On the absurd hegemony of science

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
Hereandnow
Posts: 2708
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
Favorite Philosopher: the moon and the stars

On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Hereandnow »

All that has ever been witnessed in the world is the human drama, if you will. That is, even as the driest, most dispassionate observer records more facts to support other facts, the actual event is within an "aesthetic" context, i.e., experience: there is the interest, the thrill of being a scientist, of discovery, of positive peer review and so forth. The actual pure science is an abstraction from this (see, btw, Dewey's Art as Experience for a nice take on this. NOT to agree with Dewey in all things). The whole from which this is abstracted is all there is, a world, and this world is in its essence, brimming with meaning, incalculable, intractable to the powers of the microscope. It is eternal, as all inquiry leads to openness, that is, you cannot pin down experience in propositional knowledge.

All this means that when science makes its moves to "say" what the world is, it is only right within the scope of its field. But philosophy, which is the most open field, has no business yielding to this any more than to knitting "science" or masonry. Philosophy is all inclusive theory, and the attempt to fit such a thing into a scientific paradigm is simply perverse.

Science: know your place! It is not philosophy.
User avatar
Terrapin Station
Posts: 6227
Joined: August 23rd, 2016, 3:00 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Bertrand Russell and WVO Quine
Location: NYC Man

Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Terrapin Station »

I get that what you write must make sense to you, but to me--and not just this post, but your posts in general--it just seems like a long string of nonsequiturs, a bunch of words that don't have much to do with each other.

For example, your first sentence says, "All that has ever been witnessed in the world is the human drama, if you will."

And then your second sentence starts off with, "That is"--as if you're going to explain the first sentence in other words, but then what you say is, "even as the driest, most dispassionate observer records more facts to support other facts," and I don't see what that would have to do with "witnessing human drama." The two things just don't seem to go together. It seems like a wild leap from one thought to a completely different thought.

And then you say, "the actual event is within an 'aesthetic' context," which is even more mystifying, and then you write "i.e., experience," as if there's some connection between "events being within an 'aesthetic' context" and experience in general.

I just don't ever really know what you're on about, but I'm assuming it must make sense to you.
User avatar
Hereandnow
Posts: 2708
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
Favorite Philosopher: the moon and the stars

Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Hereandnow »

Terrapin Station wrote

I get that what you write must make sense to you, but to me--and not just this post, but your posts in general--it just seems like a long string of nonsequiturs, a bunch of words that don't have much to do with each other.

For example, your first sentence says, "All that has ever been witnessed in the world is the human drama, if you will."

And then your second sentence starts off with, "That is"--as if you're going to explain the first sentence in other words, but then what you say is, "even as the driest, most dispassionate observer records more facts to support other facts," and I don't see what that would have to do with "witnessing human drama." The two things just don't seem to go together. It seems like a wild leap from one thought to a completely different thought.

And then you say, "the actual event is within an 'aesthetic' context," which is even more mystifying, and then you write "i.e., experience," as if there's some connection between "events being within an 'aesthetic' context" and experience in general.

I just don't ever really know what you're on about, but I'm assuming it must make sense to you.
I consider this an improvement on the usual disparagement even if you are just being nice.

The inspiration for this comes from John Dewey's Art as Experience and his Experience and Nature. To see the thinking here, one has to put down the notion that the world is handed to us as it is. We make the meanings when we think about the world. It is our logic, our language, emotions, our experiential construction of past to future, our caring, pain, joys and everything you can name, or predicate a property to, all is within experience. Reality is experience,and whatever there is out there that "causes" us to have the experiences we have is given in experience and we have never stepped out of this to observe the world, for to do so would be to step out of the logic and language that makes thought even possible.
If I want to know what an object is, the actual event in which this curiosity occurs is a complex matrix of experiential content. The curiosity has a setting in which I am motivated, and this is attached to previous experiences which fill out my past and make for a prior, anticipatory field of interests in which my motivations originate. There is drive there, ambition in the background. The curiosity "event" is just as affective as it is cognitive as it is egoic as it is.. All these (and of course more) are part of a whole, they are "of a piece". It requires an act of abstraction from the whole to the "part" (though thinking in "parts" here rather violates the idea) to think about reality being any thing at all, for once anything is taken up in thought, the abstracting process that makes thinking possible is in place.

