Karl Popper's "Science as Falsification" :

#21
Nassim, I think you've gone off the rails a bit with Chris. He isn't one who presents logical fallacies and certainty. There are others here who would benefit much more from reading the book - our fearless leader, for one. And it's more about empiricism than logical fallacies (although he does point out the seeming ubiquitousness of the "affirming the consequent" fallacy).

Linda
See above, Linda.Thanks for mentioning that book.Who wrote that?.What's the full title?.Can't find it neither on amazon.com nor elsewhere on internet.Cheers.
 
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#25
Nassim

You must have led a very sheltered life if you interpret a remark like that as anger!
Really ? Is that the only explanation you can come up with?
I see i was wrong about asserting that you reacted emotionally : the same goes for you here above.
Let's call it quit then, shall we? lol Cheers.
 
#28
I like Feynman's "Science is a belief in the fallibility of experts."

Popper's general epistemology, critical rationalism, would do us all a world of good if it was widespread.
Indeed.The man was a genius.He was the greatest philosopher of science ever.His work regarding the nature of science and epistemology at least are needed now more than ever before , especially in this time where science has been equated with a ...world view , a 19th century outdated false and superseded philosophy , conception of nature ...such as materialism or materialistic monism.
Materialism that has not only been dominating in all sciences for that matter , including human sciences , but has also been dominating in political science , history writing, sociology, anthropology, psychology , economics, art , literature .....
It's about time that materialism gets kicked out of science and the rest , for the benefit and progress of mankind as a whole and for those of science.Cheers.
For me, Karl Popper is one of the two greatest philosophers of science - the second one is Thomas Kuhn. Both are equal in their exceptional brilliance, since they saw the science from two highly different but valid viewpoints: the general rational methodology (Pooper) and social history of struggle (Kuhn). Being taken together, their contributions to the understanding of the scientific process mutually complement each other, forming a picture that encompasses intellectual and social components of science.

What is still being omitted in this picture, however, is experiential component. Why there is no widely recognized philosopher of science who described the experiential component as sharply as Popper described the intellectual one and Kuhn - the social one, we already has a promising candidate for such position: Rupert Sheldrake. His work on experimenter effect, changeable laws of nature and psychophysics has a real chance to become a foundation of a fundamental understanding of experimental dynamics - dynamics which is freed from the myth of total objectivity. I suppose, Sheldrake's active experimenter influence and fluxible regularities will one day stand together with Popper's falsifiability and Kuhn's paradigms, anomalies and revolutions.
 
#29
For me, Karl Popper is one of the two greatest philosophers of science - the second one is Thomas Kuhn. Both are equal in their exceptional brilliance, since they saw the science from two highly different but valid viewpoints: the general rational methodology (Pooper) and social history of struggle (Kuhn). Being taken together, their contributions to the understanding of the scientific process mutually complement each other, forming a picture that encompasses intellectual and social components of science.

What is still being omitted in this picture, however, is experiential component. Why there is no widely recognized philosopher of science who described the experiential component as sharply as Popper described the intellectual one and Kuhn - the social one, we already has a promising candidate for such position: Rupert Sheldrake. His work on experimenter effect, changeable laws of nature and psychophysics has a real chance to become a foundation of a fundamental understanding of experimental dynamics - dynamics which is freed from the myth of total objectivity. I suppose, Sheldrake's active experimenter influence and fluxible regularities will one day stand together with Popper's falsifiability and Kuhn's paradigms, anomalies and revolutions.
I like all of the above authors. But - really - Popper wrote "The Logic of Scientific Discovery" 80 years ago. I don't mean to be a pooper - but the subject of causal relations in empirical science has newer developments.

See J. Ladyman, S. French on Structural Realism. I have never seen a paper on Philosophy of Science by R. Sheldrake -- but would love to have a link to one. Anyone have this?
 
#30
I like all of the above authors. But - really - Popper wrote "The Logic of Scientific Discovery" 80 years ago. I don't mean to be a pooper - but the subject of causal relations in empirical science has newer developments.

See J. Ladyman, S. French on Structural Realism. I have never seen a paper on Philosophy of Science by R. Sheldrake -- but would love to have a link to one. Anyone have this?
Since the mark of a man who understands a subject intimately is his ability to describe it in one to three sentences so that a man on the street can understand it, would you do me the favor of providing a breakdown of structural realism? I checked out the Wikipedia entry on structural realism... it was short and kind of uninformative. Though I did enjoy the link provided in the article to the page "Semantic view of theories".

I don't think Popper is as dated as you think. Critical rationalism, it seems to me, was a very sound and robust general epistemology that still has adherents today. For that matter, there seems to be no shortage of people stuck in positivist ways of thinking even 80 years after Popper slew that particular beast.
 
#31
I like all of the above authors. But - really - Popper wrote "The Logic of Scientific Discovery" 80 years ago. I don't mean to be a pooper - but the subject of causal relations in empirical science has newer developments.

