Philosophy and Science

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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby Scruffy Nerf Herder on December 20th, 2016, 6:00 am 

Serpent » December 18th, 2016, 8:18 am wrote:
vivian maxine » December 18th, 2016, 9:35 am wrote:I have been pondering this for a long while. I would love to hear some thoughts on it. What is the relationship between philosophy and science in these modern times? How do they connect? I can't put a finger on anything. Can someone help? Thank you.

Once, they were a single entity. Then Science split off, taking all the quantitative thinkers off in hot pursuit of ergs, germs, and quarks, thence to develop technology. The more introspective and fanciful of the bright boys became known as Philosophers and took on the long, slow, thankless task of perfecting mankind.

Where they diverged and should not have is in the field of ethics.
Lately, they have met - colluded and collided - in some unlikely arenas: cosmology, neuro-science, ethnology and memetics.
But the only business they really need to tackle as a team is the ethics of applied technology.


This oversimplifies things, which may not be a fair criticism because your first paragraph was obviously glib, but the implication still remains that scientists are doing something real and philosophers are wholly concerned with things other than science. Which brings me to what I'd like to argue for in this thread:

Science is philosophy. A scientist is a kind of philosopher. Why might I say that?

A) Science depends on philosophy for it's epistemological grounds. A scientist would not even know what to ask and how they might answer their questions without the philosophical underpinning of science.

B) Philosophy was, from the start, a holistic venture into everything conceivably academic. The word was synonymous with the whole academic culture, and remained so for quite some time until things became more stratified recently. As has been noted already here, various scientific pursuits were originally identified as 'natural philosophy' and this was happening up until almost the 20th century.

C) Science needs philosophical discussion. It has always blossomed historically in an atmosphere where philosophy of science discussions are keen, pervasive, and substantive. While the modern primary epistemological paradigms of science were beginning to settle in the late 19th, work was done that had much to do with the thought of individuals like Maxwell, Planck, Einstein, Dirac, and Bell. The same can be said of many other influential periods in science, e.g. the move away from Ptolemaic astronomy.

D) Science may have a distinct universe of discourse, but it still has a dependent universe of discourse. Modern academia has a regrettable trend towards stratifying and stagnating, instead of demarcating, universes of discourse. Everyone is saying "well I don't do what they do", oftentimes not producing much of a substantive answer as to what they think the other really does, and fields naturally suffer from less of a stress by the whole towards holism.

That is what philosophy used to do. The same Aristotle that wrote Posterior Analytics and Nichomachean Ethics wrote Metaphysics and Zoology. Bacon didn't content himself with the Novum Organum, he also gave us Historia Naturalis and Anticipationes Philosophiæ Secunda, The New Atlantis and The Wisdom of the Ancients. Shouldn't everyone at least assume holism, and think something is wrong with either their universe of discourse or that of another if the two are irreconcilable?
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby dandelion on December 20th, 2016, 7:21 am 

This talk seems to agree that philosophy can be very helpful to science and I think highlights good interactive relationships between these of the past and seems encouraging of this going forwards.

I think the talk addresses mostly those not working as scientists, including working as philosophers, in the audience, discussing helpful and less helpful influences philosophy has had on science, and amongst answers to questions at the end, includes more specific suggestions for philosophy of science.

Some philosophers in particular are commented on. For some instances, philosophers with good attitude, listening to science, such as Kant reacting to Newton, and even from amongst phenomenologists, Husserl is remarked upon near the end of the talk. There seems to be a point made that philosophy with consideration of science is good because science offers the best knowledge available at the moment about the world. So the talk emphasises I think the impact of science influenced by philosophy, influenced by science.
https://youtu.be/IJ0uPkG-pr4


Different terminology, like natural philosophy is mentioned as well. I'll add that, responding to a challenge from Samuel Taylor Coleridge (mentioned previously elsewhere here for introducing the phrase about a willing suspension of disbelief for the moment), the theologian, polymath, and philosopher, Whewell, who, among other terms introduced the term "physicist", also introduced a more general term, "scientist" (1883), that it might match the term "artist"- "...as an Artist is a Musician, Painter, or Poet, a Scientist is a Mathematician, Physicist, or Naturalist", adding to earlier terms of natural philosopher and man of science (e.g., https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Fe8 ... t.&f=false ).
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby Athena on December 20th, 2016, 11:59 am 

vivian maxine » December 19th, 2016, 3:28 pm wrote:I like your reply, Biv, but it does sound to me (in part) as if you are saying philosophers decide whether what scientists want to do should be done. I seem to remember a religious group that believed in that philosophy.


