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Phil. of Science: Uniformity of nature

Skyhook
Posts: 77
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8/20/2012 1:39:55 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
I've been reading Samir Okasha's A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy of Science (which I highly recommend to anyone interested in phil. of science, and it's not technical at all). One of the more interesting points or kink so to speak the book dives into is the problem of induction raised by Hume. In other words, how can we justify that the future will be like the past without begging the question? And if we can't do that, what does the problem of induction mean for science? Induction is something we intuitively take for granted but much in the same way Kant thought the great scandal of philosophy is that we take the existence of the external world on faith, I might go even further to say that it's just as big of a scandal that we take induction for granted. Thoughts?
Sidewalker
Posts: 3,713
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8/20/2012 9:32:17 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/20/2012 1:39:55 AM, Skyhook wrote:
I've been reading Samir Okasha's A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy of Science (which I highly recommend to anyone interested in phil. of science, and it's not technical at all). One of the more interesting points or kink so to speak the book dives into is the problem of induction raised by Hume. In other words, how can we justify that the future will be like the past without begging the question? And if we can't do that, what does the problem of induction mean for science? Induction is something we intuitively take for granted but much in the same way Kant thought the great scandal of philosophy is that we take the existence of the external world on faith, I might go even further to say that it's just as big of a scandal that we take induction for granted. Thoughts?

Hume certainly questioned the validity of induction, but in the end, he concluded that we have no choice but to rely on it, he recognized that rejection of inductive reasoning just isn't an option. Our brains are organized to see patterns, it's a defining characteristic of how our brains operate and a pretty basic manner by which we relate ourselves to the world.

I don't really think it's scandalous, most are fully aware of the fact that inductive reasoning does not yield certainty, we know it's conclusions are only probable, but they are the conclusions we live our lives by.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
Skyhook
Posts: 77
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8/20/2012 11:12:55 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/20/2012 9:32:17 PM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 8/20/2012 1:39:55 AM, Skyhook wrote:
I've been reading Samir Okasha's A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy of Science (which I highly recommend to anyone interested in phil. of science, and it's not technical at all). One of the more interesting points or kink so to speak the book dives into is the problem of induction raised by Hume. In other words, how can we justify that the future will be like the past without begging the question? And if we can't do that, what does the problem of induction mean for science? Induction is something we intuitively take for granted but much in the same way Kant thought the great scandal of philosophy is that we take the existence of the external world on faith, I might go even further to say that it's just as big of a scandal that we take induction for granted. Thoughts?

Hume certainly questioned the validity of induction, but in the end, he concluded that we have no choice but to rely on it, he recognized that rejection of inductive reasoning just isn't an option. Our brains are organized to see patterns, it's a defining characteristic of how our brains operate and a pretty basic manner by which we relate ourselves to the world.

I don't really think it's scandalous, most are fully aware of the fact that inductive reasoning does not yield certainty, we know it's conclusions are only probable, but they are the conclusions we live our lives by.

Agreed. Living skeptically about induction is unlivable. I've seen a few attempts to solve the problem but unfortunately nothing promising yet. I might've gotten carried away with the scandalous comment, but it is in some ways analogous to Kant's external world comment.
R0b1Billion
Posts: 3,733
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8/21/2012 12:10:24 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
What other uniformities are discussed?
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
Skyhook
Posts: 77
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8/21/2012 2:01:32 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/21/2012 12:10:24 AM, R0b1Billion wrote:
What other uniformities are discussed?

That I found, just two more and they are underdetermination of data and objective data. The second one may be somewhat of a stretch.

The first is the notion that data that is not directly observable is underdetermined. For instance, let's say we found a new crater today. One scientist may hypothesize that it is the result of a meteor strike from millions of years ago and it may be consistent with the gathered data; however, because no one witnessed the event other equally possible explanations may also explain the data (earthquakes, volcanic activity, etc.). The point Okasha tries to make is that the underdetermination of evidence is a more sophisiticated problem of induction in that we can't even be 100% sure the past is what we think of it to be. This isn't a popular view for most philosophers of science though (except a few scientific anti-realists).

With regards to objective data, Okasha talks about paradigms (viewing the world through a specific set of assumptions and predictions). For instance, Einsteinian and Newtonian physics are two paradigms because they operate on two different sets of assumptions and predictions. So the question then becomes what happens when two or more paradigms come into conlfict? Some scientists and philosophers believe there must be a third party/objective evidence that settles the question as to which paradigm is superior, but this may not necessarily be the case. For one, it would be difficult justify that this evidence exists for certain. It also presupposes that the paradigms share the same language (mass for a Newtonian may be different for a relativist for example). But even if two paradigms can communicate with each other, both paradigms may disagree with their standards of evaluating evidence. It's an interesting way to look at science and was very controversial when it was first brought up. Thomas Kuhn is your man if the idea of paradigm shifts sounds interesting to you.

