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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.
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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by George1949 » March 11th, 2017, 3:22 pm

Science is not philosophy. Science deals with measurable observable objective evidence/facts; philosophy does not!

It is pure nonsense how some have tried to combine philosophy with science; they cannot be combined. Some like to say that Philosophy is the study of knowledge, which is a lie. For example, there are many philosophical arguments for the existence of a man-made concepts called "God", "Heaven", and "Hades". God, Heaven, and Hades do not have any evidence, facts or knowledge to support their lies, just superstitious gibberish. Philosophy is not a study of any facts or knowledge, just superstitious nonsense and opinions. And, I must add this fact: metaphysics is just more delusional nonsense.

I get a kick out of the age group that is responding to many of these post. They must be very young. Anyone who talks about Zombies being real is an uneducated idiot.

Don't forget this reality, "Cogito ergo sum" - "I think, therefore I am".

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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by Togo1 » March 12th, 2017, 1:58 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
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?

Not exactly. The opposition to Skinner in his heyday came from Humanistic school or faction of psychology, who first raised the criticism of his findings not on moral, ethical, or procedural grounds, but because his data did not logically support the conclusions he had reached. One of the hallmarks of humanistic psychology was their willingness to include and make use of philosophers and to cite philosophical articles alongside scientific papers (a practice that is now seen as quite normal).

But your original claim was that any competant scientist would be able to work out the logical implications of his theories himself. Historically, this simply hasn't been the reality.

(Nested quote removed.)

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.
That's great, but still a matter of understanding, rather than data.
Fooloso4 wrote: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.
It doesn't need to logically follow. We simply observe scientists doing this, and suggest maybe philosophers could help. In the same way that there is no logical reason why a competant scientist can't do his own mathematical modelling. Nontheless, not all scientists do their own mathematical modelling, sometimes they bring in mathematicians.
Fooloso4 wrote: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.
Indeed not. And the fact that logic and philosophy don't involve empirical data doesn't mean it becomes open to anyone who can speculate. Formal training is not a prerequisite for either theoretical science or philosophy. But it helps a heck of a lot.

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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by Dclements » March 12th, 2017, 2:15 pm

TigerNinja wrote:I was continuing on the book some may have heard me refer to in some of my previous posts, 'Man, Beast and Zombie', when they brought up how everything had a form of philosophy a few hundred years ago. Modern science is but a practised form of empirical Philosophy is it not? To successfully let science question and therefore empirically experiment and therefore prove or negate theory in question, they need to have philosophy to begin this scientific process. Such sciences as biology were called the philosophy of nature as they were exactly that: philosophically questioning the scientific views of nature and developing them. In modern day, philosophy and science are seen as absolutely exclusive, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they should be.
It depends on how you define 'philosophy'. To me there is little to no difference between what we call 'philosophy' and what we call 'critical thinking'; as well as between 'critical thinking' and 'thinking outside of the box'. More or less any time you have to make some kind of judgement call for yourself or figure out how to do something without someone directly telling you have top do it, it requires a certain level of critical thinking/philosophical thinking to do it. Even if we often don't consider some of the more mundane tasks where we have to think for ourselves (and/or we do it poorly) as really using critical thinking/philosophy.

Where the line is where an animal thinking in order to survive, and a computer processing a task goes from merely a machine or animal doing it's thing to becoming a sentient being who can have thoughts that use critical thinking I don't really know; and I don't know if non-aware beings (ie theoretical zombies that act like you or me) can use critical thinking/philosophy. However I'm pretty sure it is a given that critical thought/philosophy is required on some level every time we need to either advance some aspect of science and/or technology; and/or make a judgement call on any given action. Philosophy isn't merely about daydreaming and having grandiose thoughts about things that have nearly nothing to do in with our lives, it is also about many of the minute to minute choices and actions that most of us make through out the day.

