6
   

philosophy of science

 
 
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Jul, 2010 02:16 pm
@kennethamy,
Yes, I find many who locked philosophy into a liberal arts discipline and not include the tough courses like sciences and mathematics are deluding themselves if they think they can adequately address serious issues but instead focus on 'is time real ?' which is asinine.
north
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Jul, 2010 02:23 pm
@talk72000,
talk72000 wrote:

Yes, I find many who locked philosophy into a liberal arts discipline and not include the tough courses like sciences and mathematics are deluding themselves if they think they can adequately address serious issues but instead focus on 'is time real ?' which is asinine.


agreed , but

time is only real in the sense that there is movement BECAUSE of the interactions of things , rotation , and the change in position of things from where they were to were they are now
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  2  
Reply Mon 12 Jul, 2010 07:49 pm
@talk72000,
talk72000 wrote:

Yes, I find many who locked philosophy into a liberal arts discipline and not include the tough courses like sciences and mathematics are deluding themselves if they think they can adequately address serious issues but instead focus on 'is time real ?' which is asinine.


Isn't the question, "Is time real" a serious issue? Are you saying that philosophical issues are not serious issue, or just what are you saying? Many people think that whether God exists is a serious issue. According to you, it doesn't seem to be. Some philosophers think that whether there is free will is a serious issue. You don't seem to think so. It may be that you are not the arbiter of the seriousness of issues. Have you ever seriously considered that possibility? Take the issue, for example, of whether only science deals with serious issues: is that a serious issue, in your view, and, if it is, is it one that can be settled by science? Actually, I have taken courses in both science and philosophy, and I have found both equally tough. As John Stuart Mill (who knew science as well as philosophy) writes, "Those who know only one side of an issue know little about that". I hope you don't find that too asinine.
talk72000
 
  2  
Reply Mon 12 Jul, 2010 08:01 pm
@kennethamy,
No one pays attention to philosophers at least the post-modern ones as they have tunneled into the ground dealing with semantics and maybe because they skipped the sciences and math in high school. There are philosophic problems in the math and sciences especially where those scientists and mathematicians who skipped philosophy e.g. eugenics, genetically modified foods, cloning, finances (lack of ethics), businesses, agri-businesses using antibiotics and hormones, etc. These are real problems as they affect peoples health and finances and employment yet the philosophy majors patter about time and eternity. I can see why the Philosophy Forum collapsed as it seemed irrelevant to the general population.
kennethamy
 
  3  
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2010 01:50 am
@talk72000,
talk72000 wrote:

No one pays attention to philosophers at least the post-modern ones as they have tunneled into the ground dealing with semantics and maybe because they skipped the sciences and math in high school. There are philosophic problems in the math and sciences especially where those scientists and mathematicians who skipped philosophy e.g. eugenics, genetically modified foods, cloning, finances (lack of ethics), businesses, agri-businesses using antibiotics and hormones, etc. These are real problems as they affect peoples health and finances and employment yet the philosophy majors patter about time and eternity. I can see why the Philosophy Forum collapsed as it seemed irrelevant to the general population.


Some people are always demanding of philosophy that it be relevant. Generally they mean by "relevant" what they happen to be interested in. Why they demand that philosophy be "relevant" but don't demand that abstract art, music, linguistic, chess, and a hot of other things that make living in a civilized society worth while be relevant is hard to understand. Maybe they would do well to ask themselves the question why everyone had to be a baker or a candlestick maker. In any case, this forum has not collapsed, since people like talk are still posting on it, and even if it were true, it would be what logicians call "the fallacy of jumping to conclusions" to infer from the collapse of a philosophy forum that philosophy has collapsed. Or is logic irrelevant too? It is a vital aspect of a free and civilized society that it supports what is not directly relevant to attaining food, clothing, and shelter, and that not only can people indulge in both playing baseball and playing chess, or writing great literature, or music, and thinking about abstract questions of epistemology or proof procedure in logic (like the wonderful Godel's theorem) but that the society is willing to support such endeavors. The paradox, of course, is that people like talk philosophize (uselessly, according to them) on collapsed forums (according to them) about how nothing is worth doing but making bread and building bridges. And that we are glad to indulge their fulminations about the importance of being relevant, while they are being irrelevant. (In Mao's China such people would have been ordered to stop talking uselessly, and get into the rice paddies so they could so something relevant).
wandeljw
 
