Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

How does science work? And what's all this about quantum mechanics?

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surreptitious57
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by surreptitious57 »

TimeSeeker wrote:
the output of rigour ( after all the empiricism validation reproduction etc ) is nothing more than valid Mathematical equations

That IS what physics says. If you were expecting an English answer .... that is a shame

Which is my point about logocentrism if you going to be saying stuff about reality. You need a language that matches it more closely than English
I am not expecting anything at all other than what is already known which is a very significant body of work indeed from the last hundred years
surreptitious57
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by surreptitious57 »

TimeSeeker wrote:
surreptitious57 wrote:
I prefer not knowing to filling any gaps in knowledge with untested speculation
I can wait the rest of my life to discover nothing new and so I am not bothered
That is a rather consumerist perspective I prefer to create knowledge
Just as soon as I figure out what it is
I cannot create knowledge so I have to learn to be very patient instead
The nature of such things is that it takes time to create said knowledge
TimeSeeker
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by TimeSeeker »

surreptitious57 wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 7:42 am I cannot create knowledge so I have to learn to be very patient instead
The nature of such things is that it takes time to create said knowledge
Well, until we learn how to create knowledge, we all learn how to learn.
TimeSeeker
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by TimeSeeker »

surreptitious57 wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 7:36 am I am not expecting anything at all other than what is already known which is a very significant body of work indeed from the last hundred years
It is clearly incomplete! Whose job is it to fill the gaps? ;)
uwot
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by uwot »

TimeSeeker wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 6:58 amWhat are the building blocks of ontological reality? Quarks and leptons! What are they like (not even going to bother with the mathematics).

I don't see any philosophy here - only quantum physics.

What does philosophy have to say on the matter, and more importantly - in what language is Philosophy going to say it?
Funny you should say that. Pages 13-28. https://willijbouwman.blogspot.com
The premise is very simple. In a way surreptitious57 is right about science having nothing to do with ontology. There is a very strong instrumentalist tradition in science which is exemplified by the positivism expressed by Bohr in your earlier post, and which manifests in early Wittgenstein. His Tractatus begins with him claiming that the world is that totality of facts, not of things. ie. it is epistemological, rather than ontological. Scientists were influenced by Mach, who was influenced by Kant, who was influenced by Hume and Newton. The most accurate description of gravity at the time was Newton's Law and as Newton said he can't work out how gravity works and doesn't care, because the job of physics is describe the world in a way that gives us a measure of control. That means maths. So Kant, influenced by Descartes as well, comes along and points out that the much like 'I think therefore I am', the only thing we can say anything definite about is the phenomenal world. There is probably something causing all these experiences, but we can't say anything for certain about it, because there are so many possible interpretations, they're in ours heads, so they're noumenal, they can't all be right, but any one of them could be, so they're underdetermined (not to be confused with undetermined, though they are that as well)
Anyway, the premise of my description and illustrations of quarks and whatnot is the philosophical conclusion that the most likely cause of all the phenomena that give the impression that the universe is made of some physical stuff, is that the universe is actually made of some stuff. It's the same premise that Einstein used in general relativity, and it's the idea behind quantum field theory.
TimeSeeker
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by TimeSeeker »

uwot wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 8:08 am Anyway, the premise of my description and illustrations of quarks and whatnot is the philosophical conclusion that the most likely cause of all the phenomena that give the impression that the universe is made of some physical stuff, is that the universe is actually made of some stuff. It's the same premise that Einstein used in general relativity, and it's the idea behind quantum field theory.
This thing you call "impression" I call "emergence" in systems theory: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergence
A value claim summed up with "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts". Fundamentally though it is an interpretation.
And so you observe "Human" - yes. It's made up of stuff. But it is important in THAT precise configuration of "stuff". If you cut it in half - it's not half as valuable anymore.

But then you remember that you could have gone the other way on the value-claim and say: "the whole is nothing more than the sum of its parts" and then you end up with scientific reductionism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reduction_(complexity)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reduction ... on_theory)

Either way - what I am trying to demonstrate is that instead of "philosophical conclusion", I have an "scientific conclusion" which is grounded in complexity science/systems thinking. Going from atomics (quarks/leptops/electrons) to "human"; and from "humans" to "society" is synthesis. From society to human, and from human to atomics is reduction.

And so I don't see how philosophy fits in. From where I am looking systems thinking is a paradigm that unifies science AND philosophy.

Because 2 paragraphs can do no justice to the perspective I am trying to convey try this video (at the cost of 6 minutes of your life): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Miy9uQcwo3U
uwot
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by uwot »

TimeSeeker wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 8:21 amAnd so I don't see how philosophy fits in.
Because any ontological interpretation of the phenomena is philosophical. Including yours and mine.
TimeSeeker wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 8:21 amFrom where I am looking systems thinking is a paradigm that unifies science AND philosophy.
Well, if it works for you, stick with it, but if you can't tell me why it is better than my version, why would I change?
TimeSeeker
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by TimeSeeker »

uwot wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 8:40 am Because any ontological interpretation of the phenomena is philosophical. Including yours and mine.
Which is why I only have one category in my head - epistemology.

The other ones are made up only for the purposes of philosophising. When I am not 'doing philosophy' and just going about my life - perception IS reality. I know whatI know, I don't know what I don't know.

Systems thinking produces a useful epistemology.
uwot wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 8:40 am Well, if it works for you, stick with it, but if you can't tell me why it is better than my version, why would I change?
And I will gladly tell you just as soon as you explain to me your subjective criteria for "better" and "worse" e.g your teleology ;)

For starters - it's just a formalization of intuitive methods. And so - we have a framework to talk about such things without ending up in endless debates over metaphysics.
TimeSeeker
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by TimeSeeker »

I did leave out the best reason I guess. It's empirically proven to work better than philosophical methods at getting at "the truth" or "knowledge".

