GIThruster will probably claim that science involves subjective jusdgements. I will happily argue, from a standpoint of objective Bayesian epistomology, that any such subjective jusgements are not intrinsic (in principal, though maybe not in practice, they could be avoided), and anyway they reduce in significance as evidence increases.
No, I'm not going to make this argument as this would never occur to me. As I posted in the other thread, you have completely mischaracterized me because you don't understand the nature of the debate you're raising.
Still, anyone who knows kiddy logic or scientific method understands that science does not prove anything, but rather disproves the alternatives.
That was Popper's view. He is wrong. He (and other philosophers of the time) did not understand that epistomology can use an objective Bayesian methodolgy. If you do this a theory with high explanatory power for its information content can properly be strongly prefered over one which is more complex and explains teh sam einfo. This is a quantifiable objective veriosn of Occam's Razor. It allows theories to be compared and held without falsifiability, although something quite similar (ability to predict observations well) is still needed.
Please read modern objective Bayesian work, e.g.:
From Bayesian Epistemology to Inductive Logic 2012
(currently he provides the strongest version of objective Bayesianism around - this is needed if science is to be what all scientists from common sense know it really is).
Your continual misunderstanding about the limitations of science--that you think one can prove a negative, that you can't tell fact from truth, that you can't note the limits of induction and deduction, that you consider science as some sort of ultimate method that can provide all knowledge--is a childish grasp at subjects you know nothing about.
Don't you think we would have to spend some time, referencing literature, on each of those points, to determine whether I'm BSing as you claim or have substance to my arguments? I'm game for this, and here is a thread ready to do it. But in absence of such debate I claim you are BSing.
I have posted a reference above that answers many of these qestions in a manner consistent with my statements and contrary to yours. It is work that build on previous epistomology, not some isolated crackpot. So you should look at it carefully.
As I wrote in the other thread:
Well Tom, I'll post a reply here out of courtesy but to to be honest, I don't think you know what you're talking about. I'm not anti-science and neither was Popper or Kuhn. It's not true to say they or I were post-modernists. It is true to say they made less severe claims about science than it seems you or Stove would (who both seem to be advocates of scientism), though I'll need to pick up Stove's book and see better what he's on about.
If you shared my "severe claim" view of science you would reckon you were anti-science.
But that is a long epistomological argument.
However your statements about necesary corruption of scientists, necessary angst at theory change, are also anti-scientific at a more practical level. It was that to which I object, although I will argue you all down this thread on the epistomological isues and win.
Stove is amusing and has some incisive insights but his criticism of Popper depends on the existence of objective Bayesian epistomology, which he did not annunciate. However he was right, even though he did not have all the tools to prove it. I'm quoting Stove because the objective Bayesian stuff will not be of interest to many on this board.
I can tell you that Kuhn never taught anything like this:
"What Stove did in the first part of this book (which he entitled 'Philosophy and the English Language: How Irrationalism About Science Is Made Credible'), was to brilliantly and hilariously analyse the means by which four of the most famous philosophers of science of the century, Sir Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, Imre Lakatos and Paul Feyerabend, managed to sound convincing whilst putting forward doctrines that entailed that scientific knowledge was impossible."
Skepticism has always taught that knowledge is impossible. You have seen me argue many times that I disagree with this completely, as well as seen me argue against post-modernism and relativism, so I can't see where you get your presumptions. I can only tell you you're wrong. I have to wonder did you ever read Kuhn or just Stove, because it doesn't seem to me you understand Kuhn's points at all.
I may have mistaken your view since you have not enunciated it clearly. However it is clear that Kuhn has an irrationalist view of science, and one that is grievously wrong as philosophy, as well as being wrong according to common sense.
Again I'll argue you this. That is not to say that what Kuhn, and (less objectionable) Popper say does not have some validity. However they miss a crucial element of scientific knowledge which makes there statements about science irrational. Essentially, they have no conception that induction could have a well-founded quantitative and objective basis, and therefore must view science, which is based on comparison of theories based on evidence, as weaker than it actually is.
Past this I don't think we have a discussion to be had. You're making all sorts of ridiculous claims about me, about Kuhn, about Kuhn's remarkable work, and none of it is true. I can't stand post-modernism and I'm completely opposed to skepticism as anyone reading these forums ought to be able to attest. Epistemologically I am a common sense philosopher along the lines of G. E. Moore and Alvin Plantinga. If you want to understand my take on epistemology, I'd suggest pick up Plantinga's excellent work http://www.amazon.com/Warrant-Proper-Fu ... 0195078640
In short Tom, you're writing about stuff you don't understand and making vacuous charges against people you ought to know do not match the descriptions you're ascribing to them.
I admit that Stove's characterisation of Popper is harsh. In the absence of anything better (and at the time what was better looked too flawed to be a serious contender) Popper's ideas of falsifiability are pro-science. But, equally, his overall position, like that of most philosophers, is anti-science (even though he personally did not wish this).
Stove's characterisation of Kuhn has much more merit. Kuhn's view of science is relativist in a most objectionable way.
I see no evidence you have read Kuhn. You merely reject him out of hand. Likewise, though I am a great fan of induction, pretending it can come to the same sorts of certitude as deduction is pretty wrong headed.
You, here are talking about stuff you do not understand. We all now from common sense that inductive certitude can be as good as deductive (sun rising tomorrow?). The issue is that philosophers have been unable to make any sense of this and so deny it. To be fair, the mechanics needed to to this without contradictions is not simple, and although it has been around since the 1970s its correct application to philosophy is pretty recent. See reference above and related stuff in the last 10 years.
Also, pretending that science makes use of induction in a unique way is wrong. Several forms of theology use reason in just the same sorts of ways that scientific method does.
