Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Use this forum to discuss the philosophy of science. Philosophy of science deals with the assumptions, foundations, and implications of science.
Togo1
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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by Togo1 » March 9th, 2017, 1:08 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:It is with this in mind that I question the idea that philosophy maintains the rules of the road. Although I agree that there is some interdependence, it seems to me that it is those with the proper scientific training and knowledge who advance the art and the philosophers who follow up and offer descriptions of what was done.
What makes you think that? I ask because I gave quite a few counter-examples. I can't personally think of any examples of scientists advancing the art and philosophers following them. Can you give some clue as to what you're talking about here?

At my university, philosophy was compulsory for scientists, mathematicians and a few other subjects. My head of department was quite unapologetic about it - If you don't understand the principles, you'll make logical mistakes, and the scientific journals aren't putting up with that like they used to. Statistics was becoming compulsory for ostensibly the same reason.

Steve3007
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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by Steve3007 » March 9th, 2017, 1:13 pm

Togo1 to Fooloso4:
Can you give some clue as to what you're talking about here?
If you were asking me I'd say the most obvious example is quantum physics. Empirical discoveries in physics have had a profound effect on philosophy.
"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea." - Eric Cantona.

Togo1
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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by Togo1 » March 9th, 2017, 2:03 pm

Steve3007 wrote:Togo1 to Fooloso4:
Can you give some clue as to what you're talking about here?
If you were asking me I'd say the most obvious example is quantum physics. Empirical discoveries in physics have had a profound effect on philosophy.
Can you give an example of the effect? Philosophy had already rejected the idea of a mechanistic universe...

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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by Fooloso4 » March 9th, 2017, 3:16 pm

Togo1:
What makes you think that? I ask because I gave quite a few counter-examples. I can't personally think of any examples of scientists advancing the art and philosophers following them. Can you give some clue as to what you're talking about here?


Can you name any philosophers who have made significant contributions to any of the biological or physical sciences in the past two hundred years?

As I mentioned before there is an ongoing debate in both philosophy and physics regarding falsification and what its opponents call the “popperazi”. I side with those who think that Popper’s falsification functions more as an obstruction than a reliable guide for what theoretical scientists are doing. I also touched on the demarcation problem. My view is that the best way to avoid pseudoscience is by learning to do mainstream science. The same holds for interpretation of results. Competent scientists do not need philosophers playing Monday morning quarterback.

The fundamental question here is whether the philosophy of science is or should be descriptive or prescriptive. When all is said and done I think it comes down to results, and results are not limited to what is empirically verified but include new ways of thinking about and looking at things. Is the idea that inquiry should lead scientific investigation one that arises within and can be best addressed from within the purview of philosophy? I don’t think so. It is in large part a practical question regarding the management of resources and I know of no insights particular to philosophers on how to address this.

Steve3007
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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by Steve3007 » March 9th, 2017, 3:22 pm

Togo1:

I'm not sure what you mean by "mechanistic universe" and I'm not sure what you mean when you say that "philosophy" has rejected it.

The counter-intuitive observations of 20th Century physics have resulted in attempts by many philosophers to fit them into what they would regard as a philosophically satisfying worldview. For a good example, see the short video in the topic about the Mach-Zehnder Interferometer which illustrates the odd properties of light:

onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums/viewtop ... hilit=mach

A better known example of essentially the same phenomenon is the twin-slit interference experiment, applied to classical particles, classical waves and electrons, popularized by Richard Feynman.

