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About philosophy.  Book “Facing Up”, by Steven Weinberg.
Posted: 26 December 2015 05:27 AM   [ Ignore ]
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About philosophy.  Book “Facing Up”, by Steven Weinberg.
=..
“I think few philosophers of science take it (discussing questions
about scientific knowledge)  as part of their job description to help
scientists in their research. . . .  . why this should be? Why should
the philosophy of science not be of more help to scientists? I raise
this question here not in order to attack the philosophy of science,
but because I think it is an interesting question – perhaps even
philosophically interesting,”
/ page 84 /
“ . . . it’s not the job of physicists or other scientists to define truth;
that is the job of philosophers. If they haven’t done that job, too bad
for them”
/ page 104 /
“My point is rather that no sense can be made of the notion of reality
as it has ordinarily functioned in the philosophy of science”
/page 205/
“Fortunately we need not allow philosophers to dictate how
philosophical arguments are to be applied in the history
of science, or in scientific research itself,  . . . .”
/page 205/
“Certainly philosophers can do us a great service in their attempts
to clarify what we mean by truth and reality,”
/page 206/
=====…
  We know that “truth” and “reality” mean in our everyday life
(for example we have no trouble to use these words in a supermarket).
But can we explain “truth” and “reality” in science / physics on
the logical “supermarket” level? Einstein, Rutherford, Bohr and
other physicists were sure that it is possible.
===…
“Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity
  and confusion of things.”
    / Isaac Newton /
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”
                      / Albert Einstein. /
“A theory that you can’t explain to a bartender is probably no damn good.”
    / Ernest Rutherford /
“It is often claimed that knowledge multiplies so rapidly that
nobody can follow it. I believe this is incorrect. At least
in science it is not true.  The main purpose of science is simplicity
and as we understand more things, everything is becoming simpler.
This, of course, goes contrary to what everyone accepts.”
  / Edward Teller /
==..
  It seems that philosophers haven’t done their job.
==…
Best wishes.
Israel Socratus
==..

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Posted: 26 December 2015 09:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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socratus - 26 December 2015 05:27 AM

==..
  It seems that philosophers haven’t done their job.
==…
Best wishes.
Israel Socratus
==..

Oh, but they have! They’ve done it perfectly.
(this reads: what exactly do you think the job description is of philosophy?)

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Posted: 26 December 2015 12:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I was wondering if he had a point. All he did was quote someone else. Oh well. This is more interesting than the not-even-pseudoscience he usually posts.

As for the philosophy of science, I think Weinberg has a point. When I was in college a few years ago I subscribed to a philosophy of science journal, and even with my limited knowledge of science and philosophy I could spot obvious errors in many of the peer-reviewed articles. Science has gotten so complicated that being a good philosopher of science requires a rigorous mathematics background and very few people have the combination of intelligence areas that make them good mathematicians and good philosophers.

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Posted: 26 December 2015 03:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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DarronS - 26 December 2015 12:16 PM

I was wondering if he had a point. All he did was quote someone else. Oh well. This is more interesting than the not-even-pseudoscience he usually posts.

As for the philosophy of science, I think Weinberg has a point. When I was in college a few years ago I subscribed to a philosophy of science journal, and even with my limited knowledge of science and philosophy I could spot obvious errors in many of the peer-reviewed articles. Science has gotten so complicated that being a good philosopher of science requires a rigorous mathematics background and very few people have the combination of intelligence areas that make them good mathematicians and good philosophers.

Right D, and science could move along just about perfectly without philosophy…always could, always will.

I think one of the Penultimate examples of philosophy’s failures(?) in regards to science is the ridiculous notions some of the physicists
blabbered on about as they put the finishing touches on the atom bomb.

I imagine the cruel doctors in various outlets through history waxed philosophically as they conducted cruel, inhuman experiments on people.

Or does the frumpy consumer need philosophy to explain how they fit in the fabric of space and time as they shop at Pay-Less Shoes?

At best, philosophy is a completely detached, inorganic observer of science that only a small number of people listen to.

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Posted: 26 December 2015 08:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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This would be easier if we were talking face to face over a pint or two of Scottish ale. I’m going to assume you are being snarky above.  wink

Philosophy definitely has its value to science, always has and always will. (Those who have been around here a few years may remember I used to believe differently until some friends in this forum convinced me I was wrong). My favorite area of philosophy is ethics, and the examples you provided are excellent examples of ethical issues. There are no clear demarcations when making ethical decisions, as each dilemma contains shades of grey*. Should scientists consider ethical issues when developing and applying their theories? Both answers have interesting ramifications.

