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What is the real difference between science and philosophy?


dimreepr
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20 minutes ago, Davy_Jones said:

Joseph Priestley, just to name one, went to his deathbed insisting on the reality of phlogiston.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Priestley

Priestley's determination to defend phlogiston theory and to reject what would become the chemical revolution eventually left him isolated within the scientific community.

2 minutes ago, Davy_Jones said:

Er, pretty sure you also told us in that other thread that science/physics is not in the business of describing reality.

That of course stands as overwhelmingly shown in that thread.

3 minutes ago, Davy_Jones said:

If this is the case, how can our knowledge of the universe be increasing?

How can you say that as science gains knowledge it is falseifying the fact that science does not necessarily describe reality? You have lost me.

In actual fact though, what I did say was that the object of scientific theories and models, was not this undedfined truth and/or reality you seem so fixated with, but that if by chance that should be discovered or realized, accidently or otherwise, then all well and good. But hey! we have a thread on that if you want to keep philosophising on that matter. 

 

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Re above:

Well, simply put, if our knowledge of the universe is increasing, as you claim, then scientists must be discovering truths about the universe. (i.e. not only describing reality, but describing reality truly)

Knowledge is, by defintion, true.

Edited by Davy_Jones
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1 hour ago, Davy_Jones said:

 

Personally, I see it as regrettable that certain scientists are not only ignorant of, but hostile to, philosophy.
 

I think of it as the timid,  bashing a strawman.  Part of this arises from viewing philosophy as a unitary academic field rather than an array of subjects that range from austere metascience* and ontology to more worldly ethics and political philosophy.  And linguistic philosophy, too.    Every field can benefit from a meta-discipline that steps outside of the field and considers it's methods,  scope, aspirations, symbolic systems,  and epistemic stance.   As others note here,  many fine scientists have engaged in meta reflections, whether they called it that or not. And I can think of very few physicists who have never engaged in a little epistemology as regards the inferences they can make from many indirect sorts of observations.  

*(when I use the term "metascience, " I'm trying to show the contours of something a little more than metaphysics -- it's all that is "meta," which includes epistemology and, in fields like cosmology, some ontology as well) 

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59 minutes ago, Davy_Jones said:

Among other fairly catastrophic problems, it fails to account for what are known as "typicality effects". That is to say, and continuing with BIRD as our example, people do not treat all birds as equally bird-like. A sparrow, say, rates far more highly as a respectable card-carrying BIRD than does an cassowary, say. Moreover, subjects will assent far more quickly to a sparrow being granted BIRD status than an ostrich or a turkey.

A cassowary, it would appear, is indeed a BIRD, just not a very good one.

Not a very good one? If that was the case, I suggest they may be extinct by now.

The Emu is another...different types of birds, those that fly, those that don't those that hunt, those that  don't....

 

 

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6 minutes ago, beecee said:

Not a very good one? If that was the case, I suggest they may be extinct by now.

"Good" here means conceptually more bird-like than other birds.

It does not refer to survivability.

 

 

Edit:

I have little doubt the same holds for our concept SCIENCE, even though we routinely see attempts to encapsulate the essence of science in a definition.

For example, show a group of people two pictures:

One of a dude collecting bugs;

The other of a slightly mad-looking dude with unkempt hair in a white labcoat mixing dangerous-looking chemicals together



My money's on the subjects identifying the latter as doing science more quickly. They'd probably take a bit longer with that poor beetle collector, assuming he's even granted scientist status at all.

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19 minutes ago, Davy_Jones said:

Re above:

Well, simply put, if our knowledge of the universe is increasing, as you claim, then scientists must be discovering truths about the universe. (i.e. not only describing reality, but describing reality truly)

Knowledge is, by defintion, true.

Ptolemy also had "supposed" knowledge of the universe that stood for millenia.

There is of course also "false knowledge"

We keep discovering new knowledge, that enables us to get closer to any of your supposed truth and/or reality...They may even get there one day, or simply continue with better models and theories that still fall short of your supposed truth and/or reality.  

