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Questions tagged [philosophy-of-science]

for applied philosophical questions about the study of science, the pursuit of scientific knowledge, and the scientific method

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4
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4answers
2k views

Can a non-falsifiable belief ever be justified (besides for tautologies)?

Probably thanks to Popper, a scientific theory would never be taken seriously if it wasn't as least in some way falsifiable. Without getting into the nitty-gritty of the many theories of justification,...
55
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17answers
13k views

Why aren't creationism and natural science on the same intellectual level?

In the infamous creation museum a strategically very shrewd exhibit, where a scientist and a biblical scholar both study the same fossils, is being presented: The sign says “different scientists ...
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15answers
22k views

Why does the universe obey scientific laws?

As far as anyone is aware, the universe consistently acts according to predictable laws (and scientific inquiry exists to determine those laws). Is there any metaphysical reason for this? Is such a ...
44
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15answers
9k views

Is Mathematics always correct?

It seems Mathematical theories/Laws/Formulas are the least questioned in all of the sciences. Is mathematics that good at being closest to the laws of universe, or is it just a logical tool of our own ...
32
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18answers
7k views

What is the purpose of the universe?

There are two extremes known as creationism vs evolutionism. Let's consider creationism for a moment, and imagine that God exists, and he/she has created us. The question that obsesses my mind after ...
34
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16answers
15k views

Fundamental idea on proving God's existence with science

I think that proving God's existence or any deity from any culture with the rigors of science is fundamentally absurd. The popular arguments usually involve space-time and the big bang theory. (I ...
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12answers
5k views

What should philosophers know about math and natural sciences?

My question is whether a lack of knowledge about formal mathematics or theoretical science in general would have an impact on a philosopher's ability to think and make judgments. Why should a ...
14
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8answers
2k views

What is the philosophy behind the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics?

Perhaps it is a stereotype, but I assumed that most physicists are empirical realists (external reality affects our senses, and science infers a representation of it from sensory data). At the same ...
14
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5answers
745 views

Can philosophy overcome “the two cultures” divide?

Snow noted a growing divide between "the two cultures" in Western society, scientists and "literary intellectuals", who became increasingly self-absorbed and incomprehensible to each other. One of ...
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6answers
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Thinkers and scientists opposed to philosophy?

I have heard of some thinkers having negative opinions on the use of philosophy. I want to understand this point of view. I would like to know the names of some thinkers, and especially scientists, ...
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6answers
4k views

How is Philosophy related to Science?

I asked this question about Scientism and the answers there quite brilliantly explained to me why Scientism is philosophically inconsistent. But I just want to know: What is the relationship between ...
11
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9answers
1k views

Is a proof still valid if only the author understands it?

Some time ago I was reading about the recent Shinichi Mochizuki's proof for the famous ABC conjecture. It's enormous and so incredibly difficult that at that time virtually nobody was able to ...
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10answers
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Is atheism or agnosticism more rational?

While there is still widespread disagreement regarding the existing definition of atheism, it is normally considered as the "Rejection of belief in the existence of deities". One accepted definition ...
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7answers
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Is scientism a self defeating epistemology?

Some who have argued against the validity of scientism have argued that the view that only science can uncover truth is not a scientific discovery but rather a epistemology. Hence it has been claimed ...
12
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4answers
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What makes Humans different from a chemical computer?

Are we all robots? Is our DNA the 0's and 1's of computer code? Are we an advanced computer system, with instead of keyboard and mouse input... input from our senses. Our database being our brain ...
10
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6answers
553 views

Can one speak unambiguously of “The” Scientific Method?

When people in general discuss science, they talk about the scientific method as if it was a fixed and universally agreed upon principle. In a show I saw recently by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, he explicitly ...
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4answers
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Is there a modern, secular argument for the soul?

