Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2011 02:28 am
Can either science or philosophy operate successfully without the other? Also, should either be more dominant than the other, or would an equal balance suffice toward discovery/identifying truths?
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fresco
 
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Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2011 07:03 am
@RisingToShine,
Science is engaged in the quest for processes of successful prediction and control, NOT the establishment of "truths" independent of functional context. It follows that science goes its own sweet way without the slightest regard for "philosophy" except in areas where it impinges on "ethical issues".

It is a contentious issue as to whether "philosophy" has anything to add to an understanding of ontology or epistemology which "science" cannot indicate in its own right. The only loophole in that dismissal of philosophy is in regards to the origin or generation of hypotheses which categorize "data". The counter argument is that such generation can be fully accounted for by the "science" of psychology.
Cyracuz
 
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Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2011 11:00 am
Modern science grew out of philosophy, and there is such a thing as the philosophy of science. As I see it, philosophy is intrinsic to any human activity, in that there is an inevitable metaphysical aspect to everything.
In cosmology, for instance, the finding of facts is a scientific process with experiments and theoretical calculations. But organizing those facts into a comprehensive theory spanning over many fields of scientific research, forming a metaphysical "landscape" in which the facts fit together, can be a matter of philosophy.

An exception is perhaps quantum physics, which describe a world that we have no corresponding metaphysical understanding of. That puts quantum physics in a unique position, in that it is not hindered by these metaphysical "truths".
Another interesting aspect of this is that we have the opportunity to create a metaphysical "landscape" of reality that may give us new insights when contrasted to classical metaphysical models.

So I'd say that science and philosophy are pretty much inseparable, but philosophy has to incorporate scientific progress to stay relevant, and to continue to be a benefit to science.
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wandeljw
 
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Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2011 11:34 am
Karl Popper explained the importance of philosophy to science in this way:

Quote:
....in almost every phase of the development of science we are under the sway of metaphysical - that is, untestable - ideas; ideas which not only determine what problems of explanation we shall choose to attack, but also what kinds of answers we shall consider as fitting or satisfactory or acceptable, and as improvements of, or advances on, earlier answers.
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JLNobody
 
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Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2011 12:09 pm
@fresco,
That seems to be the case: talking to a physicist yesterday I was struck by his relative indifference to philosophy, even the so-called "philosophy of science". Similarly, I know many sociologists, historians and social anthropologists who are indifferent to--and ignorant of--the large and lively literature on the "philosophy of social science". Truth, as a general issue, is not central to their world; validity of hypotheses is. Philosophical pragmatists may define truth as ideas that work; scientists are similar, but they do not argue the point as a principle; for them it seems to be a theoretically non-problematical existential "custom" of their discipline, a taken-for-granted standard.
fresco
 
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Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2011 02:23 pm
@JLNobody,
I've just watched a BBC programme called "Before the Big Bang" which indicates various approaches to a current paradigm shift away from a one off singularity where "before" has no meaning. Of the four or five positions discussed the one given the most credence was the one which "solved" current observational anomalies. This underscores the pragmatic"problem solving" aspect of scientific progress rather than that which might seek answers to the philosophical problem of primary causality.
Cyracuz
 
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Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2011 02:32 pm
@fresco,
Was that program on tv or did you find it on the internet? I'd love to see it.
fresco
 
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Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2011 04:43 pm
@Cyracuz,
It was in a BBC Horizon production. I will post the BBC iplayer link, but if you are outside the UK you may not get it.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00vdkmj/Horizon_20102011_What_Happened_Before_the_Big_Bang/
or possibly try
http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/vdkmj/
JLNobody
 
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Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2011 05:46 pm
@fresco,
I couldn't get it here in Arizona.
BTW, does this sound reasonable? "AFTER the Big Bang" is a context for scientific OBSERVATION; BEFORE the Big Bang, provides (so far) no opportunities for observation, only wonder. Hence it is the context for philosophical speculation.
fresco
 
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Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2011 06:01 pm
@JLNobody,
"Before" would be an oxymoron if the big bang came from "nothing".

The paradigm shift involves one or more of the following. The speculation could be classified as mathematical rather than philosophical.
1. There was no "big bang". All data can accounted for by "expansion theory".
2. The big bang is actually "the big bounce".
3. The big bang is a repetitive phenomenon and may imply the existence of many other universes (10^10^10^7 universes !)
4. The big bang is a three dimensional event in a multidimensional reality.