  2  
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2010 08:09 am
The National Research Council (in the United States) has described science in this way:
Quote:
--A creative and analytic human intellectual endeavor engaging hundreds of thousands of people worldwide to attain shared goals of understanding the material world and application of that understanding to solving real-world problems.
--A cumulative and evolving body of knowledge formalized into a rigorously-tested and mutually consistent set of clearly articulated theories.
--A set of practices for investigation, model and hypothesis development, theory building, argumentation, analysis, and communication of findings about the material world that support development of new understanding.
--A set of cross-cutting concepts and strategies that inform work in all disciplinary areas of the natural sciences.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2010 09:02 am
@wandeljw,
wandeljw wrote:

The National Research Council (in the United States) has described science in this way:
Quote:
--A creative and analytic human intellectual endeavor engaging hundreds of thousands of people worldwide to attain shared goals of understanding the material world and application of that understanding to solving real-world problems.
--A cumulative and evolving body of knowledge formalized into a rigorously-tested and mutually consistent set of clearly articulated theories.
--A set of practices for investigation, model and hypothesis development, theory building, argumentation, analysis, and communication of findings about the material world that support development of new understanding.
--A set of cross-cutting concepts and strategies that inform work in all disciplinary areas of the natural sciences.



I don't see how anyone could quarrel with that description.
0 Replies
 
talk72000
 
  2  
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2010 03:25 pm
@kennethamy,
True philosophy is really a hard endeavor as it is a quest for wisdom. Math and the sciences are universal knowledge bases and not to know them really puts a 'philosopher' at a disadvantage when confronting some problem or someone like me. Philosophy is not a past time for entertaining the meaning of words and ideas for play. Some people have a copy of Stephen Hawkings 'Beginning of Time' or other book just for show. I find the topics posted by a lot of PF group superfluous as many of the information can be garnered in the various sciences. It is like re-inventing the wheel with outcome of a cruder model. If they only knew some of the sciences those questions would be answered. Asking difficult scientific questions without the knowledge of said science brings forth amateurish efforts and silly or even destructive conclusion e.g. Wittgenstein' s 'Whereof one cannot speak, one ought not to give voice' or something to the effect which is ranported from a classroom scenario where a teacher is lecturing to students to the outside world of equals is very disturbing as it borders on censorship and an unjustified superiority complex. It means to keep one's mouth even in the face of atrocities being committed.
kennethamy
 
  2  
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2010 03:32 pm
@talk72000,
talk72000 wrote:

True philosophy is really a hard endeavor as it is a quest for wisdom. Math and the sciences are universal knowledge bases and not to know them really puts a 'philosopher' at a disadvantage when confronting some problem or someone like me. Philosophy is not a past time for entertaining the meaning of words and ideas for play. Some people have a copy of Stephen Hawkings 'Beginning of Time' or other book just for show. I find the topics posted by a lot of PF group superfluous as many of the information can be garnered in the various sciences. It is like re-inventing the wheel with outcome of a cruder model. If they only knew some of the sciences those questions would be answered. Asking difficult scientific questions without the knowledge of said science brings forth amateurish efforts and silly or even destructive conclusion e.g. Wittgenstein' s 'Whereof one cannot speak, one ought not to give voice' or something to the effect which is ranported from a classroom scenario where a teacher is lecturing to students to the outside world of equals is very disturbing as it borders on censorship and an unjustified superiority complex. It means to keep one's mouth even in the face of atrocities being committed.


