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Quine famously drew a comparison between mythology and science as being different only in degree, not in kind. In his 1951 paper "Two Dogmas of Empiricism", he states:

As an empiricist I continue to think of the conceptual scheme of science as a tool, ultimately, for predicting future experience in the light of past experience. Physical objects are conceptually imported into the situation as convenient intermediaries not by definition in terms of experience, but simply as irreducible posits comparable, epistemologically, to the gods of Homer . . . For my part I do, qua lay physicist, believe in physical objects and not in Homer's gods; and I consider it a scientific error to believe otherwise. But in point of epistemological footing, the physical objects and the gods differ only in degree and not in kind. Both sorts of entities enter our conceptions only as cultural posits.

The point he is trying to make is a subtle one. Since the beginning of the 20th century, philosophers of science have been trying to come up with a definitive way of separating science from pseudo-science and mysticism (See this post). This is know as the demarcation problem, and none of the solutions so far have been successful.

Quine is arguing that it is not possible to do so, because no matter how scientific and empirical an explanation gets, it is still based on our language, which is a cultural artifact, not a brute fact of nature.

Consider the following:

An ancient Egyptian observes the sun's movement, and proposes a theory that its movement is due to the god Ra's Sun Boat. A modern scientist observes it and proposes a theory that it is moved by mysterious force called gravity. In both cases, the only thing that can be observed is the sunssun's movement, both the god Ra and the force are abstract entities which cannot be observed. Both the Ancient Egyptian and the modern day scientist have to resort to unobservable metaphysical objects for their theory to be meaningful, otherwise they don't have a theory, they just have a bunch of observations. The concept of force seems more "rational" to us only because we have gotten accustomed in Western culture to concept, but to a truly neutral and empirically minded observer, the idea of a mysterious unseen vector pulling the sun through the sky is just as outlandish as a god on a boat. Both are cultural artifacts.

This is not to say that Greek, Egyptian, Nordic mythology are on the same footing as modern science, Quine is clear in that. Quine wasn't a mystically inclined person trying to bring mythology back to the same level as science. On the contrary he was a materialist, mathematically inclined logician. Modern science produces far better results than mythology in terms of being able to predict reality accurately, and one would be stupid to rely on mythology (or astrology, or faith healing, etc....) instead of the latest scientific theories in predicting reality. But that improvement in accuracy is the only difference, we have no other way of separating science from mythology. Quine's point is that we cannot separate theories into science and non-science, only into good science and bad science.

Quine famously drew a comparison between mythology and science as being different only in degree, not in kind. In his 1951 paper "Two Dogmas of Empiricism", he states:

As an empiricist I continue to think of the conceptual scheme of science as a tool, ultimately, for predicting future experience in the light of past experience. Physical objects are conceptually imported into the situation as convenient intermediaries not by definition in terms of experience, but simply as irreducible posits comparable, epistemologically, to the gods of Homer . . . For my part I do, qua lay physicist, believe in physical objects and not in Homer's gods; and I consider it a scientific error to believe otherwise. But in point of epistemological footing, the physical objects and the gods differ only in degree and not in kind. Both sorts of entities enter our conceptions only as cultural posits.

The point he is trying to make is a subtle one. Since the beginning of the 20th century, philosophers of science have been trying to come up with a definitive way of separating science from pseudo-science and mysticism (See this post). This is know as the demarcation problem, and none of the solutions so far have been successful.

Quine is arguing that it is not possible to do so, because no matter how scientific and empirical an explanation gets, it is still based on our language, which is a cultural artifact, not a brute fact of nature.

Consider the following:

An ancient Egyptian observes the sun's movement, and proposes a theory that its movement is due to the god Ra's Sun Boat. A modern scientist observes it and proposes a theory that it is moved by mysterious force called gravity. In both cases, the only thing that can be observed is the suns movement, both the god Ra and the force are abstract entities which cannot be observed. Both the Ancient Egyptian and the modern day scientist have to resort to unobservable metaphysical objects for their theory to be meaningful, otherwise they don't have a theory, they just have a bunch of observations. The concept of force seems more "rational" to us only because we have gotten accustomed in Western culture to concept, but to a truly neutral and empirically minded observer, the idea of a mysterious unseen vector pulling the sun through the sky is just as outlandish as a god on a boat. Both are cultural artifacts.

