Hawking vs. Philosophy

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I always viewed science as being a tool of philosophy, in the same way that mathematics or statistics are tools of science. It'd be like saying that science was dead because we're really good at maths now.

I can only imagine this comes from a misunderstanding of what philosophy is. (not that I claim to know, I'll stick to numbers and let RealityCrash sort out all the wordy business)

ClockworkPenguin:
I always viewed science as being a tool of philosophy, in the same way that mathematics or statistics are tools of science. It'd be like saying that science was dead because we're really good at maths now.

That's not quite accurate. Science is a subset of philosophy, in the same way that humans are a subset of mammalia, or squares are a subset of rectangles. Philosophy does not use science; science is (one form of) philosophy.

BrassButtons:

ClockworkPenguin:
I always viewed science as being a tool of philosophy, in the same way that mathematics or statistics are tools of science. It'd be like saying that science was dead because we're really good at maths now.

That's not quite accurate. Science is a subset of philosophy, in the same way that humans are a subset of mammalia, or squares are a subset of rectangles. Philosophy does not use science; science is (one form of) philosophy.

Well I would argue 'science' is merely the act of following the scientific method. It is a tool for comparing different hypotheses, just as Occam's Razor is. Although, thinking about it, unlike Occam's razor it also has mechanisms for developing new hypotheses. Aagh, my brain is running in circles.

Could you expand on your analogy by describing how science is a subset of philosophy. I have a rather simplistic notion of philosophy asking questions and science answering them (well, the ones for which the scientific method is applicable anyway). I don't really understand the concept of different 'forms' of philosophy.

SimpleThunda':

SonicWaffle:

SimpleThunda':
The only thing science has ever done is make living different. I wouldn't even say better.
It gives us answers on questions, but those answers will bring up more questions. There is no final answer.

How is that different to philosophy? Surely if someone actually came up with a philosophy for life, the universe and everything, there would be others who disagree and say that it raised further question?

Philosophy is about finding your own truth and that truth is different for everybody. As a philosopher that's something you'll have to accept. Rarely the truth you find will be as simple as "an answer".

Wrong (or at least not all there is to it).
Philosophy is about finding truth, per necessity. It is about finding universal constants, and from those make sense of the world around us. Just like, you know, Science. Trust me, very few professional philosophers consider it as a mere tool to find 'your own truth'.

Edit: Alright, I should add 'Most view Philosophy as about finding truth, per necessity'. We can always, of course, argue about definitions, and how none of us actually have the high-ground because none of us can KNOW (per necessity) what something is about, because that is an Epistemological question, i.e a question for Philosophy.

ClockworkPenguin:

BrassButtons:

ClockworkPenguin:
I always viewed science as being a tool of philosophy, in the same way that mathematics or statistics are tools of science. It'd be like saying that science was dead because we're really good at maths now.

That's not quite accurate. Science is a subset of philosophy, in the same way that humans are a subset of mammalia, or squares are a subset of rectangles. Philosophy does not use science; science is (one form of) philosophy.

Well I would argue 'science' is merely the act of following the scientific method. It is a tool for comparing different hypotheses, just as Occam's Razor is. Although, thinking about it, unlike Occam's razor it also has mechanisms for developing new hypotheses. Aagh, my brain is running in circles.

Could you expand on your analogy by describing how science is a subset of philosophy. I have a rather simplistic notion of philosophy asking questions and science answering them (well, the ones for which the scientific method is applicable anyway). I don't really understand the concept of different 'forms' of philosophy.

He's correct, or sufficiently so, I would say. Science, i.e the Scientific Paradigm, is a philosophical-paradigm in itself. The Scientific method is a philosophical method for finding reliable truth.
However, since calling 'Science' the same as 'Philosophy' often leads to some rather horrid Equivalence Fallacies (Like when you say that 'Science' is based on 'Faith', remember we had that discussion before?) it's preferable to say that they are distinct from each-other.

Edit: Here's a more detailed explanation.

Here's our currently accepted method for finding reliable truths:

Now, you can take any component in this, and change it with something else. Like 'Belief', or 'Magic' or 'Take banana and show it in ear'. This will cause us to have a different view of what reliable truth is, which will change how we find evidence, and thus what we can 'prove'. Thus, it really changes our entire world view (granted, there are arguments about 'truths' that exist per necessity, not dependent on our view of the world).
However, the reason we are keeping this paradigm, instead of say, Paganism, or Scientology, is because it most efficiently explains our world with least amount of assumptions (called Inference to the Best Explanation and Occham's Razor).
But, these two reasons are themselves not true per necessity - I.e they rest on assumptions we have made, and can be challenged. Thus, 'truth' in itself really is (unless you have access to Objective Ontological Facts) subjective.
And that's why Science, though it is our best way to establish truths that we can rely on when viewing the universe, is just a subset of philosophy.

