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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6
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2answers
412 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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997 views

Are “'why' questions” useful in or applicable to the study of science?

Based on the lively discussion of this question over at physics.stackexchange, I thought it might be useful to ask it here as well. The kernel of the debate is whether or not "why" questions are ...
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Is it logically valid to say that an event will happen if all the conditions favouring that event are present?

Is it valid to say that if all the conditions for an event E to happen will happen if all the conditions favorable for it to happens namely n1,n2,n3.... are present & all the factors which may ...
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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 ...
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What responses have there been to Mises' theory of praxeology?

In his treatise Human Action, Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises attempts to establish economics not as an empirical science, or a mathematical theory, but as a synthetic a priori endeavor he ...
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217 views

What is the philosophical status of interpretations of a scientific theory?

What constitutes an interpretation of a scientific theory? Are interpretations subject to scientific criteria like falsifiability, repeatability, etc, or are they philosophical comments? And finally, ...
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9answers
588 views

Why does science carry so much weight in philosophy when it is highly fallacious?

Science works like this: We observe some phenomenon X. We form one or more hypothesis about what the relationship between X and something else might be. We evaluate the predictive power of the ...
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3answers
8k views

What is the contrast between Hume's and Locke's philosophies of science?

I'm writing an essay on Hume and was hoping to contrast his empiricism to Locke's in it. I have come across a commentary, which doesn't go into great depth; could someone explain it in a little ...
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163 views

Are QM interpretations physics or philosophy?

Are QM interpretations physics or philosophy? I asked a question on physics.stackexchange, and was told they were philosophy. Does anyone disagree?
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1answer
494 views

What is the relation between calculus and Aristotle's view of infinite divisibility?

According to an article by Rowan, Aristotle very practically, pointed out that there was a threshold to get something moving when there is resistance to friction: 'one man cannot move a ship' as ...
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449 views

Thermodynamics of Occam's Razor

Occam's Razor states, essentially, that among hypotheses with similar explanatory power, the simplest hypothesis should be favored as the most plausible. Thermodynamics states, at zero temperature, ...
6
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3answers
195 views

Why do realists not define measurement?

I have recently read that different interpretation of QM define measurement differently, but that some realists (examples?) refuse to define measurement at all..why is this? I'm taking a class on the ...
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192 views

Is it possible to construct falsifiable evolutionary hypotheses about behaviour?

My question is very much contained in the title. Most human behaviours are the object of many hypotheses based in the theory of evolution. Usually an hypothesis will arise as a model that explains a ...
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2answers
582 views

Structural Realism vs. Scientific Formalism?

How exactly do structural realism and scientific formalism differ? Are they compatible, or is this another rehashing of, say, the rationalism vs. idealism debate? I know Galileo, Kepler, et al. were ...
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260 views

What is the tradition of reasoning behind Archimedes's “a priori” derivation of the law of the lever?

Today we get the law of the lever by empirical experiment or see it as a special case of the principle of least action. Assuming only gravity acts, with weights of masses m₁, m₂ and corresponding ...
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293 views

Have any philosophers applied the concept of “underdetermination” to non-scientific contexts?

Most resources I've found on underdetermination approach the subject within the context of science. That's definitely a fascinating area of study, but I'd like to explore ways of applying ...
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1answer
354 views

Should modern empiricists embrace string theory?

Conventional wisdom says "no", lack of new predictions being the main criticism. Johansson and Matsubara review string theory from various empiricist perspectives, and the best they can say (for ...
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4answers
305 views

Is there a boundary on 'physical'?

I have asserted many times here that physicalism as degraded into an undecidable question, and I would like to see how strong my understanding is. It seems to me that whenever we approach the ...
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3answers
302 views

Suggested intro level readings for Realism vs. Anti-Realism in Philosophy of Science?

So I'll likely be teaching an undergraduate class on Realism vs. Anti-Realism in the Philosophy of Science next fall. I figured I'd fish for some suggestions on accessible and engaging literature in ...
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168 views

On the determination of scientific consensus

The question: Are there any philosophers or sociologists who have written about the process in which the scientific community decides that a body of evidence is enough to consider a particular theory ...
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2answers
344 views

Does Quine consider the Homeric gods to have predictive power?

Quine wrote in his 1951 paper "Two Dogmas of Empiricism": "Physical objects are conceptually imported into the situation as convenient intermediaries not by definition in terms of experience, but ...
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1answer
310 views

What is Feyerabend advocating when he says that science should be separate from the state just as the church is?

In the closing chapter of "Against Method", Feyerabend states that: "Science is neither a single tradition, nor the best tradition there is, except for people who have become accustomed to its ...
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471 views

Why is Hesperus necessarily Phosphorus?

"Hesperus (the evening star) is Phosphorus (the morning star)" is one of Kripke's examples of necessary aposteriori, statements that are true necessarily if true at all, even if their truth can only ...
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655 views

Where does Aristotle's Posterior Analytics disagree with modern philosophy of science?