This is not to say that Greek, Egyptian, Nordic mythology are on the same footing as modern science, Quine is clear in that. Quine wasn't a mystically inclined person trying to bring mythology back to the same level as science. On the contrary he was a materialist, mathematically inclined logician. Modern science produces far better results than mythology in terms of being able to predict reality accurately, and one would be stupid to rely on mythology (or astrology, or faith healing, etc....) instead of the latest scientific theories in predicting reality. But that improvement in accuracy is the only difference, we have no other way of separating science from mythology. Quine's point is that we cannot separate theories into science and non-science, only into good science and bad science.

Quine famously drew a comparison between mythology and science as being different only in degree, not in kind. In his 1951 paper "Two Dogmas of Empiricism", he states:

As an empiricist I continue to think of the conceptual scheme of science as a tool, ultimately, for predicting future experience in the light of past experience. Physical objects are conceptually imported into the situation as convenient intermediaries not by definition in terms of experience, but simply as irreducible posits comparable, epistemologically, to the gods of Homer . . . For my part I do, qua lay physicist, believe in physical objects and not in Homer's gods; and I consider it a scientific error to believe otherwise. But in point of epistemological footing, the physical objects and the gods differ only in degree and not in kind. Both sorts of entities enter our conceptions only as cultural posits.

The point he is trying to make is a subtle one. Since the beginning of the 20th century, philosophers of science have been trying to come up with a definitive way of separating science from pseudo-science and mysticism (See this post). This is know as the demarcation problem, and none of the solutions so far have been successful.

Quine is arguing that it is not possible to do so, because no matter how scientific and empirical an explanation gets, it is still based on our language, which is a cultural artifact, not a brute fact of nature.

Consider the following:

An ancient Egyptian observes the sun's movement, and proposes a theory that its movement is due to the god Ra's Sun Boat. A modern scientist observes it and proposes a theory that it is moved by mysterious force called gravity. In both cases, the only thing that can be observed is the sun's movement, both the god Ra and the force are abstract entities which cannot be observed. Both the Ancient Egyptian and the modern day scientist have to resort to unobservable metaphysical objects for their theory to be meaningful, otherwise they don't have a theory, they just have a bunch of observations. The concept of force seems more "rational" to us only because we have gotten accustomed in Western culture to concept, but to a truly neutral and empirically minded observer, the idea of a mysterious unseen vector pulling the sun through the sky is just as outlandish as a god on a boat. Both are cultural artifacts.

This is not to say that Greek, Egyptian, Nordic mythology are on the same footing as modern science, Quine is clear in that. Quine wasn't a mystically inclined person trying to bring mythology back to the same level as science. On the contrary he was a materialist, mathematically inclined logician. Modern science produces far better results than mythology in terms of being able to predict reality accurately, and one would be stupid to rely on mythology (or astrology, or faith healing, etc....) instead of the latest scientific theories in predicting reality. But that improvement in accuracy is the only difference, we have no other way of separating science from mythology. Quine's point is that we cannot separate theories into science and non-science, only into good science and bad science.

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Quine famously stated that mythology isdrew a type of primitive scientific explanationcomparison between mythology and science as being different only in degree, not in kind. In his 1951 paper "Two Dogmas of Empiricism", he states:

As an empiricist I continue to think of the conceptual scheme of science as a tool, ultimately, for predicting future experience in the light of past experience. Physical objects are conceptually imported into the situation as convenient intermediaries not by definition in terms of experience, but simply as irreducible posits comparable, epistemologically, to the gods of Homer . . . For my part I do, qua lay physicist, believe in physical objects and not in Homer's gods; and I consider it a scientific error to believe otherwise. But in point of epistemological footing, the physical objects and the gods differ only in degree and not in kind. Both sorts of entities enter our conceptions only as cultural posits.

The point he is trying to make is a subtle one. Since the beginning of the 20th century, philosophers of science have been trying to come up with a definitive way of separating science from pseudo-science and mysticism (See this post). This is know as the demarcation problem, and none of the solutions so far have been successful.

Quine is arguing that it is not possible to do so, because no matter how scientific and empirical an explanation gets, it is still based on our language, which is a cultural artifact, not a brute fact of nature.