We use it and apply it all the time. Society (the system!) is built on it.
uwot
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by uwot »

TimeSeeker wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 8:51 am
uwot wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 8:40 am Well, if it works for you, stick with it, but if you can't tell me why it is better than my version, why would I change?
And I will gladly tell you just as soon as you explain to me your subjective criteria for "better" and "worse" e.g your teleology ;)
To create a physical model that accounts for cosmological and quantum phenomena.
TimeSeeker
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by TimeSeeker »

uwot wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 9:11 am To create a physical model that accounts for cosmological and quantum phenomena.
By what subjective criteria for accountability? (Even though, I very well understand that you are looking for the ToE ;) )
uwot
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by uwot »

TimeSeeker wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 9:12 amBy what subjective criteria for accountability?
Well, that's back to Kuhn and Feyerabend-my own idiosyncratic criteria
TimeSeeker wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 9:12 am(Even though, I very well understand that you are looking for the ToE ;) )
Not really. A ToE should be understood in the epistemological way you attribute to yourself, in that the search is for a mathematical expression that explains everything. I'm just trying to explain our current mathematical models graphically, so that people who are not post grad physicists can get a handle on them.
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by -1- »

They say, "never argue with an idiot because people around you won't notice the difference."

They also say, "a mediocre tennis player will always sink to the level of skill of the less skilled opponent."

You just proved in this thread, uwot, that a master tennis player will RAISE a novice player to a higher level of skill, and people around will notice how the idiot-troll became smarter and more respectable, by the normal person providing him or her with dignity of clear responses and with respect.
TimeSeeker
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by TimeSeeker »

uwot wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 9:23 am Well, that's back to Kuhn and Feyerabend-my own idiosyncratic criteria
OK, I've read your requirements below, but I want to tackle this anyway for benefit of you and sundry.

I ask the question not to play silly philosophical word games, but because it is theoretically relevant to an unsolvable problem in computer science. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halting_problem

And so I am going to conceptualise "you" in my framework to explain it. You are an algorithm looking for something (ToE, graphical explanation of current models, better theory of X). Anything - doesn't matter.
The general name of such an algorithm is a Search Algorithm (yeah, we are so original!): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_algorithm

A fundamental property of EVERY search algorithm are its exit criteria. When you are 'looking' for something - you need to have some conception of what it looks like/feels like/tastes like/behaves like. You need to have some conception of its properties so that you can recognise when you have found it and stop looking. That it what it means to halt. To complete the task.

The important distinction here is this: the halting problem refers to two different algorithms. A and B. Lets say that you are algorithm A (looking for ToE). The halting problem asks: can another algorithm (me, B) determine if A will halt. In English - can I predict if you will find a ToE.
This is down to a yes/no answer! It is unsolvable! You will either find a ToE or you will not. The only way to get an answer is for A to actually find a ToE or to continue looking for one until it finds it.

There is, however another angle to this. We can write a third algorithm (C) that asks whether A will NEVER HALT? In English: is A an infinite loop? Algorithm C can't answer "No" because that will effectively solve the halting problem itself.

But it can answer "Yes"! An algorithm that has no exit criteria is an infinite loop. It never halts.

And so when I ask you this question of criteria/accountability, what I am really asking is: Do you have any ideosyncratic-but-subjectively-meaningful criteria (even if you can't put them in words) that will tell you to halt?

Because if you ARE stuck in an infinite loop then you are busy solving the wrong problem.
The first problem to solve is to answer: What are you really looking for? And introspect!
Or you can recognise both - that you don't know what you are looking for, but you don't really want to figure it out just yet. In which case - you are here for the journey. Cool!
uwot wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 9:23 am I'm just trying to explain our current mathematical models graphically, so that people who are not post grad physicists can get a handle on them.
Visualisation! :) Awesome.
Last edited by TimeSeeker on Sat Sep 29, 2018 10:14 am, edited 6 times in total.
TimeSeeker
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by TimeSeeker »

-1- wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 9:39 am They say, "never argue with an idiot because people around you won't notice the difference."

They also say, "a mediocre tennis player will always sink to the level of skill of the less skilled opponent."

You just proved in this thread, uwot, that a master tennis player will RAISE a novice player to a higher level of skill, and people around will notice how the idiot-troll became smarter and more respectable, by the normal person providing him or her with dignity of clear responses and with respect.
And the "idiot-troll" will shatter your illusion (so this is a teaching moment).

The "idiot-troll" is actually a "master-gadfly". The problem is that the teacher cannot teach those who ask stupid questions. And the student can't tell the difference between a troll and a gadfly. You ask stupid questions. Or rather - you ask a PhD level question while you are still in grade school.

I can't tell you "truth" either - for it is my truth and in my language. You will not understand it, and you will reject it. And so I must resort to the Socratic method. This is what you mistake for "trolling" when it is just your lack of awareness of this phenomenon: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/HLqWn5L ... -distances

I know I need to take very many steps back to explain something to you. I just don't know how far I need to go. "Trolling" is me figuring it out - it is me getting information out of you
Secondly - I need to translate MY knowledge in a language that you will understand. That requires me learning how YOU use language. Which only happens when YOU speak more than I speak. I do know how to navigate around Logocentrism.
Science ;) Or since you like Tennis analogies here is one better: https://fs.blog/2014/06/avoiding-stupidity/

"Trolling" is avoiding stupidity. By learning to get EXACTLY the information I need: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Cunningham%27s_Law
At the cost of (maybe) upsetting you. You will live. It's just the internet.
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