110

I think part of the problem is: Science doesn't prove anything. Science, at its core, is simply a method of generating testable hypothesis that explain events, which are valued because of their use in predicting future results. Let me give an example. Based on observations, science came up with a theory for an orbital period, correlating orbital speed and ...


24

Like you, I think most uses of the terms 'probable' and 'random' are just epistemic, i.e. they relate to how much information we have. We say of a toss of a coin that it is random, and that there is a probability of (approximately) one half of it falling heads, but this just reflects the information we possess. Tell me more about the force and vector of the ...


23

I would like to argue that the topic (especially the search for proof for it) is rather useless. With a search for evidence, this topic is very similar to the topic of the search for evidence that God exists - which is, naturally, an assumption that brings the term "God" into a field it simply cannot exist in. You can't search for an ontological evidence for ...


16

Attempts to show that God exists by looking at nature such as the Kalam Cosmological Argument can only assert "generic theism", as you rightly point out. If the argument holds, then how does anybody know anything about this god/God? The answer is revelation or prophecy. When theologians talk about revelation, they are talking about ways that God ...


14

I propose that we cannot know whether we are living in a simulation. One of the ways to detect a simulation supposedly is to detect errors from the inside. But there is no reason whatsoever to believe that our version of the universe has anything to do with the real reality. Every last single piece of our physics etc. could be artificial, hand-picked by our ...


13

Introductory remarks This is subject to debate and there is no definite answer. The general consensus is that no definite set of properties can possibly be given and if it is done, these sets are relative to the end they serve and the historical as well as the cultural context, i.e. we live in a "post-essentialist world" (Ramsey 2013) when it comes ...


11

I'm going to posit, admittedly without any research whatsoever about those who've preceded these thoughts, that an "invention" is a kind of "discovery," and that whether a thing qualifies as an invention is—yup, you saw it coming—subjective. For example, we might say that the wheel was "invented" on grounds of (1) non-naturality (originality), ...


10

I believe it is impossible. I recommend you read (if you haven't already) Descartes' meditations where he famously concludes I think therefore I am - http://www.sacred-texts.com/phi/desc/med.txt: Archimedes, in order that he might draw the terrestrial globe out of its place, and transport it elsewhere, demanded only that one point should be fixed and ...


10

I tend to share your puzzlement. A lot of contemporary metaphysicians seem to have an outdated view of physics, not only about determinism but also about locality or mereology. (This was criticized by Ladyman and Ross in "everything must go".) I think the main reasons are the following: Generally, philosophers are not trained in physics (except ...


10

Trying to prove, scientifically, that God exists is probably a bit pointless but it's not necessarily absurd. As with most of science. there's no requirement to try to find a theory of everything in one go. One could, for example, focus on attributes commonly attributed to gods and test for those. You've raised Creation, but there are others. An ...


10

Does thinking imply existing? Descartes argues yes: it is impossible for anything to think which does not exist. Does existing imply thinking? Most people would say no. Most would say that a rock exists, and the rock does not think. Therefore it is possible for something to exist which doesn't think. As such, the basic claim doesn't go both ways. ...


9

Based on your last paragraph, you might be interested in Thomas Nagel's The View From Nowhere. In that, he argues that it is impossible to achieve a completely objective perspective--- what he calls the View From Nowhere. This isn't directly related to your first paragraph, but something you might enjoy. As to your first paragraph, you might find this book ...


9

All knowledge is subdivisions for a more convenient representation. I am not sure what you mean by artificial. That you are a person, and distinct from the air in the room you inhabit, is in some sense artificial, but it would be ludicrously inconvenient to not make that distinction. Likewise with particles. Of course you can play all sorts of other ...


9

I generally take characters on shows to be a different instance of the same person, that is, the name doesn't matter, but in the context of the show the actor is that same actor but in the context of the parallel universe developed for the show. Let's use object orientated because that is freakishly easy notation for this problem. (Consensus Reality).(Wil ...


9

The question refers to ontology. The classification matter or mind is a strong simplification. Popper advocated a tripartition with world 1: physical objects and events world 2: mental objects and events world 3: objective knowledge and ideas created by the human mind. Popper describes his three worlds e.g., in Chapter P2, of Popper, Karl; Eccles, John: ...


9

To focus on the title of the question, there is rather little active research being done around this question, but I'll share what I know. First is a paper from 2012, Constraints on the Universe as a Numerical Simulation (Beane, Davoudi, Savage). This paper talks about running low level physics simulations that scientists currently perform, and draws ...


9

First, I agree with the claim stated in the currently most upvoted answer that the natural sciences do not prove things in the way that the formal sciences, like logic, math, and computer science, prove things, and that the natural sciences cannot give us 100% certainty. However, as an answer to the OP I think the answer falls a bit short. As I see it, we ...


8

What, precisely, do you mean by 'to imagine'? The word itself by it's etymology suggests picturing nothing. This of course is absurd: there is nothing to picture, and we don't have ready experience picturing nothing, not even space. (Or do we?) More generally, we often use 'imagine' to mean to think about what something would "be like". This brings us to ...


8

Most physicists don't accept infinities for a very obvious reason: such infinite physical objects are not quantifiable! That is, we can't measure them or even prove that they are infinite. Through the history of physics, infinities were raised in formulas, and usually in these cases the formulas were thrown away, considered as incomplete, or they kept ...


8

TL;DR: No, he did not! To be precise, things-in-themselves may be objects of thought, i.e. abstract concepts of the realm of logic, and therefore concepts of transcendental philosophy as logically necessary conditions of the possibility of experience. But they cannot be objects of knowledge, i.e. things that are particular objects of experience subsumed ...


8

Douglas Hofstadter would call this a strange loop. If one believes mathematics can "fully describe" reality, one can make a pitch to claim that reality is a subset of mathematics. Empirically, these two would look identical. Tegmark is arguing that you can choose to put reality inside mathematics instead of putting mathematics inside reality. Like all ...


8

There are no counterexamples to Kant's "argument" because it is not an argument. It is a view of predication under which being/existence is not a "real" predicate discussed in Transcendental Dialectic (Chapter III, Section 4): "Anything we please can be made to serve as a logical predicate; the subject can even be predicated of ...


8

This question seems to be a companion to How can something non-physical exist? Some preliminary thoughts: acknowledging the existence of empirical, or even confining physical to empirical, does not presuppose empiricism. Even Parmenides and Plato acknowledged the "sensible", as they called it, even if only as "illusion" or "imitation". Later rationalists, ...


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