-- Updated Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:51 pm to add the following --

Fooloso4:
As I mentioned before there is an ongoing debate in both philosophy and physics regarding falsification and what its opponents call the “popperazi”. I side with those who think that Popper’s falsification functions more as an obstruction than a reliable guide for what theoretical scientists are doing.
I've never been convinced by the idea that Popper supposedly dispensed with the "problem of Induction".

onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums/viewtop ... 92#p111892
The fundamental question here is whether the philosophy of science is or should be descriptive or prescriptive. When all is said and done I think it comes down to results, and results are not limited to what is empirically verified but include new ways of thinking about and looking at things.
I think an aspect of this is illustrated in the video in the OP of the topic I pointed out to Togo1. The guy in the video with the ponytail and the odd voice (who studies the philosophy of physics because he regards actual theoretical physics as too practical) touches on it when he discusses his view of the "Many Worlds" interpretation of quantum physics. I think it is interesting that we (or at least some of us) feel the need to find an interpretation of the observations of physics that is philosophically satisfying to us. Some physicists, such as Richard Feynman, didn't seem to feel that need. They are happy to simply observe the results and find patterns in them.
"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea." - Eric Cantona.

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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by Nick_A » March 9th, 2017, 10:55 pm

Carol wrote:I would not have found this forum if a mod in a science forum understood the value of philosophy and did not control everything to fit into his narrow understanding of what is important. We have worked ourselves into a very serious problem by focusing education on technology for military and industrial purpose. We now have a society that does not know the height of our potential does not stop at accumulating facts. Our focus on education for technology also resulted in worshipping youth and considering the elderly as old-fashioned and outdated, therefore, cutting the whole of society off from the wisdom that is a part of our later years. This is about how the brain changes with age.

In our youth, our brains are designed to pick facts. Until about age 8 our brains absorb information without much discrimination and after age 8 our brains start discriminating and the speed of learning slows down, but what we can learn increases. Around age 25 our brains are fully mature but not fully developed. As we use the neurons in our brains they grow and much later in life those neurons begin communicating with each other in such a way that we become increasing aware of meanings. Facts=science Philosophy=meaning

Of course, everyone knows an older person who is very closed minded and seriously lacking wisdom. When the use of our brains is limited, the neurons we don't use atrophy. Our intelligence can decrease with age if we don't continue to push ourselves to learn new things.

Before 1958 public education in the US favored developing our ability to think independently and understand concepts and prepare us for life long learning. After 1958 public education favor memorization of facts, and avoided exploring meanings or slowing things does with logic and critical thinking. This is thinking of our young as products to produce for industry. The result is many smart people who lack wisdom. Science and techonlogy without wisdom is very dangerous thing.
Well said Carol. You seem to understand the importance of the normal relationship between science, philosophy, and the essence of religion which is increasingly being lost as we become more and more slaves to technology. A good read Carol
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

Steve3007
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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by Steve3007 » March 10th, 2017, 3:00 am

In what sense are we slaves to technology? Which particular aspects of technology are we slaves to? All of it, or a subset? Are we slaves to technology because we use it?

Supposing I use a piece of very sophisticated technology which is the pinnacle of hundreds of years of cumulative scientific discovery to communicate across thousands of miles with a person who's existence I would otherwise never be aware of about whether or not we are slaves to technology. Does that mean I am a slave to technology?
"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea." - Eric Cantona.

Togo1
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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by Togo1 » March 10th, 2017, 5:24 am

Fooloso4 wrote:Togo1:
What makes you think that? I ask because I gave quite a few counter-examples. I can't personally think of any examples of scientists advancing the art and philosophers following them. Can you give some clue as to what you're talking about here?