Consider the following:

An ancient Egyptian observes the sun's movement, and proposes a theory that its movement is due to the god Ra's Sun Boat. A modern scientist observes it and proposes a theory that it is moved by mysterious force called gravity. In both cases, the only thing that can be observed is the suns movement, both the god Ra and the force are abstract entities which cannot be observed. Both the Ancient Egyptian and the modern day scientist have to resort to unobservable metaphysical objects for their theory to be meaningful, otherwise they don't have a theory, they just have a bunch of observations. The concept of force seems more "rational" to us only because we have gotten accustomed in Western culture to concept, but to a truly neutral and empirically minded observer, the idea of a mysterious unseen vector pulling the sun through the sky is just as outlandish as a god on a boat. Both are cultural artifacts.

This is not to say that Greek, Egyptian, Nordic mythology are on the same footing as modern science, Quine is clear in that. Quine wasn't a mystically inclined person trying to bring mythology back to the same level as science. On the contrary he was a materialist, mathematically inclined logician. Modern science produces far better results than mythology in terms of being able to predict reality accurately, and one would be stupid to rely on mythology (or astrology, or faith healing, etc....) instead of the latest scientific theories in predicting reality. But that improvement in accuracy is the only difference, we have no other way of separating science from mythology. Quine's point is that we cannot separate theories into science and non-science, only into good science and bad science.

Quine famously stated that mythology is a type of primitive scientific explanation. In his 1951 paper "Two Dogmas of Empiricism", he states:

As an empiricist I continue to think of the conceptual scheme of science as a tool, ultimately, for predicting future experience in the light of past experience. Physical objects are conceptually imported into the situation as convenient intermediaries not by definition in terms of experience, but simply as irreducible posits comparable, epistemologically, to the gods of Homer . . . For my part I do, qua lay physicist, believe in physical objects and not in Homer's gods; and I consider it a scientific error to believe otherwise. But in point of epistemological footing, the physical objects and the gods differ only in degree and not in kind. Both sorts of entities enter our conceptions only as cultural posits.

The point he is trying to make is a subtle one. Since the beginning of the 20th century, philosophers of science have been trying to come up with a definitive way of separating science from pseudo-science and mysticism (See this post). This is know as the demarcation problem, and none of the solutions so far have been successful.

Quine is arguing that it is not possible to do so, because no matter how scientific and empirical an explanation gets, it is still based on our language, which is a cultural artifact, not a brute fact of nature.

Consider the following:

An ancient Egyptian observes the sun's movement, and proposes a theory that its movement is due to the god Ra's Sun Boat. A modern scientist observes it and proposes a theory that it is moved by mysterious force called gravity. In both cases, the only thing that can be observed is the suns movement, both the god Ra and the force are abstract entities which cannot be observed. Both the Ancient Egyptian and the modern day scientist have to resort to unobservable metaphysical objects for their theory to be meaningful, otherwise they don't have a theory, they just have a bunch of observations. The concept of force seems more "rational" to us only because we have gotten accustomed in Western culture to concept, but to a truly neutral and empirically minded observer, the idea of a mysterious unseen vector pulling the sun through the sky is just as outlandish as a god on a boat. Both are cultural artifacts.

This is not to say that Greek, Egyptian, Nordic mythology are on the same footing as modern science, Quine is clear in that. Quine wasn't a mystically inclined person trying to bring mythology back to the same level as science. On the contrary he was a materialist, mathematically inclined logician. Modern science produces far better results than mythology in terms of being able to predict reality accurately, and one would be stupid to rely on mythology (or astrology, or faith healing, etc....) instead of the latest scientific theories in predicting reality. But that improvement in accuracy is the only difference, we have no other way of separating science from mythology. Quine's point is that we cannot separate theories into science and non-science, only into good science and bad science.

Quine famously drew a comparison between mythology and science as being different only in degree, not in kind. In his 1951 paper "Two Dogmas of Empiricism", he states:

As an empiricist I continue to think of the conceptual scheme of science as a tool, ultimately, for predicting future experience in the light of past experience. Physical objects are conceptually imported into the situation as convenient intermediaries not by definition in terms of experience, but simply as irreducible posits comparable, epistemologically, to the gods of Homer . . . For my part I do, qua lay physicist, believe in physical objects and not in Homer's gods; and I consider it a scientific error to believe otherwise. But in point of epistemological footing, the physical objects and the gods differ only in degree and not in kind. Both sorts of entities enter our conceptions only as cultural posits.

The point he is trying to make is a subtle one. Since the beginning of the 20th century, philosophers of science have been trying to come up with a definitive way of separating science from pseudo-science and mysticism (See this post). This is know as the demarcation problem, and none of the solutions so far have been successful.

