Knowledge without Science?
We may stimulate neurons in a brain, e.g. that of a mouse, in a number of different ways, and thereby cause certain behaviors (e.g. HausserMetal2020). How does such an external intervention relate to letting the system operate without such an intervention?
We have to bear in mind that a brain is a highly complex organ, made up of billions of cells, where each of these cells in itself is highly complex, for instance it contains thousands of different proteins and even more different strings of RNA, it has interacting cell organelles, small molecules and so on. We have a system in front of us that we can actually no longer fully grasp scientifically.
We can model aspects of it. We can attempt to discover statistical trends, and model them in a coarse-grained fashion. We can perform experiments, observe results, and discover rules and principles, which we then incorporate into models. These models will represent the experiments performed and may have some predictive power. But it will be statistical, it is not sufficient to predict biological reality at arbitrary detail. We are therefore unable to offer a full scientific description, not just of the brain, but already of the individual cell.
The real living system operates with myriad degrees of freedom. Interventions are just experiments, but they do not allow the living system to use all of its possibilities. With the scientistic methods from the past, with hypotheses, experiments, observation and intervention, the brain cannot be grasped, but only small aspects can be examined, which cannot be combined into a whole without making use of imprecision and guessing. From a philosophical point of view, we lack non-scientific methods of acquiring knowledge or we have not developed an understanding of science, that acknowledges vagueness, the role of framing, personal opinion, etc. What could still be knowledge if scientific methods fail?