ClockworkPenguin:

Could you expand on your analogy by describing how science is a subset of philosophy. I have a rather simplistic notion of philosophy asking questions and science answering them (well, the ones for which the scientific method is applicable anyway). I don't really understand the concept of different 'forms' of philosophy.

Philosophy is basically organized thought about a particular subject. The scientific method is one way of thinking about a subject in an organized manner. Religion is another.

As Realitycrash said, the scientific paradigm is a philosophical paradigm. For instance, the scientific method assumes that reality exists independent of human observation, which is a metaphysical view. Different subsets of philosophy may have different metaphysical views (I think Hinduism considers reality to be an illusion).

Quaxar:

Oirish_Martin:
Scientists declaring philosophy to be dead is a prime example of not knowing your own field's history.

You forgot those lousy chemists declaring alchemy dead. And doctors homeopathy.

Science is still a philosophy, last time I checked. Declaring dead a field which includes the tool you're using is rather silly.

Philosophy as a whole contains some useful parts and others not-so-useful.

Realitycrash:

Oirish_Martin:

Realitycrash:

I disagree. What you can ultimately prove or disprove depends fully upon what you classify as 'evidence', which rests upon what Paradigm you have, which rests upon (you guessed it) Philosophy.

Evidence is one thing, but that doesn't tell you anything about how to use it.

I'm a utilitarian, and science is great for identifying whether something will cause a particular level of damage/harm, for example. But the moral basis for utilitarianism (e.g. minimise harm) is entirely extrascientific.

Funny, so am I. or Rule Utilitarian anyway. But that had nothing to do with my disagreement.

My mistake then.

Realitycrash:

ClockworkPenguin:

BrassButtons:

That's not quite accurate. Science is a subset of philosophy, in the same way that humans are a subset of mammalia, or squares are a subset of rectangles. Philosophy does not use science; science is (one form of) philosophy.

Well I would argue 'science' is merely the act of following the scientific method. It is a tool for comparing different hypotheses, just as Occam's Razor is. Although, thinking about it, unlike Occam's razor it also has mechanisms for developing new hypotheses. Aagh, my brain is running in circles.

Could you expand on your analogy by describing how science is a subset of philosophy. I have a rather simplistic notion of philosophy asking questions and science answering them (well, the ones for which the scientific method is applicable anyway). I don't really understand the concept of different 'forms' of philosophy.

He's correct, or sufficiently so, I would say. Science, i.e the Scientific Paradigm, is a philosophical-paradigm in itself. The Scientific method is a philosophical method for finding reliable truth.
However, since calling 'Science' the same as 'Philosophy' often leads to some rather horrid Equivalence Fallacies (Like when you say that 'Science' is based on 'Faith', remember we had that discussion before?) it's preferable to say that they are distinct from each-other.

Edit: Here's a more detailed explanation.

Here's our currently accepted method for finding reliable truths:

Now, you can take any component in this, and change it with something else. Like 'Belief', or 'Magic' or 'Take banana and show it in ear'. This will cause us to have a different view of what reliable truth is, which will change how we find evidence, and thus what we can 'prove'. Thus, it really changes our entire world view (granted, there are arguments about 'truths' that exist per necessity, not dependent on our view of the world).
However, the reason we are keeping this paradigm, instead of say, Paganism, or Scientology, is because it most efficiently explains our world with least amount of assumptions (called Inference to the Best Explanation and Occham's Razor).
But, these two reasons are themselves not true per necessity - I.e they rest on assumptions we have made, and can be challenged. Thus, 'truth' in itself really is (unless you have access to Objective Ontological Facts) subjective.
And that's why Science, though it is our best way to establish truths that we can rely on when viewing the universe, is just a subset of philosophy.

Thanks, that was really helpful, especially the second part.

To discuss the video, mostly I was on board with what the philosophers where saying, which largely appears to be what everyone here is saying, that science isn't really separate or in competition with philosophy, I did find myself siding with Lewis regarding the morality of science.

I felt that the philosophers (especially the one on the end) deliberately mixed up the point. They conflate the idea of a set of protocols regarding academic rigour (which yeah, I can see how that is an ethical issue, in that passing off unscientific work as scientific work is unethical) with general morality. But if you consider that it is possible to make a scientifically sound study, which is nevertheless totally unethical, and it will still be 'good science', then that conflation falls through.

I feel they should have had an extra guy on the 'science team'. No-one debates well when they are on the back foot, so three on one seemed unfair.

Edit: also, thanks Brassbuttons.

ClockworkPenguin:

Thanks, that was really helpful, especially the second part.

To discuss the video, mostly I was on board with what the philosophers where saying, which largely appears to be what everyone here is saying, that science isn't really separate or in competition with philosophy, I did find myself siding with Lewis regarding the morality of science.

I felt that the philosophers (especially the one on the end) deliberately mixed up the point. They conflate the idea of a set of protocols regarding academic rigour (which yeah, I can see how that is an ethical issue, in that passing off unscientific work as scientific work is unethical) with general morality. But if you consider that it is possible to make a scientifically sound study, which is nevertheless totally unethical, and it will still be 'good science', then that conflation falls through.