Just as soon as someone says something about what he calls "true X" you can bet your bottom dollar that he is not talking about X at all. That is how I can be sure that when you say that true philosophy is so-and-so, I know that you are not talking about philosophy at all. If you were, you would not feel compelled to add the qualifier, "true". And, since philosophical questions are not scientific questions, why would you think that knowing science would be of help in answering them. Now, of course, maybe you have the answer to the question, how do scientific questions and philosophical questions differ? But I am pretty sure that there is not a scientific answer to that, since it is a philosophical question. And although it is a hard question, could you explain to me how knowing science would help to answer it? Particularly since it is not a scientific question. (Of course, if you think it is a scientific question, could you explain why you think so?)
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2010 03:36 pm
@kennethamy,
All right, philosophy is a hard endeavor and many PF group only play at it thinking they are doing philosophy but they are not.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2010 03:42 pm
@talk72000,
talk72000 wrote:

All right, philosophy is a hard endeavor and many PF group only play at it thinking they are doing philosophy but they are not.


Well yes, or I would rather say not that they play at doing philosophy, but that they do philosophy, but not very well. It is very difficult to do something well that needs some formal training if you have none. I suppose you are familiar with this from science. Few people can be (say) physicists with0ut having formal training in physics. So I wonder why anyone would think someone can philosophize decently without having some formal training in philosophy. Perhaps you have an answer to that too?
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2010 03:53 pm
@kennethamy,
If philosophy is devoid of the sciences and math it cannot be philosophy. The sciences are part of philosophy as are the mathematical disciplines. I noticed the lack of these so I pointed them out and showed that the knowledge is avialable in that particular science. The response was that biology did not interest him. Can this be a philosophy student not interested in knowledge? There is certainly a lack of knowledge in the sciences and math and I am bringing this up. There is no need to rehash what is already there unless knowing the basics he/she brings up intriguing aspects of the knowledge. In my philosphy class the professor spent more than half the time debating the existence of God. I learned that debating seems to be the norm.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2010 04:52 pm
@talk72000,
I agree that "the sciences" must be part of philosophy. Indeed historically the term "natural philosophy" made no distinction.

No philosopher of science can ignore the following areas of "cross-fertilization"
!. The widespread adopting of probability theory and statistical methods which prompted Popper to modify his "falsifiability principle."
2, The work on chaos theory and dissipative structures in chemical processes, which demonstrates the spontaneous formation of dynamically stable systems far from equilibrium. (Progogine).
3. The application of systems theory to biological processes and the consequential analyses of the nature of "life" in general, and the meaning of "the observer" in particular. (Varela and Maturana)
4. The counter-intuitive models in particle physics based on mathematical symmetry rather than binary logic, which disregard the law of the excluded middle yet generate empirical predictions.
5. The application of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle and the consequent refocusing on "the observation event" rather than "the object of observation".
6. The general concept of relativity and its particular consequences for the understanding of "space-time".
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2010 04:57 pm
@fresco,
For once we agree, Hooray!! Laughing
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2010 06:27 pm
@talk72000,
talk72000 wrote:

If philosophy is devoid of the sciences and math it cannot be philosophy. The sciences are part of philosophy as are the mathematical disciplines. I noticed the lack of these so I pointed them out and showed that the knowledge is avialable in that particular science. The response was that biology did not interest him. Can this be a philosophy student not interested in knowledge? There is certainly a lack of knowledge in the sciences and math and I am bringing this up. There is no need to rehash what is already there unless knowing the basics he/she brings up intriguing aspects of the knowledge. In my philosphy class the professor spent more than half the time debating the existence of God. I learned that debating seems to be the norm.