That comment tickles me. But let us bend the other way, using math and science for making political decisions, especially those involving social policies, and please, please educate the media to do this! If the unemployment rate is 7% how many people can we expect to be unemployed and possibly homeless? When the cost of oil is over $4 a gallon how does this affect the economy? Remember the OPEC oil embargo and Reagan saying we don't have homeless people, only bums, and the slashing of domestic budgets and pouring money into military spending? I was advocating for the homeless and tried so hard to get the media to report on the issues and the deeper facts, and the media I was negotiating with refused, because the facts were not "newsworthy". This forced me to become a circus freak to call media attention to the growing homeless problem. As a society, we are not using science and math as it desperately needs to be used.

And what is really exciting is what we are learning about animal and human behavior, and not only do we need to apply this to social justice decisions, but education and criminal justice decisions as well. The gap between science and how we run our lives is huge and some might say barbaric. Perhaps this is a problem of too great of a division between philosophy and science?
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby Serpent on December 20th, 2016, 1:11 pm 

Scruffy Nerf Herder » December 20th, 2016, 5:00 am wrote:
This oversimplifies things, which may not be a fair criticism because your first paragraph was obviously glib, but the implication still remains that scientists are doing something real and philosophers are wholly concerned with things other than science.

I never intended to complicate the matter. Whether a simple explanation is over- or under- depends on one's pov. As to 'glib', well, I prefer 'concise'.

Science is philosophy. A scientist is a kind of philosopher.

So is a car mechanic; so is a farmer. Just as every miner and teacher, every problem-solving person, is a scientist.

A) Science depends on philosophy for it's epistemological grounds. A scientist would not even know what to ask and how they might answer their questions without the philosophical underpinning of science.

It's easy: "How does this work?" "Let's take it apart and find out."
"How come that happened?" "'Coz it's spring. That happens every spring."

Everybody knows what to ask. Whatever a. attracts their curiosity b. whatever problem needs solving and c. whatever all the other bright boys in his field are excited about.

Some are excited about size of dancing angels; some are excited about electrons running around wire loops; some are excited about tetanus; some are excited about the moral basis of jurisprudence; some are excited about the optimal nutrition of infants; some are excited about how tall a building can be. Each goes in search of answers to his own particular burning question, largely oblivious to the others, and finds the birds of his own feather.

Dear E. O. Wilson notwithstanding, sciences and humanities can't be holistic anymore: there is simply too much of everything. Each speciality contains so much information that its practitioners can barely keep up with their own little segment of the required knowledge. Scientists can philosophize - though probably not in the current professional vernacular - but philosophers can't be conversant with the entire body of science. If they specialize in the philosophy of science, they must have some familiarity - and give up other areas of knowledge.
They can, however, make some faint impression on the social and political forces exerted on the direction taken by some sciences. If they're in the service of Religion and/or Money and/or Nationalism, they can sometimes create an impenetrable wall of smoke between the populace and knowledge.
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby Braininvat on December 20th, 2016, 1:29 pm 

If they're [philosophers] in the service of Religion and/or Money and/or Nationalism, they can sometimes create an impenetrable wall of smoke between the populace and knowledge.


If a thinker is in service of those things, they shouldn't really be called philosophers. They don't dispassionately examine the fundamental premises of whatever system they promulgate and they often block free inquiry. which is antithetical to philosophy.

But, yes, many thinkers who do this like to style themselves "philosophers," flying a false flag and trying to claim a lineage from actual philosophers like Plato, Kant, Russell, et al. It's sort of a fraudulent appeal to authority when the actual meta-discipline of philosophy is to question authority.
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby Serpent on December 20th, 2016, 1:34 pm 

Ha! That's been the province of malcontents and radicals. Mainstream, respectable Philosophers have always been in service to some cause or power or school of thought.

Philosophy may be an abstract, pure ideal to some, but don't forget, it's also a profession.
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby vivian maxine on December 20th, 2016, 1:49 pm 

Athena » December 20th, 2016, 10:59 am wrote:
vivian maxine » December 19th, 2016, 3:28 pm wrote:I like your reply, Biv, but it does sound to me (in part) as if you are saying philosophers decide whether what scientists want to do should be done. I seem to remember a religious group that believed in that philosophy.


That comment tickles me. But let us bend the other way, using math and science for making political decisions, especially those involving social policies, and please, please educate the media to do this! If the unemployment rate is 7% how many people can we expect to be unemployed and possibly homeless? When the cost of oil is over $4 a gallon how does this affect the economy? Remember the OPEC oil embargo and Reagan saying we don't have homeless people, only bums, and the slashing of domestic budgets and pouring money into military spending? I was advocating for the homeless and tried so hard to get the media to report on the issues and the deeper facts, and the media I was negotiating with refused, because the facts were not "newsworthy". This forced me to become a circus freak to call media attention to the growing homeless problem. As a society, we are not using science and math as it desperately needs to be used.