I feel they should have had an extra guy on the 'science team'. No-one debates well when they are on the back foot, so three on one seemed unfair.

Edit: also, thanks Brassbuttons.

Oh, I forgot one of the most important parts: It's also (Science that is) more internally coherent than other Paradigms. That is, its different theories (remember: A theory is something that can be backed up with evidence and be replicated, a Hypothesis is what you mean when you say 'I have a theory') support each-other, leading to greater 'structural integrity'. An example of an incoherent Paradigm would be those that claim that the Bible is literary true. Why? Because the bible, if you read it literary, has many contradicting claims.

As for the video, I haven't watched it yet. I get kinda annoyed when a video is presented as if there is a great issue, but there really is none.

As long as new ideas can come from mere thoughts, philosophy will not be dead. Science has a long long way to go before it can defeat philosophy.

Arakasi:
As long as new ideas can come from mere thoughts, philosophy will not be dead. Science has a long long way to go before it can defeat philosophy.

Science can never defeat philosophy because science is a philosophy. The death of philosophy would be the death of science.

thaluikhain:
anything you can't really prove or disprove.

Or anything that can't be studied empirically.

ClockworkPenguin:
Well I would argue 'science' is merely the act of following the scientific method.

What would that be? The scientific method? Every high school science textbook includes it, but you're going to be hard-pressed to pin it down to a single definition. Historical sciences have different rules than experimental ones, for example, and theoretical physics simply skips the experimental phase to begin with.

Realitycrash:
(remember: A theory is something that can be backed up with evidence and be replicated, a Hypothesis is what you mean when you say 'I have a theory')

Wrong.

http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/PSEUDOSC/WhatTheory.HTM

Both of these are questions of epistemology, which highlights what BrassButtons and I have been saying: science is a subset of philosophy.

As others have simply pointed out, there is a philosophy of science and it's vital for anyone wishing to engage in scientific inquiry to understand it.

I can only imagine Hawking either believes or thinks his audience believes that "philosophy" is a bunch of guys sitting around making vague esoteric proclamations without clear reasoning. I'm sure that happens somewhere, but to assume that's the limit of what "philosophy" is strikes me as incredibly foolish for someone so brilliant as Hawking.

We can't do good science without philosophy. Shutting down any kind of philosophical or epistemological inquiry into science and trying to present methodologies as intrinsically self-justifying is probably the worst thing that can possibly happen to the healthy pursuit of scientific knowledge.

I'm sure Hawking knows this intrinsically, as any good scientist would. Thus, I can only conclude he is labouring under a misapprehension about the nature of modern philosophy.

Realitycrash:

SimpleThunda':

SonicWaffle:

How is that different to philosophy? Surely if someone actually came up with a philosophy for life, the universe and everything, there would be others who disagree and say that it raised further question?

Philosophy is about finding your own truth and that truth is different for everybody. As a philosopher that's something you'll have to accept. Rarely the truth you find will be as simple as "an answer".

Wrong (or at least not all there is to it).
Philosophy is about finding truth, per necessity. It is about finding universal constants, and from those make sense of the world around us. Just like, you know, Science. Trust me, very few professional philosophers consider it as a mere tool to find 'your own truth'.

Edit: Alright, I should add 'Most view Philosophy as about finding truth, per necessity'. We can always, of course, argue about definitions, and how none of us actually have the high-ground because none of us can KNOW (per necessity) what something is about, because that is an Epistemological question, i.e a question for Philosophy.

You can't find anything constant in something so subjective. It may be constant, but only to yourself.

I may be missing your point, though.

Name me a universal constant that was found using philosophy.

Dinwatr:

ClockworkPenguin:

[quote=Realitycrash](remember: A theory is something that can be backed up with evidence and be replicated, a Hypothesis is what you mean when you say 'I have a theory')

Wrong.

http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/PSEUDOSC/WhatTheory.HTM

Both of these are questions of epistemology, which highlights what BrassButtons and I have been saying: science is a subset of philosophy.

..Which is exactly what I said as well? Maybe you should read the MASSIVE post I posted just above that?

And what do you want to prove with that statement? That ultimately everything is the subject of Epistemology? And what do you want to prove with that link? I'm reading through it as best I can in the time I have, and his main issue seems to be 'Gee, language is arbitrary and it has been used arbitrarily!'. NO, YA' THINK? Of course definitions are arbitrary.

Edit: His main gripe seems to be that using Theory in such a fashion is not consistent with historical use, and has not sufficiently spread to be accepted as a definition. My answer to that is: The new definition is helpful. Let's use it.

SimpleThunda':

Realitycrash:

SimpleThunda':

Philosophy is about finding your own truth and that truth is different for everybody. As a philosopher that's something you'll have to accept. Rarely the truth you find will be as simple as "an answer".