Can you name any philosophers who have made significant contributions to any of the biological or physical sciences in the past two hundred years?
Ah, when you referred to 'the art' were you referring strictly to scientific advances in biological or physical science? And the likes of Popper don't count, presumably because their contrbution wasn't to 'the science.'
Fooloso4 wrote:As I mentioned before there is an ongoing debate in both philosophy and physics regarding falsification and what its opponents call the “popperazi”. I side with those who think that Popper’s falsification functions more as an obstruction than a reliable guide for what theoretical scientists are doing. I also touched on the demarcation problem. My view is that the best way to avoid pseudoscience is by learning to do mainstream science. The same holds for interpretation of results. Competent scientists do not need philosophers playing Monday morning quarterback.
Argueably, physicists don't, since much of the science is well established in it's methodology. Something like neurophysiology has more of an issue there. But there seems to be some confusion here. Philosophers are not so much concerned with documenting what scientists do as they are with what can or can not be established on the back of a given peice of emperical evidence.
Fooloso4 wrote:The fundamental question here is whether the philosophy of science is or should be descriptive or prescriptive.
I don't see it as either. I see it as about what theory and model can and can't be hung on a particular peice of experimental evidence.
Fooloso4 wrote:When all is said and done I think it comes down to results, and results are not limited to what is empirically verified but include new ways of thinking about and looking at things. Is the idea that inquiry should lead scientific investigation one that arises within and can be best addressed from within the purview of philosophy?
Depends on your paradigm. In a stable situation, where the paradigm is well-established, then it is all about the results, because the conclusions drawn are already part of a well-supported framework. A more frontier type situation is quite different. Results are used to accept or reject hypotheses, which in turn are used to drive conclusions. But without a a set paradigm, there's considerable flexibility in terms of what conclusions can be driven from the same results. That's where I've seen philosophy come in useful. Because what philosophy really excels at is working out the implications of a particular theory.

Which is why 'dualist' is considered a killer point. Because trying to fit in a reductionist model into a dualist system almost always results in a contradiction, or more precisely, a confusion of aims.

-- Updated March 10th, 2017, 7:03 am to add the following --
Steve3007 wrote:I'm not sure what you mean by "mechanistic universe" and I'm not sure what you mean when you say that "philosophy" has rejected it.
Yeah, that was vague, sorry. The rise of quantum physics was the death knell of the idea of a mechanistic universe in which everything occured via straightforward physical interactions that worked intuitively as they do in the everyday world. This view had already collapsed within philosophy back with the Vienna Circle, and attempts to build a universal model of formal logic, and within physics with some of Einstein's models replacing newtonian physics. Once it was determined that a universe could not, in fact, operate on the basis of classically understood causal interactions, because the interactions would be unknoweable, rather than merely difficult to discern in practice, then it became clear that universe had to have a different basic structure than had been hoped for.
Steve3007 wrote:The counter-intuitive observations of 20th Century physics have resulted in attempts by many philosophers to fit them into what they would regard as a philosophically satisfying worldview. For a good example, see the short video in the topic about the Mach-Zehnder Interferometer which illustrates the odd properties of light:
Hm.. I'm already familiar with the science. Do you feel the videos contain the example I was asking for of philosophy following science?

I'm also note sure what you mean 'philsophically satisfying worldview'. The conditions philosophy set tend to be around whether ideas are coherant, contradictory, supported by the evidence, and so on. Is that what you're referring to?
Steve3007 wrote:The guy in the video with the ponytail and the odd voice (who studies the philosophy of physics because he regards actual theoretical physics as too practical) touches on it when he discusses his view of the "Many Worlds" interpretation of quantum physics. I think it is interesting that we (or at least some of us) feel the need to find an interpretation of the observations of physics that is philosophically satisfying to us. Some physicists, such as Richard Feynman, didn't seem to feel that need. They are happy to simply observe the results and find patterns in them.
The problem is that's not really enough. You can find patterns in data just by running a statistical process over it. Correlational analysis will produce hundreds if not thousands of patterns for even randomly generated data sets. What's important is patterns that have theoreticaly implications for a given model. Building and proposing models, and producing result sets to test them, is very much the business of science, just as testing those models against real results sets and establishing what can and can not be established with certainty, is done using statistical mathematics and philosophy. Stats tells you the significance of perceived patterns, and philosophy what assumptions and logical leaps your model is making. Obviously in practice most scientists do their own stats, and their own philosophy, only bringing in additional expertise if there's a real problem. Which is precisely why both of these things are taught as part of science courses.

