6
   

philosophy of science

 
 
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 03:45 am
A little background. I am sure everyone knows that popper tell us that a theory is scientific if it can be falsified. This view is rather popular, dominate view in many places. The common consensus for modern philosophers is that this view is too "simple". One major problem( along with many others) is that one can always avoid falsification by rejecting some necessary hypothesis for the theory in question. Suppose, we want to falsify theory T. How might we go about doing it? We make a prediction( say P) by assuming T. If experiments show that -P yield, we can always reject T. This is not so! We can always avoid falsification by rejecting some presupposed assumptions of the experiment to avoid rejecting T. When we try to test T, we alway makes assumptions along with T. eg: The test tub are clear. You are not being deluded by an evil demon etc. Call these assumptions A1, A2...., An

So what you have is:

T & A1 & ...& An ----> P

So:

-p--> -T or A1 ....or ....An



If this is a problem, the most extreme problem is theory laden nature of scientific theory. If this view is true, then no evidence can ever falsify, or verify a theory at all. According to this view, the theory that 'there are germs' is supported by the observation that there are germs. Wait! Why makes you believe that tiny little things under the microscope are germs, and not some other stuff that behave with wilding different properties than that described by the theory you impose on the observation?


So, if we take that view that theories are theory laden. This provide a graduate transition to the idea that theories might just be tools, that are empirically adequate, and underdetermined. Why? why not?




 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 06:31 am
@TuringEquivalent,
TuringEquivalent wrote:
A little background. I am sure everyone knows that popper tell us that a theory is scientific if it can be falsified. This view is rather popular, dominate view in many places. The common consensus for modern philosophers is that this view is too "simple".

I think there is more to making a theory than just that. Falsification is just one criteria.

Ultimately all forms of rational thought grind down into a philosophy of methodological naturalism, at which point we have to question our own ability to perceive "reality" at all.

Science only functions within the bounds of naturalistic philosophy. Outside of that, there be dragons.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 06:46 am
@rosborne979,
rosborne979 wrote:

TuringEquivalent wrote:
A little background. I am sure everyone knows that popper tell us that a theory is scientific if it can be falsified. This view is rather popular, dominate view in many places. The common consensus for modern philosophers is that this view is too "simple".

I think there is more to making a theory than just that. Falsification is just one criteria.

Ultimately all forms of rational thought grind down into a philosophy of methodological naturalism, at which point we have to question our own ability to perceive "reality" at all.

Science only functions within the bounds of naturalistic philosophy. Outside of that, there be dragons.


Why would anyone think that we do not perceive reality. What else would it be?
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 07:08 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
Why would anyone think that we do not perceive reality.

Some people question everything.
kennethamy wrote:
What else would it be?

A "dream".
kennethamy
 
  2  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 07:13 am
@rosborne979,
rosborne979 wrote:

kennethamy wrote:
Why would anyone think that we do not perceive reality.

Some people question everything.
kennethamy wrote:
What else would it be?

A "dream".



Saying that everything is a dream is like saying all our money, including real money, is counterfeit, and that there is no difference between real money and counterfeit money. So, if all money is counterfeit money, then what is counterfeit money? And if everything is a dream, then what is a dream?
TuringEquivalent
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 07:15 am
@rosborne979,
what the hell is this got to do with scientific theories?
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 07:16 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
And if everything is a dream, then what is a dream?

That's why I put "dream" in quotes. Maybe I should have said "profound delusion".

I don't know what the term is for a state of existence in which the thinker is the only reality and the thought merely a self-indulgence.
TuringEquivalent
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 07:27 am
@kennethamy,
Unlikely things could be true.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 07:29 am
@rosborne979,
rosborne979 wrote:

kennethamy wrote:
And if everything is a dream, then what is a dream?

That's why I put "dream" in quotes. Maybe I should have said "profound delusion".

I don't know what the term is for a state of existence in which the thinker is the only reality and the thought merely a self-indulgence.


If everything is a profound delusion, then what is a profound delusion? Why not try the word, "insanity"? Really now, have you any reason at all to think that even what are not profound delusions are profound delusions? If so, can you tell me about it?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 07:32 am
@TuringEquivalent,
TuringEquivalent wrote:

what the hell is this got to do with scientific theories?



You tell me. You were the one who wrote, "at which point we have to question our own ability to perceive "reality" at all".
ughaibu
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 07:49 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
TuringEquivalent wrote:
what the hell is this got to do with scientific theories?
You tell me. You were the one who wrote, "at which point we have to question our own ability to perceive "reality" at all".
No he wasn't.
0 Replies
 
TuringEquivalent
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 08:00 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:

TuringEquivalent wrote:

what the hell is this got to do with scientific theories?