Wrong (or at least not all there is to it).
Philosophy is about finding truth, per necessity. It is about finding universal constants, and from those make sense of the world around us. Just like, you know, Science. Trust me, very few professional philosophers consider it as a mere tool to find 'your own truth'.

Edit: Alright, I should add 'Most view Philosophy as about finding truth, per necessity'. We can always, of course, argue about definitions, and how none of us actually have the high-ground because none of us can KNOW (per necessity) what something is about, because that is an Epistemological question, i.e a question for Philosophy.

You can't find anything constant in something so subjective. It may be constant, but only to yourself.

I may be missing your point, though.

Name me a universal constant that was found using philosophy.

I can't, because we haven't found one. The closest we have gotten is Logical Truths (Such as A = A in every possible world where A represents the same information as we understand it), but as logic is based on our own axioms, it's a bit sketchy.
However, just because we haven't found any, doesn't mean they aren't there. Just because we haven't found objective facts, or figured them out, doesn't mean we should stop looking.

Edit: Actually, I'd like to rephrase myself. 'Philosophy is about finding a wider understanding about any sort of subject by questioning the foundation it stands upon'. I think that would be a better description.

SimpleThunda':

The only thing science has ever done is make living different. I wouldn't even say better.

You do realise "Science" by definition is merely identifying, recording and predicting basic cause and effect?

People seem to assume "Science" is only super complex stuff like medicine. Tea was scientifically discovered. As was ALL food. As was cooking. As was fire.

EVERYTHING and anything is technically science. And by your definition its not "Better" to live without fire naked in a wood hunting with your hands than it is for you right now to be on this website using technology developed by science sitting on a chair designed by science on a carpet ALSO totally dependent on science.

Literally every physical discovery ever was science. All of them. Even serendipity, since the original event must have been repeated and the cause and effect action identified. Living feral for about 20 years max naked without ever feeling the heat of fire or the warmth of a structure definitely seems worse to me. But if you argue it isnt i argue why have you chosen this fate over all other "different" lifestyles that involve less science.

I think science is infinitely more important than philosophy (Modern philosophy at any rate). I dont really care why we are here. I dont mind. It deals with concepts that are, at best, personal guesses or assumptions based on extremely limited information to reach a worldview that we can function in without becoming insane. I dont know enough about the universe to reason things like "Why are we here". I endevour to find out more about our universe. And finding out iiiiiss..... SCIENCE :D

BiscuitTrouser:

SimpleThunda':

The only thing science has ever done is make living different. I wouldn't even say better.

You do realise "Science" by definition is merely identifying, recording and predicting basic cause and effect?

By whose definition? Yours which includes ALL KNOWLEDGE EVER regarding the natural world as the product of science? That's ridiculous.

I think that's a very simplistic view of science. It's missing out on the key systematic aspect for one thing, which is what distinguishes "Science" from "Cause and effect" alone, which by itself can lead to some ridiculous conclusions. It's also missing out on the peer review part, repeatability, and so on. The scientific method is way more formal than than just "Discovery" or whatever.

The UK Science Council defines it as:

"Science is the pursuit of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence."

But then if we want to get into definitions, then that would be semantics... which is philosophy! Although after reading the wiki opening paragraph, it could be quite interesting:

Science (from Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe. In an older and closely related meaning (found, for example, in Aristotle), "science" refers to the body of reliable knowledge itself, of the type that can be logically and rationally explained (see History and philosophy below). Since classical antiquity science as a type of knowledge was closely linked to philosophy. In the early modern era the words "science" and "philosophy" were sometimes used interchangeably in the English language.[citation needed] By the 17th century, natural philosophy (which is today called "natural science") was considered a separate branch of philosophy. However, "science" continued to be used in a broad sense denoting reliable knowledge about a topic, in the same way it is still used in modern terms such as library science or political science.

BiscuitTrouser:

SimpleThunda':

The only thing science has ever done is make living different. I wouldn't even say better.

You do realise "Science" by definition is merely identifying, recording and predicting basic cause and effect?

People seem to assume "Science" is only super complex stuff like medicine. Tea was scientifically discovered. As was ALL food. As was cooking. As was fire.

EVERYTHING and anything is technically science. And by your definition its not "Better" to live without fire naked in a wood hunting with your hands than it is for you right now to be on this website using technology developed by science sitting on a chair designed by science on a carpet ALSO totally dependent on science.

Literally every physical discovery ever was science. All of them. Even serendipity, since the original event must have been repeated and the cause and effect action identified. Living feral for about 20 years max naked without ever feeling the heat of fire or the warmth of a structure definitely seems worse to me. But if you argue it isnt i argue why have you chosen this fate over all other "different" lifestyles that involve less science.

I think science is infinitely more important than philosophy (Modern philosophy at any rate). I dont really care why we are here. I dont mind. It deals with concepts that are, at best, personal guesses or assumptions based on extremely limited information to reach a worldview that we can function in without becoming insane. I dont know enough about the universe to reason things like "Why are we here". I endevour to find out more about our universe. And finding out iiiiiss..... SCIENCE :D

There are three issues with what you're talking about here. Science is specifically tied to the scientific method. Without that, there is no science. Also, science is a branch of philosophy, and arguably the largest branch of modern philosophy. Calling out modern philosophy is, essentially, calling out science. Lastly, science is far from the only epistemology. There are other ways of finding things out than science.