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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by Fooloso4 » March 10th, 2017, 11:51 am

Togo1:

Ah, when you referred to 'the art' were you referring strictly to scientific advances in biological or physical science? And the likes of Popper don't count, presumably because their contrbution wasn't to 'the science.'
We can define both terms so broadly that they are the same and that any belief, idea, opinion, and inquiry is philosophy. The social sciences are particularly problematic in this regard. One might argue that the psychologist is a scientist and that a psychologist is a philosopher and therefore the science of psychology cannot exist without the philosophy of psychology since they are two sides of the same coin.
Argueably, physicists don't, since much of the science is well established in it's methodology.
Well you could argue that but you would be wrong. Theoretical physics is at the center of the falsification and demarcation debate. What philosophers bring to the table? As far as I can see, so far they have done nothing more than invite everyone to sit down at the table to discuss it. But philosophers are just as divided as physiicists
Something like neurophysiology has more of an issue there. But there seems to be some confusion here. Philosophers are not so much concerned with documenting what scientists do as they are with what can or can not be established on the back of a given peice of emperical evidence.
The scientists do the heavy lifting and the philosophers stand by watching and kibitzing If and when something is established it is on the basis of the science.
I see it as about what theory and model can and can't be hung on a particular peice of experimental evidence.
I think you have a false idea about the division of labor here. It is not as if the work of scientists is to generate date to be handed over to philosophers.
Which is why 'dualist' is considered a killer point. Because trying to fit in a reductionist model into a dualist system almost always results in a contradiction, or more precisely, a confusion of aims.
If I understand you correctly this is a great example of how philosophers can muck things up. Reductionism is a problem because it presents an inadequate description. It leaves stuff out or does not make important distinctions. Dualism can function as a form of reductionism - there are two basic things. We have no idea whether there is one basic thing or two or three or if it even makes sense to think in such terms.

Togo1
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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by Togo1 » March 10th, 2017, 3:40 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
Ah, when you referred to 'the art' were you referring strictly to scientific advances in biological or physical science? And the likes of Popper don't count, presumably because their contrbution wasn't to 'the science.'
We can define both terms so broadly that they are the same and that any belief, idea, opinion, and inquiry is philosophy.



Well we could, but why would we? What I'm asking is what definition your claim is based on.
Fooloso4 wrote:
Argueably, physicists don't, since much of the science is well established in it's methodology.
Well you could argue that but you would be wrong. Theoretical physics is at the center of the falsification and demarcation debate. What philosophers bring to the table? As far as I can see, so far they have done nothing more than invite everyone to sit down at the table to discuss it. But philosophers are just as divided as physiicists
So in a debate that I'm not familiar with, that invovles a group of philosophers I'm not familiar with, you feel that the philosophers are not contributing as much as the scientists, because they are divided just like the scientists?

If you say so? But really, throw me a bone here. What is it about this specific situation that makes you feel philosophy doesn't help science as a general rule?
Fooloso4 wrote:
Something like neurophysiology has more of an issue there. But there seems to be some confusion here. Philosophers are not so much concerned with documenting what scientists do as they are with what can or can not be established on the back of a given peice of emperical evidence.
The scientists do the heavy lifting and the philosophers stand by watching and kibitzing If and when something is established it is on the basis of the science.
No, the engineers do the heavy lifting. The scientists just loaf around and take the credit. I've also got a huge store mathematicain jokes, if you want it from the mathematician's point of view.

e.g.
Mathematician joke wrote:How do various disciplines prove that all odd numbers are prime?

Chemist: Well, 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime.. That's three points, and all we need for a straight line fit!
Physcists: No, no, you have to consider the theory. 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9... isn't, but that violates the theory so we'll call that experimental error. 11 is prime, 13 is prime, see, they're all prime!
Engineer: <sigh> Sampling is all very well, but there's no substitute to actually doing it. Look, 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9 is prime, 11 is prime, 13 is prime, 15 is prime...
Fooloso4 wrote:
I see it as about what theory and model can and can't be hung on a particular peice of experimental evidence.
I think you have a false idea about the division of labor here. It is not as if the work of scientists is to generate date to be handed over to philosophers.