Aristotle's Posterior Analytics is the basis of the modern scientific method of arguing from effects to the causes of things ("demonstration quia" or "a posteriori"). The ideal [of a unified ...
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1answer
104 views

Prominence of Scientific Realism and Anti-Realism

Just what is the current dominant view on the realism/anti-realism debate on the matter of science? I have read from multiple sources that there is a consistent back-and-forth, but does academic ...
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1answer
367 views

Are there some facets of perceptual experience which cannot be characterized as conceptual?

Some philosophers (e.g John McDowell) argue that the content of perceptual experience is necessarily characterized by conceptual terms; namely - the content of the experience is entirely built of ...
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700 views

Is there a term for the absence of evidence fallacy with regard to scientific falsification?

If one looks at the roots of science, it is not founded on being right, but on being easy to prove wrong. Popper's concept of falsification puts this in words. I see many who see the absence of ...
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306 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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4answers
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How did philosophy react to empirical psychology when there have been disagreements?

The very first laboratory in psychology was developed by Wundt, a professor of philosophy, in late 1800s. And indeed the early psychology seemed very close to armchair philosophy. Freud's theories ...
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1answer
180 views

Is there still any philosopher who supports the incompatibility thesis in the social sciences?

The incompatibility thesis asserts that quantitative and qualitative research paradigms are inherently different from each other. Their irreconcilable differences prevent the possibility of a mixed-...
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Assessing the Ethics of Building Unsafe Structures

While doing a Ethics for Engineer's subunit (a few months ago), I came up with the follow problem, and have been wondering about it since. As an Engineer, you may be asked to build a water treatment ...
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3answers
158 views

To which extent can we understand the brain?

If single cells or populations highly dependent of sensory input can often be modeled with so called receptive fields. For neurons and populations close to some motor output, they can be modeled with ...
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7answers
865 views

Does truth not require belief?

The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.--Neil Degrasse Tyson Such scientific medievalism runs rampant today and speaks to the propaganda of vacuous ...
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485 views

Should a mathematician/physicist know any philosophy?

mathematics is full of circular reasoning, infinite regress and paradoxes. It may be exist, it may be fictional. Of course, it has no more infinite regress than any other discipline that depends on ...
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713 views

Is science a social process, rather than a method for finding the truth?

I have encountered an argument that I find interesting, but cannot understand the principles behind. It is simply as the title states: Science is not a method for finding the truth, it is a method ...
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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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10answers
3k views

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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231 views

Should viable philosophical theories not always be consistent with science?

One of the phenomena of modern philosophy which has troubled me, particularly in the discussion of analytical metaphysics, is its almost complete disregard for established science. It's as if ...
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289 views

Can science claim to explain all experience?

If so, how strong a claim? To expand the question: if there is a god that can be experienced, does that experience escape science? And a third question: can humans define something, or work with ...
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4answers
2k views

A proposition is non-falsifiable. So what?

Does Karl Popper argue that non-falsifiable theories are not true/have no truth value, or simply that they are not provable? Put another way: according to Popper, could a non-falsifiable theory ...
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833 views

Is isotope dating falsifiable?

I'd like to ask if the dating " saying something has existed for XXXX years " is scientific ? When i try to apply the criterion of being falsifiable i find that the dating fails to satisfy that ...
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419 views

Can mathematics be political?

The Liverpool Tate have an exhibition currently running that discusses the dialectic between politics and art - the situationists, Bertolt Brecht and earlier the patronage of the court. Mathematics, (...
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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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1answer
431 views

Occams principle is seen as a corner-stone of modern science, are there any examples where its opposite is shown to be useful?

Occams razor states that given a choice between differing explanations one should always choose the simplest. Of course this begs the question as to what one could mean by simplest. I'm interested in ...
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7answers
334 views

If nothing happens, does time still pass?

This question may have been asked before; actually, it's definitely been asked before, since it's on the topic of whether time is real or a man-made construct, but I don't believe it has yet been ...
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533 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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668 views

Would Popper's philosophy become pragmatist without the idea of getting closer to “The Truth”?

Popper believed that scientific knowledge is obtained through conjectures and refutations; the refutation of Newton's theory by Einstein is an example. He also believed that in this way science ...
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Is the claim that atheism is the null hypothesis invalid because it applies a physical measurement to the metaphysical?

I've heard several people state that: Atheism is the null hypothesis. ie that this null hypothesis can be falsified: if one piece of evidence is found to contradict it, the existence is considered ...
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Origin of the idea that something can't be proved, only disproved

Does anyone know if the idea that something can't be proved, only disproved has a specific origin? I often hear it and would like to make a reference to it in a term paper I'm writing. Is it from the ...
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250 views

One big theory of Everything (TOE) or multiple “domain specific” theories?

It's common to hear that physicists are trying to find a Theory of everything (TOE). We "logically" consider the more elegant / concise theory as true ... because beauty is thruth ... or is it ? What ...