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Are Philosophers lost in the clouds?

 
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 10:31 pm
@failures art,
'Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornitholoy is to birds' - Richard Feynman.

I read an anecdote recently about a college principal who was flabbergasted by the amount of money the physics department kept requesting for equipment. 'I wish they were more like the maths department', he said. 'All they want is pencils, paper, and wastebaskets. Or the philosophy department. They don't even ask for wastebaskets.'
Pepijn Sweep
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 10:36 pm
@jeeprs,
I´ve got a little book by Feynman titled The Meaning of It All. It is really nice to read. Funny but very to the point. Smile
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 10:59 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:

'Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornitholoy is to birds' - Richard Feynman.

Clever.

jeeprs wrote:

I read an anecdote recently about a college principal who was flabbergasted by the amount of money the physics department kept requesting for equipment. 'I wish they were more like the maths department', he said. 'All they want is pencils, paper, and wastebaskets. Or the philosophy department. They don't even ask for wastebaskets.'

That's a good one!

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kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 01:32 am
@failures art,
failures art wrote:

jeeprs wrote:

'Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornitholoy is to birds' - Richard Feynman.

Clever.



Well, that is one man's opinion. On the other hand, Einstein was always talking about how aware he was of philosophy while he shaped his own views. That is discussed in several biographies of Einstein.
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 04:36 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:

failures art wrote:

jeeprs wrote:

'Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornitholoy is to birds' - Richard Feynman.

Clever.



Well, that is one man's opinion. On the other hand, Einstein was always talking about how aware he was of philosophy while he shaped his own views. That is discussed in several biographies of Einstein.

For some reason I find "aware of philosophy" to be a very amusing description.

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Fido
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 05:25 am
@failures art,
failures art wrote:

jeeprs wrote:

'Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornitholoy is to birds' - Richard Feynman.

Clever.

jeeprs wrote:

I read an anecdote recently about a college principal who was flabbergasted by the amount of money the physics department kept requesting for equipment. 'I wish they were more like the maths department', he said. 'All they want is pencils, paper, and wastebaskets. Or the philosophy department. They don't even ask for wastebaskets.'

That's a good one!

A
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Clearly; the philosopher have reinvented toilet paper and the math heads are counting on their fingers...
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  2  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 05:36 am
@jeeprs,
No one has to explain innate behavior to humans either, even if they could; nor explain shoe making to shoe makers... There is a real necessity for the average to understand the spectacular, and it is because out of so many widow's mites are great temples of learning built... Those wise people who think they are doing it alone might better look around... Great science is the product of great societies, and in a democracy, people should know, and support what is being done on their dime... Feynman was wrong in that there is no true philosophy of science to belittle... There is a philosophy of social behavior called ethics that science generally shows no interest in, and has much need of...
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 05:39 am
@Pepijn Sweep,
Pepijn Sweep wrote:

I´ve got a little book by Feynman titled The Meaning of It All. It is really nice to read. Funny but very to the point. Smile

I have one of his books, a history... I have to wonder what Feynman could tell the world about mmeaning that the world could not tell him back better... Being is objective... Meaning is subjective... Since we all have our own, what need have we of another's????
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 05:51 am
@failures art,
failures art wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

failures art wrote:

jeeprs wrote:

'Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornitholoy is to birds' - Richard Feynman.

Clever.



Well, that is one man's opinion. On the other hand, Einstein was always talking about how aware he was of philosophy while he shaped his own views. That is discussed in several biographies of Einstein.

For some reason I find "aware of philosophy" to be a very amusing description.

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There is no true division between philosophy and physics, it is simply that philosophy is vexed by moral problems while physics, working on the world of sense, has an easier path... We forget how much of philosophy was physics in the past just as we forget how much of it was once theology... After Occam theology in physics was given little attention, and science progressed... But, the moral issues still confront us, and it is left for us to resolve these problems on our own because we clearly cannot count on the help of God... And, Einstein was there, willing to make a moral choice and take a moral stand... And it was not because he could see the implications of his work sooner than others... Certainly he must have known the energy was there, but breaking it loose from the atom was still a long way off... The guy really was smart, and moral...
0 Replies
 
Huxley
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 06:47 am
@kennethamy,
You're misreading my post, ken. I was summarizing the feeling I get from such comments, not agreeing with that sentiment.

And, btw, Phil-o-Science is useful for scientists. You see it referenced in the text-books today.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 06:51 am
@Fido,
Quote:
Being is objective...


I think essential to the definition of 'being' is that is is first person. As the Vedanta says, 'being' is the indubitable knowledge that 'I am' without which no life, knowledge or mind is even possible.

While we're at it, sure physics used to be called 'natural philosophy' but I also think that physics and philosophy are radically separate pursuits. The fact that they have become identified is a big mistake in my view.

AND - I am very interested in the Phil of Science - that Feynmann quote was just an amusing throwaway line.
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 08:35 am
The importance of philosophy seems to be second place to the importance of philosophers... according to the philosophers. We all philosophize on the things we do, and experience. It's when philosophy becomes a practice unto itself that I start to feel like it's lost something.

