Philosophy of Science: The First 2½ Millennia

Discussion of articles that appear in the magazine.

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uwot
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Re: Philosophy of Science: The First 2½ Millennia

Post by uwot » Fri Aug 16, 2019 1:43 pm

Skepdick wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:21 pm
uwot wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:38 am
Not really. 'Spacetime' is a philosophical model.
I don't think so.
Fair enough. What meaning you attach to words is entirely your own business.
Skepdick wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:21 pm
In physics, spacetime is any mathematical model that fuses the three dimensions of space and the one dimension of time into a single four-dimensional continuum
Or indeed that of the author of the above. Try telling a string theorist there are definitely only four dimensions.
Skepdick wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:21 pm
There's a conceptual divergence here. Space-time are seen as resources required for physically DOING computation.
You need space (memory) and time (CPU operations - physical work) in order to compute the field equations.
I think that is less a conceptual divergence, more two completely different things.
Skepdick wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:21 pm
Yeah. Multiple algorithms to solve a particular problem ;)
And many different names for the same thing, eh Skepdick.

Skepdick
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Re: Philosophy of Science: The First 2½ Millennia

Post by Skepdick » Fri Aug 16, 2019 1:52 pm

uwot wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 1:43 pm
Or indeed that of the author of the above. Try telling a string theorist there are definitely only four dimensions.
Sure. Lets assume that the universe has N dimensions (so we don't bicker about it.).
But our MODELS of the world have 26, 11, 10, 4, 3 or 666 dimensions.

Converting between n-dimensional representations just more abstract mathematical transformations.

It's still computational.
uwot wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 1:43 pm
And many different names for the same thing, eh Skepdick.
Yes. It's called the "word problem" for a reason.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Word_prob ... thematics)

uwot
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Re: Philosophy of Science: The First 2½ Millennia

Post by uwot » Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:16 pm

PTH wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:52 am
Is it fair to say the issue is whether philosophy gives us something that can actually guide action?
I think it is fair to say that ethical, political, religious and even scientific philosophical models guide action.
PTH wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:52 am
If it just tells us we're clueless, and that can't be improved on, it's a problem.
That's a bit pessimistic. All philosophy says is that there are different approaches and that anyone who believes theirs is the only one that can achieve practical results in is an idiot.
PTH wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:52 am
And its fair enough, I think, to be clear on the pointlessness of entertaining useless doubts.
You don't have to doubt any given idea to accept that a better might come along.
PTH wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:52 am
But harder, probably, to identify what is a useful approach.
It just depends on where you want to go and how you want to get there.

uwot
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Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:21 am

Re: Philosophy of Science: The First 2½ Millennia

Post by uwot » Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:21 pm

Skepdick wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 1:52 pm
It's still computational.
Well yeah. That's maths for you.
Skepdick wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 1:52 pm
It's called the "word problem" for a reason.
It's less of a problem if you can understand the context.

PTH
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Re: Philosophy of Science: The First 2½ Millennia

Post by PTH » Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:55 pm

uwot wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:16 pm
PTH wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:52 am
If it just tells us we're clueless, and that can't be improved on, it's a problem.
That's a bit pessimistic. All philosophy says is that there are different approaches and that anyone who believes theirs is the only one that can achieve practical results in is an idiot.
[/quote]And that's fair enough, so far as it goes.

I think its more about how philosophy can say anything influential about different approaches. Can it say anything about whether they equally useful? And if we say "compared to what", is it conclusive in saying "there's no what, other than whatever you fancy yourself".

uwot
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Re: Philosophy of Science: The First 2½ Millennia

Post by uwot » Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:14 pm

PTH wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:55 pm
I think its more about how philosophy can say anything influential about different approaches.
Well, there's logic and rhetoric (Grammar too, if the liberal arts are your thing). The challenge is to make a valid case and present it well. The rhetoric is in part down to the persuasive skills of the individuals wishing to make a case, rather than some abstract practice. But there are some tools of logic that can be learnt.
PTH wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:55 pm
Can it say anything about whether they equally useful? And if we say "compared to what", is it conclusive in saying "there's no what, other than whatever you fancy yourself".
Really depends on whether you want someone to behave in ways you approve of, or walk on the Moon.

PTH
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Re: Philosophy of Science: The First 2½ Millennia

Post by PTH » Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:11 am

uwot wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:14 pm
PTH wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:55 pm
Can it say anything about whether they equally useful? And if we say "compared to what", is it conclusive in saying "there's no what, other than whatever you fancy yourself".
Really depends on whether you want someone to behave in ways you approve of, or walk on the Moon.
That looks like a useful way of saying it. It does suggest a belief that behaviour can be influenced by language, which is probably a whole topic in itself.

uwot
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Re: Philosophy of Science: The First 2½ Millennia

Post by uwot » Sun Aug 18, 2019 2:53 pm

PTH wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:11 am
That looks like a useful way of saying it. It does suggest a belief that behaviour can be influenced by language, which is probably a whole topic in itself.
That's effectively the point the article makes. The 'thought collective' (Fleck) or 'paradigm' (Kuhn) and their particular models, method and language really does influence behaviour.

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