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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by Dave Moore » March 12th, 2017, 4:03 pm

The following logic exercise points up the limits of the average human mind to "think outside of the box"
I will show that it is nearly impossible to work out five supplied posits or variables in a single mind state and come to any conclusion. This has everything to do with the thread title.

Posit 1) Reality is subjective, meaning that each individual experiences an absolutely original and unique world.

Posit 2) Reality is deterministic. No free will provably exists.

Posit 4) Belief and manifestation are mutually linked. Each is caused by the other.

Posit 4) Belief is energetic. Thus the lowest energy observation is one that is most easily believed while the most difficult to believe observation requires so much energy that it is beyond any individual's ability to manifest it

Posit 5) (This particular posit is not required but may save one years of deep thought to "see"). The subconscious mind projects the world in symbols we mistake for arbitrary or objective facts. Instead, the most basic of scientific beliefs are seen as metaphoric projections of the mind as they exactly describe knowledge that we both know and do not know. This is similar to dream symbology.
If one believes the hard facts of science of Western culture, he is accepting a group of symbols as his own.
An example is delayed choice quantum eraser projections (observations), which are super low energy states or beliefs, where everyone seems to agree that the same manifestation is occurring.

So, consider these offered posits in the following way: If 1 were true and 2 were true and 3, 4, and 5 are true (juggling yet?) then, you have just experienced a transformative, life-changing restructuring of your mind.

The problem is, you can't do this, or rather very few human being can. Try it. I will show you that you might juggle a few of the posits, but as soon as you try to get them all in the air at once, you find you have to set one down, never getting past three "balls".
I challenge anyone to try this. I will prove to you along the way, through answering questions, that you are breaking the rules of logic by positing some additional variable that is paradoxical to one or more of the four basic posits.
If you're honest with yourself, you will admit that this is an awfully strange mental exercise.
You may have to admit that what prevents humans from understanding the mind and reality itself isn't lack of evidence. It is the weird compartmentalization of the human mind that hides what we already know from what we think we know.
If you aren't amazed by your inability to imagine the posits and shoot it down, you aren't trying hard enough.
Probably only one in a million could wrap their minds around those four basic posits at once.
Because this is a forum, I will be able to prove erroneous answers through witnesses.

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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by Dave Moore » March 12th, 2017, 7:51 pm

Science does exist without philosophy. Logic (to determine actual empirical truth) does exist but science is not logical. Science is based on information that is internally illogical, meaning science makes paradoxical claims.
Such as the following displeasure exhibited by one scientist whose rhetoric is very similar to most all theories about why delayed choice tests exist.

Anton Zeilinger said,
"We always implicitly assume the freedom of the experimentalist... This fundamental assumption is essential to doing science. If this were not true, then, I suggest, it would make no sense at all to ask nature questions in an experiment, since then nature could determine what our questions are, and that could guide our questions such that we arrive at a false picture of nature."
One ought to immediately see the problem, which appears present in most all theories about why the quantum eraser appears or does exhibit super-determinism.
Is this a scientist? His subjective feelings about what should be true have corrupted his logic.
He admits the freedom of the experimentalist is an assumption. He dislikes, for personal reasons, what does and doesn't 'make sense" to him, based on...?. It is time physicists asked experts in logic to qualify their theories. The cognitive dissonance will then surface rather obviously.
Science need not be corrupted by pursuing this question. What will occur is that we begin to understand that the knowledge of the true nature of mind and consequently reality will enhance science because it is quite unnecessary to be fully aware of the discomfort and the implications of a super-deterministic reality while one is absorbed in the process of living.

