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Philosophy in the 21st century
Posted: 08 October 2012 04:40 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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Would like to read comments on the following.

In Stephen Hawking’s book, The Grand Design, it is stated on p. 13 that; ” philosophy is dead. Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics”.

Is there a consensus on this view?

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Posted: 08 October 2012 07:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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ger - 08 October 2012 04:40 PM

Would like to read comments on the following.

In Stephen Hawking’s book, The Grand Design, it is stated on p. 13 that; ” philosophy is dead. Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics”.

Is there a consensus on this view?

No. But consensus doesn’t matter. Consensus doesn’t make something true. Truth is not a popularity contest.


Hawking is wrong. There is new epistemology (50+ years new) that he is not aware of. And he’s not aware of it because this new epistemology doesn’t exist in University philosophy departments.


This new epistemology is Popper’s Conjecture and Refutation (C&R) method. Its the method by which we create knowledge (as a society and as individuals). A person creates an idea and he criticizes it. Then he and others criticize those criticisms. The ideas left uncriticized are now truth, for now. In the future, someone may come along with a new criticism, and the cycle continues.


Creating an idea is the *conjecture* (or guess) part of the method. Criticizing an idea is the *refutation* (or criticism) part of the method.


Popper figured this out by studying the last 500 years of scientific knowledge creation. Scientists hypothesize theories (aka guess), and then they test those theories (aka criticize). Popper then realized that all knowledge is created this way, not just scientific knowledge.


David Deutsch explains it well in his book _The Beginning of Infinity_.
http://beginningofinfinity.com/


I learned this stuff by discussing it here: http://groups.google.com/group/beginning-of-infinity/subscribe

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Posted: 09 October 2012 02:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Philosophy is still necesary because researcher does not know how to define things, what should be considered evidence and what not.
Theres a whole field dedicated to science. Philosophy of science. How to do test, how to validate data, logic, etc .
And much more. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_science
Those researcher the look down at philosophy does not know what it is and could probably take a cource or two.
Is Daniel Dennet fighting a lost cause?

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Posted: 19 October 2012 07:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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To play on Neitsche’ s phrase: Philosophy is dead.  And thank God for it.  In the historical roll philosophers have played in advancing learning they have been completely eclipsed by scientists.  In the modified roll they assumed more recently of digesting the advancements of learning and putting them in perspective they have been almost completely eclipsed by popular science writers like Dr. Harris.


What people believe matters and is of utmost importance to a society.  Philosophy is not conterproductive as religion is in influencing people on this score, it’s just obsolete.  Dan Dennett isn’t fighting a losing battle, but everything he does that is worthwhile is better described as science journalism than as philosophy.  Ontology, dialectical reasoning and the C&R method our Popper fan advocates are all demonstrably ineffective ways of arriving at truth.  Only the scientific method can advance a cognative being toward truth, and if you want to call your process of theory and hypothesis generation “philosophy” so be it.  But it will only be valid if it produces experimentally verifiable predictions - you know - if it is science.

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Posted: 19 October 2012 07:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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TheCoolinator - 19 October 2012 07:20 AM

To play on Neitsche’ s phrase: Philosophy is dead.  And thank God for it.  In the historical roll philosophers have played in advancing learning they have been completely eclipsed by scientists.  In the modified roll they assumed more recently of digesting the advancements of learning and putting them in perspective they have been almost completely eclipsed by popular science writers like Dr. Harris.


What people believe matters and is of utmost importance to a society.  Philosophy is not conterproductive as religion is in influencing people on this score, it’s just obsolete.  Dan Dennett isn’t fighting a losing battle, but everything he does that is worthwhile is better described as science journalism than as philosophy.  Ontology, dialectical reasoning and the C&R method our Popper fan advocates are all demonstrably ineffective ways of arriving at truth.  Only the scientific method can advance a cognative being toward truth, and if you want to call your process of theory and hypothesis generation “philosophy” so be it.  But it will only be valid if it produces experimentally verifiable predictions - you know - if it is science.


False. What you are talking about is Justified True Belief epistemology, which is obsolete (i.e. has been refuted). It was refuted by Karl Popper. Popper’s epistemology is Conjectures and Refutations, which is consistent with the Scientific Method.


And no, Popper’s epistemology is not eclipsed by Sam Harris. Many of Harris’s ideas are wrong, for example his idea that free will doesn’t exist. What would refute Harris’s idea? Some good philosophy.


I’ve criticized Harris’s *free will doesn’t exist* idea here:


http://www.samharris.org/forum/viewthread/16894/

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Posted: 21 October 2012 11:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Rami Rustom - 19 October 2012 07:28 AM

False. What you are talking about is Justified True Belief epistemology, which is obsolete (i.e. has been refuted). It was refuted by Karl Popper. Popper’s epistemology is Conjectures and Refutations, which is consistent with the Scientific Method.

This is nonsense.  It’s just a crass reformulation of dialectical reasoning, which can get you to agreement, but will arrive at the truth only by happenstance.  If it worked, you’d already be done arguing, since I refuted it in my previous post.

