26

The answer is a point of contention between realism and anti-realism. Truths that "do not have evidence" are termed verification-transcendent truths (coined by Dummett), and realists are committed to their existence. Anti-realists, on the other hand, hold that unverifiable in principle statements have no truth values. So if no trace of dinosaurs remains, ...


19

Welcome to the demarcation problem of science. What is this thing called science? In lower levels of education, one is often given the impression that 'science', whatever that may be, exists as a monolithic entity. There is no sufficiency and necessity definition of what science is. It's better to say 'sciences' or 'scientific' when speculating as to this ...


13

I accept the framing of your question, on basically all levels, since this is a topic of great interest to me. You will find that the history of physics contains some very nice examples of where completely "abstract" mathematical inventions (i.e., having no apparent relation to reality) were later found to be exactly what was needed to furnish a rigorous ...


12

Colloquial meanings of the two words are pretty close, accidental is "occurring unexpectedly or by chance", contingent is "subject to chance; occurring or existing only if (certain circumstances) are the case; dependent on". If there is a shade of difference, it is that contingent may well be expected as a possibility, albeit along other options, whereas ...


8

Darwin I should have thought that Darwin's theory of evolution does not recognise anything like an 'arc of history'; that evolution is not progressive, and that it moves with no purpose (cf. R.Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker). Darwinian evolution, working causally through random variation and natural selection, is naturalistic, non-directional and non-...


8

What is Science? The Popperian view of science is that a claim is "scientific" if it can be falsified. Science cannot prove that a hypothesis is true, only that it is manifestly false. If economics can make falsifiable claims, then I think it is justified to say such claims are "scientific", at least on some level (the degree of repeatability is certainly ...


7

The notion of evolution in the sense of different species descending from a common ancestor predates Hegel, Darwin's contribution was the theory of natural selection to explain how the process happens, along with lots of empirical evidence for common descent and local adaptive processes such as Darwin's finches. Darwin's own grandfather Erasmus Darwin (1731 -...


7

Mechanist (or mechanical) philosophy, in the original sense, meant the rejection of "substantial forms", i.e. forms with causal powers, such as souls, postulated by scholastics (who drew on some vague passages from Aristotle's De Anima). For a detailed discussion of substantial forms see How can the soul be a form in Aristotle's metaphysics? From the modern ...


7

Short answer: Life goes on, and there is no point spending all our summer days preparing for winter storms. Longer answer: It's strange you'd single out CERN for this question. The US alone spends trillions on a bloated military, when some of that money could easily be redirected into health and welfare. Entertainment industries suck up billions more ...


7

I object to the framing of your question, on basically every level. Among "many high profile papers or projects" obviously comparable to AlphaGo, (or more importantly AlphZero), is Watson, because it was the first computer system to beat human supremacy at Jeapardy. From the Wikipedia page on Watson: "Current and future applications: Healthcare IBM ...


7

The thought experiment is known as Chrysippus’s Dog and goes back to the named ancient Stoic. It was discussed by many modern philosophers, including Dennett, see Chrysippus’s Dog as a Case Study in Non-Linguistic Cognition by Rescorla for a survey. Here is the description of Chrysippus's dog given by Sextus Empiricus: "[Chrysippus] declares that the ...


6

First of all, using the example of AlphaGo for this question is interesting, as it is research made and funded by a for profit corporation. Arguably then, Google's executives do see some values in that research for the future of their company. As many other answered, you can see it as an investement: there may not be immediate return on it, but if it can be ...


6

The statement "The ball is red" can be rewritten with subject-predicate form: "Red(ball)" where "Red( )" is a predicate (a property predicated of something) and "ball" is the subject (an object of which the "redness" is predicated). In this form, there is no "is". This is the background for the assertion that, in statements like that above, "is" is not a ...


5

The evolutionary biologist (and student of the history of science), Stephen Jay Gould writes in his book Eight Little Piggies: Reflections in Natural History, chapter entitled Darwin and Paley Meet the Invisible Hand: Where did Darwin get such a radical version of evolution? Surely not from the birds and bees, the twigs and trees. Nature helped, but ...