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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by Dave Moore » March 13th, 2017, 1:19 am

A Better Example of the last post (I can't delete it because it hasn't yet been approved)
Four Premises
The Limits of the Human mind to Understand itself through the use of Logic

Could four premises be used to create an understanding of the human mind and reality itself?
Would an average person be capable of inferring all four premises required and produce an implication?
I have found that it is virtually impossible to produce any implication by any person who juggles the four main premises which follow.
The prediction I am making is that the problem will always become obvious to witnesses who notice that new premises always pop up which are not allowed by the rules of pure logic, regardless of how strange this fact is.
This witnessing is required as the person who attempts to resolve the problem will generally be unaware that he is cheating.
The inferring of three premises is not difficult, but adding the fourth is where the problem lies. Like a person learning how to juggle will drop the fourth ball again and again, each time the four premises are attempted in a single "mind-space", no matter which "rubber ball" so to speak, one of the four will be quite unconsciously dropped.
This s quite amazing, of course, but witnesses to such an argument will see the strange event taking place. This parallels with a situation I've encountered many times when I attempt to give a phone number to my mother, who is eighty-four. It takes ten minutes to do this because she is unable to hold more than a couple of numbers in her head at a time.
The only way to do it more quickly is to carefully say and have her write down each number, one at a time. She is incapable of inferring any string of numbers beyond two. She must drop a number to infer the next, and she never, without extreme practice, holds more than two digits in a single mind- space.
Here are the four premises:

1) Each of us experiences a completely different objective reality. We do not share one larger reality. There is no single empirical reality.
2) Reality is deterministic. Free will does not exist. The future is set in stone. Whatever happens was always going to happen.
3) Belief manifests reality.
4) Belief is energetic. A belief that is implicative of existing beliefs is a low energy dynamic. A belief in a nearly impossible thing is a very high energy dynamic for the unbeliever, preventing any manifestation whatsoever.

What is remarkable is that almost every person who attempts to juggle the basic four statements fails to stay within the supplied premises.
Witnesses become aware of this and see it as quite amusing, while they too find that they are also incapable of succeeding at "holding" all four premises themselves.
It must then be concluded that the limitation lies within the mind itself, and not anywhere else.
This ought to cause the seeker to work with the four premises until all are included, or else they must surely be fooling themselves!

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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by Steve3007 » March 22nd, 2017, 8:23 am

(better late than never)

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.
There are still physical interactions. It's the deviation from intuition that is the difference, which is hardly surprising given that our intuition is based on our experiences on human scales.
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.
I may be wrong here, but weren't the views of the Vienna Circle influenced by the experimental discoveries, and consequent theories, of quantum mechanics? I think the rise of movements like Logical Positivism would not have happened in the same way unless the discoveries of quantum mechanics had forced us to re-evaluate the way in which we think of interactions between observer and observed and what, if anything, those interactions might tell us about any single objectively existing real world that might exist.
Hm.. I'm already familiar with the science. Do you feel the videos contain the example I was asking for of philosophy following science?
In that video, the part I was thinking of was near the end where the lecturer talks about the "change the physics" method versus the "change the philosophy" method. He gives the lecture in order to show his preference for the the "many worlds" interpretation of quantum mechanics.
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?
I think it is the search for something that is "philosophically satisfying" that leads people to postulate ideas such as the "many worlds" theory, explored in that video, as explanations for the observed results.

When faced with experimental results that cannot be fitted into the mental models that we use to explain/describe human-scale phenomena, one approach of some physicists has been characterised by the famous phrase "shut up and calculate", often associated with the so-called Copenhagen interpretation of QM. The general approach here is that the role of the physicist is simply to find mathematical models that fit the observations and correctly predict future observations. This approach does not attach any importance to the process of trying to "make sense" of those results using anything other than descriptive and predictive mathematical models. But clearly some philosophers of physics don't like this approach. They think that there is a need to "explain" our observations of the world and not merely to describe and predict them. It is in this sense that I am using the word "satisfying" here.