Of course, this does not mean we cannot think responsibly about what the world is. But it does pin responsible thinking to an inclusiveness that science is not interested in doing. Science does not do ontology. It does not take the structure of experience itself as an object of study. Rather, it presupposes (or does not think at all about) such structures in order for it to do its business. So: a scientist wants to study Jupiter's atmosphere. What would this entail? The point here is that it would require nothing of the experience, full and complex, in the object of inquiry. Inquiry would be specific, exclusive, formulaic.

This explains why science is so ill suited for philosophical thought.
MAYA EL
Posts: 101
Joined: May 2nd, 2019, 11:17 pm

Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by MAYA EL »

I agree
Steve3007
Posts: 10341
Joined: June 15th, 2011, 5:53 pm

Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Steve3007 »

Hereandnow wrote:...But philosophy, which is the most open field, has no business yielding to this any more than to knitting "science" or masonry. Philosophy is all inclusive theory, and the attempt to fit such a thing into a scientific paradigm is simply perverse.

Science: know your place! It is not philosophy.
To help the discussion, could you give an example in which philosophy has, in your view, mistakenly or incorrectly yielded to science? What would it actually mean for philosophy, or anything else, to yield to science? Science is a formalization of the simple process of observing the world, spotting patterns and regularities in those observations and trying to use those regularities to predict future observations. What would it mean to yield to that?
Steve3007
Posts: 10341
Joined: June 15th, 2011, 5:53 pm

Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Steve3007 »

I tend to agree with TS's analysis that most of the passages you write seem to be strings of nonsequiturs - sets of sentences that, judging by their arrangement, look as though they're supposed to be constructing an argument in which each sentence builds on what was said in the previous ones, but they don't. They look to me as though they're written more for poetic value than to try to make any kind of argument. It looks to me as though you construct a sentence on the basis of whether it sounds nice, and then construct another one on the same basis, without attempting to link it to the previous one. So you get a sequence of nice sounding but disconnected thoughts.

Nothing wrong with poetry, of course. But poetry isn't generally used to support a proposition such as "science has hegemony and it shouldn't". Yet that appears to be what you're trying to do. You appear to want to propose something and then support that proposition with an argument. Do you?

Sample from your previous post:
Hereandnow wrote:Of course, this does not mean we cannot think responsibly about what the world is. But it does pin responsible thinking to an inclusiveness that science is not interested in doing. Science does not do ontology.
As we know, ontology is the study of how things are and what things exist, as opposed to, for example, the study of how we know things or how things appears to be or the study of our experiences. So, "thinking about what the world is" would be thinking about onotology, yes? So in the first sentence above are you saying that science involves "thinking about what the world is"? If so, the last sentence contradicts this doesn't it?
It does not take the structure of experience itself as an object of study.
This, coming after "Science does not do ontology" would appear to be intended to build on/expand on that statement. You appear to be equating "ontology" with "taking the structure of experience itself as an object of study" (and saying that science does neither). But ontology is not about studying "the structure of experience" is it? It's not entirely clear what you mean by "studying the structure of experience", but it doesn't sound like ontology.
Rather, it presupposes (or does not think at all about) such structures in order for it to do its business. So: a scientist wants to study Jupiter's atmosphere. What would this entail? The point here is that it would require nothing of the experience, full and complex, in the object of inquiry. Inquiry would be specific, exclusive, formulaic.
So you propose that science presupposes "the structure of experience"? Studying Jupiter's atmosphere would entail looking at Jupiter's atmosphere. How does stating that "inquiry would be specific, exclusive, formulaic." relate to this? Are you saying that in order to study the atmosphere of Jupiter we should look at something other than the atmosphere of Jupiter? Or perhaps look at everything? Do you apply this to all study? Can you see that you're not making any kind of coherent argument here? Do you want to?
This explains why science is so ill suited for philosophical thought.
Not to me. The above assertion may well be right, but you certainly haven't constructed an argument to demonstrate it.
User avatar
Sculptor1
Posts: 5272
Joined: May 16th, 2019, 5:35 am

Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Sculptor1 »

Hereandnow wrote: August 19th, 2020, 9:06 am All that has ever been witnessed in the world is the human drama, if you will. That is, even as the driest, most dispassionate observer records more facts to support other facts, the actual event is within an "aesthetic" context, i.e., experience: there is the interest, the thrill of being a scientist, of discovery, of positive peer review and so forth. The actual pure science is an abstraction from this (see, btw, Dewey's Art as Experience for a nice take on this. NOT to agree with Dewey in all things). The whole from which this is abstracted is all there is, a world, and this world is in its essence, brimming with meaning, incalculable, intractable to the powers of the microscope. It is eternal, as all inquiry leads to openness, that is, you cannot pin down experience in propositional knowledge.

All this means that when science makes its moves to "say" what the world is, it is only right within the scope of its field. But philosophy, which is the most open field, has no business yielding to this any more than to knitting "science" or masonry. Philosophy is all inclusive theory, and the attempt to fit such a thing into a scientific paradigm is simply perverse.

Science: know your place! It is not philosophy.
You have not demonstrated that our hegemony is based on science.
You seem to imply, totally wrongly that science is absurd. Again, you have done nothing to support this.
Then you have implied that science does not know its place. Again, nothing but a bold assertion back up with nothing.
If I were to characterise our current hegemony in this arena I would point to the absurd hegemony of anti-science and pseudo-science which seem to infect socail media like a virus.

You vast claims for philosophy ignore the many occaisons where philosphy has had to bow down to the discoveries of science and modify its ways.
User avatar
Terrapin Station
Posts: 6227
Joined: August 23rd, 2016, 3:00 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Bertrand Russell and WVO Quine
Location: NYC Man

Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Terrapin Station »

Your response to me makes a lot more sense to me than your initial post did, but it has way too much stuff to address. Seriously, there's enough material there for probably 100 different lengthy discussion threads.

Let's take just one claim:
Hereandnow wrote: August 19th, 2020, 9:45 pm to do so would be to step out of the logic and language that makes thought even possible.
People say such things often, but it always seems very curious to me. It seems like there must be people who only think linguistically--because otherwise why would they make claims like "language is necessary to make thought even possible," but not everyone only thinks linguistically. Now, if there are people who only think linguistically, they probably won't believe that this is not the case for everyone, and there's probably not much we can do about that aside from working on getting them to realize that it wouldn't have to be the case that all thinking is the same for all entities that can think. This is easier said than done, though, because there seems to be a common personality/disposition that has a hard time with the notion that not everyone is essentially the same.

Also, the notion that we can't observe or perceive things without actively thinking about them, a la applying concepts, applying meanings, having a linguistic internal commentary about them, etc. would need to be supported, but I don't know how we'd support that aside from simply brute-force, stomping-our-foot-down-and-not-budging claiming it. It's a lot like the claim that all thought is linguistic. Maybe some people's minds work so that they can't simply perceive things without applying concepts/meanings, etc., and again, they're just not going to believe that not everyone's mental experience is just like theirs.

But at any rate, I don't see how we can claim such things without needing pretty good supports of them over the contradictory claims (that not all thought is linguistic (and/or logical) and that not all perception is theory-laden, or accompanied by thoughts a la concepts, meanings, etc.)
User avatar
Terrapin Station
Posts: 6227
Joined: August 23rd, 2016, 3:00 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Bertrand Russell and WVO Quine
Location: NYC Man

Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Terrapin Station »

Certainly claiming such things without good support and then just poetically, kind of stream-of-consciously transitioning to other obliquely-related ideas, also without good support, and then others and others and others, all linked with as many prepositional phrases as possible, all while avoiding periods for as long as possible, doesn't really work as philosophy in my opinion. :D
Gertie
Posts: 1672
Joined: January 7th, 2015, 7:09 am

Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Gertie »

HAN
All this means that when science makes its moves to "say" what the world is, it is only right within the scope of its field. But philosophy, which is the most open field, has no business yielding to this any more than to knitting "science" or masonry. Philosophy is all inclusive theory, and the attempt to fit such a thing into a scientific paradigm is simply perverse.
Maybe.