Why would the philosophers need data? The scientists evolve the theories, but any theory contains structural implications and assumptions, and philosophers are generally better at sorting out what those are.

Hence the "that's dualism". The scientist in your example had come up with a nice comfortable theory to wrap around his results, and the philosopher was pointing out that the theory was self-contradictory - that is that logically not all parts of it could be true simultaneously. Note that that's nothing to do with the data, or even the body of knowledge within physics. It's an analysis of what is being contructed with it.

Scientists are notriously sloppy with such things compared to philosophers and mathematicians, in part because while their professional career involves being very careful in what they do, their access to funding can depend on the scope of the claims they can make around their results. While it's probably not a bad thing overall that scientists are encouraged to speculate around what their findings may mean, that needs to be kept very much seperate from the issue of what can be proven. Those who don't undersand the philosophical underpinnings behind their claims tend to make logical mistakes, just as scientists who aren't good at maths tend to mistake the statistical significance of their findings.
Fooloso4 wrote:
Which is why 'dualist' is considered a killer point. Because trying to fit in a reductionist model into a dualist system almost always results in a contradiction, or more precisely, a confusion of aims.
If I understand you correctly this is a great example of how philosophers can muck things up. Reductionism is a problem because it presents an inadequate description. It leaves stuff out or does not make important distinctions. Dualism can function as a form of reductionism - there are two basic things. We have no idea whether there is one basic thing or two or three or if it even makes sense to think in such terms.
eh... While true that's not what I meant. Assuming they were talking about issues of the brain/mind, (why would dualism come up if they weren't?) the usual mistake scientists make is to reduce the problem to measureable phenomena. After all, you can't really science something unless it's measureable. The problem then comes with advancing your theory, and the assumptions you're making. To have the experimental results be meaningful, you have to assume that whatever thing you're measuring is what's important. But when it comes to your broader conclusions, you can't so easily make the same assumption. The classic error is to make the same assumptions around the real world as you did for the purposes of your experiment. Assuming that real-world brain/mind phenomena reduces to what you can usefully measure commits you either to eliminativism (the unmeasureable stuff literally doesn't exist, thus my reductions don't matter) or dualism (the unmeasureable stuff does exist, but occupies a parallel reality which can have no impact of my findings). However, it's the unmeasureable stuff that people tend to be most interested in. What the philosopher in your example was probably pointing out was that the scientist's claims were contradictory - he was assuming a world in which everything relevant was measureable, in order to reach a conclusion about the unmeasureable. It's a common pitfall.

Of course I'm speculating here, since I haven't heard the original discussion.

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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by Fooloso4 » March 10th, 2017, 5:16 pm

Togo1:
Well we could, but why would we? What I'm asking is what definition your claim is based on.
My point was in response to your examples of behavioral and humanistic psychology. The question is how broadly do you define the disciplines and how psychology fits in and whether this shows that science needs philosophy.
So in a debate that I'm not familiar with, that invovles a group of philosophers I'm not familiar with, you feel that the philosophers are not contributing as much as the scientists, because they are divided just like the scientists?


If you are not familiar with the issues then you cannot offer an informed opinion or evaluate my opinion on the matter.
If you say so? But really, throw me a bone here. What is it about this specific situation that makes you feel philosophy doesn't help science as a general rule?
This is not some arcane esoteric issue, it involves the two issues that are directly related to Popper - falsifiability and demarcation. Roughly the question is - is it science? philosophersmag.com/index.php/footnotes ... popperazzi
The scientist in your example had come up with a nice comfortable theory to wrap around his results …
There are cases where theory attempts to account for results but also cases where results either support or do not support a theory that the experimental results were designed to test.
… and the philosopher was pointing out that the theory was self-contradictory - that is that logically not all parts of it could be true simultaneously.