Science direly needs a modern philosopher for guidance, but such a philosopher will have to thoroughly understand philosophy and theoretical physics, perhaps earning PhDs in both. How long have mathematicians and physicists been diving into the rabbit hole called String Theory without learning anything useful? At least thirty years. Relativity theory led to Quantum Mechanics in half that time, and without QM we would have neither personal computers nor GPS Nav systems in our phones. Science needs a philosopher who can guide a new way of thinking, a sign on the road toward merging Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, or a road-closed sign to let us know there is an impenetrable barrier between the two.

Wait a minute. Didn’t I say everything is grey? Well, the universe is under no obligation to make sense to us, is it?

* I prefer the British spelling.

[ Edited: 26 December 2015 09:02 PM by DarronS ]
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Posted: 26 December 2015 09:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I guess you did do a 180 on the matter.
I disgaree/agree with you…
I think we are looking at the matter from different perspectives.
I’m viewing science as a guttural thing. An instinct.
You’re viewing it as an institution. And that’s fine. grin

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Posted: 27 December 2015 01:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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One way to analyse science is to think about model.
String model.
Where did string-particle come from: from guitar or from violin?
===…

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Posted: 27 December 2015 02:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Whatever happens it must happen in a space/time/matter/ 
” Physicists build philosophical castles in the air;
philosophers move in; government pay the rent. “
It is happened in our earthly space/time//matter/
===…

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Posted: 27 December 2015 06:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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VYAZMA - 26 December 2015 09:13 AM

what exactly do you think the job description is of philosophy?

Yep.

There are many misconceptions about what philosophy should achieve. I posted this once elsewhere, but I think it nicely fits in here:

It should be clear that philosophy does not solve any scientific problem. If it did, then it would be part of a science. If it solves any problem, then it could be called an intelligibility problem. That means that philosophical problems can arise everywhere where people think.
Obviously, normally thinking is no problem. Science was already progressing before philosophy tried to find out how and why science progresses. But philosophy can clarify this by trying to find out when e.g. in science a statement or theory is accepted. And that is not the sociological question (when does a group of scientists accept a theory) but the methodological question: when is it justified to accept a theory.

Such questions become important when people, or society in general, ask themselves what they should accept as truth. Methodologically philosophy is hardly important for the scientists themselves. It partly explains the disdain scientists have for philosophy. They think that philosophy thinks that it says to scientists how they should do their work. Occasionally some philosophers also really do this, which is mostly distorting for philosophy’s reputation.

Also in morality people know very well what to think. But to find out how they think might again be a task for philosophers. Again, not the sociological question, but the question which kind of thinking leads to a justified morality. This job is of course for ethics: to find and reflect on the criteria we use, or should use, in our moral thinking if we want to be consistent.

There is also a class of problems that arise from our daily thinking. One example is the problem of free will. Where nearly all people experience they have free will, it seems that science, based on the idea that laws of nature are in general deterministic, denies that we have free will. It is a task for philosophers to show how the daily use of the concept of free will differs from the concept that is used in a scientific context, and show that there is in fact no such free will problem at all. It is all based on some wrong pre-concepts that confuse the discussion.

So if there is some positive result from philosophy, it is intellectual clarity. If a problem disappears under this intellectual clarity, then it could be called ‘solved’.

But intellectual clarity definitely doesn’t solve empirical or in general scientific problems. That is just a false expectation.

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Posted: 27 December 2015 01:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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GdB - 27 December 2015 06:52 AM
VYAZMA - 26 December 2015 09:13 AM

what exactly do you think the job description is of philosophy?

Yep.

There are many misconceptions about what philosophy should achieve. I posted this once elsewhere, but I think it nicely fits in here:

It should be clear that philosophy does not solve any scientific problem. If it did, then it would be part of a science. If it solves any problem, then it could be called an intelligibility problem. That means that philosophical problems can arise everywhere where people think.
Obviously, normally thinking is no problem. Science was already progressing before philosophy tried to find out how and why science progresses. But philosophy can clarify this by trying to find out when e.g. in science a statement or theory is accepted. And that is not the sociological question (when does a group of scientists accept a theory) but the methodological question: when is it justified to accept a theory.

Such questions become important when people, or society in general, ask themselves what they should accept as truth. Methodologically philosophy is hardly important for the scientists themselves. It partly explains the disdain scientists have for philosophy. They think that philosophy thinks that it says to scientists how they should do their work. Occasionally some philosophers also really do this, which is mostly distorting for philosophy’s reputation.