And what is really exciting is what we are learning about animal and human behavior, and not only do we need to apply this to social justice decisions, but education and criminal justice decisions as well. The gap between science and how we run our lives is huge and some might say barbaric. Perhaps this is a problem of too great of a division between philosophy and science?


Firstoff, Athena, I promise you that you do not want me trying to teach math to the media or to anyone else. When I was at university, we took IQ tests. (Do they still do that now?) My highest score was in math. I am still laughting about that today. I can keep my check book balanced and that's it. Advanced math is totally beyond me. All those big equations I see on this forum and in Nature magazine send me running for the hills.

Enough of that. You say that there is "too great a division between philosophy and science. If there is, could it be a guarding of "our territory"? Something similar to "don't tell me how to do my job"?
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby Athena on December 21st, 2016, 10:56 am 

Vivinan, I woke this morning with this thread in mind and began googling for information and came across this absolutely delightful explanation of the difficulty of philosophers and mathematicians working together, although both sets of information are needed, and of course scientist need math and philosophy, but when we put all these folks together there are too many modes of thinking to have coherent conversations.

http://www.maa.org/external_archive/devlin/devlin_8_98.html

Not only do mathematicians and philosophers go about their business in very different ways, on the whole they don't mix. Mathematicians who arguably would benefit from reading works in philosophy rarely do so -- books by Daniel Dennett and John Searle excepted -- and even philosophers of mathematics appear to read little contemporary work on mathematics -- books by Roger Penrose excepted. As Thomas Kuhn wrote in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, ". . . normal science usually holds creative philosophy at arm's length, and probably for good reasons." Kuhn goes on to describe those "probable good reasons" -- in essence, to make progress in science it is generally better to ignore the potentially distracting meta-scientific questions that so interest the philosopher. Count mathematics in with science on that score.


God, help me. Both the kids are awake. This is the end of my adult time. And then there is the domestic woman. She doesn't have grounds for good social status like the mathematicians, philosophers, scientist, but does the unimportant work of caring for children and everyone else, so the truly important people are free to do their important work. I should understand that I do not deserve respect because I do not operate with a solid understanding of the science standard, and respect is something we have to earn. We all put ourselves first and base everything on getting what we want. I thank God, I am no longer a mother of small children, but am only giving the children's mothers (sisters) a short break and giving the children bonding time. Now I am guilty of thinking of myself and being angry, instead of properly loving and serving my family. Laugh, I wonder where we would be today if females had always had a voice in philosophy, science, and politics. But this is kind of like mathematicians and philosophers enjoying the same conversation and both thinking the communication problem is the other person. We are perhaps doing a poorer job of sharing the world, than before we had all these divisions?

"Oli, oli, oli, oli whoops" a child is trying to get my attention- signing off.
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby Serpent on December 21st, 2016, 11:13 am 

Athena --- Laugh, I wonder where we would be today if females had always had a voice in philosophy, science, and politics. But this is kind of like mathematicians and philosophers enjoying the same conversation and both thinking the communication problem is the other person. We are perhaps doing a poorer job of sharing the world, than before we had all these divisions?


You need to see this. Lay in sufficient scotch to dull the pain. It wasn't by accident that I referred to the bright boys in the historical context of science and philosophy.
"....it really opened my eyes to the silencing of women’s experience and the privileging and slanting of the facts by male historians.” ---- from Vogue review

Now, of course, half the physicists writing books are female - and they're by and large, more accessible, if not articulate than their male counterparts. I would be surprised, though, if the same trend obtained in philosophy: I think most women are practical; some are spiritual; very few are philosophical.
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby BadgerJelly on December 21st, 2016, 11:56 am 

May as well throw this in:

"... It is the ancient Greek nation in the seventh and sixth centuries B.C. Here there arises a new sort of attitude of individuals toward their surrounding world. And its consequence is the breakthrough of a completely new sort of spiritual structure, rapidly growing into systematically self-enclosed cultural form; the Greeks called it philosophy. Correctly translated, in the original sense, that means nothing other than universal science, science of the universe, of the all-encompassing unity of all that is. Soon the interest in the All, and thus the question of the all-encompassing becoming and being in becoming, begins to particularize itself according to the general forms and regions of being, and thus philosophy, the one science, branches out into many particular sciences."

- Husserl, The Vienna Lecture.

