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45 votes

Isn't every theory or model wrong?

All models are wrong, and many of them are useful. Newton's model of gravity is wrong in the close vicinity of a black hole, but perfectly useful to predict the paths of rocket launches from earth. ...
niels nielsen's user avatar
31 votes

Is there a way to tell if something is science versus pseudoscience?

This question is closely related to a problem in philosophy of science known as the demarcation problem. A good starting point for broad overview would be the SEP article. To answer you question ...
Avi C's user avatar
  • 1,006
30 votes

Why can't numbers be 'used up'?

Does a song get 'used up' when we sing it? Does a story get 'used up' when we read it? Does a path get 'used up' when we walk it? Forgive the computer science analogy here, but all of these things — ...
Ted Wrigley's user avatar
  • 21.3k
25 votes

Certainty is not possible in science

Science is not a goal, it is a methodology. Within this paradigm is the certain knowledge that the results of scientific endeavor will always be tentative, subject to further refinement as technology ...
niels nielsen's user avatar
20 votes

Why can't numbers be 'used up'?

Actually, your young student friend may be contemplating an astoundingly subtle notion. Linear logic (invented (or is it discovered?) by Jean-Yves Girard) is a substructural logic that's resource-...
eigengrau's user avatar
  • 585
18 votes

What type of fallacy is it when people in undeveloped countries claim something it's true, because developed countries do it?

The fallacy on this specific case is Argumentum Ad Populum (because others do it). For example, several countries, like Bolivia, decreed anachronistic lockdown endings during the Covid-19 pandemic, ...
RodolfoAP's user avatar
  • 7,782
18 votes

Isn't every theory or model wrong?

Before we can say that a model is wrong, we must first ask what exactly we would mean by that. In The Relativity of Wrong, Isaac Asimov discusses the degrees of wrongness of various models of the ...
Sandejo's user avatar
  • 824
16 votes

Does absence of evidence mean evidence of absence?

If you look all over your house for your keys, and do not find them, this provides some evidence - not fully conclusive - that you may have left them somewhere else. The above shows that yes, absence ...
causative's user avatar
  • 14.8k
16 votes

Are there questions that science can't answer, but philosophy can?

Science can't answer ethical questions (though it might provide useful input). For example science can tell us why we love and care for our children (evolution giving rise to instinctive behaviour ...
Dikran Marsupial's user avatar
15 votes
Accepted

Are "aesthetic experiences" limited to art and music?

The short answer is no. For instance, in a topic dear to me, there is talk of the aesthetics of mathematics. From WP: Mathematical beauty is the aesthetic pleasure typically derived from the ...
J D's user avatar
  • 29.2k
15 votes

Should I trust my own thoughts when studying philosophy?

No infinite is less than the other There are actually a wild variety of infinities. See eg Strange but True: Infinity Comes in Different Sizes for an introduction. For a more in-depth picture of ...
CriglCragl's user avatar
  • 22.5k
14 votes

Can we doubt all knowledge?

To answer the question in the title: Yes. That's a key trait of any good scientist. To answer your last question in the body: Because we have no better option to depend on or behave according to.
TCooper's user avatar
  • 275
14 votes

Does philosophy rely on intuitions? If so, does this mean all of philosophy is nothing more than hunches?

Does philosophy rely on intuition? Yes. Does that mean it is nothing more than hunches? No. To conclude so would be the rather elementary fallacy of composition: The fallacy of composition is an ...
J D's user avatar
  • 29.2k
14 votes

Is consciousness causally superfluous?

For me, the strongest argument for consciousness causing physical effects is our ability to make statements about our consciousness. If I move my mouth to say "I have a mind that experiences ...
Kaia's user avatar
  • 329
13 votes

What type of fallacy is it when people in undeveloped countries claim something it's true, because developed countries do it?