The choice is not between philosophy being devoid of the sciences and math, and philosophy being indistinguishable from the sciences and math. To believe that is to commit the black or white fallacy. It is clear that the truth is somewhere in the middle. Where science and math are relevant to philosophical questions philosophical questions should take account of them. And when not, then not. But that is just an empty platitude. Who would quarrel with that? In fact, there is a large range of philosophers, some of whom are deep into issues when science and philosophy are intimately related, and some, on the other side, who are interested in philosophical issues which are quite separated from those of science. Moral philosophy springs to mind as an example. I think that there have been many instances in philosophy when it was believed that there were scientific implications for philosophy which did not exist, or were very much exaggerated. What springs to mind here are discussions of quantum mechanics and the alleged implications of QM for philosophy. What muddies the waters here considerably is that many of these discussions are based on a kind of pop science: on a kind of half-baked "knowledge" of QM. There is a lot to be said about confusions and misapprehensions that surround the view that there is such an intimate connection between philosophy and science that philosophical issues are not separable from scientific issues. And I think that is something close to your view. And I am pretty sure that view is dead wrong. As I have said before, how science and philosophy are connected, and how they are separate, is, itself, clearly not a scientific question. It is purely a philosophical question. So, in this way, at least, philosophy must have the last word.
talk72000
 
  2  
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2010 08:33 pm
@kennethamy,
Keep on saying philosophy is independent of philosophy and it will disappear or till your bunch is drummed out without jobs holed in some dying forum where nobody pays attention to as it is a private word puzzle club. A2K is a tough forum and there are others who are harsher than me. If you stay long enough you will find out that you post garbage they will challenge you. Many of the more knowledgeable members are on vacation. I have avoided purely philosophical threads that do not interest me except those that the PF members post as if being in philosophy makes them automatically knowledgeable and wise in all subjects and make nonsensical comments in science or mathematics.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2010 07:51 am
@talk72000,
talk72000 wrote:

Keep on saying philosophy is independent of philosophy and it will disappear or till your bunch is drummed out without jobs holed in some dying forum where nobody pays attention to as it is a private word puzzle club. A2K is a tough forum and there are others who are harsher than me. If you stay long enough you will find out that you post garbage they will challenge you. Many of the more knowledgeable members are on vacation. I have avoided purely philosophical threads that do not interest me except those that the PF members post as if being in philosophy makes them automatically knowledgeable and wise in all subjects and make nonsensical comments in science or mathematics.


But I did not say that philosophy is independent of philosophy. That would make no sense. On charitable grounds I will assume you think I said that philosophy is independent of science. But, of course, that is false. I said no such thing. Even stamp-collecting in not independent of science. The question is how philosophical issues and scientific issues differ, and also are similar, and, of course, how and in what way, they are connected. And that question (or rather that complex of questions) is a philosophical question. If I am wrong about that, could you show how the question about the relation between science and philosophy is a scientific question, and how is could be answer scientifically?

But really, it is silly as well as wrong, to accuse me of maintaining something I never maintained. If you pick up an elementary book of logic, you will find that to accuse someone of maintaining some ridiculous view that he does not maintain so you can avoid discussing the view the person does maintain, and, instead, knock down the view he does not maintain, is called "the straw-man fallacy".
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2010 08:34 am
@talk72000,
Ken likes to play with Wittgenstein's concept of language games, one of which, as I recall was about the difference between "scientific language" and "ordinary language". W promoted "ordinary language" from the ranks in order to disperse" philosophical problems" which he claimed were pseudo-problems caused by philosophers using ordinary language in an idiosyncratic manner ("language of on holiday"). Ken clearly doesn't understand the significance of neologisms as an attempt to circumvent "the language on holiday" point.