Danny Ocean:

By whose definition? Yours which includes ALL KNOWLEDGE EVER regarding the natural world as the product of science? That's ridiculous.

I think that's a very simplistic view of science. It's missing out on the key systematic aspect for one thing, which is what distinguishes "Science" from "Cause and effect" alone, which by itself can lead to some ridiculous conclusions. It's also missing out on the peer review part, repeatability, and so on. The scientific method is way more formal than than just "Discovery" or whatever.

From dictionary.com:

"Systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation."

"systematized knowledge in general."

"knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study."

So basically knowledge gained via observation or testing. Its the definition ive read and have been taught. Yeah it does encompass everything. Science is the discovery of the natural world. When you observe and correlate the natural world thats science. GOOD science is looking further into repeatably and peer review. Just "Science" bad, good or otherwise is observation and recording/remembering to later predict or repeat.

Can you argue that discovering fire wasnt science? By accident two flints were struck or something similar. The humans then attempted to recreate based on an observation. The cause and effect were linked and the natural world was discovered. Sounds like science to me. Science is pretty broad because humans, innately, look with a scientific mind. To understand and abuse cause and effect is hardwired into our brains and behaviors. Conditioning is a good example.

The point of cause and effect is that, if you observe it correctly, it IS repeatable. Thats an axiom of science.

Revnak:

There are three issues with what you're talking about here. Science is specifically tied to the scientific method. Without that, there is no science. Also, science is a branch of philosophy, and arguably the largest branch of modern philosophy. Calling out modern philosophy is, essentially, calling out science. Lastly, science is far from the only epistemology. There are other ways of finding things out than science.

Id argue that, by default, most of our actions and observations no matter how basic follow a crude version of the scientific method. You touch a hot coffee, it burns, you wait because you observed and identified the cause and effect and then made a prediction based on that. Sure its hardly the BEST science. But its still a crude version of science right there.

The study of the natural world, by my definition, is science. If you find something out about the natural world, a hard fact about our laws from testing or anything else id say that was a "science". Honestly my definition is pretty broad compared to most. I seem to be arguing definitions here mostly.

True about the philosophy part though. Id say the branches of philosophy deal with pretty different areas though. The objective and the subjective. I label the study of the objective science. My phrasing was incorrect and youre right. "Modern philosophy" should actually read "The subjective philosophy". I dont think its useless. Just that i personally find it far less useful than objective philosophy.

What other epistemology can be used to prove things about the natural world that arnt, by definition, observation or testing (Which I call science)? If you mean something similar to mathematical logical proofs im inclined to agree actually. Thats an interesting point.

Dinwatr:

ClockworkPenguin:
Well I would argue 'science' is merely the act of following the scientific method.

What would that be? The scientific method? Every high school science textbook includes it, but you're going to be hard-pressed to pin it down to a single definition. Historical sciences have different rules than experimental ones, for example, and theoretical physics simply skips the experimental phase to begin with.

Realitycrash:
(remember: A theory is something that can be backed up with evidence and be replicated, a Hypothesis is what you mean when you say 'I have a theory')

Wrong.

http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/PSEUDOSC/WhatTheory.HTM

Both of these are questions of epistemology, which highlights what BrassButtons and I have been saying: science is a subset of philosophy.

There is a difference between methodology and the scientific method. The scientific method is rather neatly shown in Realitycrash's diagram. Make observation, develop hypothesis, test hypothesis, analyse results of test and either reject hypothesis and go back, or keep hypothesis (provisionally) and use it to inform new observations.

Also, theoretical physics doesn't 'skip' experiments. The hypotheses are informed by experimental observation, and tests are developed where possible. The fact that different people run the tests as make the hypothesis doesn't mean the scientific method isn't being followed. Just because Peter Higgs didn't personally design every detector in the LHC doesn't mean he's not a scientist. There are ideas that aren't currently falsifiable, but that's why they haven't entered canon science yet.

This blog http://openparachute.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/historians-and-sociologists-lecture-scientists-about-science/ recently dealing with the Cox/Ince science and politics furore deals nicely with the issue I think.

Higgett lectures Cox and Ince's reference to scientific method by pointing out:

"There are many scientific methods and many, when studied in detail, are not particularly methodological."

This response is a trite lesson on sucking eggs again. No working scientist is unaware of the complexity and creativity of research. Of the many ways of interacting with reality. Most of us will, like Richard Feynman, reject naive formulaic or algorithmic descriptions of method and instead describe it as "doing whatever it takes to avoid being fooled by reality." And we all accept the need for evidence and validation against reality.

