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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
23 votes
Accepted

Is there a general theory of intelligence and design that would allow us to detect the presence of design in an object based solely on its properties?

The simple answer is, no there isn't. We recognise certain features as indicating evolution, like vestigial remnant functions, such as the human appendix, or wisdom teeth, which can't be explained by ...
CriglCragl's user avatar
  • 21.2k
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
  • 813
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
  • 7,189
9 votes

Isn't every theory or model wrong?

Physics attempts to explain how the real world works using models. These don’t attempt or claim to show the actual underlying mechanism of how things work, but they provide something that’s (a) ...
Frog's user avatar
  • 635
9 votes

Isn't every theory or model wrong?

In the philosophy of science, theories and models are recognized as being useful but limited. One famous philosophical slogan to epitomize that is "A map is not the territory.": The map–...
J D's user avatar
  • 25k
8 votes

What are the missing pieces that prevents us from deriving the laws of chemistry from physics?

I find this implicit disdain towards emergent properties as 'not really explained' puzzling. I think it relates to a misconception about the ontology of emergent properties. See these discussions: ...
CriglCragl's user avatar
  • 21.2k
8 votes

Is there a general theory of intelligence and design that would allow us to detect the presence of design in an object based solely on its properties?

Assembly theory is an approach that tries to quantify precisely how much “temporal depth” is encapsulated in a given structure by analyzing both its complexity and prevalence in a given environment. ...
Joseph Weissman's user avatar
  • 9,582
8 votes

Is there a general theory of intelligence and design that would allow us to detect the presence of design in an object based solely on its properties?

In science and philosophy There are objects for which it can be decided that a designer shaped them, but this cannot be decided for all possible objects. Deciding by properties of the object itself ...
tkruse's user avatar
  • 3,545
6 votes

Is there a general theory of intelligence and design that would allow us to detect the presence of design in an object based solely on its properties?

The philosophy of design is a nascent field, and it has no entries in the SEP or IEP. They tangentially address the issue in their entries about architecture here (SEP) and here (IEP). Here's my meta ...
J D's user avatar
  • 25k
5 votes

Isn't every theory or model wrong?

None of the physics models are wrong. You simply shouldn't take a model as saying "Reality is this". Statements like this are completely hopeless, because it is impossible to define reality. ...
Ryder Rude's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

Are there two types of scientific theories (one materialistic and one mathematical)?

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 ...
Ted Wrigley's user avatar
  • 19.3k
4 votes

Why is a well-understood theory easier to understand, and does this answer the question "Why is older philosophy 'easier' to understand"?

It's a good question. I believe one could say the same of analytical philosophy with its emphasis on logic. This could be studied ahistorically, and if you understood Frege you would not have much ...
Nelson Alexander's user avatar
4 votes

Is there a general theory of intelligence and design that would allow us to detect the presence of design in an object based solely on its properties?

Great question. I have divided my answer into sections: the first three address the three aspects of the question and answers them with a direct approach, the fourth analyzes the nature of the ...
Joseph_Kopp's user avatar
4 votes

Is there a general theory of intelligence and design that would allow us to detect the presence of design in an object based solely on its properties?

This has been of general interest in the field of algorithmic information theory for awhile now. Kolmogorov, Chaitin, Solomonoff, and Levin all addressed the question from the perspective of ...
yters's user avatar
  • 1,757
3 votes

Did the later Kuhn write that when he said "theory" he meant "disciplinary matrix"/"paradigm"?

See SST (1962), page 10: By choosing it [the term "paradigm"] I mean to suggest that some accepted examples of actual scientific practice - examples which include law, theory, application, ...
Mauro ALLEGRANZA's user avatar
3 votes

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

As other responses have pointed out, it's important to distinguish between a Theory of Everything (TOE) and a Grand Unified Theory (GUT). GUT is a much more specific theory, which would unify the 4 ...
colemathis's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

What is it called when two theories ultimately become one theory in science?

In the physics world, such an event is called unification. Here are some examples: Maxwell's equations unified all the various experimentally-derived laws of electromagnetics into one set of four ...
niels nielsen's user avatar
2 votes

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

When physicists talk about a Grand Unified Theory (GUT), which is often described as a 'theory of everything' in non-scientific circles, is a theory in which the 5 fundamental forces (strong nuclear, ...
Tim B   II's user avatar
  • 1,507
2 votes
Accepted

Considering time and space as theory-free concepts

The interpretation of a curved spacetime in General Relativity is a consequence of the theory rather than the theory itself. The form of the theory is based on a number of postulates: the constancy ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 1,818
2 votes

The passing of time

There are three common models for time, and they give very different answers to your question. They all also all have apparent refutations, so -- welcome to philosophy!!!! The most common model for ...
Dcleve's user avatar
  • 12k
2 votes

The needs of many (in 'ok' circumstances) vs. the needs of few (in 'extreme' circumstances)

One place to look for those considering questions of how to optimize charitable resources directed toward both humans and animals in general would be in the writings of Peter Singer. This is how ...
Frank Hubeny's user avatar
  • 19.3k
2 votes

Does good chess strategy reduce to the rules of the game?

The short answer is a resounding no, because rules do not encompass the values of the agents that use the rules. A theory, as often conceived, can be abstracted to a set of set-theoretic, logical, ...
J D's user avatar
  • 25k
2 votes

Why is a well-understood theory easier to understand, and does this answer the question "Why is older philosophy 'easier' to understand"?

The key difference is that mathematics is linear, it progresses forward, and each new step builds on the last. Philosophy is cyclical, it returns to certain topics and modes of thought repeatedly. ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 29.4k
2 votes
Accepted

Are there examples of the narrowing scope of scientific explanations?

Quasicrystals seem to be a good example, even if that might need some technical details. In a nutshell: crystals were defined as materials producing sharp diffraction spots; it was thought that ...
sand1's user avatar
  • 3,694
2 votes

Metaphilosophy and the nature of philosophical disagreement

Disagreements of Analytical Philosophy and the Philosophy of Language I'm going to respond from the position of someone who is clueless enough about the philosophy of language to try to relate the ...
J D's user avatar
  • 25k
2 votes

Liberation in Buddhism

There is no "who", that is the whole point. Nirvana is a state in which the self ceases to intrude and is revealed as an illusion. One might rather ask, "what attains Nirvana? What ...
Guy Inchbald's user avatar
  • 2,562

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