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The Physicist and the Philsopher:


beecee
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Posted (edited)

I recently came upon an oldish (2015) "physorg" article, that some may like to discuss......(The title by the way, is the title of a book by Jimena Canales)

The artlcle...

https://phys.org/news/2015-05-science-historian-story-einstein-dangerous.html

Two of the 20th century's greatest minds, one of them physicist Albert Einstein, came to intellectual blows one day in Paris in 1922. Their dispute, before a learned audience, was about the nature of time - mostly in connection with Einstein's most famous work, the theory of relativity.....

extracts:

The philosopher in the title, and Einstein's adversary that day, was Henri Bergson, a French philosopher who was much more famous at the time than the German-born Einstein.

Einstein quickly dismissed the philosopher's criticism. To an audience that day of mostly philosophers, he made the incendiary statement that "the time of the philosophers does not exist."

It was Einstein's ideas that gained prominence, however, in part because later research only reinforced the science of relativity, but also because Bergson was effectively discredited by scientists, Canales said. Outside of philosophy, Bergson has been largely forgotten and is rarely even mentioned in Einstein biographies.


Being against science in the modern world, "makes no sense," she said. "Clearly we should be for science."
much more at link.............................

the book and the author..................

https://press.princeton.edu/books/paperback/9780691173177/the-physicist-and-the-philosopher

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The article concludes....But we also need to think about science critically, Canales said. "We're not taught to see science as it really is, as it really is practiced, as it really is done." She said she hopes her book might help scientists and others understand the place of science "in more realistic terms."

It's this final bit I'm having trouble to accept. Why aren't we taught to see science as it really is? and as it really is practised? I see the results of how it is and how it is practised everyday. Or have I been around science forums for too long? 😉

My views/opinions on philsophers and philsophising is well known  and essentially aligns with the Lawrence Krauss and Neil Degrasse Tyson interpretations and views, and can be summed up with the quote that science is what we know:philsophy is what we don't know by Bertrand Russell.

 

 

Edited by beecee
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While my philosophy class in college bored me to tears, I think everyone would benefit from studying philosophy for ethics, logic, how to critically discuss, and how to argue rationally. I think philosophy gets a bad rap due to its previous position in the 'sciences'.

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Hard to say what she’s getting at without knowing how she thinks how we are taught to see science. Presumably this refers to how non-scientists are taught.

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Posted (edited)

If Philosophy is the study of what we do not know ,that does not diminish its value.

 

There will ,I suspect always be far more that we do not (or cannot) know than the astonishing amount that we can say that we do know with some certitude.

 

When we are faced with circumstances that we do not understand I have read that it is our instinct to form patterns out of the chaos and if this is what preoccupies the philosophical mind (in addition to the methodologies noted by @zapatos then it may not be time wasted.

 

I have the impression that Einstein's ideas met with initial  opposition from scientists and philosophers alike (perhaps I am wrong?-I was not there)

 

It was only some 20 years ago that the concept of "the end of history" was being bandied about semi seriously. 

I doubt we are at all close to the end of either scientific or philosophical  progress,more's  the  reason for satisfaction.

Edited by geordief
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4 hours ago, zapatos said:

While my philosophy class in college bored me to tears, I think everyone would benefit from studying philosophy for ethics, logic, how to critically discuss, and how to argue rationally. I think philosophy gets a bad rap due to its previous position in the 'sciences'.

Good points, mostly and I don't disagree, but sometimes philosophy can be taken to the nth degree. An example? The notion/philosophy of Trump and company, as well as a couple of political ratbags in Australia, using the rights of individual freedoms to chose for ourselves, over riding the edicts and mandates of heath authorities to make vaccinations compulsory in certain industries, and conveneintly ignoring that their actions could well be detrimental to other innocent parties. 

 

3 hours ago, geordief said:

If Philosophy is the study of what we do not know ,that does not diminish its value.

I accept that philosophy lays the ground work and foundations of which science has been built. I do not under-estimate its value. But in many areas that once were pure philosophy, are now covered by science/cosmology/physics. 

 Bertrand Russell writes:

"Philosophy…is something intermediate between theology and science. Like theology, it consists of speculations on matters as to which definite knowledge has, so far, been unascertainable; but like science, it appeals to human reason rather than to authority…All definite knowledge—so I should contend—belongs to science; all dogma as to what surpasses definite knowledge belongs to theology. But between theology and science there is a No Man’s Land, exposed to attack on all sides; this No Man’s Land is philosophy.