My bad on the lengthy post. There might be other types of more clear uniformity problems but unfortunately this book was really short that it could be read in one or two sittings.
Sidewalker
Posts: 3,713
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8/21/2012 6:40:34 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/20/2012 11:12:55 PM, Skyhook wrote:
At 8/20/2012 9:32:17 PM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 8/20/2012 1:39:55 AM, Skyhook wrote:
I've been reading Samir Okasha's A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy of Science (which I highly recommend to anyone interested in phil. of science, and it's not technical at all). One of the more interesting points or kink so to speak the book dives into is the problem of induction raised by Hume. In other words, how can we justify that the future will be like the past without begging the question? And if we can't do that, what does the problem of induction mean for science? Induction is something we intuitively take for granted but much in the same way Kant thought the great scandal of philosophy is that we take the existence of the external world on faith, I might go even further to say that it's just as big of a scandal that we take induction for granted. Thoughts?

Hume certainly questioned the validity of induction, but in the end, he concluded that we have no choice but to rely on it, he recognized that rejection of inductive reasoning just isn't an option. Our brains are organized to see patterns, it's a defining characteristic of how our brains operate and a pretty basic manner by which we relate ourselves to the world.

I don't really think it's scandalous, most are fully aware of the fact that inductive reasoning does not yield certainty, we know it's conclusions are only probable, but they are the conclusions we live our lives by.

Agreed. Living skeptically about induction is unlivable. I've seen a few attempts to solve the problem but unfortunately nothing promising yet. I might've gotten carried away with the scandalous comment, but it is in some ways analogous to Kant's external world comment.

Not really, the way you worded it "just as big of a scandal that we take induction for granted" is quite correct. I don't think Kant's idea that we take the existence of the external world on faith is really all that scandalous either, and for the same reasons.

The difference is just a matter of evolving semantics, the world we live in today is so different as far as the word scandal goes, what was scandalous in Kant's time is pretty much normal anymore. Almost everything we do today would have been considered scandalous in the 1700s, in today's society, something has to be pretty far over the top to be considered scandalous.

Plus, now we have the philosophical implications of quantum physics, all other scandalous philosophical ideas pale in comparison. :)
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
Reason_Alliance
Posts: 1,283
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8/21/2012 7:11:17 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/20/2012 1:39:55 AM, Skyhook wrote:
I've been reading Samir Okasha's A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy of Science (which I highly recommend to anyone interested in phil. of science, and it's not technical at all). One of the more interesting points or kink so to speak the book dives into is the problem of induction raised by Hume. In other words, how can we justify that the future will be like the past without begging the question? And if we can't do that, what does the problem of induction mean for science? Induction is something we intuitively take for granted but much in the same way Kant thought the great scandal of philosophy is that we take the existence of the external world on faith, I might go even further to say that it's just as big of a scandal that we take induction for granted. Thoughts?

It all goes back to Aristotle's empiricism, beliefs can be changed as new evidence flows in. I think it was Heraclitus who said that the nature of the world is in flux, the moment you step foot into the river, it's a different river alltogether. Hence the vicissitudes of science is such that it's always changing, Hume was an empiricist, not a rationalist. And rationalists have a more stable ground... but they don't seem to know as much as empiricists. Plato was Aristotle's opposite and propounded rationalism before him.

Thank goodness Kant later came along and laid the foundation for the synthesis of the two! Since then Philosophers of Science have been making a more rigorous phil of sci. Fancis Bacon has been instrumental and with the onset of justificationism in most recent times we're finally coming to a place where Hume's objection isn't so much as a looming problem. Also, see Nicholas Rescher at my University-- he propounds a bigger problem for science.

Either way, I think science has a history of disproving itself- such is the nature of self-correction. We just have to call it for what it is and what it's always been: knowledge in flux.
Skyhook
Posts: 77
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8/21/2012 11:42:00 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/21/2012 6:40:34 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 8/20/2012 11:12:55 PM, Skyhook wrote:
At 8/20/2012 9:32:17 PM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 8/20/2012 1:39:55 AM, Skyhook wrote:
I've been reading Samir Okasha's A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy of Science (which I highly recommend to anyone interested in phil. of science, and it's not technical at all). One of the more interesting points or kink so to speak the book dives into is the problem of induction raised by Hume. In other words, how can we justify that the future will be like the past without begging the question? And if we can't do that, what does the problem of induction mean for science? Induction is something we intuitively take for granted but much in the same way Kant thought the great scandal of philosophy is that we take the existence of the external world on faith, I might go even further to say that it's just as big of a scandal that we take induction for granted. Thoughts?

Hume certainly questioned the validity of induction, but in the end, he concluded that we have no choice but to rely on it, he recognized that rejection of inductive reasoning just isn't an option. Our brains are organized to see patterns, it's a defining characteristic of how our brains operate and a pretty basic manner by which we relate ourselves to the world.

I don't really think it's scandalous, most are fully aware of the fact that inductive reasoning does not yield certainty, we know it's conclusions are only probable, but they are the conclusions we live our lives by.

Agreed. Living skeptically about induction is unlivable. I've seen a few attempts to solve the problem but unfortunately nothing promising yet. I might've gotten carried away with the scandalous comment, but it is in some ways analogous to Kant's external world comment.

Not really, the way you worded it "just as big of a scandal that we take induction for granted" is quite correct. I don't think Kant's idea that we take the existence of the external world on faith is really all that scandalous either, and for the same reasons.

