanity science by morality.
It is necessary to take into account the context: in the 16th century, science was used more as a synonym of knowledge and conscience designated more the faculties of understanding.
Thus, the advice would be interpreted more as “Knowledge without the ability to understand, is but the poverty of the soul.”
Elements of Explanation of the Quote
This quote is from Gargantua, whose full title describes the theme: The very horrific life of the great Gargantua, father of Pantagruel, once composed by Mr. Alcofribas abstractor of quintessence. Book full of Pantagruelism
In this novel, François Rabelais tells the learning of Gargantua, a giant. He implicitly criticizes the Sorbonne and its teaching in a crude and familiar style.
Short biography of François Rabelais
François was born around 1483, died in 1553. He followed a monastic life, became passionate about medicine, which he then taught. He published both scientific works and a more popular work: Pantagruel. He discovered with Hippocrates the therapy by laughter. He published in 1535 (more probably than 1534) the work of Gargantua, before going to Italy. He died in Paris in 1553.
→ General Knowledge: the school