The real question is not whether philosophical arguments based on commonsense are deeply fallible, but rather what the takeaway lesson is. What are our philosophical options given the fallibility of commonsense, and which option is best?"

from.....https://iai.tv/articles/common-sense-leads-philosophy-astray-auid-2075

3 hours ago, geordief said:

I doubt we are at all close to the end of either scientific or philosophical  progress,more's  the  reason for satisfaction.

Certainly not science, but in areas certain aspects of philsophy are now in the domain of science.

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/04/has-physics-made-philosophy-and-religion-obsolete/256203/

Krauss also is not Robinson Crusoe in his criticism of philsophy...Degrasee Tyson is another, and also the late great Richard Feynman. Krauss'remarks though certainly drew heaps of criticism, and I would add, probably also increased the sales of his book, "A Universe from Nothing"

My take is he wasn't totally rubbishing philsophy, (other then one particular philsopher) but discussing and pointing out its limitations and the areas now covered by physics and science.

 

4 hours ago, swansont said:

 taught to see science. Presumably this refers to how non-scientists are taught.

Yes. hence my remark about me being around science forums for too long. 

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Posted (edited)

Philosophy and science are two sides of the same coin; it's a way of thinking, and they both think in exactly the same way; the goal of both is also exactly the same, to eliminate, as far as possible, one's bias' and expectataion's in order to discover the fudamental truth of the question at hand.

The only difference between the two is, the type of question they 'tend' to ask.

13 hours ago, beecee said:

My views/opinions on philsophers and philsophising is well known  and essentially aligns with the Lawrence Krauss and Neil Degrasse Tyson interpretations and views, and can be summed up with the quote that science is what we know:philsophy is what we don't know by Bertrand Russell.

The problem here is, none of them are applying the scientific way of thinking; Lawrence Krauss and Neil Degrasse Tyson clearly use a different way of thinking about an experiment, as they do in the interpretations you speak of; as for Bertrand Russell he's got it arse about face, science is what we don't yet know:philsophy is asking, are we sure we know that?

Edited by dimreepr
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I find pretty much the same problem with any proposition including the words 'as it really is.' As if there's some bogus way, and then there's the 'really real' one. That's as much as I can say without actually reading the book.

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31 minutes ago, joigus said:

I find pretty much the same problem with any proposition including the words 'as it really is.' As if there's some bogus way, and then there's the 'really real' one. That's as much as I can say without actually reading the book.

Philosophy has always been a bit of a mystery to me so please take what I say with a grain of salt.

The way a philosopher speaks about philosophy and the way laymen speak of philosophy makes it seem like they are talking about two completely different fields of study. It is similar to the way QM sounds like two different fields of study depending on whether you are speaking to a scientist or a layperson.

When a scientist says 'as it really is' he is generally speaking of a destination that cannot realistically be achieved, and thus philosophy may seem a bit cracked.

But when a philosopher says 'as it really is' he seems (to me) to be speaking of a journey of understanding and exploration.

So just as a group of laypeople discussing QM can miss subtleties and have misperceptions go unchallenged, I think it is the same way with philosophy. While what the scientists say about philosophy sounds reasonable, by reading the thoughts of our few resident philosophers I get the feeling that the rest of us are missing something when it comes to understanding what philosophy can really do for us.

 

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27 minutes ago, zapatos said:

Philosophy has always been a bit of a mystery to me so please take what I say with a grain of salt.

The way a philosopher speaks about philosophy and the way laymen speak of philosophy makes it seem like they are talking about two completely different fields of study. It is similar to the way QM sounds like two different fields of study depending on whether you are speaking to a scientist or a layperson.

When a scientist says 'as it really is' he is generally speaking of a destination that cannot realistically be achieved, and thus philosophy may seem a bit cracked.

But when a philosopher says 'as it really is' he seems (to me) to be speaking of a journey of understanding and exploration.

So just as a group of laypeople discussing QM can miss subtleties and have misperceptions go unchallenged, I think it is the same way with philosophy. While what the scientists say about philosophy sounds reasonable, by reading the thoughts of our few resident philosophers I get the feeling that the rest of us are missing something when it comes to understanding what philosophy can really do for us.

 

And so, my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.

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Posted (edited)
50 minutes ago, zapatos said:

Philosophy has always been a bit of a mystery to me so please take what I say with a grain of salt.

The way a philosopher speaks about philosophy and the way laymen speak of philosophy makes it seem like they are talking about two completely different fields of study. It is similar to the way QM sounds like two different fields of study depending on whether you are speaking to a scientist or a layperson.