Again I recommend you read Krauss's book, "A Universe from Nothing" 

 

Edited by beecee
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It may be worth noting that,  logically,  to know that one is getting closer to the truth requires knowing where that truth resides.  If you approach something whose location is unknown, then you only do so by accident.  There is certainly the feeling that one is closing in on the truth,  but that's a feeling resting on a web of beliefs,  about what all those pretty, regular patterns we observe mean.  Our beliefs about what constitutes genuine knowledge need constant inspection, which is where the tools of philosophy are handy.   

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1 minute ago, TheVat said:

It may be worth noting that,  logically,  to know that one is getting closer to the truth requires knowing where that truth resides.  If you approach something whose location is unknown, then you only do so by accident.  There is certainly the feeling that one is closing in on the truth,  but that's a feeling resting on a web of beliefs,  about what all those pretty, regular patterns we observe mean.  Our beliefs about what constitutes genuine knowledge need constant inspection, which is where the tools of philosophy are handy.   

Quite so, Mr Vat.

I often hear it claimed, for example, that science is gradually converging on the true age of the universe.

Er, if the exact age is unknown, how can one possibly know one is getting closer to it?

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8 minutes ago, beecee said:

Ptolemy also had "supposed" knowledge of the universe that stood for millenia.

There is of course also "false knowledge"

We keep discovering new knowledge, that enables us to get closer to any of your supposed truth and/or reality...They may even get there one day, or simply continue with better models and theories that still fall short of your supposed truth and/or reality.  

Again I recommend you read Krauss's book, "A Universe from Nothing" 

 

Or if you like, we could call it the evolution of knowledge. 

science vs philosophy

1 minute ago, Davy_Jones said:

Quite so, Mr Vat.

I often hear it claimed, for example, that science is gradually converging on the true age of the universe.

Er, if the exact age is unknown, how can one possibly know one is getting closer to it?

We have an estimated age along with stated error bars, based on current knowledge and data. Like most scientific models/theories, they may change in the future. That's science, that's the scientific method. A shame you seem so intent on ignoring that.

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It's a logical point, beecee.

It makes sense, on a road trip, say, to state "We're getting closer to Adelaide" . . . because the exact location of Adelaide is already known.

It makes far less sense to say "We're getting closer to X even though no one knows where X is".

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13 minutes ago, TheVat said:

It may be worth noting that,  logically,  to know that one is getting closer to the truth requires knowing where that truth resides.  If you approach something whose location is unknown, then you only do so by accident.  There is certainly the feeling that one is closing in on the truth,  but that's a feeling resting on a web of beliefs,  about what all those pretty, regular patterns we observe mean.  Our beliefs about what constitutes genuine knowledge need constant inspection, which is where the tools of philosophy are handy.   

Of course we don't in many cases know where the truth/reality [if it exists] lies. Pretty much what I said and meant here, and in the "gravity"thread....

 

33 minutes ago, beecee said:

We keep discovering new knowledge, that enables us to get closer to any of your supposed truth and/or reality...They may even get there one day, or simply continue with better models and theories that still fall short of your supposed truth and/or reality.  

 

5 minutes ago, Davy_Jones said:

It makes far less sense to say "We're getting closer to X even though no one knows where X is".

The point is, in context, and as discussed in the gravity thread...Scientific theories and models, are not out to determine X, if X even exists. But as VAT also says, we may still reach it [X] accidently. Our models only need to be useful and predict successfully as Newtonian mechanics and GR already do. 

 

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22 minutes ago, beecee said:

The point is, in context, and as discussed in the gravity thread...Scientific theories and models, are not out to determine X, if X even exists. But as VAT also says, we may still reach it [X] accidently. Our models only need to be useful and predict successfully as Newtonian mechanics and GR already do

 

And I'd reiterate, this is almost certainly a minority view in science as a whole (physics being the apparent exception).

Try asking a psychologist if he thinks consciousness is real.

Try asking a geologist if she thinks tectonic plates are real.

Try asking a paleontologist if he thinks dinosaurs are real.

Try asking a chemist if she thinks oxygen is real.

Try asking a neuroscientist if she thinks neurons are real.