So if we talk about a "philosophy of science" can we talk about a "science of philosophy"? What would a science of philosophy look like if there could be such a thing?
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby Serpent on December 21st, 2016, 12:06 pm 

BadgerJelly » December 21st, 2016, 10:56 am wrote:So if we talk about a "philosophy of science" can we talk about a "science of philosophy"? What would a science of philosophy look like if there could be such a thing?

I imagine it would look rather like archeology, literary history and linguistics.
You would have to compile all the documentary records - some on four-sided stone pillars, which will make it a bit harder to file - classify them by subject matter, then thresh out what classifications of writing qualify under the definition.... define and delimit 'philosophy'... and then have a good long confab over the question of oral traditions, whether they are admissible and how to authenticate them. Keep a couple of hundred high-functioning minds out of mischief for years and years and years.

Once that was done, classified and subdivided, you could search for common themes and compare how they were used in various periods and cultures, and with what social results....
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby parsoff on December 22nd, 2016, 10:41 am 

the question search
the science for
the answer
the philosophy search
the human
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby Athena on December 22nd, 2016, 10:58 am 

Serpent » December 20th, 2016, 11:11 am wrote:
Scruffy Nerf Herder » December 20th, 2016, 5:00 am wrote:
This oversimplifies things, which may not be a fair criticism because your first paragraph was obviously glib, but the implication still remains that scientists are doing something real and philosophers are wholly concerned with things other than science.

I never intended to complicate the matter. Whether a simple explanation is over- or under- depends on one's pov. As to 'glib', well, I prefer 'concise'.

Science is philosophy. A scientist is a kind of philosopher.

So is a car mechanic; so is a farmer. Just as every miner and teacher, every problem-solving person, is a scientist.

A) Science depends on philosophy for it's epistemological grounds. A scientist would not even know what to ask and how they might answer their questions without the philosophical underpinning of science.

It's easy: "How does this work?" "Let's take it apart and find out."
"How come that happened?" "'Coz it's spring. That happens every spring."

Everybody knows what to ask. Whatever a. attracts their curiosity b. whatever problem needs solving and c. whatever all the other bright boys in his field are excited about.

Some are excited about size of dancing angels; some are excited about electrons running around wire loops; some are excited about tetanus; some are excited about the moral basis of jurisprudence; some are excited about the optimal nutrition of infants; some are excited about how tall a building can be. Each goes in search of answers to his own particular burning question, largely oblivious to the others, and finds the birds of his own feather.

Dear E. O. Wilson notwithstanding, sciences and humanities can't be holistic anymore: there is simply too much of everything. Each speciality contains so much information that its practitioners can barely keep up with their own little segment of the required knowledge. Scientists can philosophize - though probably not in the current professional vernacular - but philosophers can't be conversant with the entire body of science. If they specialize in the philosophy of science, they must have some familiarity - and give up other areas of knowledge.
They can, however, make some faint impression on the social and political forces exerted on the direction taken by some sciences. If they're in the service of Religion and/or Money and/or Nationalism, they can sometimes create an impenetrable wall of smoke between the populace and knowledge.


What you said about growing complexity was the reasoning behind specializing people, and specializing people is a disaster for democracy. Germany specialized people, while the US had education for generalizing people. The historic difference is Sparta and Athens, with Germany being the modern day Sparta and the US being the modern day Athens. This cultural conflict between being efficient and specialized or inefficient and generalized is behind Athens war with Sparta and it comes through Athens evolving philosophy and is tied to the death of Socrates, following the Spartan takeover of Athens. Aristotle was a pupil of Plato, who gave us Socrates' debates and Aristotle was strongly influenced by Sparta. Later Aristotle was manifest in the Catholic church's defense of its authoritarianism, and the church's scholastic education, which leads a massive rebellion against authoritarianism. We have seen this authoritarianism pop up again in defense of the scientific standard, and unfortunately, it may have returned to our politics and the reliance on authority, that led to Hitler.

Specializing people has its advantages, such as rapid advancement in the maths and science, but when it comes to human relations and democracy it is a disaster!
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby Athena on December 22nd, 2016, 11:24 am 

Serpent » December 21st, 2016, 9:13 am wrote:
Athena --- Laugh, I wonder where we would be today if females had always had a voice in philosophy, science, and politics. But this is kind of like mathematicians and philosophers enjoying the same conversation and both thinking the communication problem is the other person. We are perhaps doing a poorer job of sharing the world, than before we had all these divisions?