We are all glad that Einstein recognized the moral issues involved with his discoveries. A science may make an A-bomb, but a philosophy is what rationalizes and let's us drop it. I don't think the moral problem resides under science's roof.

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0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  4  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 08:53 am
@failures art,
failures art wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

failures art wrote:

jeeprs wrote:

'Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornitholoy is to birds' - Richard Feynman.

Clever.



Well, that is one man's opinion. On the other hand, Einstein was always talking about how aware he was of philosophy while he shaped his own views. That is discussed in several biographies of Einstein.

For some reason I find "aware of philosophy" to be a very amusing description.

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T


Sorry to be constantly bugging you on this thread, ART, but Einstein specifically referred to aspects of philosophy (other than moral issues).

In 1916, Einstein wrote this in an essay published in a German Journal of Physics:
Quote:
How does it happen that a properly endowed natural scientist comes to concern himself with epistemology? Is there not some more valuable work to be done in his specialty? That's what I hear many of my colleagues ask, and I sense it from many more. But I cannot share this sentiment. When I think about the ablest students whom I have encountered in my teaching — that is, those who distinguish themselves by their independence of judgment and not just their quick-wittedness — I can affirm that they had a vigorous interest in epistemology. They happily began discussions about the goals and methods of science, and they showed unequivocally, through tenacious defense of their views, that the subject seemed important to them .

Concepts that have proven useful in ordering things easily achieve such authority over us that we forget their earthly origins and accept them as unalterable givens. Thus they might come to be stamped as "necessities of thought," "a priori givens," etc. The path of scientific progress is often made impassable for a long time by such errors. Therefore it is by no means an idle game if we become practiced in analysing long-held commonplace concepts and showing the circumstances on which their justification and usefulness depend, and how they have grown up, individually, out of the givens of experience. Thus their excessive authority will be broken. They will be removed if they cannot be properly legitimated, corrected if their correlation with given things be far too superfluous, or replaced if a new system can be established that we prefer for whatever reason.


Philosophy has played a role in how scientific knowledge is legitimated. Philosophers have provided criteria for scientists to judge hypotheses and even how to test hypotheses.
salima
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 08:57 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:

salima wrote:

just today came across this:
"The fascination of Nature produced poets.
The rumination over Nature made philosophers."

but i have to believe they are just parts of the whole phenomenon. how could a poet not be a philosopher? and i have yet to find a philosopher who isnt a poet...



Kennethamy raises his hand and waves it violently.



For "IS" and "IS-NOT" though with Rule and Line
And "UP-AND-DOWN" without, I could define,
I yet in all I only cared to know,
Was never deep in anything but--Wine.

The Grape that can with Logic absolute
The Two-and-Seventy jarring Sects confute:
The subtle Alchemist that in a Trice
Life's leaden Metal into Gold transmute.

0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 09:06 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:

Quote:
Being is objective...


I think essential to the definition of 'being' is that is is first person. As the Vedanta says, 'being' is the indubitable knowledge that 'I am' without which no life, knowledge or mind is even possible.

While we're at it, sure physics used to be called 'natural philosophy' but I also think that physics and philosophy are radically separate pursuits. The fact that they have become identified is a big mistake in my view.

AND - I am very interested in the Phil of Science - that Feynmann quote was just an amusing throwaway line.

I agree with Vedanta, but do not agree that physics and philosophy are in some way different...Philosophy must agree with scientific truth, and to agree, must know... The Methods of physics do not apply to ethical and moral understanding, and in ethical/moral questions is where our problems lie... I agree that the Feynmann line is a throwaway line... Birds fly because it is natural to them, and we fly because it is logical, meaning, we find the logic of what we are doing so we can do it with a will, and purpose, and well...
0 Replies
 
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 09:11 am
@wandeljw,
Don't worry Wandel, you aren't bugging me. Your posts are some of my favorite. I guess I view that process as simply being more internal to science itself wandel. Philosophy is good, but I lack the patience for endless philosophizing in armchairs.

What I'm annoyed by is the endless arguments on certainty. It is Loki's wager. Discussions go nowhere and false stalemates are forged. Forget good ideas and bad ideas, we can philosophize anything to mean just about anything. We can neutralize the exceptional ideas, and elevate the mediocre ones.

For your amusement.

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Fido
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 12:45 pm
@failures art,
failures art wrote:

Don't worry Wandel, you aren't bugging me. Your posts are some of my favorite. I guess I view that process as simply being more internal to science itself wandel. Philosophy is good, but I lack the patience for endless philosophizing in armchairs.

What I'm annoyed by is the endless arguments on certainty. It is Loki's wager. Discussions go nowhere and false stalemates are forged. Forget good ideas and bad ideas, we can philosophize anything to mean just about anything. We can neutralize the exceptional ideas, and elevate the mediocre ones.

For your amusement.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3eTsNEgmL8[/youtube]
A
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This post makes me know you could use a good dose of philosophy... Certainty has no place in philosophy, but certainty is a staple of religion helping to hold it all together... I would say, if we can say we know this fact, whether we can in fact know it, then where does that fact take the mind, -is the question philosophy asks...