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?...
Yes I would. That's true of most of the technological innovations that have happened over the last few thousand years and which have resulted in the human population of the world expanding by a factor of several thousand. For example, it's true of the selective breeding of wheat. Would you regard us as being slaves to this too? Do you choose which technological innovations you regard as condemning us to slavery or is it all of them?
...Most slaves don't realize what it means to be a slave until they get a taste for freedom.
It sounds as though you think that this freedom from slavery would be a good thing. Is this true? Do you think that we should free ourselves from our dependence on modern agriculture and selective breeding of crops and livestock? Should we attempt to forage for food and sleep under the stars (spurning the slavery of houses with central heating and hot running water)? Clothing is also a technological innovation. As a result, we are the "naked apes" who, outside of the tropics, are incapable of keeping ourselves warm enough without wrapping ourselves in products made from other animals and plants. Are we slaves to clothing? Should we cast them off and die, noble and free, from the cold?

As you've said in the context of electricity, most of the human population of the Earth would die for the obvious reason that 7 billion people cannot be sustained without the technological innovations of the last 10,000 years that allowed that inflated human population to come into existence. It seems odd to characterise all this as slavery. But if you don't, how do you decide which life-sustaining technologies constitute slavery and which are simply things that keep us alive?

-- Updated Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:52 pm to add the following --


Dave Moore, some brief thoughts about those premises and whether they constitute meaningful statements:
1) Each of us experiences a completely different objective reality. We do not share one larger reality. There is no single empirical reality.
I propose that if it is supposed to be an empirical statement then this is meaningless because it doesn't correspond to anything that can be tested by observation. If it is an analytical statement about the best way to make sense of our observations - the best mental models to construct - then it is not particularly useful. We do like to construct the mental model of a single shared reality because it is a very useful model for describing the common features of our individual experiences.
2) Reality is deterministic. Free will does not exist. The future is set in stone. Whatever happens was always going to happen.
I don't think this is meaningful either. What do you mean by "was always going to happen"?

I'm not sure what the last two mean.

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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by Togo1 » July 5th, 2017, 1:50 pm


The more usual intrepretation of people struggling to hold a number of premises constant is that one or more of the premises is flawed. Is that not your interpretation, or am I missing something.

I'm also curious about number 2) Reality is deterministic. Free will does not exist. The future is set in stone. Whatever happens was always going to happen.

You're proposing that there exists an unknowable, invisible force that pre-determines all events, such that the outcome can never vary?

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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by NicoL » July 6th, 2017, 4:53 am

Science cannot exist without presuppositions. Is there value in exploring those and, if yes, how do you go about it? What are the alternative tools to do that?

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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by Togo1 » July 6th, 2017, 8:41 am

NicoL wrote:Science cannot exist without presuppositions. Is there value in exploring those and, if yes, how do you go about it? What are the alternative tools to do that?
There's a great deal of value in that, since it provides the main basis for overturning one theory in favour of another. In areas where this happens frequently, such as neuroscience, some universities make some understanding of philosophy a prerequiste.

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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by George1949 » September 4th, 2017, 3:41 pm

Philosophy should be taught in history classes as a pointless endeavor that proves nothing.

-- Updated September 5th, 2017, 7:25 pm to add the following --

Science deals purely with empirical evidence and theory; it does not rely on philosophy for anything. Philosophy makes the false claim that it somehow has influenced science; it has not.

My first philosophy class in college used a book that had the following sections: Determinism, Freedom and Moral Responsibility; Scepticism and the Problem of Induction; Body, Mind and Death; Moral Judgments; The Existence of God; Perception and the Physical World; A prior Knowledge; and, Meaning, Verifications and Metaphysics.

You will note that nowhere is empirical evidence mentioned. Why?

Philosophy does not care about empirical evidence.

None, of the sections noted above can be proven with empirical evidence. They all are very esoteric and debatable, e.g., the existence of God. Philosophy is a purely academic endeavor that deals with topics that are meaningless nonsense that can’t be proven; therefore, no relevance to anything.

Philosophy will debate “Scientific Objectivity”, which is just nonsense.

Without provable scientific evidence, philosophy proves nothing.