You need to see this. Lay in sufficient scotch to dull the pain. It wasn't by accident that I referred to the bright boys in the historical context of science and philosophy.
"....it really opened my eyes to the silencing of women’s experience and the privileging and slanting of the facts by male historians.” ---- from Vogue review

Now, of course, half the physicists writing books are female - and they're by and large, more accessible, if not articulate than their male counterparts. I would be surprised, though, if the same trend obtained in philosophy: I think most women are practical; some are spiritual; very few are philosophical.


Did you mean my interpretation of what you said? Use booze to cope with being responsible for children? Whatever, I had a wonderful laugh. THANK YOU I think you understand the pain and the joy and the hope.

Oh my goodness, I am so fickle I don't know it I could ever settle on one specialty, but I sometimes wonder is it too late for me to be a philosopher? There is so much I want to say about life and I feel so passionate about! I wish someone would lock me in a room with a word processor and some books, and not let me out until I complete a book. I want to see the domestic woman's stamp on philosophy!!!

I was afraid I really screwed up yesterday by mentioning an off topic subject- what child care can do to a person's intellect. I am so relieved that I didn't face total rejection today. I was working on my defense, and ready to argue what is REALLY IMPORTANT? What does it mean to spend a day with children so they have a chance to bond? Exactly what is it we need to know to do this well? How should the power struggles be managed? What of those tender egos and the need for correction? What should we do when a cry has an emotional meltdown and can't stop sobbing? How long can we listen to the children bouncing off the walls, tackling each other, laughing and yelling, and not have a nervous breakdown ourselves? Why would a sane person even do this? Hire a domestic woman of color, and get on with the study of math that is of interest. (only kidding). What of human values? How much technology do we need? When everything is done by robots, what will be left for humans to do?
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby Serpent on December 22nd, 2016, 11:47 am 

Use booze to cope with being responsible for children?

I wouldn't know about that. I suppose you could put them to bed before turning on the tv.
I was referring exclusively to the video, which I have seen, and know there is some extremely painful content - in fact, most of history is.
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby Athena on December 22nd, 2016, 11:53 am 

BadgerJelly » December 21st, 2016, 9:56 am wrote:May as well throw this in:

"... It is the ancient Greek nation in the seventh and sixth centuries B.C. Here there arises a new sort of attitude of individuals toward their surrounding world. And its consequence is the breakthrough of a completely new sort of spiritual structure, rapidly growing into systematically self-enclosed cultural form; the Greeks called it philosophy. Correctly translated, in the original sense, that means nothing other than universal science, science of the universe, of the all-encompassing unity of all that is. Soon the interest in the All, and thus the question of the all-encompassing becoming and being in becoming, begins to particularize itself according to the general forms and regions of being, and thus philosophy, the one science, branches out into many particular sciences."

- Husserl, The Vienna Lecture.

So if we talk about a "philosophy of science" can we talk about a "science of philosophy"? What would a science of philosophy look like if there could be such a thing?


Maybe I had too much coffee this morning but I want to give everyone praise for their post. This one really pulls at me because of the mention of logos, reason, the controlling force of the universe made manifest in speech. First, a mind blowing perspective in understanding our reality, second, the opening of a Pandora's box and as Zeus feared, unleashing our advancement of technology to the point we now rival the gods.

What the Greeks created that is different from the originally more advanced math of Egyptians, is taking something practical and making it abstract. Practically the Egyptians had the triangle down pat and they could create art and monuments and survey a changing landscape with their practical math. The Greeks, such as Pythagoras studied in Egpyt and may have had contact with Indian math as well, and with the concept of logos- they went beyond the practical math of measuring things to the theory, abstract conceptualized of math. It is comprehending the theory behind the triangle. It is coming with the archetypes of nature, that makes the maths and sciences possible.
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby Athena on December 22nd, 2016, 12:05 pm 

Serpent » December 22nd, 2016, 9:47 am wrote:
Use booze to cope with being responsible for children?

I wouldn't know about that. I suppose you could put them to bed before turning on the tv.
I was referring exclusively to the video, which I have seen, and know there is some extremely painful content - in fact, most of history is.


Oh, I thought your advice was along the lines of the advice a doctor gave me long ago. I asked him what to do about my son's teething pain. He told me to rub my son's gums with scotch and take a shot of it myself. Adding that when I do this enough times, it won't care anymore.

What video? I googled "Lay in sufficient scotch to dull the pain" and got confirmation that it is good for relieving a toothache, but not get an explanation of a video.

Hum, perhaps I am an alcoholic looking for an excuse to get drunk. I am understanding the video I have to see.
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby Serpent on December 22nd, 2016, 12:13 pm 

Athena » December 22nd, 2016, 11:05 am wrote:What video? I googled "Lay in sufficient scotch to dull the pain" and got confirmation that it is good for relieving a toothache, but not get an explanation of a video.