Also in morality people know very well what to think. But to find out how they think might again be a task for philosophers. Again, not the sociological question, but the question which kind of thinking leads to a justified morality. This job is of course for ethics: to find and reflect on the criteria we use, or should use, in our moral thinking if we want to be consistent.

There is also a class of problems that arise from our daily thinking. One example is the problem of free will. Where nearly all people experience they have free will, it seems that science, based on the idea that laws of nature are in general deterministic, denies that we have free will. It is a task for philosophers to show how the daily use of the concept of free will differs from the concept that is used in a scientific context, and show that there is in fact no such free will problem at all. It is all based on some wrong pre-concepts that confuse the discussion.

So if there is some positive result from philosophy, it is intellectual clarity. If a problem disappears under this intellectual clarity, then it could be called ‘solved’.

But intellectual clarity definitely doesn’t solve empirical or in general scientific problems. That is just a false expectation.

Well, to the extent that philosophy is about clarity and integrity of thinking, then I am all for it, in regards to science, or just about anything else, for that matter.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 28 December 2015 10:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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This thread is not about sociology or morality, ethics or free will.
This thread is about “philosophy of physics”
=…
The result of “philosophy of science”  must be logical explanation
nature from its origin to the present days. The origin of nature can begin
only from one source and then somehow evolve from simple to complex
systems. This origin of nature needs definition. Big Bang doesn’t fit to
this aim because big bang doesn’t give answer to the question:
“ Where did the masses for big bang come from?”  Somebody can
think that God created these masses and now scientists play with them.
==..
“ Our job in physics is to see things simply, to understand a great
many complicated phenomena in a unified way, in terms
of a few simple principles. “
/ Steven Weinberg /
===…

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Posted: 29 December 2015 09:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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socratus - 28 December 2015 10:50 PM

The result of “philosophy of science”  must be logical explanation nature from its origin to the present days.

No. That would be science, not philosophy.

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Posted: 30 December 2015 05:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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GdB - 29 December 2015 09:19 AM
socratus - 28 December 2015 10:50 PM

The result of “philosophy of science”  must be logical explanation nature from its origin to the present days.

No. That would be science, not philosophy.

Scientists discover new facts and laws in nature and give them
different interpretations. Today they come to conclusion that
the Universe was begun from “Big Bang”.  But “big bang”
cannot be the origin of nature because “big bang”  doesn’t give
answer to the question:  “ Where did the masses for big bang
come from?”  Somebody can think that God created these masses.
And if Feynman said: “I think I can safely say that nobody
understands quantum mechanics.” it is also because the beginning
of creation was chosen wrong.
Therefor philosophers must explain physicists, astronomers, . . . . .
to understand this fact and help them to find another source of
creation of the Universe. But philosophers haven’t done their job.
===========…

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Posted: 30 December 2015 08:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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socratus - 30 December 2015 05:14 AM

Therefor philosophers must explain physicists, astronomers, . . . . .
to understand this fact and help them to find another source of
creation of the Universe. But philosophers haven’t done their job.
===========…

That isn’t the job of philosophy….well, actually if a philosopher wanted it to be his job it could be his or her job.
So let’s say for a minute that it could be the job of the philosopher if that philosopher wanted to.

So then what? Is the philosopher to direct the scientist into new or other areas of research?
Based on what? The philosopher’s own scientific knowledge? His personal, superior knowledge of science?
That would make the philosopher a scientist!

So far still no problem…I’m quite certain many scientists engage in philosophy and visa versa.

The problem is, the natural world is as apparent as it can be to the scientists or the philosophers.
There’s gonna be some problems with this statement from various philosophical argumentative modes…I know.
But it still holds given that the scientists and philosophers are part of that very natural world.

Socratus, your argument would be a total victory if it weren’t for one little problem.
The natural world becomes more and more apparent to scientists and philosophers every day.

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Posted: 30 December 2015 09:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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VYAZMA - 30 December 2015 08:47 AM

Socratus, your argument would be a total victory if it weren’t for one little problem.
The natural world becomes more and more apparent to scientists and philosophers every day.

True. Socratus is engaging in a variation of the god-of-the-gaps argument. He is arguing that because scientists and philosophers haven’t figured out everything about the universe they are not doing their jobs while ignoring all the progress made in the last century, or even the last 20 years.

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Posted: 30 December 2015 10:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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@ VYAZMA @ DarronS
==.
1) I give great respect to scientists and philosophers
  in the past and in the present days.
2) I think that “philosophers of science” must have more “open” mind
than physicists (experts in some separate discipline) and therefore
they can help physicists. 
But maybe I am mistaken. (?)
===..

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