Higgett was challenged to give specific examples of these "many scientific methods" and was not able to. She resorted instead to differences in specific methodology used in different disciplines:

"There are many methods in science - a field biologist works very differently to a theoretical physicist, works differently to a structural engineer, works differently to an experimental chemist etc. People work with models, with statistics, with exact numbers, with approximations, with theories, without theories - they make observations, develop experiments, crunch numbers, formulate RTCs."

I think her answer was a diversion as clearly Cox and Ince were talking about the overall scientific approach, not specific methodologies. Her claim is easily interpreted along the lines of the "other methods of knowing" argument used by Sophisticated TheologiansTM and others when they attempt to discredit science. Those people also usually refuse to give specific examples.

BiscuitTrouser:

Revnak:

There are three issues with what you're talking about here. Science is specifically tied to the scientific method. Without that, there is no science. Also, science is a branch of philosophy, and arguably the largest branch of modern philosophy. Calling out modern philosophy is, essentially, calling out science. Lastly, science is far from the only epistemology. There are other ways of finding things out than science.

Id argue that, by default, most of our actions and observations no matter how basic follow a crude version of the scientific method. You touch a hot coffee, it burns, you wait because you observed and identified the cause and effect and then made a prediction based on that. Sure its hardly the BEST science. But its still a crude version of science right there.

Arguably too crude. If I am using inductive logic to say the sun rises in the morning, I am not using science, as a cloudy day would function as a way to disprove my claim. The scientific method however would dictate we look into just what those clouds are doing to stop the sun rise, and then I would learn that the sun does in fact still rise on a cloudy day, it is merely hidden. This is the difference between science and other types of naturalistic philosophy.

The study of the natural world, by my definition, is science. If you find something out about the natural world, a hard fact about our laws from testing or anything else id say that was a "science". Honestly my definition is pretty broad compared to most. I seem to be arguing definitions here mostly.

There is already a word for that. Naturalistic philosophy. Science is a type of naturalistic philosophy, one that is far more effective and far more useful.

True about the philosophy part though. Id say the branches of philosophy deal with pretty different areas though. The objective and the subjective. I label the study of the objective science. My phrasing was incorrect and youre right. "Modern philosophy" should actually read "The subjective philosophy". I dont think its useless. Just that i personally find it far less useful than objective philosophy.

Arguably rationalism is objective as well, so that narrows down the subjective portion to a whole bunch of rather boring unused parts of philosophy. Declaring them dead is essentially fighting with windmills.

What other epistemology can be used to prove things about the natural world? If you mean something similar to mathematical logical proofs im inclined to agree actually. Thats an interesting point.

Naturalistic philosophy, though it does a worse job, also does that. Through being the foundation of many parts of science rationalism does as well.

Revnak:

Arguably too crude. If I am using inductive logic to say the sun rises in the morning, I am not using science, as a cloudy day would function as a way to disprove my claim. The scientific method however would dictate we look into just what those clouds are doing to stop the sun rise, and then I would learn that the sun does in fact still rise on a cloudy day, it is merely hidden. This is the difference between science and other types of naturalistic philosophy.

You could say it was just extremely POOR science but science none the less. You had a question "Is the sun always visible each morning" and your answer was "No". If the question was flawed to be "Does the sun always come UP each morning" and then you answered no youre doing really really bad science. But its still an attempt at science. Maybe? I think youre right actually the more i look at it. Is induction, by definition, science?

Well you have definitely helped get me better definitions for concepts in my mind. I think my issue was more with labeling than understanding.

BiscuitTrouser:

Revnak:

Arguably too crude. If I am using inductive logic to say the sun rises in the morning, I am not using science, as a cloudy day would function as a way to disprove my claim. The scientific method however would dictate we look into just what those clouds are doing to stop the sun rise, and then I would learn that the sun does in fact still rise on a cloudy day, it is merely hidden. This is the difference between science and other types of naturalistic philosophy.

You could say it was just extremely POOR science but science none the less. You had a question "Is the sun always visible each morning" and your answer was "No". If the question was flawed to be "Does the sun always come UP each morning" and then you answered no youre doing really really bad science. But its still an attempt at science. Maybe? I think youre right actually the more i look at it. Is induction, by definition, science?

Well you have definitely helped get me better definitions for concepts in my mind. I think my issue was more with labeling than understanding.

Actually this brings up something else I was thinking about last night. I suppose it is possible to look at all of naturalistic philosophy as science, it just isn't necessarily good science. With this frame of mind (the one you seem to be coming with) the scientific method is less the restrictions put upon science and rather a system of ethics that all science and scientists should follow in order to come up with good science. This also destroys the definitions of science as value or ethics free, as they are essentially following a system of ethics which is based around the values of objectivity, verifiability, and naturalism. It is a rather odd way to look at it though, and I would welcome argument here.

Hate to disagree with steven hawking but science is never really going to answer moral questions and pragmatic questions on how to act from a human perspective.

How does science explain war or literature?