That would be because I inadvertently edited out the link, which was the sole purpose of my post.
http://usa.newonnetflix.info/info/80095865/s
Sorry!
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby wolfhnd on December 22nd, 2016, 2:39 pm 

The idea of a horse is more real than the horse itself. That Platonian concept captures the Greek view of abstractions. Modern science however is based more on the Aristotelian view that you have to make observations of nature to understand it. It shouldn't be considered an either or situation. The first can be considered the necessary reduction of a problem to it's simplest form or it's abstract representation and the insistence on internal logical consistency. The second recognizes the need to check that the abstraction is consistent with objective reality.

The three requirements for a healthy mind are emotional motivation, conscience awareness of the external world, and time to dream. All three influence each other and have to be kept in balance. For the purposes of this discussion emotional motivation relates to the health and vitality of the physical brain, consciousness of external reality is science, and time to dream is the philosophical defragmentation of the first two processes.

The fourth element is spiritually which is the harmony of the three processes required for a healthy intellectual life.
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby hyksos on December 22nd, 2016, 6:07 pm 

The distinction between Philosophy and Science can be found in the foundations of the university system in Europe in the Italian Renaissance.

Pico della Mirandola wrote something called the "Oration of the Dignity of Man" which acts as the foundational document of Renaissance Humanism. But it also directly defends the university system and the importance of liberal arts.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oration_o ... ity_of_Man

http://www.safarmer.com/pico/

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

Centuries later, humanism survives in universities and acts as a basis of something on campus called The Humanities Department. The "engineering and physical sciences" have been mostly bracketed off on modern campuses, as acting very distinct from what is going on on the rest of campus. In many cases, those students who attempt to major in a physical science are required to maintain a higher GPA than the rest of the student body.

Philosophy is universally listed as a "humanities" on modern course listings. So the unspoken backdrop behind practical philosophy always assumes that people are a central object of the study and what can be claimed as knowledge or not -- by people -- is called epistemology.

Philosophy almost naturally assumes that things like destroying the environment, causing others to suffer, or killing people are universally bad things. Humanities departments are also obsessed with facilitating and enhancing communication between people -- making them better writers, more clear speakers, better communicators of ideas. For this reason, philosophy departments are not concerned with techniques of secrecy or manipulation of people by deception. The Humanities assumes that human life is precious and important, and worth protecting -- and that human freedom is valuable and should be cultivated.

These underlying ethical standards should stand in contrast to the military and its aims, and military industry. Both those sectors of humanity are concerned with building machines that more effectively kill people. The military also uses cryptography for secrecy. They use deception for spying, and propaganda for psychological operations. The aims and ethical goals of the military are often diametrically opposite those of the Humanities departments in universities, but simultaneously we see that the military does indeed use science and scientists as part of its healthy operation.

Any given healthy civilization contains "sectors" often with very different goals and varying ethical standards.
  • Humanities and the Arts.
  • Science and research.
  • Private Sector business.
  • Military and defense.
  • Government, law, courts.

Generally speaking, a given philosophy professor will feel that what the military does is revolting. They may also experience moral revulsion at the practices employed by business and finance. Many philosophers in the more "liberal" universities are the loudest advocates for environmental protection against pollution and industry.

Given the above observations, a fuzzy rift begins to materialize between what constitutes "Science" and what constitutes "Philosophy".

Philosophy is a humanities endeavor. Science is some other different kind of human endeavor. It is the human endeavor of the Scientific Method. That is something like collecting empirical data and forming a theory to explain and model that data.
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby Braininvat on December 22nd, 2016, 8:44 pm 

Science is some other different kind of human endeavor. It is the human endeavor of the Scientific Method. That is something like collecting empirical data and forming a theory to explain and model that data.


This cruises dangerously close to tautology.

But I guess you mean science is a set of methodological tools that are value-neutral. Whereas philosophy is about the quest for values and meanings as they may be determined by humans?

Sorry, maybe that quote only looked tautological at first glance. I really need to eat.
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby BadgerJelly on December 23rd, 2016, 6:52 am 

Athena -

To add for clarity in regards to Husserl:

"Here we encounter an obvious objection: philosophy, the science of the Greeks, is not something peculiar to them which came into the world for the first time with them. After all, they themselves tell of fhe wise Egyptians, Babylpnians, etc., and did in fact learn much from them. Today we have a plethora of works about Indian philosophy, Chinese philosophy, etc., ...
... But only in the Greeks do we have a universal ("cosmological") life-interest in the essentially new form of a purely "theoretical" attitude, and this as a communal form in which this interest works itself out for internal reasons, being the corresponding, essentially new [community] of philosophers, of scientists (mathematicians, astronomers, etc.). These are the men who, not in isolation but with one another and for one another, i.e., in interpersonally bound communal work, strive for and bring about theoria and nothing but theoria, whose growth and constant perfection, with the broadening of the circle of coworkers and the succession of sense of an infinite adn common task. The theoretical attitude has its hostorical origin in the Greeks."