Rami Rustom - 19 October 2012 07:28 AM

And no, Popper’s epistemology is not eclipsed by Sam Harris. Many of Harris’s ideas are wrong, for example his idea that free will doesn’t exist. What would refute Harris’s idea? Some good philosophy.

Couple things here: 1) I never said Popper was eclipsed by Sam Harris.  I’m not even sure what that means.  I said philosophy was eclipsed by science, which is self-evident to any truth seeker. 2) I agree that Harris is wrong on several points, most prominently free will.  My main problem with that claim is that it is unscientific. I could refute him with philosophy as you do, which is almost exactly as effective as refuting him with religion.  Instead, I choose to point to the fact that his conjecture is not supported by existent evidence on the topic so far as I have seen – you know – with science.

 

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Posted: 21 October 2012 01:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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TheCoolinator: When I took a semester in theoretical philosophy the professor teaching scientific theory had nothing good to say about most researchers he came in contact with and educated. When you lack understanding of scientific methodology, logic etc which is a part of philosophy of science you do bad science.
Saying science is replacing philosophy is like saying the hen replaces the egg. You cant do good high quality science without the backbone of philosophy.
Logic, methodology etc all stems from and is developed by philosophers. Scientists can also causation and correlation intermingled. also uses fallacies to argue for their conclusions etc. If they hade proper philosophical scooling perhaps suchs stupidity wouldnt go unoticed by the researchers themselves.

Do you know what philosophy is TheCoolinator? Your refutation is still using philosophical methodology as applied in science.

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Posted: 21 October 2012 01:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Rami Rustom Well science does not all go by conjecture and criticism. There are other philosophers as well such as Feuerabend and Kuhn that you should study. Lots of science is like a popularity contest. Positive studies gets published negative oners does not so what we think is true may not be so. Journals and researchers does not like to publish negative studies. For example. 20 studies 8 of them positive. All 8 gets published but only 2 of the negative ones. That leaves 10 negative ones that would perhaps tells us a medicine for example is crap and should not be used but we wont know about.

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Posted: 21 October 2012 02:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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ninjin - 21 October 2012 01:54 PM

Rami Rustom Well science does not all go by conjecture and criticism. There are other philosophers as well such as Feuerabend and Kuhn that you should study. Lots of science is like a popularity contest. Positive studies gets published negative oners does not so what we think is true may not be so. Journals and researchers does not like to publish negative studies. For example. 20 studies 8 of them positive. All 8 gets published but only 2 of the negative ones. That leaves 10 negative ones that would perhaps tells us a medicine for example is crap and should not be used but we wont know about.

That bad science you’re talking about *is not* science. It is scientism.


Scientism is not consistent with Popper’s C&R method. Scientism is agenda-driven and thus biased.

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Posted: 21 October 2012 02:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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ninjin - 21 October 2012 01:47 PM

TheCoolinator: When I took a semester in theoretical philosophy the professor teaching scientific theory had nothing good to say about most researchers he came in contact with and educated. When you lack understanding of scientific methodology, logic etc which is a part of philosophy of science you do bad science.
Saying science is replacing philosophy is like saying the hen replaces the egg. You cant do good high quality science without the backbone of philosophy.
Logic, methodology etc all stems from and is developed by philosophers. Scientists can also causation and correlation intermingled. also uses fallacies to argue for their conclusions etc. If they hade proper philosophical scooling perhaps suchs stupidity wouldnt go unoticed by the researchers themselves.

Do you know what philosophy is TheCoolinator? Your refutation is still using philosophical methodology as applied in science.

Yes!


I think you would like Karl Popper’s epistemology (its not taught in any University philosophy department today). He’s dead now but his current followers are David Deutsch and Elliot Temple whom both have added to Popper’s work. And they’re both alive and actively discussing here:


http://groups.google.com/group/beginning-of-infinity/subscribe


To give you and idea of how much activity, I’ve posted over 3,000 emails (over 10 months) to this and associated philosophy lists (total from all members I think is maybe 6,000 emails over the last 10 months).

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Posted: 22 October 2012 11:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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ninjin - 21 October 2012 01:47 PM

TheCoolinator: When I took a semester in theoretical philosophy the professor teaching scientific theory had nothing good to say about most researchers he came in contact with and educated. When you lack understanding of scientific methodology, logic etc which is a part of philosophy of science you do bad science.
Saying science is replacing philosophy is like saying the hen replaces the egg. You cant do good high quality science without the backbone of philosophy.
Logic, methodology etc all stems from and is developed by philosophers. Scientists can also causation and correlation intermingled. also uses fallacies to argue for their conclusions etc. If they hade proper philosophical scooling perhaps suchs stupidity wouldnt go unoticed by the researchers themselves.

Do you know what philosophy is TheCoolinator? Your refutation is still using philosophical methodology as applied in science.

The proper methodology for science is settled.  There is no room debate in whether experimentally falsifiable hypotheses are the proper way to approach determining questions of knowledge.  If I were to concede that philosophy got us there, which I am not prepared to do, then my claim that it is dead still stands since there is no more work to be done on that front.  There is no wiggle room here.  We have a settled method for making scholarly inquiry, and your research can claim validity only by justifying itself in those terms. 