Quine is arguing that it is not possible to do so, because no matter how scientific and empirical an explanation gets, it is still based on our language, which is a cultural artifact, not a brute fact of nature.

Consider the following:

An ancient Egyptian observes the sun's movement, and proposes a theory that its movement is due to the god Ra's Sun Boat. A modern scientist observes it and proposes a theory that it is moved by mysterious force called gravity. In both cases, the only thing that can be observed is the suns movement, both the god Ra and the force are abstract entities which cannot be observed. Both the Ancient Egyptian and the modern day scientist have to resort to unobservable metaphysical objects for their theory to be meaningful, otherwise they don't have a theory, they just have a bunch of observations. The concept of force seems more "rational" to us only because we have gotten accustomed in Western culture to concept, but to a truly neutral and empirically minded observer, the idea of a mysterious unseen vector pulling the sun through the sky is just as outlandish as a god on a boat. Both are cultural artifacts.

This is not to say that Greek, Egyptian, Nordic mythology are on the same footing as modern science, Quine is clear in that. Quine wasn't a mystically inclined person trying to bring mythology back to the same level as science. On the contrary he was a materialist, mathematically inclined logician. Modern science produces far better results than mythology in terms of being able to predict reality accurately, and one would be stupid to rely on mythology (or astrology, or faith healing, etc....) instead of the latest scientific theories in predicting reality. But that improvement in accuracy is the only difference, we have no other way of separating science from mythology. Quine's point is that we cannot separate theories into science and non-science, only into good science and bad science.

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Quine famously stated that mythology is a type of primitive scientific explanation. In his 1951 paper "Two Dogmas of Empiricism", he states:

As an empiricist I continue to think of the conceptual scheme of science as a tool, ultimately, for predicting future experience in the light of past experience. Physical objects are conceptually imported into the situation as convenient intermediaries not by definition in terms of experience, but simply as irreducible posits comparable, epistemologically, to the gods of Homer . . . For my part I do, qua lay physicist, believe in physical objects and not in Homer's gods; and I consider it a scientific error to believe otherwise. But in point of epistemological footing, the physical objects and the gods differ only in degree and not in kind. Both sorts of entities enter our conceptions only as cultural posits.

The point he is trying to make is a subtle one. Since the beginning of the 20th century, philosophers of science have been trying to come up with a definitive way of separating science from pseudo-science and mysticism (See this post). This is know as the demarcation problem, and none of the solutions so far have been successful.

Quine is arguing that it is not possible to do so, because no matter how scientific and empirical an explanation gets, it is still based on our language, which is a cultural artifact, not a brute fact of nature.

Consider the following:

An ancient Egyptian observes the sun's movement, and proposes a theory that its movement is due to the god Ra's Sun Boat. A modern scientist observes it and proposes a theory that it is moved by mysterious force called gravity. In both cases, the only thing that can be observed is the suns movement, both the god Ra and the force are abstract entities which cannot be observed. Both the Ancient Egyptian and the modern day scientist have to resort to unobservable metaphysical objects for their theory to be meaningful, otherwise they don't have a theory, they just have a bunch of observations. The concept of force seems more "rational" to us only because we have gotten accustomed in Western culture to concept, but to a truly neutral and empirically minded observer, the idea of a mysterious unseen vector pulling the sun through the sky is just as outlandish as a god on a boat. Both are cultural artifacts.

This is not to say that Greek, Egyptian, Nordic mythology are on the same footing as modern science, Quine is clear in that. Quine wasn't a mystically inclined person trying to bring mythology back to the same level as science. On the contrary he was a materialist, mathematically inclined logiciana materialist, mathematically inclined logician. Modern science produces far better results than mythology in terms of being able to predict reality accurately, and one would be stupid to rely on mythology (or astrology, or faith healing, etc....) instead of the latest scientific theories in predicting reality. But that improvement in accuracy is the only difference, we have no other way of separating science from mythology. Quine's point is that we cannot separate theories into science and non-science, only into good science and bad science.

Quine famously stated that mythology is a type of primitive scientific explanation. In his 1951 paper "Two Dogmas of Empiricism", he states:

As an empiricist I continue to think of the conceptual scheme of science as a tool, ultimately, for predicting future experience in the light of past experience. Physical objects are conceptually imported into the situation as convenient intermediaries not by definition in terms of experience, but simply as irreducible posits comparable, epistemologically, to the gods of Homer . . . For my part I do, qua lay physicist, believe in physical objects and not in Homer's gods; and I consider it a scientific error to believe otherwise. But in point of epistemological footing, the physical objects and the gods differ only in degree and not in kind. Both sorts of entities enter our conceptions only as cultural posits.

