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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Does going from a singular to existential statement make it non-scientific for Popper?

In "The Logic of Scientific Discovery" (section 15) Popper argues that an 'isolated' (a term he introduced in the English translation, which seems to be used in a very vague way) purely existential ...
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4answers
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What does this Jacques Hadamard quote mean?

What does this Jacques Hadamard quote mean? The shortest path between two truths in the real domain passes through the complex domain. Is this a philosophical statement? what is its mathematical ...
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Is compatibilism still considered a valid approach to free will?

Has the Free Will Theorem of Conway and Kochen been taken seriously by the philosophical community? Is compatibilism still considered a valid approach to free will?
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In what way can theism and science co-exist?

Probably the most cliche question ever, but I never got a good answer so I'll ask it anyway: How can science and theism co-exist? Even if we forget that the two have entirely different ideas about how ...
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8answers
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What are the fundamental differences between the belief system of science and religious belief systems?

While most religious belief systems affirm the existence of certain things, the belief system of (natural) science tends to deny the existence of certain "not-reproducible" things. Let's look at two ...
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8answers
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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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9answers
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Does Popper's theory of falsification apply to mathematics?

Mathematics is generally & popularly judged a science in the basic duality: science - humanities. As enemies and collaborationists. The border heavily & fiercely policed. However, it seems to ...
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6answers
901 views

How to demonstrate causation if correlation isn't sufficient?

It is widely known that correlation does not necessarily imply causation. However, after recognizing that the correlation alone doesn't prove causation, what needs to happen in order to evaluate ...
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1answer
472 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 ...
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825 views

What is nothing?

In Lawrence Krauss' book A Universe From Nothing he portrays "nothing" as a physical state. He says that nothing is found by removing all of what we know to be things (particles, electrons etc). I've ...
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2answers
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What are the philosophical implications of the Higgs mechanism in theoretical physics?

The higgs mechanism is a mechanism by which gives gauge bosons their mass, by absorbing the goldstone bosons appearing in the goldstone theorem. I found this mechanism very mathematically beautiful, ...
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4answers
333 views

Is Information considered a genuine concept from physics?

Everybody agrees that the concepts of energy and momentum or the concept of spacetime are genuine concepts from physics. Not only that these concepts are used in physics. They are made precise in ...
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315 views

How can we take the ontologies of our best physical theories seriously?

It seems to me that numerous features of our best physical theories thus far (most notably in my humble and near-meaningless opinion: the whole notion of renormalization in quantum field theory) ...
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3answers
521 views

What other philosophy of mind books might be recommended if I like John Searle?

What other philosophy of mind books might be recommended if I like John Searle? I am an engineer who is interested in AI and the possibility of machines become able to think and the philosophy behind ...
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Does the recent “uproar” against Philosophy have any historical roots?

For instance, Stephen Hawking once claimed: Philosophy is dead Figures such as Einstein were quite interested in the Philosophy of science. In addition to this, a fair amount of Philosophers were ...
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What is Nietzsche saying about Physics in Beyond Good and Evil?

There is some confusion in my philosophy class about Nietzsche's statements on physics in section 14 of Beyond Good and Evil. The specific portion in question is below, although as with all of ...
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What are the philosophical implications of the uncertainty principle?

What, if any, are the major philosophical consequences of the uncertainty principle? Wikipedia describes the principle this way: [T]he principle implies that it is impossible to simultaneously ...
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What do Philosophers think about the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics?

One of the interpretations of quantum mechanics is the Many Worlds Interpretation which basically states that the universe as a whole develops like an unobserved quantum system, and any observation ...
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160 views

Is the justificationist theory of meaning compatible with scientific realism?

Can a realist picture adapt itself to the justificationist world view? The question might sound self contradictory. But here is where my question coming from. If you consider quantum theory as a ...
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840 views

What does Whitehead mean by calling science anti-rational?

In Science and the Modern World, Whitehead writes: Science has never shaken off the impress of its origin in the historical revolt of the later renaissance. It has remained predominantly an anti-...
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7answers
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If the universe is infinite, shouldn't I already have been contacted by a time and space travelling doppelgänger?

If the universe is infinite, by virtue of chance it means that every possible configuration of matter must exist somewhere (according to this documentary). Therefore, if the universe is infinite and ...
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6answers
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Why are homologies evidence for evolution instead of common design?

I have seen some creationists arguing that when evolutionary biologists use homologies (anatomical or genetic) as evidence for evolution, they are committing the fallacy of affirming the consequent. ...
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3answers
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Does Darwin owe a debt to Hegel?

I just realized that Darwin's theory of evolution is very much historicist, and resembles Hegel's notion of an arc of history: evolution is progressive and moves with purpose in an almost dialectical ...
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Is homeopathy verifiable?

Would homeopathy be verifiable according to the logic positivists (and thus science)? On the one hand, one could, in principle, observe patients recovering after being given a homeopathic medicine. ...
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Why did Hegel hate Newton?

A quick skim through the "Inorganic Physics" section of Hegel's Encyclopedia shows 5 separate paragraphs with reference to Newton, and all of them are disparaging. If there's a real philosophical ...
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734 views

Is the idea of dividing the universe into particles anything more than a convenience?