Try asking Richard Dawkins whether he thinks natural selection is real or merely a theoretical postulate, useful for predictive purposes, but not to be taken at face value.

. . .

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11 minutes ago, Davy_Jones said:

And I'd reiterate, this is almost certainly a minority view in science as a whole (physics being the apparent exception).

Try asking a psychologist if he thinks consciousness is real.

Try asking a geologist if she thinks tectonic plates are real.

Try asking a paleontologist if he thinks dinosaurs are real.

Try asking a chemist if she thinks oxygen is real.

Try asking a neuroscientist if she thinks neurons are real.

Try asking Richard Dawkins whether he thinks natural selection is real or merely a theoretical postulate.

. . .

And I reiterate....We keep discovering new knowledge, that enables us to get closer to any of your supposed truth and/or reality...They may even get there one day, or simply continue with better models and theories that still fall short of your supposed truth and/or reality.  

No one has ever said it applies exclusively!!! And to answer the last one first, we know the theory of evolution is fact...no scientist worth his salt denies that...most lay people see it as fact also. Scientists know Abiogeneis is fact, despite not yet knowing the exact pathway or methodology.

[1] Dunno [2]true. [3] True [4] True [5] True

So well done for your well thought examples, although it does nothing to invalidate exactly what I have said. 🙄 Now I believe this is off topic, so raise your points in the gravity thread, where it appears against all the evidence so far and expert comments, you still have doubts...or an agenda.

 

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26 minutes ago, Davy_Jones said:

Uh oh. The old "agenda" thing again.

Time for lunch then . . .

. . . with my co-conspirators, of course :)

The point  "IS" of course, that my position is clearly stated, and you seem to be dodging around, or simply missing what I have said. It does get rather frustrating. Perhaps you are practising your philosophy on me?

 

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1 hour ago, Davy_Jones said:

Well, simply put, if our knowledge of the universe is increasing, as you claim, then scientists must be discovering truths about the universe. (i.e. not only describing reality, but describing reality truly)

Knowledge is, by defintion, true.

Our knowledge of the way things work, the mechanisms of the universe, is increasing; I don't know what that has to do with 'truth'.

My initial comment may have been slightly disparaging towards Philosophers, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with 'mental gymnastics'.
Someone who I consider a friend has taught me the value of Philosophy. It teaches us HOW to think.
According to Eise, Philosophy can help direct the thought process in order to solve a Physics problem, and, as such, is a valuable discipline.

I must say that your thought processes, in equating expanding knowledge of the mechanisms of the universe, with approaching 'truth', are a little confused ( for someone who claims to be a Philosopher ).

Maybe you should ask a Philosopher to help guide your thinking 😄 😄 .

es

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10 minutes ago, MigL said:

Our knowledge of the way things work, the mechanisms of the universe, is increasing; I don't know what that has to do with 'truth'.

My initial comment may have been slightly disparaging towards Philosophers, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with 'mental gymnastics'.
Someone who I consider a friend has taught me the value of Philosophy. It teaches us HOW to think.
According to Eise, Philosophy can help direct the thought process in order to solve a Physics problem, and, as such, is a valuable discipline.

I must say that your thought processes, in equating expanding knowledge of the mechanisms of the universe, with approaching 'truth', are a little confused ( for someone who claims to be a Philosopher ).

Maybe you should ask a Philosopher to help guide your thinking 😄 😄 .

es

Ahem.

Knowledge is standardly defined as (at least - ignoring that Gettier pest) justified true belief. That which is not true cannot be known. I.e. One cannot have knowledge of that which is untrue.

So, I'm afraid, if you're gonna claim knowledge--on pain of contradiction--you'll have to claim truth too.

 

Edit:

Consider: "Smith has lots of knowledge, Smith knows lots of stuff . . . but none of it is true"

Does that make sense to you?

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Another point I will make, is that in this day and age, at least in my opinion, philosophy is more closely tied with religion then science.......science is undoubtedly the  ultimate tool for understanding the physical universe around us, from the largest stars and galaxies, to the extreme distances of the observable universe, down to the realm of quantum/Planck interactions. Religion on the other hand inherits the uncertainty of faith and the unanswerable philosophical questions that then arise.