When a scientist says 'as it really is' he is generally speaking of a destination that cannot realistically be achieved, and thus philosophy may seem a bit cracked.

But when a philosopher says 'as it really is' he seems (to me) to be speaking of a journey of understanding and exploration.

So just as a group of laypeople discussing QM can miss subtleties and have misperceptions go unchallenged, I think it is the same way with philosophy. While what the scientists say about philosophy sounds reasonable, by reading the thoughts of our few resident philosophers I get the feeling that the rest of us are missing something when it comes to understanding what philosophy can really do for us.

 

+1 for not having a ready made on-demand pat view of either Philosophy or Science, especially one set in stone.

By the way, how did this thread move from Physics to Science in general ?

 

I would add to this my observation that neither discipline is set in stone either.

Hands up those who think either Philosophy or Physics was the same as it was 50 years ago?; 100 years ago? ; 200 years ago? ; 500years ago ?

 

Edited by studiot
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11 hours ago, beecee said:

The real question is not whether philosophical arguments based on commonsense are deeply fallible, but rather what the takeaway lesson is. What are our philosophical options given the fallibility of commonsense, and which option is best?

Seems to me  you have wrongly attributed that quote to Bertand Russel(the preceding passage,though  does indeed seem to be from him.

I was a bit surprised  that he might be using language like "takeaway lesson" back in the 50s  or whenever it was he wrote that.

 

He was a bit  too difficult  for me to get interested in (or like),though I did try briefly ,back in the 60s.

 

Wasn't he  concerned with definitions,definitions,definitions?

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One problem I often see understanding philosophy is the notion that it is a single discipline, when it is really half a dozen (axiology, ethics, metaphysics, ontology, epistemology, etc.), each with its own set of logical and analytical tools.  As regards some scientific undertaking, an ethicist and an epistemologist might have very different concerns, and lumping them together would be a muddy mess.  The branch that is actually called "philosophy of science" is the one that is usually most relevant here, since it is concerned with how best science can shape methods for observing and understanding the world, evaluate the reliability of theories, and find what are the boundaries of science.  If science was your car, PhOS would be the mechanic who understands the car's functioning and how to make repairs and keep it running well.  However, if you were wanting to understand the fundamental reality of cars, you might contact the specialist in metaphysics.  Or, if you wanted to know where it might be wrong to drive your car, you might contact the ethicist.  But mostly, you would be looking to the PhOS specialist.  

Anyway, main point I'm trying to make is, it's really important not to treat philosophy as some easily demarcated singular field; much better to pick a branch and try to understand that branch.  

 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, zapatos said:

The way a philosopher speaks about philosophy and the way laymen speak of philosophy makes it seem like they are talking about two completely different fields of study. It is similar to the way QM sounds like two different fields of study depending on whether you are speaking to a scientist or a layperson.

When a scientist says 'as it really is' he is generally speaking of a destination that cannot realistically be achieved, and thus philosophy may seem a bit cracked.

But when a philosopher says 'as it really is' he seems (to me) to be speaking of a journey of understanding and exploration.

 

I find it impossible to disagree with that. It is true, though, that your average scientist has been concerned about philosophy at least at some point rather more often than your average accountant, for example. But @TheVat's point is well taken which is, I think, in a similar direction. Funny that not many non-experts would commit an opinion in, say, computer science; while most of us have an opinion on philosophical questions no matter what our level of familiarity with the subject may be. The questions that philosophy more intensely deals with are at the core of what every human being wants to know.

It seems that Einstein ruffled more philosophical feathers than those of Bergson, because I remember another episode with Rudolf Carnap about the nature of time. My --totally partial view of what happened is: Einstein said he was deeply concerned about the nature of time.

3 hours ago, geordief said:

Wasn't he  concerned with definitions,definitions,definitions?

Aaah, but definitions are crucial. It is a common misconception that definitions are arbitrary. Good definitions cut, and melt, and grind, and have power. They synthesise hours and hours of previous observation and intuition.

4 hours ago, studiot said:

Hands up those who think either Philosophy or Physics was the same as it was 50 years ago?; 100 years ago? ; 200 years ago? ; 500years ago ?

Good point! My hands are down.

Edited by joigus
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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, dimreepr said:

The problem here is, none of them are applying the scientific way of thinking; Lawrence Krauss and Neil Degrasse Tyson clearly use a different way of thinking about an experiment, as they do in the interpretations you speak of; as for Bertrand Russell he's got it arse about face, science is what we don't yet know:philsophy is asking, are we sure we know that?