What the scientific method relies on is that there is a real world of stuff which our mental experience relates to, and we can know something about that stuff. Not perfectly or comprehensively, but well enough to pass the tests of inter-subjective agreement and predictability.

And that has given us an incredibly complex, coherent and useful working model of a material world we share.

But you're right to say science doesn't know how to go about explaining mental experience - which all its claims are based in. Bit of a paradox that one. And imo suggests the fundamental nature of the universe is uncertain. Philosophy of mind is coming up with all kinds of speculations about the mind-body problem, but they remain inaccessible to testing - unless you have a surefire method?

Materialism has its own untestable philosophical hypotheses about how mental experience might be reducible to material processes, including philosophical thinking. If you think you have a better philosophical case, can you lay it out as simply and clearly as poss? (Serious request)

Because it's easy to spot the flaws with the all the hypotheses, not so easy to conclusively argue which one should be accepted as correct.
User avatar
Terrapin Station
Posts: 6227
Joined: August 23rd, 2016, 3:00 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Bertrand Russell and WVO Quine
Location: NYC Man

Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Terrapin Station »

This is for everyone who has these issues, which is many of our posters with a continental bent (and I should probably make this a separate thread): it could be an issue of reading and thinking a great deal about this stuff, and your mind has a tendency to "race." That could easily lead to rambling writing that seems disconnected to readers.

You'd not want to change anything when writing your first draft, but when reading it back to yourself before posting (which hopefully everyone is doing), you need to take a deep breath, slow down, and remember that people aren't already "in your mind." They may not have read everything you've read. They certainly won't have had the same thoughts about it even if they did read it. They're not going to already know all of the interconnections you're thinking. And you need to be careful when it comes to interconnections, background assumptions, etc. that are second-nature to you--again, other people are not already in your mind, so these things probably won't be second-nature to them.

A good stance to assume is something like "Imagine that I'm addressing reasonably intelligent high school students who have no special background in what I'm talking about. If I put myself in their place while reading back what I wrote, would they be able to understand it and follow me? Am I presenting an argument that would seem plausible to them?" Your audience might have a much more extensive background in the subject matter than this, but it doesn't hurt to assume that they do not.

It's a bit similar to the idea of needing to "show your work" in mathematics class. The teacher already knows how to work out the problem, and they'll often know that you know how to work it out, too, but there's value, including for your own thinking, in setting a requirement to spell out just how you're arriving at the conclusions you're arriving at. That can seem laborious, perhaps, but if you're really saying something that would be worthwhile for other people to read and think about, isn't it worth putting the work in?
Steve3007
Posts: 10341
Joined: June 15th, 2011, 5:53 pm

Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Steve3007 »

Gertie wrote:What the scientific method relies on is that there is a real world of stuff which our mental experience relates to, and we can know something about that stuff. Not perfectly or comprehensively, but well enough to pass the tests of inter-subjective agreement and predictability.
It doesn't even really rely on that. Obviously we believe, for perfectly sensible reasons, that it is true that there is this real world of stuff. But the scientific method doesn't rely on its existence. All it relies on is the existence of patterns in our observations. That the existence of those patterns is a result of the fact that the observations are of objectively existing things may be true, but I wouldn't say it's relied on as such. The scientific method can study anything with a pattern.
User avatar
Terrapin Station
Posts: 6227
Joined: August 23rd, 2016, 3:00 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Bertrand Russell and WVO Quine
Location: NYC Man

Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Terrapin Station »