In theory, we speak of a particle as having properties. In reality, the measurement of any property is just an interaction between the target to be measured, and the measuring apparatus, where the ...
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654 views

To what extent was Galileo's trial a conflict between science and religion?

In an answer to another question (https://philosophy.stackexchange.com/a/50328/8160), I mentioned Galileo as an example of religion contradicting science. Several comments criticised that. I posted ...
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Is scientific progress an illusion?

I was reading CS Lewis's ideas on Chronological snobbery. What stuck to me is the question of whether in a century's time we are all going to bemoan how ignorant humanity was in the 21'st century. ...
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What might be some of the most significant philosophical implications of a technological singularity?

Several prominent futurologists and technologists, most importantly Kurzweil and Moravec, have projected varying timelines for a forthcoming technological singularity in the next century or even few ...
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Should multiverse theories be rebranded as meta physics?

I answered a question here with a quote with the following quote from Cosmologist George Ellis. “Similar claims [about a multiverse] have been made since antiquity by many cultures. What is new is ...
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809 views

How do proponents of the Cosmological argument respond to the nature of time?

How do proponents of the Cosmological argument respond to the nature of time? Is asking what occurred before the Big Bang like asking what is north of the North Pole? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
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819 views

What was Einstein's contribution to philosophy?

Daniel Dennett, in a lecture abut Darwin, mentions Newton, Darwin, Skinner, Turing, Gödel, and Einstein as 6 "non-philosophers" who have had a major impact on philosophy. I can see how the other 5 had ...
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Can science work without mathematical formulations?

Ernst Mayr in his last book titled "What Makes Biology Unique?" argues that many of the theories in biology do not need any mathematical support. He says that much of biology is only conceptual and ...
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398 views

Can we do without Necessity?

It appears that necessity is a dead idea that, unfortunately, only philosophers still gush over. The association of epistemological and logical necessity with ontological necessity ran its course ...
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250 views

The demarcation problem and the materialism/dualism debate?

Presumably the end game of dualist philosophers is to definitively prove the existence of ontologically separate mental states which cannot be reduced to brain states. If they succeed in doing so, ...
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Why do we need a reason for believing that inductive method is necessarily true?

I've been a bit perplexed about the "problem" of induction. Hume challenges other philosophers to come up with a deductive reason for the inductive connection. If the justification of induction ...
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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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2k views

Best books on philosophy of physics

I'm looking for recommendations on graduate level books concerning philosophy and physics, or preferably the philosophy of physics. I'm currently reading 'After Physics' by David Albert, and 'The ...
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What are some cogent responses to Kuhn's “Structure of Scientific Revolutions”?

I find T.S. Kuhn's "Structure of Scientific Revolutions" a little sloppy (some unclear definitions and some terms that lack precision or are used ambiguously), but with a charitable reading it tells a ...
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What are the consequences of pragmatism for empirical research?

Positivism tells us that only what is verifiable exists. Therefore scientists should study only what they can observe and measure, through which they can explain natural or social phenomena. ...
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338 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 ...
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What is wrong with Popper's theory of falsification? [duplicate]

Popper popularized the notion that empirical science can not be verified, only falsified. Isn't he right? How can someone verify a theory? To me, it does not seem possible. However, you can easily ...
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How does Kant respond to Hume's problem of induction?

It's generally well-known that Kant was responding, amongst other influences, to Hume's critique of the empirical method on purely logical grounds. One could consider him as a modern-day Pyrrhonniste. ...
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458 views

Stronger evidence for Feyerabend's critique of self-consistency

Background Many physicists use 'reality cannot have a true paradox, only apparent ones in our theory' as a very common maximum and guide to theory checking. As with all universal rules, Paul ...
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Is Popper's Solution to the Problem of Induction still valid?

Popper (negativly) solved the problem of induction by showing that there is no class of sentences (analytic/synthetic, a priori/a posteriori) in which a principle of induction can be phrased without ...
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931 views

Roko's Basilisk as Descartes' evil genius?

I'll try to pose a shortened version of Roko's Basilisk below and then ask about how it relates to Descartes' evil genius: The idea is that down the line may it be decades or centuries from now, ...
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What are the most basic assumptions one has to make in order to conduct science?

I often wondered: What are the most basic assumptions I have to make before I can even start thinking about life, universe and the rest? So far I have boiled them down to three: There is a world, a ...
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What did Russell intend to achieve with “The Impact of Science on Society”?

I have been reading Russell's "The Impact of Science on Society" and I found it to be a very strange book. This book has become like a Bible to some conspiracy theorists, and I can see why. However, I ...
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What are the most significant philosophical consequences of instrumentalism?

Are there any significant philosophical consequences to the instrumentalist view of the universe? Does it quickly become a distinction without a difference (perhaps simply inline with pragmatism?), ...
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How can a belief in God be reconciled with modern science?

My question is this: How can someone living in such a world and age possibly believe in God? To elaborate, I think I understand where religion and the belief in supernatural stems from. It was our ...