Revnak:

BiscuitTrouser:

Revnak:

Arguably too crude. If I am using inductive logic to say the sun rises in the morning, I am not using science, as a cloudy day would function as a way to disprove my claim. The scientific method however would dictate we look into just what those clouds are doing to stop the sun rise, and then I would learn that the sun does in fact still rise on a cloudy day, it is merely hidden. This is the difference between science and other types of naturalistic philosophy.

You could say it was just extremely POOR science but science none the less. You had a question "Is the sun always visible each morning" and your answer was "No". If the question was flawed to be "Does the sun always come UP each morning" and then you answered no youre doing really really bad science. But its still an attempt at science. Maybe? I think youre right actually the more i look at it. Is induction, by definition, science?

Well you have definitely helped get me better definitions for concepts in my mind. I think my issue was more with labeling than understanding.

Actually this brings up something else I was thinking about last night. I suppose it is possible to look at all of naturalistic philosophy as science, it just isn't necessarily good science. With this frame of mind (the one you seem to be coming with) the scientific method is less the restrictions put upon science and rather a system of ethics that all science and scientists should follow in order to come up with good science. This also destroys the definitions of science as value or ethics free, as they are essentially following a system of ethics which is based around the values of objectivity, verifiability, and naturalism. It is a rather odd way to look at it though, and I would welcome argument here.

I am in coffee fuelled insomnia, so I shall provide you with argument. In fact, argument pie all around! [quality of argument it not guaranteed /disclaimer]

I think its more a sort of 'best practise protocol' rather than an ethical system. It tells you how to do the best science, but that's it. It doesn't provide any guidance on whether to do any particular action for example. It doesn't tell you whether what you've done is right or wrong, its just that if you don't follow it, you can't claim what you did was science.

If A is greater than B
and B is greater than C
then 1+1=2

I can't claim that that is a logical proof. It doesn't follow the rules of how logic works. The fact that I have to follow the rules of logic in order to do logic doesn't mean that logic is a system of ethics.

The scientific method wont tell you whether drowning kittens is right or wrong, it will just tell you if the conclusions you obtain from such an activity are scientifically sound.

Similarly, it wont tell you whether it is moral to use your results to devise a more efficient kitten drowning device. That is what is meant when people say science is ethics independent.

Which is of course why philosophy is so important; to stop those bastards from drowning more kittens.

Realitycrash:
The new definition is helpful. Let's use it.

I don't think it is.

Firstly, it leads to inconsistency. The term "theory" is used pretty consistently in every subject save the physical natural sciences to refer to any coherent idea, demonstrable or otherwise. Even in the PNS, things like "string theory" cannot be tested or evidenced in any but the most vague sense, they are simply logically coherent ideas which offer convincing explanations for phenomena in the observable world. They are still called "theory".

Secondly, the distinction is not necessary. Science is one of the very few area where evidence can genuinely be expected to speak for itself. There isn't really a need for an arbitrary line between different "levels" of certainty. These terms are unnecessary in real scientific discourse because everyone should be able to freely read through the data and see the evidence, the only purpose they have is to arouse public interest.

Actually, the same goes for "proof". There is really very little reason to ever use the word "proof" in science unless you're being interviewed for a newspaper.

BiscuitTrouser:
My phrasing was incorrect and youre right. "Modern philosophy" should actually read "The subjective philosophy". I dont think its useless. Just that i personally find it far less useful than objective philosophy.

The words "subjective" and "objective" have a specific meaning in contemporary philosophy. I know in colloquial usage "subjective" still often means "unreliable" or "biased", but what it actually means, as the word suggests, is "dependent on a human subject".

Within most modern philosophy, we accept that all human knowledge (including science) is thus to some extent subjective. After all, without a human mind to draw up objects of study and interpret the observations, there would be no such thing as "science". The concept of objective reality is actually quite limited in its utility, since the only methods we have to engage with that reality are grounded in our own subjectivity. The question with science is not "how can we be objective", but "how can we minimize the negative effects of our own subjectivity".

This isn't a challenge or rebuke to science, but it does demand us to be highly critical of the limits of our own understanding, and that in itself is part of the requirement for good science. Many of the worst abuses of science in history came from people who sincerely believed that as long as they could adopt a particular "objective" standpoint they no longer had to think about the conditions under which they were producing knowledge.

This is why I think it's so damaging to set these two things up against each other. Without philosophy, without the ability to think critically about the process of knowledge production for example, we simply wouldn't have the tools to conduct science.

evilthecat:

Realitycrash:
The new definition is helpful. Let's use it.

I don't think it is.

Firstly, it leads to inconsistency. The term "theory" is used pretty consistently in every subject save the physical natural sciences to refer to any coherent idea, demonstrable or otherwise. Even in the PNS, things like "string theory" cannot be tested or evidenced in any but the most vague sense, they are simply logically coherent ideas which offer convincing explanations for phenomena in the observable world. They are still called "theory".