You tell me. You were the one who wrote, "at which point we have to question our own ability to perceive "reality" at all".


I did?

kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 08:02 am
@TuringEquivalent,
TuringEquivalent wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

TuringEquivalent wrote:

what the hell is this got to do with scientific theories?



You tell me. You were the one who wrote, "at which point we have to question our own ability to perceive "reality" at all".


I did?

If you didn't I apologize for saying you did. But someone did. I was replying to him.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 08:04 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
If everything is a profound delusion, then what is a profound delusion? Why not try the word, "insanity"? Really now, have you any reason at all to think that even what are not profound delusions are profound delusions? If so, can you tell me about it?

What are you talking about?

Are you challenging my terminology, because I already said I don't know what to call it. And I tried to describe what I meant.

Or are you questioning some concept? If so, I don't understand what you are asking. Sorry.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 08:25 am
@rosborne979,
rosborne979 wrote:

kennethamy wrote:
If everything is a profound delusion, then what is a profound delusion? Why not try the word, "insanity"? Really now, have you any reason at all to think that even what are not profound delusions are profound delusions? If so, can you tell me about it?

What are you talking about?

Are you challenging my terminology, because I already said I don't know what to call it. And I tried to describe what I meant.

Or are you questioning some concept? If so, I don't understand what you are asking. Sorry.


Exactly what I said. It is simply false that everything could be a profound delusion (whatever that might mean) for just the same reason that it is false that all money could be counterfeit money. The reason that all money could not be counterfeit money is that there then could be no real counterfeit money, since you have destroyed the distinction between counterfeit and genuine money; similarly, not everything could be a profound delusion (whatever that means) since if everything were a profound delusion, we would have no idea what a genuine profound delusion would be. Again, you would have erased whatever meaning you think "profound delusion" has. Since "profound delusion" can have meaning only against the background of non-profound delusions; just as counterfeit money can have meaning only against the background of genuine money. Just as counterfeit money is only not genuine money, so if there is no genuine money there cannot be counterfeit money, so, also, a profound delusion (whatever that is) makes sense only if there are no, profound delusions. So if there are no non-profound delusions (reality) there cannot be profound delusions. Without genuine money, there cannot be counterfeit money; and without reality, there cannot be delusion. Therefore, just as it makes no sense to suppose that all money is counterfeit; it makes no sense to suppose that everything is delusion.
TuringEquivalent
 
  2  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 09:01 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:

rosborne979 wrote:

kennethamy wrote:
If everything is a profound delusion, then what is a profound delusion? Why not try the word, "insanity"? Really now, have you any reason at all to think that even what are not profound delusions are profound delusions? If so, can you tell me about it?

What are you talking about?

Are you challenging my terminology, because I already said I don't know what to call it. And I tried to describe what I meant.

Or are you questioning some concept? If so, I don't understand what you are asking. Sorry.


Exactly what I said. It is simply false that everything could be a profound delusion (whatever that might mean) for just the same reason that it is false that all money could be counterfeit money.


It is not justified to think we live in the matrix. This is obvious. It is not obvious to me why you think such possibility must be false. To give another example. We might not be justified in believing Ghosts, but Ghosts might indeed exist. The former deals with the ground of our beliefs, but the latter assert what things actually exist.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 10:02 am
@TuringEquivalent,
TuringEquivalent wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

rosborne979 wrote:

kennethamy wrote:
If everything is a profound delusion, then what is a profound delusion? Why not try the word, "insanity"? Really now, have you any reason at all to think that even what are not profound delusions are profound delusions? If so, can you tell me about it?

What are you talking about?

Are you challenging my terminology, because I already said I don't know what to call it. And I tried to describe what I meant.

Or are you questioning some concept? If so, I don't understand what you are asking. Sorry.


Exactly what I said. It is simply false that everything could be a profound delusion (whatever that might mean) for just the same reason that it is false that all money could be counterfeit money.


It is not justified to think we live in the matrix. This is obvious. It is not obvious to me why you think such possibility must be false. To give another example. We might not be justified in believing Ghosts, but Ghosts might indeed exist. The former deals with the ground of our beliefs, but the latter assert what things actually exist.