In modern times it is common to think the soul is a religious belief. Even though the original arguments for the soul were not religious (e.g. Plato and Aristotle, and more recently Descartes, ...
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5answers
796 views

Can we know the fundamental nature of space and time?

Can you please point me to an argument by a notable contemporary philosopher arguing why we may know the fundamental (metaphysical) nature of space and time? In a recent answer to a question I wrote ...
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5answers
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How do quantum-mechanical worlds relate to possible worlds?

I am not really familiar with the metaphysics of the "worlds" from the Many Worlds Interpretation of QM. How do these worlds relate to possible worlds in the Lewisian sense? Lewis wrote a short piece ...
5
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3answers
525 views

Do theories come from observations or do they determine what is observed?

While re-reading Shimon Malin’s “Nature Loves to Hide” I was trying to get a better grasp of the distinction between Ernst Mach’s philosophy that theory comes from observable magnitudes alone and what ...
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4answers
1k views

Cantor and infinities

I know we have accepted Cantor's ideas a long time ago and many mathematicians use sets and infinities without ever realizing that thinking about sets and infinities intuitively fails, because there ...
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5answers
1k views

Does anyone argue that Karl Popper's theory of critical rationalism does not meet its own conditions?

I am a huge fan of Dr. Popper's work, and particularly his theory that the property of falsifiability separates the scientific from the non-scientific. However, it struck me that this theory does not ...
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8answers
3k views

In what sense if any could something without mass or energy exist?

I have long been interested in physics as (working toward) a description of absolute truth and, as a consequence, have had a number of discussions with people with religious and metaphysical beliefs ...
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7answers
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How does induction relate to falsifiability?

I was thinking about the question How can I know that I am not immortal? and started wondering about the relation between induction and falsifiability. Regarding the cited question, one thinks: well, ...
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4answers
2k views

Physics, Theoretical Understanding and the Limits of Human Knowledge/Understanding

During an interview with Discover magazine, Roger Penrose makes the claim that a lot of the most theoretical physics, a la the physical theories that try to account for the discrepancies and ...
3
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2answers
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Industrial Society and its Future [closed]

Ted Kaczynski, also known as the “Unabomber,” was born on May 22, 1942, in Illinois. A mathematics prodigy, Kaczynski taught at the University of California at Berkeley before retreating to a ...
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6answers
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What does “to cause” mean?

What does it mean, strictly, for one event to "cause" another? If I throw a ball, does the movement of my arm cause the ball to move, or are they simply correlated events? If you say the arm caused ...
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6answers
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Why should science be falsifiable?

Why should science be falsifiable? Furthermore, should disciplines - like astrophysics that are extremely hard to experiment on - be considered as a science in a standing point of philosophy? I know ...
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8answers
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Does the electromagnetic field physically exist?

I really don't know much about philosophy, but my question is whether philosophers have a notion of "physically exists" and what it would mean. I would say it's clear that a particle like an electron ...
7
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1answer
411 views

What are the relations between supervenience, grounding and emergence in philosophy of science?

So, I am wondering if anyone could help me with the notions of grounding (supervenience?) and emergence in the modern discussions in philosophy of science. What are they and what is the relation ...
6
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7answers
302 views

Is mathematics a mental idea?

Is mathematics a mental idea? According to this answer, a mental idea cannot exist without a mind. If mathematics is a mental idea, what does this imply about the laws of physics which can be ...
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5answers
579 views

Would a theoretical decision maker subscribing to the following principles decide against human abortion?

I'd like to ask a purely logical question (with no regards to personal "opinion" or religion) about the interpretation of science on the matter of abortion in the situation of a decision being made ...
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7answers
1k views

When people say I need evidence to believe in God, what constitutes 'evidence'?

In the debate of whether or not God exists, which is often used to ridicule those that do believe in God as simple idiots who have no brains, the premise if often thrown out the there is no 'evidence.'...
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2answers
318 views

Does 'the quantum mind' solve the hard problem of consciousness and how popular is it?