The last one of these involves string theory and requires no statement of "initial conditions" (aka"causes") like some of the others. The same model also accounts for current observed anomalies like "holes" in the expected background radiation. Finally it manages to combine elements of quantum theory with relativity theory, a major sticking point hitherto.
Cyracuz
 
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Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2011 08:17 pm
@fresco,
Yep, I couldn't get it here in Norway. But I found a torrent, so now I'm just waiting.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
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Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2011 08:27 pm
@fresco,
Well, those possibilities are beyond me. I'm simply stuck with my illiterate imagination which, at the moment, insists there had to be something before the Bang, even if it is nothing we can imagine (since, as we are told the Bang created everything including time and space). Your "nothing" is my unfathonable "something." And, of course, oxymorons and paradoxes do not bother me as much as they--perhaps--should.
Cyracuz
 
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Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2011 08:31 pm
@fresco,
Quote:
"Before" would be an oxymoron if the big bang came from "nothing".


I find it funny that the limits of classical physics are also the limits of language. I've read that predictions made by classical physics break down when they reach the big bang, because results become self-contradicting and nonsensical. If that is so, language seems to suffer the same fate.
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Lustig Andrei
 
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Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2011 08:35 pm
I would suggest perusal of Arthur Koestler's The Watershed. It's subtitled "A Biography of Johannes Kepler" but it's really much, much more than that. Koestler starts with a discussion of Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans and ends with a thought-provoking essay on the relationship between philosophy, religion and what we today call 'science.'

Oh, and be forewarned -- he generally dislikes Galileo and downgrades G's contributions to astronomy.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Dec, 2011 07:39 am
@JLNobody,
I am no physicist, JL, but I do like to play with my concepts, and the paradox of a beginning of the universe is too big to go unnoticed.

The way I think of it is that the Big Bang happened when we managed to extend our senses to it. When we managed to apply our human consciousness to information from those distance reaches of space, we gave them reality, in the sense that we evoked our three+1 dimensional reality on these far away phenomena.
Another way of saying it is perhaps that "physical reality" didn't happen until there were creatures around that had any use for the distinction "physical".
"What was before that then", we might ask, and my answer is that before that, there was whatever is there still, whatever we perceive as physical matter and energy. Beginning, ending, before and after are all human concepts with contextual meanings, and when they are applied to processes that extend beyond our conceptual scope, they stop making sense. But that is not an attribute of the universe itself, as much as an attribute of our capacity and methods for understanding. The timeline of the universe might be something we attribute to it by observing it and forcing it into out human parameters, which require linear time to categorize experience.
JLNobody
 
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Reply Sat 17 Dec, 2011 02:41 pm
@Cyracuz,
All I can say about the Big Bang is that it happened when I was not looking Rolling Eyes
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JLNobody
 
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Reply Sat 17 Dec, 2011 02:52 pm
@Cyracuz,
Very provocative ideas. I love the notion that whatever was before the big bang is there still. That's monism.
Cyracuz
 
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Reply Sat 17 Dec, 2011 04:24 pm
@JLNobody,
It's all rather shamelessly playing with ideas though. What I find interesting is that when we reach the big bang itself, classical theories begin to break down. They cannot be used to describe what happened in the big bang itself. It is the same thing that happens when we go beyond molecular and atomic. Classical physics, following it's "humanity" cannot describe what goes on in the very small scales.
Small and large are also human notions.
There was one guy in the video fresco posted that talked about the theory of what will happen when the universe ends. According to him, it will be expanding until everything has lost it's mass, and with no mass, there is no time, and the universe will be infinitely big. But infinitely big is also infinitely small. It is a phenomenon without quantity. Intuitively, for some reason, I think the universe is like that. A phenomenon without quantity or quality that is reacting with itself until sight produces view, hearing produces sounds, and the perception of distance produces time.
All intuitive speculation, of course.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Dec, 2011 06:14 pm
@Cyracuz,
"Small and large are also human notions". That's wisdom.
When I referred to your monism above, I was referring to a kind of ontological monism rather than epistemological monism. I was thinking not so much of the need to avoid dualism, I was referring to your suggestion that no matter how much the universe changes (before and after the Big Bang) it is still the same universe
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Dec, 2011 06:22 pm
@JLNobody,
That was the idea I was trying to communicate.
Some newer theories claim that the universe has 10 dimensions, and that everything exists within those 10 dimensions. Yet we are aware of only three+one. The entire universe, according to classical physics, is three dimensional, along the fourth dimension of time. That seems to suggest that classical physics is the physics of the perceivable universe, the physics of our perception. That makes me wonder how much of it we dictate, rather than discover...
0 Replies
 
 

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