Another similarity with religion/religious people. as distinct from science and the scientific method and theories, is that the questions both ask are alike... What is  the meaning of good? What does it mean to live a good life? What is the nature of [wait for it 😉] truth/reality? Why are we here? What is the universe? How should we treat each other?  etc etc etc etc

14 minutes ago, MigL said:

I must say that your thought processes, in equating expanding knowledge of the mechanisms of the universe, with approaching 'truth', are a little confused ( for someone who claims to be a Philosopher ).

Maybe you should ask a Philosopher to help guide your thinking 😄 😄 .

Thank Christ!  I thought there was something wrong with my uncouth methodology and understanding!!! 😛

Edited by beecee
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3 minutes ago, MigL said:

An awful lot of people know things which are simply untrue.

Oh yeah? Gimme a few examples.

 

Edit: Or consider . . . "Professor Cleverstein is a very knowledgeable man . . . alas, all his knowledge is false".

Dude, that's either a joke or an incompetent English speaker. :)

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9 minutes ago, Davy_Jones said:

Ahem.

Knowledge is standardly defined as (at least - ignoring that Gettier pest) justified true belief. That which is not true cannot be known. I.e. One cannot have knowledge of that which is untrue.

So, I'm afraid, if you're gonna claim knowledge--on pain of contradiction--you'll have to claim truth too.

You failed to answer the "knowledge" of Ptolomy I mentioned a while back.

Remember, knowledge evolves, based on science and the scientific methodology.

10 minutes ago, Davy_Jones said:

Edit:

Consider: "Smith has lots of knowledge, Smith knows lots of stuff . . . but none of it is true"

Does that make sense to you?

It makes sense to Smith.  

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8 minutes ago, beecee said:

You failed to answer the "knowledge" of Ptolomy I mentioned a while back.

If whatever Ptolemy happened to believe/say is false, then whatever he himself and anyone else may have thought at the time, he did not have knowledge.

They thought they knew but they were mistaken.

Otherwise, you may find yourself countenancing absurdities such as "People once knew the world was flat".

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4 minutes ago, Davy_Jones said:

Edit: Or consider . . . "Professor Cleverstein is a very knowledgeable man . . . alas, all his knowledge is false".

Dude, that's either a joke or an incompetent English speaker. :)

makes sense to Professor Cleverstein and  to the millions under control of the church and the Ptolomy regime

1 minute ago, Davy_Jones said:

They thought they knew but they were mistaken.

It was knowledge at the time in every sense of the word, as guided by the church and its philosophical overlords.

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13 minutes ago, beecee said:

It [the Earth is flat] was knowledge at the time in every sense of the word, as guided by the church and its philosophical overlords.

No, it was (mis)taken to be knowledge. It was supposed to be knowledge. (cf. your "supposed knowledge")

On the assumption that the Earth is not flat, it is not, and never was, knowledge.

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"Science is piecemeal revelation".

Oliver Wendell Holmes 1 (1809-94) U. S. poet, essayist, physician.

"Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge in the field of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods."

Albert Einstein:

 

"Truth in science can be defined as the working hypothesis best suited to open the way to the next better one".

Konrad (Zacharias) Lorenz (1903-89) Austrian ethologist. [Nobel prize for medicine, 1973]

 

"There are no whole truths: all truths are half-truths. It is trying to treat them as whole truths that plays the devil"

Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) English philosopher and mathematician.

 

"Scientists are explorers. Philosophers are tourists".

Richard Feynman

4 minutes ago, Davy_Jones said:

No, it was taken to be knowledge. It was supposed to be knowledge. (cf. your "supposed knowledge")

On the assumption that the Earth is not flat, it is not, and never was, knowledge.

Stop being so obtuse. It was knowledge at the time. Until science and Copernicus/Galileo.

The earth was for all intents and purposes certainly flat, for billions of people. That was there knowledge [false as we now know it] and poor philosophy.

We now know that it was false knowledge.

Edited by beecee
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