The difference is just a matter of evolving semantics, the world we live in today is so different as far as the word scandal goes, what was scandalous in Kant's time is pretty much normal anymore. Almost everything we do today would have been considered scandalous in the 1700s, in today's society, something has to be pretty far over the top to be considered scandalous.

Plus, now we have the philosophical implications of quantum physics, all other scandalous philosophical ideas pale in comparison. :)

That's definitely true. This is what happens when you don't pay attention to the history of philosophy(I'm still stuck in the 18th and 19th century with philosophy). I was drawing more from a classroom experience where one of my professors offered the class a dinner to whomever can prove with certainty that the external world as we see it is real and not just some illusion. Needless to say, we failed miserably. But you are correct, thank you for the clarification.
Skyhook
Posts: 77
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8/21/2012 12:06:34 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/21/2012 7:11:17 AM, Reason_Alliance wrote:
At 8/20/2012 1:39:55 AM, Skyhook wrote:
I've been reading Samir Okasha's A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy of Science (which I highly recommend to anyone interested in phil. of science, and it's not technical at all). One of the more interesting points or kink so to speak the book dives into is the problem of induction raised by Hume. In other words, how can we justify that the future will be like the past without begging the question? And if we can't do that, what does the problem of induction mean for science? Induction is something we intuitively take for granted but much in the same way Kant thought the great scandal of philosophy is that we take the existence of the external world on faith, I might go even further to say that it's just as big of a scandal that we take induction for granted. Thoughts?

It all goes back to Aristotle's empiricism, beliefs can be changed as new evidence flows in. I think it was Heraclitus who said that the nature of the world is in flux, the moment you step foot into the river, it's a different river alltogether. Hence the vicissitudes of science is such that it's always changing, Hume was an empiricist, not a rationalist. And rationalists have a more stable ground... but they don't seem to know as much as empiricists. Plato was Aristotle's opposite and propounded rationalism before him.

Thank goodness Kant later came along and laid the foundation for the synthesis of the two! Since then Philosophers of Science have been making a more rigorous phil of sci. Fancis Bacon has been instrumental and with the onset of justificationism in most recent times we're finally coming to a place where Hume's objection isn't so much as a looming problem. Also, see Nicholas Rescher at my University-- he propounds a bigger problem for science.

Either way, I think science has a history of disproving itself- such is the nature of self-correction. We just have to call it for what it is and what it's always been: knowledge in flux.

Yeah, Hume's one of the primary reason I've never been a full fledged empiricist just based on the fact that under his empiricism causation is illusory. I've only been aware of Kant's moral philosophy but not his unification of rationalism and empiricism so I will defintely be looking into that more.

That's an excellent example (the river) comparison and science being in a state of flux. I'm researching Nicholas Rescher and he seems like one bad man. I haven't even finished reading his resume and the fact that he was a student of Carl Hempel, one of the foremost philosophers of science during his day, just wow.

But yeah, unfortunately, I'm not a phil. of science major. My school (Marquette) has a decent but not excellent philosophy department. They're very diverse (continental, eastern, historical, political, etc.), but they only have one analytic professor and there's only one phil. of science taught every two years for grad students. So for now, I'm just trying to soak in what I can about phil. of science since science (biochemistry) is my major.
psb
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10/27/2013 3:57:00 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Since you guys have read this book. My questions from CH. 3 and 4.

What is the "covering-law model of explanation?" Explain the two kinds of statements that must be in the explanans and the four "criteria of adequacy." Give an example of the covering law model in which the phenomenon to be explained is why a flower wilted and died.

The "flagpole example" is a counter-example to the covering law model of explanation. Explain what makes it a counter-example.

Explain the "no miracles" argument for the philosophy of "realism?"

What is "underdetermination" and how is it an argument for "anti-realism?"
Ratio_Mentat
Posts: 22
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10/27/2013 11:40:21 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/20/2012 1:39:55 AM, Skyhook wrote:
I've been reading Samir Okasha's A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy of Science (which I highly recommend to anyone interested in phil. of science, and it's not technical at all). One of the more interesting points or kink so to speak the book dives into is the problem of induction raised by Hume. In other words, how can we justify that the future will be like the past without begging the question? And if we can't do that, what does the problem of induction mean for science? Induction is something we intuitively take for granted but much in the same way Kant thought the great scandal of philosophy is that we take the existence of the external world on faith, I might go even further to say that it's just as big of a scandal that we take induction for granted. Thoughts?

Problem of Induction isn't strictly about will the future be similar to the past. The Problem of Induction is that the unknown is similar to the known. And of course we can never know this. We can't even show that the unknown isn't similar to the known. One of the implications of this is that we can't know universal propositions, and by default can't know dispositions. This also holds that we can't know one causal relationship and can't know that there exists at least one causal relationship. We can come up with conjectures of causal relationships if we have a methodological rule that there does exist at least one causal relationship or disposition.
Cogitors Fundamental Postulate: "The mind imposes an arbitrary framework called "reality", which is quite independent of what the senses report."

Ancient Mentat Conundrum: "At last, after our long journey, we have reached the beginning."