Serpent -

What you've said above about a "science of philosophy" is interesting for me for various reasons. The quote above from Husserl, for me, shows something obvious. There can be no "science of philosophy" in the modern day form of "science". The method of science simply cannot be applied as a human description because it does not, and is constructed so as to not, make subjective descriptions of the world. Science is wholly absent from descriptions although it may be employed to bolster humanistic descriptions and varify measureable validities of the "world". This is a position I take in light of the view of "philosophy" as the "universal science", as being in regard to every human endeavor.

What I see is an attitude towards phenomena as corporeal and only corporeal, as physically in a thereness and present as an exactitiude not as a striving towards fuller description. By this I mean we theoretically frame our view of "the world" and hold fast to certain communal ideals that have helped progress understanding, yet they have left behind humanistic description. The boon of course is the development of new concepts to apply to thr "world" which we have come to culturally absorb and develop a greater field of possible descriptions. What I hope for is a way to take these new concepts given to us by the success of science (in the modern sense of the word) and make use of them by "taking them back" to the source of our scientific beginnings to see if we can make a new approach towards a "personal" science, a look at the purely subjective.

It appears to me Husserl was striving towards this idea. He seemed to think that whatever it was we could make as a "new science" would have to look completely alien to modern science.

I should note, I am not here to sell his ideas or make any claim that he is "correct". I am very much taken by what he says and I do think much of what he was looking at is very much part of our modern culture and I persoanlly see in society, through politics and public attitudes towards science, that there is something usefuk to learn about our biases in regards to "truth" and "fact" and at the heart of this is the individual attitude for which science (by its method of "suprasubjectivity"/objectivism) has no way to gain any purchase. So if we want a "science" of the individual we require a "technique" to find a "universal" subjectivity and scientific method, as it is now, cannot say anything about such a thing.

All that said, I do think such a "science" can be supplemented by our current scientific method but not grounded by it. And right here in this linguistic attempt I fail ...

Think of the problem like this ... let us say we have a certain social situation. There are five people and there are several tasks to be achieved and each personal wanta to achieve their own personal task with some degree of urgency. Let us say that we can measure scientifically the degree of urgency of each person and the resources available for each individual. Let us also say that no one person has the resources to achieve their task and that sharing is the only way to achieve any task. Can any science tell us what will happen simply by measuring the favour of each person towards each task and each individuals urgency to achieve their task?

In the above example we are left guessing and would imagine that these people would, if using reasonable discourse, come to some arrangement and decide on what task holds the most value. We view the problem as being resolved through making ideal objectivifications about the "common good" yet do so by assuming that subjective personal attitudes can be put to one side. Reason is used as a political means. The decision made will favour some much more than others. In some cases the decision will cause great harm to some individuals.

In the above example a very limited scenario has been described. On the scale of all humanity we see these ideas employed in "game theory" and used in social sciences.

All of these ideas are based on the premise of measuring "value". What is of value is not something science can measure. Science does not give us "beauty", yet understanding science can let us see the "beautf" of science or scientific knowledge can allow us to see a greater deal of beauty and fascination in our human attitude.

I am not talking about "nativism", but about taking what science gives us back to our primal attitudes, our personal being, and looking at the concepts science has developed in our culture parallel to finite being (rather than in the infinite task of science as a procedure of accuracy and objective discipline - not that I am accusing scientists as not doing this to some extent already, or we'd have no scientific development without such a personal course of action being taken).

Maybe I am waffling too much! Haha :)
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby neuro on December 23rd, 2016, 9:23 am 

The problem may simply be about the value of generalization.

Mathematics are absolutely general. They are sufficiently abstract to permit absolute and general statements to be formed and proved.

Physics are quite general. If you are good enough, and you have enough observations, you can generalize to quite a large extent and be reasonably confident on your conclusions.

Biology is much less so, but quite a large room remains for generalization and hypothesis testing and validation.