Strictly speaking, a fallacy is a specious argument, so unless you have at a BARE minimum, one stated premise, one unstated premise, and a conclusion, you don't have enough to call something a fallacy....
J D's user avatar
  • 29.2k
13 votes
Accepted

How much suffering is needed for an overall happy life?

I recommend this Alan Watts talk, 'Happiness Is Not The Meaning Of Life'. I suggest what you are asking is, exactly how much food should I eat to be happy? Starving will make you unhappy, eating only ...
CriglCragl's user avatar
  • 22.5k
13 votes

Is there a difference between believing something and behaving as if it were true?

Is there a difference between believing something and behaving as if it were true? Yes, and the distinction is recognized in epistemic terminology. Truth that is actually or really true is generally ...
J D's user avatar
  • 29.2k
12 votes
Accepted

Mathematical Platonism. Are numbers real?

By "real" here I assume, by your example, that you're talking about "physically real". And in that case real=experimentally_measurable. And that, in turn, means units. Even your ...
eigengrau's user avatar
  • 585
12 votes

Does prediction really have epistemic value?

You can always find a model that explains the past, but is wrong (so fails to explain the future). Prediction is such a strong indicator of correctness because it means the model still works on ...
kutschkem's user avatar
  • 2,782
12 votes

Isn't every theory or model wrong?

A model is never "wrong", because a model is an abstraction of the territory, not the territory itself. By expecting a "right" model, you expect an absolutely identical territory, ...
RodolfoAP's user avatar
  • 7,782
12 votes
Accepted

How many instances of 1 are there in the expression "1+1"?

The TLDR One can instantiate the numeral '1' in a sequence or multiset multiple times, in a set '1' only once, and the concept of 1 cannot be instantiated more than once ever, given how the concept 1 ...
J D's user avatar
  • 29.2k
12 votes

Should I trust my own thoughts when studying philosophy?

Intuition Is Important in Philosophy However, I am scared to trust my own thoughts lest my ideas are erroneous. Well, coming from a place of fear is a bit irrational since the stakes don't seem to ...
J D's user avatar
  • 29.2k
12 votes

How to prove the world is real, and one isn’t just hallucinating everything?

Two options: this reality is really real, or it isn't. If reality isn't real, you're probably not going to be able to prove it's not real any time soon, nor figure out the real nature of reality. You'...
TKoL's user avatar
  • 3,692
11 votes

Can we doubt all knowledge?

You can of course do anything you want... But to doubt all knowledge is to indulge in radical skepticism, is it not? If we were all radical skeptics, then we'd be living in a world in which knowledge ...
niels nielsen's user avatar
11 votes

Is there a way to tell if something is science versus pseudoscience?

While you already got the very long (and good) answers showing you all the problems with the term "pseudo science" from a deep philosophical viewpoint, there are "litmus tests" ...
AnoE's user avatar
  • 3,084
11 votes
Accepted

Why should I seek to determine the ultimate nature of reality (i.e. whether God exists or not)?

Why should I seek to determine the ultimate nature of reality (i.e. whether God exists or not)? In effect, you are looking for a justification for doing philosophy which you believe is necessary ...
J D's user avatar
  • 29.2k
11 votes

How to prove the world is real, and one isn’t just hallucinating everything?

It sounds like you're asking: How do I know reality is real? So, there are variety of scenarios that have been offered in philosophy that challenge the thinker to think about proof and reality. All ...
J D's user avatar
  • 29.2k
10 votes

Is there a way to tell if something is science versus pseudoscience?

From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's article on Pseudoscience: There is widespread agreement for instance that creationism, astrology, homeopathy, Kirlian photography, dowsing, ufology, ...
J D's user avatar
  • 29.2k
10 votes

Mathematical Platonism. Are numbers real?

Asking whether a number, such as four, is real is like asking whether a word such as 'big' is real. The qualities which we think of as big are real. When we say a football stadium, for example, is big,...
Marco Ocram's user avatar
  • 24.5k

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