See J. Ladyman, S. French on Structural Realism. I have never seen a paper on Philosophy of Science by R. Sheldrake -- but would love to have a link to one. Anyone have this?
Well, I would be more accurate if I call Sheldrake not a "philosopher of science" in the strict sense, but "a scientist whose research is vital for the understanding of the scientific research process". The good example of such important contribution is his work on the experimenter effect. His gathering of the evidence for the regularities of natural phenomena being changeable "habits" rather than fixed "laws" is another.
 
#32
I see no other way besides Karl Popper's falsification criterion in science that can help us distinguish science from pseudo-science, but then again , many scientists and philosophers have been challenging that criterion lately .
Example : physicist Sean Caroll :

I see i can't post any links yet .

Just go to presposterousuniverse (com) site , Sean Caroll , what scientific ideas are ready for retirement .Thanks.
 
#33
Hi, I am new to the forums and kind of just jumping right into this, so I apologize for any errors or faults that may be due to this. Here is my opinion, for what it may be worth:

Science should be metaphysically neutral , should neither be naturalist materialist nor otherwise ,but that remains just an utopia so far , for ever , i guess , or as lunatic Dennett once said : "There is no such thing as philosophy-free science ..." .
A metaphysically neutral science would probably not be considered science by most people. Attempts are made at this approach, which include things like the instrumentalist or operationalist approach to quantum theory, for example. However even many scientists, let alone non-scientists, feel that this approach is not in the spirit of science, which is to understand the nature of the world in which we experience. If science does not include metaphysical interpretations, it has little meaning to most people since it results in a shell of the instrumentalist approach which is simply mathematical models used to calculate outcomes of processes. People want to know about the nature of the world and understand it, and science cannot really accomplish this goal if it leaves out metaphysics, so I would agree with Dennett.

Beware of all forms of scientism also (Reductionist naturalist materialism is the worst and most narrow-minded and exclusive form of scientism ever .) .
I personally find the concept of Naturalism to be somewhat devoid of content. If Naturalism is a philosophical view that everything arises from natural properties and causes and excludes supernatural explanations, and supernatural is defined as something attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature, it is basically the Forest Gump of philosophy of science - 'Science is as science does.' If something is outside of the understanding of science, including its current laws, then it's supernatural, which excludes it from Naturalism. However, once an explanation is found, then it is included in scientific understanding and the laws of nature, making it no longer supernatural. What kind of philosophical position is this?

Further, what right do we have to think that ultimate reality will follow mathematics (viz. laws of nature)? Why is causation and mechanism still held on to when we already know causation is a fundamentally flawed concept (like with radioactive decay)? Reductionism works very well within particular domains, but as is the case with a lot of hypotheses in science, there is an attempt to extrapolate it to all domains and make it universal. Popper's discussions of this problem of induction are applicable to this misapplication of reductionism to all domains.

Science is not about the truth either, just about temporary knowledge which can never be proved to be true ever , no matter how many amounts of unsuccessful falsifications it might pass , now or in the future .

Welcome to the "real " world .
David Bohm wrote an essay titled "On the Problem of Truth and Understanding in Science," published in the anthology, 'The Critical Approach to Science and Philosophy' (1964), where he stated that "if every really acceptable theory must be falsifiable, then it seems almost certain that, in time, such a theory will actually be falsified as more accurate experiments are done in broader domains and in new contexts." (pg 216, emphasis in original).

However, Popper was not against truth, and was not a pure relativist. For example, in 'The Logic of Scientific Discovery," he quotes Weyl: "...this pair of opposites, subjective-absolute and objective-relative seems to me to contain one of the most profound epistemological truths which can be gathered from the study of nature. Whoever wants the absolute must get subjectivity--ego-centricity--into the bargain, and whoever longs for objectivity cannot avoid the problem of relativism." (2002 Routledge Classics, pg 94)

As much as I am a fan of Popper, the debate with Thomas Kuhn is quite fruitful. There is certainly a problem with the falsification demarcation, as there is no real demarcation for what constitutes a falsification! Further, even if there are instances of falsification that leave no doubt, without another theory to take its place, a paradigm shift will not occur. A contemporary example of this can be seen with parapsychology research, where the data itself very clearly falsifies the hypothesis of neuroscience of epiphenomenalism of mind, yet since there is no real theory of psi, it will forever remain an "anomaly" that is not accepted by normal science until a theory emerges.

Another problem with the falisification approach is that it would inhibit the growth of 'normal science,' as Kuhn calls it. The falsification approach is applied to individual hypotheses that are contained within the dominant theory, not to the dominant theory itself. Science would not progress very well if scientists were always trying to falsify the main theories under which they labored. There may be 'fringe scientists' that may attempt this, or anomalies may crop up in normal work, and these can eventually lead to falsification of the main theory, but the majority of scientists are operating under the assumption of the truth of the dominant theory. This may seem dogmatic, but comprehensive knowledge does not progress very well if there is constant debate over the main theory itself, rather than individual hypotheses contained within the main theory discovering more detail about that particular domain.
 
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