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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by Spectrum » September 6th, 2017, 3:43 am

The symphony orchestra of Science needs a conductor, i.e. philosophy proper [not academic philosophy] to oversee its overall system and performance.
There is no way Science can use science itself to manage itself and the manager is philosophy with its philosophical skills.
The establishment of the overall Framework and System of Science to work effectively with its establishment of assumption, principles, ethics, scientific method, peer review, etc. is fundamentally a philosophical endeavor.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by George1949 » September 6th, 2017, 11:03 am

Nope. That is just your opinion, which is only relevant here, for what it isn't worth.

Nice attempt at an analogy, but there is no such thing as an "orchestra of Science." Science has an overall framework and it has nothing to do with philosophy. To establish a proof in science, you need to begin with a premise, e.g., the earth is round or the earth revolves around the sun then support it with provable facts or empirical evidence, e.g., photographs from space station. You cannot do that in philosophy, e.g., God exists, what is good versus evil, man has a soul, there is a heaven and Hades, etc.

I remember when we studied the Existence of God in my college philosophy class. The Ph.D. running the class asked the students to raise their hands as to what group they were in: Believers, Agnostics, or Atheists. He would not tell us what group he was in until the end of the class.

I was one of the two atheists in the class. He then said that most likely the atheists had thought this out and had reasons to support their atheism, versus blind faith, which he asked me to explain. I said that there was no empirical evidence to support the existence of any God or gods, just a book or books written by men who believed that God or gods existed. I said that God or any gods could not come down into our class and prove its or their existence and that only their faith supported their beliefs.

Then we studied all the famous authors on the subject, e.g., St. Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, F.C. Copleston, William Paley, G. H. Joyce, Clarence Darrow, David Hume, John Hick, Ernest Nagel, and Bertrand Russel.

Pretty much, this Ph.D. was trying to instill in us the fact that there are certain concepts, e.g., existence of God that cannot be proven or disproven with empirical evidence no matter how convincing your arguments since your opponents only evidence is their faith and books written by men of faith.

At the end of this section, he told us his belief, which is called the “flip of a coin theory.” He believed in God, but could not prove God existed.

He then told us about his best buddy, who had done many tours in Vietnam and had been in many battles. While home for Christmas, he best buddy was killed in his car, which had hit a patch of ice and crashed into a tree.

This made no sense to him, which he why he believed in his flip of the coin theory. There was a 50% chance that God existed and a 50% chance that God did not exist. He chose to believe.

I chose not to believe.

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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by Jan Pahl » September 6th, 2017, 6:39 pm

actually modern philosophy, math, science and techné (Ars) are all branches of "pre-academia", even the words epistemology, mathematics, science, sophos have similar roots (knowledge) and were interchangeable in the not so far past, por example "Philosophiæ naturalis principia mathematica".

What we call philosophy today isn´t the same that we call by the same word in Greek, hellenistic, roman and medieval times. In other words Science and Philosophy (modern) are cousins branches from the same basal tree.

Ask about if science has sufficient conditions of existence without philosophy (modern) the obvious answer is not, but necessary conditions the answer is obviously yes, but that works in both directions

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Re: Can Science Exist Without Philosophy?

Post by George1949 » September 7th, 2017, 12:59 pm

Thanks for your opinion. But, science has no need for philosophy and your statements have confirmed my point.

And, the only tree on which science and philosophy are on the same tree and our cousins is the one in your head only.

Name one scientific theory that relies on faith in any way; you can’t.

Philosophy can't face the reality that it is a pointless endeavor that deals solely with esoteric topics that are based on faith, versus empirical scientific evidence, i.e., flip of the coin topics like does God or gods exist, which is based solely on one’s faith and faith in the books written by religious fanatics.

You must have a degree in philosophy to defend it so staunchly. And, if that is your only degree, you must have a job in an unrelated field; unless you teach philosophy in school.

Like religion, which is based solely on faith and books written by religious fanatics who are believers in God, philosophy is meaningless.

Name one topic in philosophy that can be proven with scientific evidence. Give up? There isn’t one!

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