Steve3007 wrote: August 20th, 2020, 8:26 am It doesn't even really rely on that. Obviously we believe, for perfectly sensible reasons, that it is true that there is this real world of stuff. But the scientific method doesn't rely on its existence. All it relies on is the existence of patterns in our observations.
What we should say there is "all it relies on is the existence of patterns in my observations." As soon as we posit other people that we can interact with, and that we can know we can interact with, we're positing a real world of (some sort of) stuff.
Steve3007
Posts: 10341
Joined: June 15th, 2011, 5:53 pm

Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Steve3007 »

Terrapin Station wrote:What we should say there is "all it relies on is the existence of patterns in my observations." As soon as we posit other people that we can interact with, and that we can know we can interact with, we're positing a real world of (some sort of) stuff.
True.
Gertie
Posts: 1672
Joined: January 7th, 2015, 7:09 am

Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Gertie »

Steve3007 wrote: August 20th, 2020, 9:02 am
Terrapin Station wrote:What we should say there is "all it relies on is the existence of patterns in my observations." As soon as we posit other people that we can interact with, and that we can know we can interact with, we're positing a real world of (some sort of) stuff.
True.
OK, I'll go with that.
Post Reply

Return to “Philosophy of Science”

2022 Philosophy Books of the Month

Emotional Intelligence At Work

Emotional Intelligence At Work
by Richard M Contino & Penelope J Holt
January 2022

Free Will, Do You Have It?

Free Will, Do You Have It?
by Albertus Kral
February 2022

My Enemy in Vietnam

My Enemy in Vietnam
by Billy Springer
March 2022

2X2 on the Ark

2X2 on the Ark
by Mary J Giuffra, PhD
April 2022

The Maestro Monologue

The Maestro Monologue
by Rob White
May 2022

What Makes America Great

What Makes America Great
by Bob Dowell
June 2022

The Truth Is Beyond Belief!

The Truth Is Beyond Belief!
by Jerry Durr
July 2022

Living in Color

Living in Color
by Mike Murphy
August 2022 (tentative)

The Not So Great American Novel

The Not So Great American Novel
by James E Doucette
September 2022

Mary Jane Whiteley Coggeshall, Hicksite Quaker, Iowa/National Suffragette And Her Speeches

Mary Jane Whiteley Coggeshall, Hicksite Quaker, Iowa/National Suffragette And Her Speeches
by John N. (Jake) Ferris
October 2022

2021 Philosophy Books of the Month

The Biblical Clock: The Untold Secrets Linking the Universe and Humanity with God's Plan

The Biblical Clock
by Daniel Friedmann
March 2021

Wilderness Cry: A Scientific and Philosophical Approach to Understanding God and the Universe

Wilderness Cry
by Dr. Hilary L Hunt M.D.
April 2021

Fear Not, Dream Big, & Execute: Tools To Spark Your Dream And Ignite Your Follow-Through

Fear Not, Dream Big, & Execute
by Jeff Meyer
May 2021

Surviving the Business of Healthcare: Knowledge is Power

Surviving the Business of Healthcare
by Barbara Galutia Regis M.S. PA-C
June 2021

Winning the War on Cancer: The Epic Journey Towards a Natural Cure

Winning the War on Cancer
by Sylvie Beljanski
July 2021

Defining Moments of a Free Man from a Black Stream

Defining Moments of a Free Man from a Black Stream
by Dr Frank L Douglas
August 2021

If Life Stinks, Get Your Head Outta Your Buts

If Life Stinks, Get Your Head Outta Your Buts
by Mark L. Wdowiak
September 2021

The Preppers Medical Handbook

The Preppers Medical Handbook
by Dr. William W Forgey M.D.
October 2021

Natural Relief for Anxiety and Stress: A Practical Guide

Natural Relief for Anxiety and Stress
by Dr. Gustavo Kinrys, MD
November 2021

Dream For Peace: An Ambassador Memoir

Dream For Peace
by Dr. Ghoulem Berrah
December 2021