And; there are no good or bad ideas... Any idea must truthfully and accurately represent a certain portion of reality... The idea circle must tell truth about the real circle... The idea of a dog must faithfully represent what can be known of the real dog... Where is the good or bad of that???

Here is what you mean, in my opinion... When people go about building their social forms, like government, and like economies, they do so on the basis of a certain idea in regard to human behavior, and often upon many such ideas regarding human behavior, and if those Ideas are false, then the social form built out of them will be flawed.... So What???

People build forms which are all forms of relationship based upon the level of knowledge, the ideas they have at the time... Indians had homes without chimneys because of a certain want of understanding, or a false idea of the matter... Should they have went without shelter because they did not understand how to build chimneys??? It is better to build with the knowledge one has than to not do so on the basis of future knowledge one has not...

So in building our social forms the mistake is not in our ideas, but in the thought that our ideas of today will serve another generation as well as this... Ideas are not the problem, but the problem is a fact of human nature that philosophy could help to render harmless, by showing that forms meant to sustain a whole people can be robbed of their value and meaning, and that forms change, and that in the changing of forms humanity has always advanced...

There are good ideas, as you call them, waiting to be picked up by humanity and used, but people must first abandon the old, and pick up the new, and in such change is the most salient fact of human nature, that we fear change, and yet must change to survive... Jefferson says as much in the declaration of independence... It is not rocket science, but it is philosophy...
failures art
 
  0  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 01:48 pm
@Fido,
Fido wrote:
This post makes me know you could use a good dose of philosophy...
Laughing

Your misunderstanding of pet rocks is concerning. It is your misunderstanding of them which makes you the perfect candidate to adopt one.

If ever there was an opening line to sell snake oil. I'm not saying you have ill intent, but it was amusing to me.

As for good and bad ideas, I said forget them, not endorse the idea of ideas being good or bad. You read me incorrectly or I failed to communicate that more clearly.

A
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0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  5  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 02:10 pm
@failures art,
failures art wrote:

Don't worry Wandel, you aren't bugging me. Your posts are some of my favorite. I guess I view that process as simply being more internal to science itself wandel. Philosophy is good, but I lack the patience for endless philosophizing in armchairs.

What I'm annoyed by is the endless arguments on certainty. It is Loki's wager. Discussions go nowhere and false stalemates are forged. Forget good ideas and bad ideas, we can philosophize anything to mean just about anything. We can neutralize the exceptional ideas, and elevate the mediocre ones.

For your amusement.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3eTsNEgmL8[/youtube]
A
R
T


But the discussions do go somewhere, but whether you understand them and can follow them, is quite another thing. But you cannot infer that because you cannot understand them or follow them, that they go nowhere. In fact they do go somewhere, They have a long history beginning with Plato, and culminating in Descartes. (Of course, you also have to know something about the history of philosophy). And, it is clear to me that even if there is certainty of the kind Descartes was hankering after, certainty is not a necessary condition of knowing. Which allows for fallibilist knowledge, which is in accord with our intuition that science, which is fallibilistic, afford us knowledge. If it were true that knowledge implies certainty, then then that would imply that science cannot afford us knowledge. And that would be, I hope you can see, a significant development. And, indeed, some writers like Kuhn and his followers, have argued (in effect) that since knowledge implies certainty, and science cannot give us certainty, that science does not give us knowledge. An argument that has led to a kind of postmodern view of the nature of knowledge and science too. But this postmodern view is, I think I can show, based on a the faulty argument I just expounded, but did not, of course, espouse. So, your professed weariness with discussions about certainty stems from an ignorance of what lies behind these discussions. An issue which is quite significant. It reminds me of how everyone disparages the medieval discussion of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, which is thought to be a paradigm of philosophical futility. But this shows but a surface understanding of the real issue which lay behind the question about the angels, which was quite philosophically significant, and was concerned with the important relation between the notions of existence and individuation. It is easy to disparage and be weary of what you don't understand. Nothing easier. What is difficult is to look under the surface to see what is really going on. But that takes a moment's thought, and, as the poet A. E. Houseman once wrote in a letter: "But thought is difficult, and a moment is a long time".
failures art
 
  0  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 02:35 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
But the discussions do go somewhere, but whether you understand them and can follow them, is quite another thing. But you cannot infer that because you cannot understand them or follow them, that they go nowhere.

Save your fingers the strain, next time just type: "I know something you don't."

Going "somewhere" and getting to where we need to go are not the same, and while I enjoy a country drive as much as the next guy, perhaps they aren't the best exercises for a trip to the grocery store. Especially when people at home are waiting for you to return.

Who said I can't follow them? I'm simply frustrated with them. Let philosophy come natural, not forced. Let it be a part of what we do, not what we do. If it isn't obvious, I too philosophize things. I am unapologetic about my utilitarian and materialistic view of the universe. I'm no stranger to criticism on these things, and I do not require absolute certainty either. It is not as if these views go unchallenged.

A
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