The point he is trying to make is a subtle one. Since the beginning of the 20th century, philosophers of science have been trying to come up with a definitive way of separating science from pseudo-science and mysticism (See this post). This is know as the demarcation problem, and none of the solutions so far have been successful.

Quine is arguing that it is not possible to do so, because no matter how scientific and empirical an explanation gets, it is still based on our language, which is a cultural artifact, not a brute fact of nature.

Consider the following:

An ancient Egyptian observes the sun's movement, and proposes a theory that its movement is due to the god Ra's Sun Boat. A modern scientist observes it and proposes a theory that it is moved by mysterious force called gravity. In both cases, the only thing that can be observed is the suns movement, both the god Ra and the force are abstract entities which cannot be observed. Both the Ancient Egyptian and the modern day scientist have to resort to unobservable metaphysical objects for their theory to be meaningful, otherwise they don't have a theory, they just have a bunch of observations. The concept of force seems more "rational" to us only because we have gotten accustomed in Western culture to concept, but to a truly neutral and empirically minded observer, the idea of a mysterious unseen vector pulling the sun through the sky is just as outlandish as a god on a boat. Both are cultural artifacts.

This is not to say that Greek, Egyptian, Nordic mythology are on the same footing as modern science, Quine is clear in that. Quine wasn't a mystically inclined person trying to bring mythology back to the same level as science. On the contrary he was a materialist, mathematically inclined logician. Modern science produces far better results than mythology in terms of being able to predict reality accurately, and one would be stupid to rely on mythology (or astrology, or faith healing, etc....) instead of the latest scientific theories in predicting reality. But that improvement in accuracy is the only difference, we have no other way of separating science from mythology. Quine's point is that we cannot separate theories into science and non-science, only into good science and bad science.

Quine famously stated that mythology is a type of primitive scientific explanation. In his 1951 paper "Two Dogmas of Empiricism", he states:

As an empiricist I continue to think of the conceptual scheme of science as a tool, ultimately, for predicting future experience in the light of past experience. Physical objects are conceptually imported into the situation as convenient intermediaries not by definition in terms of experience, but simply as irreducible posits comparable, epistemologically, to the gods of Homer . . . For my part I do, qua lay physicist, believe in physical objects and not in Homer's gods; and I consider it a scientific error to believe otherwise. But in point of epistemological footing, the physical objects and the gods differ only in degree and not in kind. Both sorts of entities enter our conceptions only as cultural posits.

The point he is trying to make is a subtle one. Since the beginning of the 20th century, philosophers of science have been trying to come up with a definitive way of separating science from pseudo-science and mysticism (See this post). This is know as the demarcation problem, and none of the solutions so far have been successful.

Quine is arguing that it is not possible to do so, because no matter how scientific and empirical an explanation gets, it is still based on our language, which is a cultural artifact, not a brute fact of nature.

Consider the following:

An ancient Egyptian observes the sun's movement, and proposes a theory that its movement is due to the god Ra's Sun Boat. A modern scientist observes it and proposes a theory that it is moved by mysterious force called gravity. In both cases, the only thing that can be observed is the suns movement, both the god Ra and the force are abstract entities which cannot be observed. Both the Ancient Egyptian and the modern day scientist have to resort to unobservable metaphysical objects for their theory to be meaningful, otherwise they don't have a theory, they just have a bunch of observations. The concept of force seems more "rational" to us only because we have gotten accustomed in Western culture to concept, but to a truly neutral and empirically minded observer, the idea of a mysterious unseen vector pulling the sun through the sky is just as outlandish as a god on a boat. Both are cultural artifacts.

This is not to say that Greek, Egyptian, Nordic mythology are on the same footing as modern science, Quine is clear in that. Quine wasn't a mystically inclined person trying to bring mythology back to the same level as science. On the contrary he was a materialist, mathematically inclined logician. Modern science produces far better results than mythology in terms of being able to predict reality accurately, and one would be stupid to rely on mythology (or astrology, or faith healing, etc....) instead of the latest scientific theories in predicting reality. But that improvement in accuracy is the only difference, we have no other way of separating science from mythology. Quine's point is that we cannot separate theories into science and non-science, only into good science and bad science.

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