5

There is a simple, straightforward reason that memetics has not 'caught on' and become more widely accepted: the concept underlying it — depending on how one interprets the term 'meme' — are either philosophically derivative or nonsensical pseudoscience. The mere fact that I have to qualify that statement by pointing out that the term 'meme' is in dire need ...


5

The answer very much depends on whether we want "the concept" or "something similar". The sort of elaborate theories of sense data that emerged in the early 20th century were not possible much earlier, they relied on then recent findings of human physiology, and especially psychology, as well as time specific philosophizing that came out of it. Generically, "...


5

Sometimes research does not have a direct practical objective. Sometimes research is done simply because people find it interesting, it captivates their imagination and gives them a sense of purpose. I would include in the later category space exploration. Some could ask Why would you invest billions of dollars into space telescopes when you could spend it ...


4

Conspiracy is a fact of life. The Wikipedia list that you linked to is but a very tiny sample. And your suggestion that few of them accomplished anything "tangible" is absurd. What's intangible about the destruction of a commercial airliner or a torpedoed economy? Ever hear the saying, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."? People who ...


4

The cited article references a paper by Sean M. Carroll which provides an overview of Boltzmann Brains (BB). Carroll views BBs not as a reality, but as a way to test whether a cosmological theory is plausible or not. The rule of thumb goes something like this: if the cosmological theory allows BBs then reject the cosmological theory. (page 23) We ...


4

Wikipedia says Natural science is concerned with the description, prediction, and understanding of natural phenomena based on empirical evidence from observation and experimentation. It can be divided into two main branches: life science (or biological science) and physical science. Social science is concerned with society and the relationships among ...


4

Interpreted narrowly, your question seems related to the problem of (data) fishing, where someone investigates hypothesis after hypothesis on the data until getting statistical significance on one (without correcting for the number of hypotheses considered), so that in all likelihood it was just a fluke. This is a well understood problem. Interpreted more ...


4

The concept of the colonization of knowledge (technically, the colonization of the lifeworld) comes out of Jurgen Habermas' 1992 "Faktizität und Geltung" ("Between Facts and Norms"). It's an interesting work, but heavy reading. The basic idea rests on a distinction between the kind of language and communication used in the 'lifeworld' — the rich, organic, ...


4

This is called Bertrand's box paradox. It's a "paradox" in the sense that the correct answer, P(other_coin_is_gold) = 2/3, is unintuitive to most people at first. To get a feel for the correct answer, break it down into cases. Let's call the box with 2 gold coins "G", the box with two silver coins "S", and the box with one of each "M" (for "mixed"). Further,...


4

I will confess up front that I am honestly confused why people still cling to Popper's work. Even Popper himself eventually came to admit that his philosophy of science wasn't much more than an abstract aspiration, having little relation to the actual practice of science. Popper had some useful insights, sure, and an important place in the history of the ...


4

While this may strike others as an opinion-based question, I am going to buck that trend and claim that science itself answers this question, and therefore, properly cited, is a question that is a good fit for our site. So, don't let anyone inside or outside the analytic science school of thinking dissuade you from asking about the relationship between ...


4

You must realize that "common sense" views about the operation of the physical world are of no use at all when considering the earliest times in the big bang. In that regime (of order ~ one Planck time) the concept of time itself loses its physical meaning i.e., it makes no physical sense to talk about time intervals shorter than the Planck time (...


3

This answer is really over simplified, but other answers have ample detail. I want to give you a bitesize version of why this question is slightly wrong headed, and that the two examples in question aren't the best for whatever might be your underlying concern. I'll then suggest a better comparison. The two can't be compared. Logical Positivism was an ...


3

I'm afraid this question misconstrues the nature of Logical Positivism and its relationship to the sciences and philosophy. Logical Positivism did not yield "all the progress in the natural science and technology," and was never intended to do so. Historically speaking, it's the other way around: Logical Positivism observed the progress that is consistently ...


3

What Sartre has in mind is that every other being in nature has a developmental pattern intrinsic to it. It has an essential nature, or 'essence', and its nature fixes its future development. Acorns become oak trees. Lambs become sheep. Uniquely, human beings as persons or agents have no such inherent developmental pattern or essence. As Sartre slightly ...


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