Secondly, the distinction is not necessary. Science is one of the very few area where evidence can genuinely be expected to speak for itself. There isn't really a need for an arbitrary line between different "levels" of certainty. These terms are unnecessary in real scientific discourse because everyone should be able to freely read through the data and see the evidence, the only purpose they have is to arouse public interest.

Actually, the same goes for "proof". There is really very little reason to ever use the word "proof" in science unless you're being interviewed for a newspaper.

BiscuitTrouser:
My phrasing was incorrect and youre right. "Modern philosophy" should actually read "The subjective philosophy". I dont think its useless. Just that i personally find it far less useful than objective philosophy.

The words "subjective" and "objective" have a specific meaning in contemporary philosophy. I know in colloquial usage "subjective" still often means "unreliable" or "biased", but what it actually means, as the word suggests, is "dependent on a human subject".

Within most modern philosophy, we accept that all human knowledge (including science) is thus to some extent subjective. After all, without a human mind to draw up objects of study and interpret the observations, there would be no such thing as "science". The concept of objective reality is actually quite limited in its utility, since the only methods we have to engage with that reality are grounded in our own subjectivity. The question with science is not "how can we be objective", but "how can we minimize the negative effects of our own subjectivity".

This isn't a challenge or rebuke to science, but it does demand us to be highly critical of the limits of our own understanding, and that in itself is part of the requirement for good science. Many of the worst abuses of science in history came from people who sincerely believed that as long as they could adopt a particular "objective" standpoint they no longer had to think about the conditions under which they were producing knowledge.

This is why I think it's so damaging to set these two things up against each other. Without philosophy, without the ability to think critically about the process of knowledge production for example, we simply wouldn't have the tools to conduct science.

A: I'll concede the point for now (until I get some sleep, perhaps.)

B: Do you believe that objective knowledge is per definition unaccessible, because the moment we access it, it becomes ruined by our interpretation, which is always slightly different for every human, and thus all we have is subjective knowledge?

C: I really did not expect this thread to go on this far. I'm impressed.

ClockworkPenguin:
Sniiiiiiiiiiipeeety OHGODTHINKOFTHEKITTENS

There's some interesting theories (yes, fine, we're calling them theories...FOR NOW) that we can reduce moral requirements to natural requirements (also known as Moral Realism). It means that we can either redefine our language or how we look at morality to match things that we find in nature, or we can find moral truths that are necessary due to natural truths, and build morality from there (the most promising field right now is in genetics, as you might have guessed, with all the work being done on biological altruism and the like).
If we manage to find sufficient evidence, or create a decent enough theory, then we really can turn 'science' into 'ethics', since Natural Property A will mean 'What is right', per definition.

Realitycrash:
Do you believe that objective knowledge is per definition unaccessible, because the moment we access it, it becomes ruined by our interpretation, which is always slightly different for every human, and thus all we have is subjective knowledge?

Pretty much..

Although I wouldn't say subjective knowledge is "ruined", it's just subjective. It might still be incredibly rigorous, it might be repeatable, it might be something which can be demonstrated to other people and which its entirely reasonable to assume is true.

The only thing I suppose you could really say about subjective knowledge is that it's always limited by the conditions under which it was created and observed, and that's not a bad thing. It's only bad if we don't recognize those limitations. This shouldn't deter us from producing knowledge, in my opinion, it should only make us self-critical of how we do so.

Just because we can't step outside ourselves and see the universe through some kind of impersonal God's-eye view doesn't mean we can't make meaningful observations. It just means that we observe things from a particular location within society or the universe, which is actually why we need science and other systematic methods of observation to make sense of our environment in a way which can be shared and which is relevant to other people.

SimpleThunda':
you could call philosophy the science of subjectivity, and "science" the science of objectivity.

That's a very succinct way of putting it, well said. I will be using this phrase in future =]

It seems to me as if science seeks to discover the truths of the universe, and philosophy seeks to create truths about life which are as close to objective truth as is possible, where no such truth actually exists. (I count these as strengths of both science and philosophy, not weaknesses of either.)

I think calling philosophy dead is a non sequitur. The man on the far right seems to have a very limited understanding of the depth of philosophy, and its broad nature.

When he says "Science is without ethics, it is the application of science which requires ethics," he seems to think there is some sort of ethical default, but there isn't. The formation of moral/ethical values are entirely within the realm of philosophical reasoning.

Say we abduct people for dangerous medical research which could save millions of lives. It is a philosophical question to ask of the lives of few are worth the lives of many, and whether or not we are worthy to make the call of whom. There is no default ethical "do no harm," because that is a philosophy.

To do away with the study of philosophy is also quite ignorant. Whether calling it a philosophy or not, all people have their own. If you remove the understanding of different philosophies, then you have a world of aliens, unable to understand the methodologies of dissimilar persons in any meaningful way. Doing away with the study of philosophy will do nothing but isolate internal philosophies, which will become erratic and unpredictable. As silly as the premise is, it is important to understand that the study of philosophy is the study of a very real and very present thing which will not go away when a blind eye is turned.

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