Unless you can give me specific examples I would think that any competent scientist would be able to evaluate the logical consistency of a theory. I don't know what you think my example was.
Note that that's nothing to do with the data, or even the body of knowledge within physics. It's an analysis of what is being contructed with it.
Unless one has the appropriate knowledge the data cannot be analyzed and neither the consistency of the theory with the data nor the logical consistency of the claims can be properly evaluated. What evidence is there that a competent scientist cannot do this or that a philosopher without data or knowledge of the field can?
Scientists are notriously sloppy with such things compared to philosophers and mathematicians, in part because while their professional career involves being very careful in what they do, their access to funding can depend on the scope of the claims they can make around their results.
The same argument would apply to anyone depending on the project funding, including philosophers and mathematicians.
While it's probably not a bad thing overall that scientists are encouraged to speculate around what their findings may mean, that needs to be kept very much seperate from the issue of what can be proven.


I will give you the benefit of doubt and assume that you have not expressed yourself clearly, otherwise it makes no sense.
Assuming they were talking about issues of the brain/mind, (why would dualism come up if they weren't?) ...
Brain/mind dualism is not the only form of dualism. There is also various questions of regarding consciousness and materialism at the cosmological level.
After all, you can't really science something unless it's measureable.
“Science something”? It is not quite so simple. On the one hand, positing the existence of something may come before the ability or attempt to measure it, and on the other, measurements might indicate the existence of something unknown at the time of measurement.
To have the experimental results be meaningful …
But not all science is experimental science.
What the philosopher in your example was probably pointing out was that the scientist's claims were contradictory - he was assuming a world in which everything relevant was measureable, in order to reach a conclusion about the unmeasureable. It's a common pitfall.
I have no idea what you are talking about.

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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by Nick_A » March 10th, 2017, 6:18 pm

Steve3007 wrote:In what sense are we slaves to technology? Which particular aspects of technology are we slaves to? All of it, or a subset? Are we slaves to technology because we use it?

Supposing I use a piece of very sophisticated technology which is the pinnacle of hundreds of years of cumulative scientific discovery to communicate across thousands of miles with a person who's existence I would otherwise never be aware of about whether or not we are slaves to technology. Does that mean I am a slave to technology?
Would you agree that if the electrical grid goes down in America for whatever reason, many will die horrible deaths because our lives are dependent upon electricity? Can you imagine a teenager without a computer. it would be considered an example of cruel and inhuman punishment in a modern city. If technology served us, we would not be as physically and psychologically dependent on it as we are. As it is, we sacrifice ourselves both physically and psychologically to technology. Our senses are increasingly dulled as we become more dependent on technology to replace even our most basic skills. Imagine yourself in a store where the clerk had to add the bill rather than put the numbers in a computer. Do you have any idea how many would be incapable of even this most basic task. Most slaves don't realize what it means to be a slave until they get a taste for freedom.
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by Togo1 » March 10th, 2017, 6:20 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:If you are not familiar with the issues then you cannot offer an informed opinion or evaluate my opinion on the matter.
At the moment there's nothing really to evaluate, since all we have in the conclusion without any reasoning. Which is fine, I guess, but I'm more interested in how you reached your perspective, since my view is very different. Still, no need for stress.
Fooloso4 wrote:
If you say so? But really, throw me a bone here. What is it about this specific situation that makes you feel philosophy doesn't help science as a general rule?
This is not some arcane esoteric issue, it involves the two issues that are directly related to Popper - falsifiability and demarcation. Roughly the question is - is it science? philosophersmag.com/index.php/footnotes ... popperazzi
Good article! I take it you disagree with it?