However, there is a macro level of analysis suggested by Kuhn (Structure of Scientific Revolutions) from which we can view Wittgenstein's concept of "language games" as relatively insignificant sub-structures within overall paradigms. Such paradigms involve large social communities working within a mutual network of interconnected consensual concepts and technological investment. It is at this level where the "philosopher of science" becomes "the general philosopher" (i.e. the commentator on all concepts not just scientific ones), but he can only do so if he has a detailed knowledge of the nature of "paradigm shifts". Such knowledge involves an appreciation of mathematical models, whose symmetry and elegance far exceeds the simplistic "Occam's Razor principle" relied on hitherto. It also involves a knowledge of the politics, economics and ethical aspects of "research" which affect the direction and speed of paradigm shifts. (i.e. the sociology of knowledge).

Scientists are pursuing "what works" and that involves negotiation and consensus. The pursuit of "truth" belongs only in the realm of religion.

kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2010 09:03 am
@fresco,
fresco wrote:

Ken likes to play with Wittgenstein's concept of language games, one of which, as I recall was about the difference between "scientific language" and "ordinary language". W promoted "ordinary language" from the ranks in order to disperse" philosophical problems" which he claimed were pseudo-problems caused by philosophers using ordinary language in an idiosyncratic manner ("language of on holiday").

However, there is a macro level of analysis suggested by Kuhn (Structure of Scientific Revolutions) from which we can view Wittgenstein's concept of "language games" as relatively trivial sub-structures within overall paradigms. Such paradigms involve social communities working within a mutual network of interconnected consensual concepts and technological investment. It is at this level where the "philosopher of science" becomes "the general philosopher" (i.e. the commentator on all concepts not just scientific ones), but he can only do so if he has a detailed knowledge of the nature of "paradigm shifts". Such knowledge involves an appreciation of mathematical models, whose symmetry and elegance far exceeds the simplistic "Occam's Razor principle" relied on hitherto. It also involves a knowledge of the politics, economics and ethical aspects of "research" which affect the direction and speed of paradigm shifts. (i.e. the sociology of knowledge).

Scientists are pursuing "what works" and that involves negotiation and consensus. The pursuit of "truth" belongs only in the realm of religion.




I would have thought that what works, works because it is true. Why else would what works, work? In any case, to say that something or other works is to say that it is true that it works, and that does not mean that it works that it works. So, even if you have this view that truth is "what works" you still are confronted with the fact that if something works it is true that it works. The upshot is that you cannot replace the concept of truth with that of "what works" , since you are still faced with the fact, that what you mean by saying that X works is that it is true that X works.

Of course, I am assuming through all of this that anyone has a clear idea of what it means to say that something works, which no one does. However, it someone did have some clear idea of what it meant to say of some theory or belief that "it works" (which no one does) such a person would have to know that the truth-conditions are of the statement that X works. That is to say, to know what it means to say that X works, we would have to know under what conditions it would be true that X works, and under what conditions it would be false that X works. So, as I have already pointed out, the notion of working supposes an understanding of the notion of truth, and therefore the notion of truth cannot be explicated by the notion of working, and (even more) cannot be reduced to the notion of working.

Of course, to believe that science does not tell us that it is true, for instance, that Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun, or that the elementary components of water are hydrogen and oxygen, is simply wrong. You might mean (but who can tell?) that although science claims the it is true that Mars is the fourth planet, science does not claim it is certain beyond any possibility of error that Mars is the fourth planet (while religion does claim that kind of infallible certainty) but that does not mean that science does not claim truths, it means that science does not claim certainty (although religion does claim certainty). Well, that is true, but that is very different from saying that science does not claim truths, but that religion does. That is simply false. You are mixing up truth, with certainty of the truth. What I say may be true, and I may have excellent reason to believe that what I say is true. But, nevertheless, I need not be infallibly certain that what I claim is true, is true.

A few distinctions have to me made, and a little logic used. Unless you do that you will say absurd things like only religion pursues truth, but science pursues "what works". When the truth is that both science and religion pursue truth, but only religion pursues absolute certainty.

You may be disappointed that bumper-sticker slogans ("science pursues what works, religion pursues the truth") are not philosophy, but it would have been silly for you to think that they were.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2010 09:09 am
@kennethamy,
Smile
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