Popper and Turing: did they say the same thing?

Use this forum to discuss the philosophy of science. Philosophy of science deals with the assumptions, foundations, and implications of science.
Post Reply
User avatar
New Trial Member
Posts: 1
Joined: October 4th, 2016, 7:04 am

Popper and Turing: did they say the same thing?

Post by MadMage » October 4th, 2016, 7:58 am

Dear all philosophers,
in a discussion of some days ago, it happened that I remember the though of K. Popper, in particular his arguments against the induction in the scientific method. For all computer scientists like me, this argument is obvious and it is related to the computability and semi-decidible sets, formalized by Alan Turing: there are many problems that are semi-decidible, that is, if you find a negative solution, the answer is "no", but you can go forever in finding positive solutions and never be sure that you will not find, eventually, a negative one.

This leads me to three thoughts:
1) they seem to say the exact same thing, so why are they not citing each other? the answer can be that there are only some years of difference between the two and they belong to very different areas (philosophy and mathematics); is this correlation been noticed by someone else (I assume yes): who and when?

2) thinking with the computability in mind, Popper says to be against induction, but also says that you (or others) can go on looking for negative examples for your theory and that the longer your theory lasts, the stronger it is: this is actually again induction!

3) the current scientific method is much more similar to Popper's idea than to Galileo's one: actually Popper changed Galileo's method:
- observe similar cases
- induce a law
- describe the model
- test your model with other cases

with this:
- find a law, in whatever way you prefer, being it induction, dreaming, intuition or other means
- describe the model
- test your model and make other people test it so that your theory become stronger

It seems that it extended Galileo's method, more than going against it. Can we say that the current scientific method is the Popper's extension of the original Galileo's method?

Thanks to all.

User avatar
Posts: 327
Joined: May 3rd, 2015, 10:39 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Frigyes Karinthy

Re: Popper and Turing: did they say the same thing?

Post by Renee » December 13th, 2016, 10:26 pm

The current scientific method is "whatever it takes, baby." Also, please note, that a whole army of scientists and philosophers, and now writers as well, are not listened to, not published, unless they hold a corresponding and appropriately specific advanced degree in their field of publication.

There are so many people, so many educated people, and so many smart people, that the publishers have to reduce the number of successful candidates for publication, furthermore, have to reduce the reading as well.

Too many smart people, not enough readers.

The speed of science and technological advancements now surpass that created by the war effort of WWII.

Everything is becoming cheaper, incl. really good schemes, to save the world, and they are cheaper because they are becoming more plentiful, due to having many more educated and smart people.

They say chess and Monopoly would never hit the markets were they invented today.... they would be deemed to be too confusing, too complicated, by the major toy companies that rule the board games market. Similarly, I venture to say, Newton, Tenant, Student, Einstein, and Emile Bleistift-Hefte also would not see their works published if they were to try to publish them today. (To be fair, Emile Bleistift-Hefte did not get his theory published even in those days.)

-- Updated December 13th, 2016, 10:31 pm to add the following --
MadMage wrote:Dear all philosophers, is this correlation been noticed by someone else (I assume yes): (by) who(m) and when?
By everyone, and always. You are the first one to publish it, everyone else has always thought it is too obvious to make a point of it.
Ignorance is power.

Post Reply