They certainly are applying the scientific method, and with Krauss and Degrasse-Tyson, simply recognising the fact that areas that were once solely the domain of philsophers, are now the domain of scientists. Or as another great scientist once said...... “We can’t define anything precisely. If we attempt to, we get into that paralysis of thought that comes to philosophers… one saying to the other: you don’t know what you are talking about! The second one says: what do you mean by ‘talking’? What do you mean by ‘you’? What do you mean by ‘know’?” (The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol.1, 1963).  Dicky is often quoted for his dislike of philosophy, (although again like Krauss and Degrasse-Tyson) I see it more as statements of having had its day as far as science is concerned) He often in quotes attributed to him, highlights the absurdities of philosophy, as highlighted above. He is known for his often humouress remarks, about the dopey and foolish exersises in  linguistic sophistry, as practised by philsophers. (some)

Your comment on Bertrand Russell is ironic at best, considering that he is described as a British philosopher, logician, and social critic. (WIKI)

In essence we are all philsophers to some extent, but in reality, mostly poor philsophers.

 

Edited by beecee
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44 minutes ago, beecee said:

“We can’t define anything precisely. If we attempt to, we get into that paralysis of thought that comes to philosophers… one saying to the other: you don’t know what you are talking about! The second one says: what do you mean by ‘talking’? What do you mean by ‘you’? What do you mean by ‘know’?”

Hello beecee.

as this is your thread I suppose I should ask you what you mean by Physics and Philosophy, and why is this (science) news ?

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28 minutes ago, studiot said:

Hello beecee.

as this is your thread I suppose I should ask you what you mean by Physics and Philosophy, and why is this (science) news ?

It is an artlcle from physorg, but I certainly have no objection if mods see it more condusive to another section or the lounge...which I was toying with anyway.

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14 hours ago, beecee said:

They certainly are applying the scientific method, and with Krauss and Degrasse-Tyson, simply recognising the fact that areas that were once solely the domain of philsophers, are now the domain of scientists.

OK my bad, I assumed you were referring to their interpretation's, as you've suggested in previous thread's; please clarify their interpretations, as they relate to this thread.

14 hours ago, beecee said:

Or as another great scientist once said...... “We can’t define anything precisely. If we attempt to, we get into that paralysis of thought that comes to philosophers… one saying to the other: you don’t know what you are talking about! The second one says: what do you mean by ‘talking’? What do you mean by ‘you’? What do you mean by ‘know’?” (The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol.1, 1963).  Dicky is often quoted for his dislike of philosophy, (although again like Krauss and Degrasse-Tyson) I see it more as statements of having had its day as far as science is concerned) He often in quotes attributed to him, highlights the absurdities of philosophy, as highlighted above. He is known for his often humouress remarks, about the dopey and foolish exersises in  linguistic sophistry, as practised by philsophers. (some)

That doesn't argue the point I was making, as regards to ("the coin") the way of thinking; his dislike of philosophy suggests a bias, that 'he' can't see past, or are you cherry picking to justify your own bias?

15 hours ago, beecee said:

Your comment on Bertrand Russell is ironic at best, considering that he is described as a British philosopher, logician, and social critic. (WIKI)

That's an appeal to authority (a logical fallacy) and it doesn't argue my comment; BTW did he actually author what you've quoted him saying? I haven't got the time to investigate... 

15 hours ago, beecee said:

In essence we are all philsophers to some extent, but in reality, mostly poor philsophers.

I joined this site because I was arrogant enough to believe I knew better than a trained scientist, I stayed because the member's here taught me the error's in my thimking and because I trusted what they taught me; and like you (I love science now) I thought philosophy was wrong and superceded by science until @Eise taught me the error in my thinking...

We all think, but poor philosophers are like poor scientist's, they just lack the training.

 

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, dimreepr said:

OK my bad, I assumed you were referring to their interpretation's, as you've suggested in previous thread's; please clarify their interpretations, as they relate to this thread.

Already clarified.

9 hours ago, dimreepr said:

That doesn't argue the point I was making, as regards to ("the coin") the way of thinking; his dislike of philosophy suggests a bias, that 'he' can't see past, or are you cherry picking to justify your own bias?

Your coin analogy is just that, an analogy, and most understand the limitations of most analogies. And no one has said they dislike philsophy, afterall it is the foundation stone of science. It seems your own often expressed bias and usual cherry picking as exposed by others,  has blinkered you to their interpretation regarding philosophy. Or read Krauss'book.

9 hours ago, dimreepr said:

That's an appeal to authority (a logical fallacy) and it doesn't argue my comment; BTW did he actually author what you've quoted him saying? I haven't got the time to investigate... 