Medicine begins to be very leaky: Placebos, psychosomatic diseases, allergies, individual sensitivities to drugs, the ever more clearly recognized difficulty of framing a number of pathologies (especially neuropathologies) in clear-cut syndromes, because the borders among them (e.g. ALS versus Parkinson's or Alzheimer's) is rather confuse...
All this introduces a subjective aspect that prevents generalization: western ("scientific") medicine tries and abstract from the person, and rather identify the syndrome (set of symptoms), because this can be done according to a "scientific" method whereas a truly "personalized medicine" could not be scientific.

Then, as we proceed along this line, we get into psychology, and then the humanities, and that part of philosophy which is considered not to be "science".
The curious and fascinating aspect, however, is that the aim still is that of generalizing: nobody is more attracted by absolute and general truth than philosophers are.
Possibly, the difference is philosophers have much more clear in their mind the one, true, central truth, that is that there is no truth, but there may only be a quest for it.
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby parsoff on December 23rd, 2016, 10:24 am 

Athena » December 22nd, 2016, 5:24 pm wrote:When everything is done by robots, what will be left for humans to do?

The less energy you waste the more intelligent.
It is time that humans reconnect with intelligence and not see that as something strange.
See intelligence more as the way to do it ... a future full of robots.
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby Serpent on December 23rd, 2016, 7:01 pm 

BadgerJelly » December 23rd, 2016, 5:52 am wrote:What you've said above about a "science of philosophy" is interesting for me for various reasons. The quote above from Husserl, for me, shows something obvious. There can be no "science of philosophy" in the modern day form of "science".

Maybe not an exact science like chemistry, but I see no reason it can't be studied like philology or history - or even in a more forensic sense, for particular markers that forecast or resolve historical crises.
I can imagine a fertile area for study there: just as in religious, political and psychological trends, there is a formative mood that gives rise to a certain kind of philosophy. Tracing the origin and development of a philosophical movement, or school of thought, might give the forensic historian a 'temperature' reading on a society in a given time period.

The method of science simply cannot be applied as a human description because it does not, and is constructed so as to not, make subjective descriptions of the world.

But it is constructed to collect and compile data. Human, subjective descriptions of anything vary only by a slight margin - indeed, the uniformity of human experience over time and continents is striking. So, collecting subjective observations and descriptions and then putting them on charts and maps for comparison seems to me perfectly feasible.

I really don't see any need for the mystification - much less the elevation into a realm all its own - of subjective experience.
ETA - No - it's more than that. I see so many self-styled disciplines getting away with promulgating gobbledygook, simply by announcing: This can't be assessed by scientific means. This is outside the purview of science and its methods.
I don't believe any human endeavour - and certainly none that claim to have relevance for all people - should put itself out of bounds of logical scrutiny or a reasonable standard of veracity.
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby Athena on December 24th, 2016, 1:49 am 

Here is a video about the philosophy of science with Hilary Putnam.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=et8kDNF_nEc
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby Athena on December 24th, 2016, 1:53 am 

parsoff » December 23rd, 2016, 8:24 am wrote:
Athena » December 22nd, 2016, 5:24 pm wrote:When everything is done by robots, what will be left for humans to do?

The less energy you waste the more intelligent.
It is time that humans reconnect with intelligence and not see that as something strange.
See intelligence more as the way to do it ... a future full of robots.


Why?
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby BadgerJelly on December 24th, 2016, 3:34 am 

Serpent -

It turns out I am not articulate enough. I make too many assumptions about what I know about Husserl and others do not. The point is not to disregard logic, the point is to see the limit of scientific reduction as a purposeful means of describing human experience.

Then to view the ancoent Greek beginnings called "philosophy" (meaning universal science) and understand that from there out modern appreciation of science has come into fruitition. The universal science was about being human and from there came abstraction and understanding through the modern scientific tradition as a means to explore our world in itself alienated from our humanistic being.

Science as we know today has been a very fruitful path of a broader "universal science" (philosophy). I only ask what new concepts science has allowed us to create that can be of use if applied to "universal science"? I am not saying to simply transplant modern scientific method and reductist techniques into humanistic fields of study. It is precisely this I am protesting against as a psychological fixatedness, not a protest against logic, but rather the habit of applying scientific methodogy where it cannot describe human attitudes.
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby Forest_Dump on December 24th, 2016, 4:55 am 

I think you are really on to it Badger. Very nicely done.
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Re: Philosophy and Science

Postby wolfhnd on December 24th, 2016, 5:35 am 

The arrogance of those who enjoy "philosophy" is what I find disturbing. In general they seem to believe that science can benefit from philosophy but philosophy cannot benefit from science. I believe it is the other way around. Science grounds philosophy in objective reality allowing it to address the "big questions" without being total fantasy. Philosophy often becomes nothing more than an intellectual coat of fresh paint on a rotting house and I offer post modernism as an example.
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