It's certainly an important question philosophical question for physicists, and for the role of philosophy in physcis specfically. I'm not convinced it covers the interaction of philosophy and science in general.
Fooloso4 wrote:
… and the philosopher was pointing out that the theory was self-contradictory - that is that logically not all parts of it could be true simultaneously.
Unless you can give me specific examples I would think that any competent scientist would be able to evaluate the logical consistency of a theory.
Are specific examples outside of physics going to mean much to you? How about Skinner and his extrapolation from animal to human behaviour?
Fooloso4 wrote:
Note that that's nothing to do with the data, or even the body of knowledge within physics. It's an analysis of what is being contructed with it.
Unless one has the appropriate knowledge the data cannot be analyzed and neither the consistency of the theory with the data nor the logical consistency of the claims can be properly evaluated.
Why can't you evaluate the logical consistency of a set of claims without understanding the data? Two statements either contradict each other or they don't - i'm not seeing how the data would help.
Fooloso4 wrote:
After all, you can't really science something unless it's measureable.
“Science something”? It is not quite so simple. On the one hand, positing the existence of something may come before the ability or attempt to measure it, and on the other, measurements might indicate the existence of something unknown at the time of measurement.
Absolutely. But you were just saying (above), that without an understanding of the data you can't even evaluate the logical consistency of a claim. Does that change if there isn't, and can't be, any data to evaluate? If science continues past the boundaries of the data, then surely the case for a non-empericist contributing becomes far stronger?

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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by Fooloso4 » March 10th, 2017, 7:22 pm

Togo1:
Good article! I take it you disagree with it?
The article clearly states the opposition and offers no solution, so no, I do not disagree. To that extent it supports what I said, although the author does think that philosophy has something to contribute to the debate even though as far as I can see he offers nothing of substance.
It's certainly an important question philosophical question for physicists, and for the role of philosophy in physcis specfically.
It is an interesting question but as far as I can see only important when money is tight and limited resources must be allocated. What role did the article identify for philosophy in resolving the issue?
Are specific examples outside of physics going to mean much to you? How about Skinner and his extrapolation from animal to human behaviour?
Are you claiming that criticism of Skinner and changes to psychology came primarily from outside the field of psychology, specifically from philosophers?

Why can't you evaluate the logical consistency of a set of claims without understanding the data? Two statements either contradict each other or they don't - i'm not seeing how the data would help.
It is not that simple. It may be that the statements do not contradict each other but only appear to because one does not understand what is going on. One cannot evaluate claims in relativity or quantum mechanics without understanding relativity or quantum mechanics. All kinds of things might seem contradictory without such understanding. But even if we assume that logical consistency can be evaluated without understanding the data it does not follow that a competent scientist cannot spot the contradiction.
If science continues past the boundaries of the data, then surely the case for a non-empericist contributing becomes far stronger?
It is not just a matter of empirical data, one must understand the subject matter and have the requisite competency in the discipline. The fact that theoretical sciences do not rely on empirical data does not mean that it becomes open to anyone who can speculate. This forum is a good example of that.

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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by Dave Moore » March 11th, 2017, 12:10 pm

Science, to my mind, is not philosophy. It could be said that in fact, it opposes philosophy if philosophy is defined as unbiased inquiry.
Science is internally consistent for one reason only. It only accepts propositions that arise from its own internally driven inquiries. This is of course a Catch-22.
It is as if science has produced a machine that can, in their minds, answer any question.
They spout, "Go ahead! Ask it anything!".
"Okay", you, another scientist say, "Machine, is he telling the truth?"
A prime example of this is the difficulty of science to deal with belief issues. While I have discovered that reality is belief-driven, science will always reject the possibility that belief is operative except within the human brain-body connection (psychosomatic cures). They cannot ever conceive that a researcher's beliefs might affect a patient in placebo studies, for example.
This also prevents physicists from ever discovering why reverse causality is present in quantum delayed choice tests.
They always fall back on the assumption of either free will or objective reality or both no matter how hard they try to think out of the science "box".

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