The logical fallacy re an appeal to authority, is relevant when for example, asking a butcher his opinion of brain surgery. Otherwise of course we all appeal to authority at sometime or other, you, me and the bloke next door. Yes, I'm reasonably sure it is attributed to Berty. I havn't the time or the inclination to investigate any further.

9 hours ago, dimreepr said:

I joined this site because I was arrogant enough to believe I knew better than a trained scientist, I stayed because the member's here taught me the error's in my thimking and because I trusted what they taught me; and like you (I love science now) I thought philosophy was wrong and superceded by science until @Eise taught me the error in my thinking...

Good for you! I joined because I love science, and have learnt more and more regarding many areas of science I was ignorant about, from my peers. I was enthusiastic certainly not arrogant. I also learnt that in essence philosophy while being the foundation stone of science, does have limitations, faults  and riddled with absurdities as expressed by Dicky Feynman. “We can’t define anything precisely. If we attempt to, we get into that paralysis of thought that comes to philosophers… one saying to the other: you don’t know what you are talking about! The second one says: what do you mean by ‘talking’? What do you mean by ‘you’? What do you mean by ‘know’?” (The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol.1, 1963).

9 hours ago, dimreepr said:

We all think, but poor philosophers are like poor scientist's, they just lack the training.

Which is why we all need to appeal to authority at one time or another.

To expand...an appeal to the "proper" authorities, while not proof, is evidence to support a particular case. It can be substantial evidence that puts a particular case beyond reasonable doubt. eg: Evidence for evolution, (so much so, that it is now considered fact) evidence for BH's...evidence for water on Mars.

On 5/19/2022 at 1:19 AM, studiot said:

I would add to this my observation that neither discipline is set in stone either.

Hands up those who think either Philosophy or Physics was the same as it was 50 years ago?; 100 years ago? ; 200 years ago? ; 500years ago ?

Of course neither is set in stone. I interprete Krauss, Degrasse-Tyson and Feynman, as simply expressing (at least with the first two) that areas of thought that once was the exclusive domain of philsophers, is now covered and treated by science. Feynman criticises then the absurdities that sometimes philosophy and philsophers seem to go. I see much validity in both points.

 

Edited by beecee
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21 minutes ago, beecee said:

Of course neither is set in stone. I interprete Krauss, Degrasse-Tyson and Feynman, as simply expressing (at least with the first two) that areas of thought that once was the exclusive domain of philsophers, is now covered and treated by science. Feynman criticises then the absurdities that sometimes philosophy and philsophers seem to go. I see much validity in both points.

And what do you think of the caloric theory ?

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On 5/19/2022 at 2:48 AM, geordief said:

Seems to me  you have wrongly attributed that quote to Bertand Russel(the preceding passage,though  does indeed seem to be from him.

All I did was quote from the following article....https://iai.tv/articles/common-sense-leads-philosophy-astray-auid-2075 by Marcus Arvan....Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Tampa.

 

2 minutes ago, studiot said:

And what do you think of the caloric theory ?

The evidence and data for modern thermodynamics and atomic theory has overridden and made it obsolete.  

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26 minutes ago, beecee said:

All I did was quote from the following article....https://iai.tv/articles/common-sense-leads-philosophy-astray-auid-2075 by Marcus Arvan....Associate Professor..

Maybe so,but between the two of you , you have made it appear that Bertrand Russel  wrote something that  was actually  just written by the author of the piece(he  did not bother with quotation marks while you have used them to enclose  both the author's commentary and Betrand Russel's  passage which was quoted by him.

 

A matter of no consequence,admittedly.

 

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, geordief said:

A matter of no consequence,admittedly.

Plenty of consquence actually imo. I always try and use reputable links. 

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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, beecee said:

Plenty of consquence actually imo. I always try and use reputable links. 

The link's only "mistake" was not to use quotation marks around his quote.

As he introduced the  quote in bold  letters  he may not have  thought it mattered  but when he was quoted, along with BR's passage it became unclear as to when BR stopped being quoted and when the author's commentary resumed.

 

To someone familiar with the article it may have been obvious ,but to a cursory reading I thought it was confusing. 

 

 

But I am always very fastidious about using quotation marks.I don't think anyone else has been much  troubled. 

 

It is off topic  now  surely.

Edited by geordief
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2 hours ago, beecee said:

 

 

The evidence and data for modern thermodynamics and atomic theory has overridden and made it obsolete.  

Exactly.

So why do the Philosophers get it so much more in the neck that the Physicists ?

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