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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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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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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Are philosophy and science mergeable today?

In the past, both Philosophy and Science were one. However, because of the vastness of Science, it was cut off. I am inclined to go along the same line of thinking, but, is there a way to merge both ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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How is Bayesian reasoning related to the scientific method?

Back in September 2006, Scott Aaronson wrote a famous blog post giving 10 Reasons to believe that N!=NP. In March 2014, he wrote a more ambitious post about The scientific case for N!=NP. He claims: "...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Will fundamental physics eventually become an aesthetic construction and proceed on aesthetic grounds?

Consider the following argument: Proposition 1: The language of physics (as an empirical science) is mathematics. I think this should be uncontroversial to the majority of working physicists. ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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Are humans becoming more hive-like? Does this have philosophical implications?

Have any philosophers taken up human hive-like behaviour and its implications? EO Wilson and others have outlined eusociality, a mode of group selection acting in addition to selection at the ...
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How might science (particularly theoretical physics) be able to approach god?

I've searched over the internet but I've found no satisfactory answer so far , How might science (Particularly theoretical physics) be able to approach god? If we make the assumption that a super-...
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Can we dispense with ontology in physics?

Is it possible to have a satisfactory physics which is content to describe everything in terms of operational (functional) properties? Could it therefore be the case that ontology is a useless concept ...
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How to justify Occam's Razor?

I'm aware of a few justifications for Occam's (or Ockham) Razor, as it's usually understood that extra factors/complexities should not be added unnecessarily. The only truly compelling justification I ...
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Does Albert Einstein's interpretation of Ockham's razor violate it?

An often-quoted version of Ockham's razor (that can not be verified as being posited by Einstein himself) says "Everything should be kept as simple as possible, but no simpler." Doesn't it violate ...