So far as I can tell, the Matrix (and similar fantasies) are (at best) just logically possible. That they are logically possible simply means that their supposition is not logically contradictory. That is no reason to think they are true, and, indeed, we have every reason to think that they are false. For any rational purposes, when you have no reason to think that some hypothesis is true, and every reason to think that it is false, that is as close to proof as you need for the falsity of the hypothesis. As I called it, it is a fantasy. And we usually count fantasies as false (although we are not certain without the possibility of doubt) that they are not false. But we do not take fantasies seriously, nor should we. We have about as must reason to think that the Matrix is true, as we have to think that there is a Spaghetti Monster, and our cognitive attitude toward both should be the same.
The Spaghetti Monster might also exist, since the supposition that it exists is not self-contradictory either (that is what "might exists" means, it is not a self-contradiction). But that it is not a self-contradiction is no reason to think that the SM may exist, and the same is true of the Matrix. Many hypotheses are not self-contradictory and so might be true, but that is no reason to think that they may be true, since to have reason to think that an hypothesis may be true, you need at least some evidence for it. The fact, as you say, that it is not true that the hypothesis of the Matrix must be false (which is to say, is self-contradictory) puts it on the same level as the Spaghetti Monster, which also might exist. But that gives us no reason to take either hypothesis seriously as a real possibility.
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 10:43 am
@TuringEquivalent,
Modern mathematics and much of modern science is at least partly based on an erroneous assumption, i.e. the idea that there is such a thing in the world as proving something.

In real life, there is only such a thing as proving something to somebody's satisfaction. If the intended audience is too thick to comprehend the proof or too ideologically committed to some other idea or paradigm (as in the case of evolution and evolosers) to accept or deal with proofs or disproofs, then they will simply go on changing their pet theories every few years and basically throwing **** at the wall hoping some of it will stick. At that point the question ceases to be scientific and becomes political.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 02:49 pm
@gungasnake,
gungasnake wrote:


In real life, there is only such a thing as proving something to somebody's satisfaction.



But that would mean that whether there is a proof depend on whether people are satisfied that it is a proof. But suppose that people are satisfied that something is a proof, and it turns out later that the proof was fallacious. Does that mean that the alleged proof was both a proof and also not a proof?

It is also true that there have been proofs no one was satisfied with, but it also turned out later that the proof was correct after all.

Satisfaction with a proof has nothing to do with whether the proof is correct or incorrect. Satisfaction is a subjective criterion, but an argument that (for instance) commits a fallacy (like that of denying the antecedent) is invalid however many people are persuaded by the proof.

After all, a person may be persuaded by a proof for reasons having nothing to do with the correctness of the the proof. For example, that the person likes the conclusion of the proof, or, for another example, the person is deficient in logic, and thinks that an invalid argument is valid. Or, of course, because a person is deficient in logic, he may think that an valid argument is invalid.

If I go into a bank and ask to see why the bank tells me that my account is overdrawn, and the bank official goes over the figures with me, it is not much of a reply to tell him that although his arithmetic is correct, I am not overdrawn anyway, since I am not satisfied with his arithmetic. The bank will still sue to get their money back, and leave me to make that silly plea to the judge, who, I predict, will not be impressed with it.
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 03:14 pm
Popper’s The Logic of Scientific Discovery was first published in 1935.

In a 1963 essay, Popper summarized his ideas on falsifiability:
Quote:

1. It is easy to obtain confirmations, or verifications, for nearly every theory — if we look for confirmations.
2. Confirmations should count only if they are the result of risky predictions; that is to say, if, unenlightened by the theory in question, we should have expected an event which was incompatible with the theory — an event which would have refuted the theory.
3. Every "good" scientific theory is a prohibition: it forbids certain things to happen. The more a theory forbids, the better it is.
4. A theory which is not refutable by any conceivable event is non-scientific. Irrefutability is not a virtue of a theory (as people often think) but a vice.
5. Every genuine test of a theory is an attempt to falsify it, or to refute it. Testability is falsifiability; but there are degrees of testability: some theories are more testable, more exposed to refutation, than others; they take, as it were, greater risks.
6. Confirming evidence should not count except when it is the result of a genuine test of the theory; and this means that it can be presented as a serious but unsuccessful attempt to falsify the theory. (I now speak in such cases of "corroborating evidence.")
7. Some genuinely testable theories, when found to be false, are still upheld by their admirers — for example by introducing ad hoc some auxiliary assumption, or by reinterpreting the theory ad hoc in such a way that it escapes refutation. Such a procedure is always possible, but it rescues the theory from refutation only at the price of destroying, or at least lowering, its scientific status. (I later described such a rescuing operation as a "conventionalist twist" or a "conventionalist stratagem.")


Popper added that the riskier the theory (the more exposed to refutation) -- the more interesting the theory will be.
 

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