Does 'the quantum mind' solve the hard problem of consciousness and how popular is it among philosophers of science? The hard problem of consciousness is the problem of explaining how and why we ...
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3answers
3k views

Is Mathematics an art or a science? [closed]

Is Mathematics an art or a science? This is a deep question with which I have had many discussions with my friends and teachers.
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3answers
569 views

Philosophers who wrote about limits of knowledge?

What if "the truth" about any concept (consciousness, reality, religion,physics, etc.), turns out to be a complex idea such that our brains can't simply process it in a single lifespan. For example, ...
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4answers
546 views

What can suffice as a scientific proof for God? to what domain can such a proof belong to? [closed]

"Scientific" theories require proof, and there are certain guidelines and standards for the proofs to be acceptable to the "scientific" community in that domain (Algebra, Computer Science, etc.). ...
12
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9answers
713 views

Is there any reason to believe that there are things which science cannot tell us?

Science can only tell us a posteriori synthetic truths, can this category extend to all propositions about the world. Surely the only things which can by known ONLY by a priori analytic are ...
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11answers
7k views

Does philosophy belong to empirical science or formal science?

According to Wikipedia, science can be divided into empirical science (such as natural science and social science) and formal science (such as mathematics, logic, statistics). I was wondering if ...
9
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1answer
468 views

What is the Anti-Realist and Constructionist interpretation of empirical dating methods and existence of the past?

I'm fairly interested in the realism, anti-realism debate and would like to hear, if possible by an anti-realist or constructivist, how dating methods fit into their world view. As a realist, dating ...
8
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4answers
337 views

When trying to identify causality, do we assume “nearness” between cause and effect?

When asking people what causes what, it seems that they assume that causality has something to do with "temporal nearness" and "space nearness". That is: If I turn on the light switch and the lamp ...
6
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2answers
409 views

How should we choose between different theories according to Rorty, based on Kuhn?

Popper tried to distinguish a scientific framework from a non-scientific framework ( like Marxism or Psychoanalysis, according to him) by suggesting the criterion of falsification. Kuhn suggested ...
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7answers
1k views

How can a phenomenon be compatible with several theories?

My teacher was teaching us about path of electrons around a nucleus. He told us that many theories have been proposed about path of an electron and the latest theory is somehow different from saying ...
5
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1answer
224 views

What is Quine's perspective on probability?

I am curious about what Quine's perspective on probability may be and if we can say that the quinean viewpoint on modality can be considered similar to his viewpoint on probability. Is probability ...
5
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3answers
727 views

Does Einstein's local realism in quantum mechanics imply superdeterminism?

Einstein insisted that nature is locally real, which is also know as counterfactual defeniteness and means that results of experiments are predetermined. But, if everything is predetermined in every ...
4
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5answers
616 views

Why should we believe other people, or scientists?

Looking for sourced answers or article references for this question, please. Why should someone believe another person's assertions? I would imagine that the answer is because most of the times when ...
4
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5answers
188 views

Is it possible for two different theories to describe nature correctly without one being reductible into the other?

I suppose the whole thing is already in the title but if I shed some light on the centre of my doubt... In the macroscopic world we tend to have our objects of study "right at hand" but when we start ...
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7answers
2k views

What is the aim of science? [closed]

What is, formulated in a nutshell, the real aim of science? – I doubt that it is explanation. After detailed study, I came to the conclusion that explanation is rather part of technology. ...
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4answers
579 views

What is the role of public intellectual/philosopher in “post truth” world?

The Oxford English Dictionary recently named ‘post- truth’ its word of the year. The term, whose use is said to have increased 2000% in the past year, is defined as: “…relating to or denoting ...
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2answers
224 views

Is Philosophy the source of all other fields of study?

[CONTEXT] I started a self-education plan to learn computer science from foundations. then, I found my self in need to learn electrical engineering, after that I understant that I should learn Physics ...