Ha. then they are by definition science. But I bet they don't, because they do not use inductive inference applied to real world observations. I suspect therefore there will be inherent contradictions in their use of objective Bayesian methods at all. But maybe not. I'm willing to be convinced.
But, if they used such methods, then theology would not have the arguments it does. Of course the arguments you consider were from before such methods existed. [specifically we need a strong objective Bayesian approach to epistomology in which probability norm, calibration norm and equivocation norms are all held - that allows the type of strong statements about objective scientiic knowledge that I am making]
As I said, it is the observations that differ. (Just search "Inductive Bible Study" for a host of hits.) In science the observations are of the world. In theology they are of a text. The reasoning that goes with the observations is nearly identical, and the two yield completely different things. You're still confusing fact with truth and this is philosophy 101 stuff. We can't have a philosophical discussion about the nature of science, or theology, or falsification, or skepticism, or intellectual justification, when you don't understand the difference between fact and truth.
Hah. You are right, I have never done Philosophy 101 and in some areas will be reasoning on the hoof. My statements about science come from an application of probability theory, which I do understand, and luckily a few recent philosophers are with me on this so I can argue on your terms too. In fcat I'll enjoy doing so.
As for truth vs fact that sounds to me like the sort of specious distinction that theologians might make. I don't have much to say about theology except that you are claiming:
- (1) it necessarily does not have the elements of objective reality characteristic of science
(2) it is equivalent to science, tehrefore science cannot have those elements.
If you persist in this argument I'll delve more into theology, but perhaps in the light of your truth/fact distinction you could just leave theology out of all your arguments about science and then I will too.
Final observation: it appears you're guilty of scientism, meaning you think scientific method is applicable to all forms of knowledge, including both facts and truth. This is a dopey freshman mistake. Science only applies to what can be observed. It is never going to tell you if your wife loves you, or if murder is evil, or if there is an afterlife since these are not things we can discern through observation of the natural world.
Hah agiain. It may be a dopey freshman mistake but as you know has also been held by many others better than you. The issue is not that I conflate these two matters, but that I do not admit what you call "truth" to be a proper part of knowledge unless it can be grounded in observations.
- In the case of knowing if your wife loves you that might be true, because neurophysiological correlates could possibly be found and measured.
In the case of knowing what is evil this is a very complex and interesting issue about human feelings and gut reactions. It does not have anything like the status of objective knowledge that is applicable to science. Viewing it as knowledge because it subjectively seems like knowledge is a grave anthropomorphic mistake.
In the case of knowing whether there is an afterlife I suspect the question to be badly formulated - in that you will have no acceptable definition of afterlife that allows any useful statements to be made. But I'll address the matter further if you can find a meaningful definition. Again, the subjective feeling we may have that there is an afterlife or no, together with subjective ideas about what that might entail, are quite different from scientific knowlege. using the same word to describe these phenomena is grievously reductionist, and imagining that the same reasoning can be applied is equally wrong. In one cae the matter to be reasoned is defined, in the other there is no such grounding, and we are all a-sea.
In the past such a strong view of knowledge has often been either reductionist or led to inconsistency. I don't think either trap is necessary. Williamson has done a good job of dealing with inconsistency objections - and I'll elaborate in some areas if needed. If you want to discuss some of the "not knowledge" areas we will see whether you think my approach reductionist. I doubt you will find this.
In summary you accuse me of conflating knowledge and truth. In fact I claim that you are (partially) conflating the two by allowing truth incorrectly qualities which apply solely to knowledge.
Science has limitations. It is not THE school for all knowing. It is the primary school for knowing facts. Most of knowing concerns not fact, but truth. If you understood this, you would have a much less inflated and self-serving view of science and scientists, and a much more esteemed view of philosophers, theologians and the common man. It is your childish, freshman misunderstanding of the role of science that is the issue here, not post-modenism, nor skepticism, nor any of that other.
I understand why you have that view. It is true that scientific methods cannot be applied to what you call truth. The word is a misnomer, although I am sure you use it correctly as a philosopher, but it is as far from mathematical or deductive truth as is possible. So by using such a word philosophers are appearing to give the matter more solidity than is proper.
I am in no way reductionist. I'm not saying that "truth" matters are uninteresting, or unimportant, or even that it is impossible to make useful statements about them. Personally, I'm not brave enough to try. I am saying that it is not possible, without extraordinary work not normally done by philosophers, to give such statements the authority that can properly be given to scientific truth. With such extraordinary work you would get something much more complex,a nd not recognisable.
Think, if you like, of this approach as being rather like Hume. He required so high a standard of proof that induction did not cut it. Respectable and consistent, if unuseful. Here we require at least inductive evidence for my statements. (We of course also allow deductive statements in maths which are provable tautologies). And We claim an objective standard for the evaluation of our belief in an inductive statement, given real world observations either before or after the statement is made.
So how about this: I'll go read Stove and you go read Kuhn? You're obviously not going to hear what I am saying, as you've mistaken and mischaracterized me several times now and it's not that I've been unclear.
That seems fair if you like. But I must warn you that if you do not also read Williamson or the like you will come up with a whole load of freshman arguments against the very strong brand of Bayesianism needed to support my statements (and in some cases Stove's arguments).
On the other hand, Kuhn is pretty gross. Perhaps Stove will be enough. We will see.
To help you:
Some background on what is objective Bayesian approach, though out of date.
Here is a thoughtful defense of Popper and (therefore) criticism of Stove.
My position in this is that we now have a framework for scientific knowledge which Popper does not allow and which looks a bit like positivism, but without ots defects. In the above context where Stove criticises Popper this is valid if it is understood that Popper denies the validity of objective bayeian inference of scientific belief. He does this.