You are confusing your definition of philosophy and attempting to graft it into the scientific framework and thereby secure a seat at the table for non-experimentally grounded searches for truth i.e. philosophy.  There is a theoretical role and a research role to be played in good science, but please don’t degrade good theoretical scientists by labeling what they do ‘philosophy.’

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Posted: 23 October 2012 01:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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TheCoolinator: Your’re limiting philosophy to one area then say its dead. Its similar to saying “If God is allmighty then he can make a stone so heavy he cant lift it.” And thats just a falty argument. Is science (all of physics, biology, chemistry etc) dead because we (might have) discovered the Higg’s boson?

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Posted: 23 October 2012 06:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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TheCoolinator - 22 October 2012 11:03 PM

The proper methodology for science is settled.  There is no room debate in whether experimentally falsifiable hypotheses are the proper way to approach determining questions of knowledge.

No. Your idea implies that all knowledge is scientific knowledge. And that the stuff that isn’t scientific (i.e. not able to be falsified using experiments), isn’t knowledge. But that is false. There is philosophical knowledge, moral knowledge, political knowledge, parental knowledge, math knowledge, psychological knowledge, knowledge about what I just said, and so on. How does one create knowledge in these fields? By conjectures and refutations.

TheCoolinator - 22 October 2012 11:03 PM

  If I were to concede that philosophy got us there,

I think you’re saying that we’re saying that someone created C&R and then started using it to create scientific knowledge. But we’re not saying that. Scientists started creating scientific knowledge in the 16th century. The C&R method was created (or at least published) by Karl Popper in the 1960’s. How did he do it? He studied the previous few centuries of scientific knowledge creation and conceptualized the method that they used. He noticed that scientists (1) hypothesize theories and then (2) create experiments that would falsify them. So he generalized that into (1) conjecture and (2) refutation using physical evidence. And then he generalized it one step further into (1) conjecture and (2) refutation (without physical evidence).

TheCoolinator - 22 October 2012 11:03 PM

  which I am not prepared to do, then my claim that it is dead still stands since there is no more work to be done on that front.  There is no wiggle room here.  We have a settled method for making scholarly inquiry, and your research can claim validity only by justifying itself in those terms.

There is always wiggle room. The method can be improved. Aside from that, the method isn’t even learned by most scientists. Most scientists do it wrong. For example most scientists in the field of psychology.

TheCoolinator - 22 October 2012 11:03 PM

  You are confusing your definition of philosophy and attempting to graft it into the scientific framework and thereby secure a seat at the table for non-experimentally grounded searches for truth i.e. philosophy.  There is a theoretical role and a research role to be played in good science, but please don’t degrade good theoretical scientists by labeling what they do ‘philosophy.’

So how do you explain why some scientists do really bad science while some do good science? What is the qualitative difference? The difference is philosophy. The ones that do good science have good philosophy while the ones that do bad science have bad philosophy.

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Posted: 24 October 2012 10:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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Rami Rustom - 23 October 2012 06:20 AM
TheCoolinator - 22 October 2012 11:03 PM

The proper methodology for science is settled.  There is no room debate in whether experimentally falsifiable hypotheses are the proper way to approach determining questions of knowledge.

No. Your idea implies that all knowledge is scientific knowledge. And that the stuff that isn’t scientific (i.e. not able to be falsified using experiments), isn’t knowledge. But that is false. There is philosophical knowledge, moral knowledge, political knowledge, parental knowledge, math knowledge, psychological knowledge, knowledge about what I just said, and so on. How does one create knowledge in these fields? By conjectures and refutations.

TheCoolinator - 22 October 2012 11:03 PM

  If I were to concede that philosophy got us there,

I think you’re saying that we’re saying that someone created C&R and then started using it to create scientific knowledge. But we’re not saying that. Scientists started creating scientific knowledge in the 16th century. The C&R method was created (or at least published) by Karl Popper in the 1960’s. How did he do it? He studied the previous few centuries of scientific knowledge creation and conceptualized the method that they used. He noticed that scientists (1) hypothesize theories and then (2) create experiments that would falsify them. So he generalized that into (1) conjecture and (2) refutation using physical evidence. And then he generalized it one step further into (1) conjecture and (2) refutation (without physical evidence).

TheCoolinator - 22 October 2012 11:03 PM

  which I am not prepared to do, then my claim that it is dead still stands since there is no more work to be done on that front.  There is no wiggle room here.  We have a settled method for making scholarly inquiry, and your research can claim validity only by justifying itself in those terms.

There is always wiggle room. The method can be improved. Aside from that, the method isn’t even learned by most scientists. Most scientists do it wrong. For example most scientists in the field of psychology.

TheCoolinator - 22 October 2012 11:03 PM

  You are confusing your definition of philosophy and attempting to graft it into the scientific framework and thereby secure a seat at the table for non-experimentally grounded searches for truth i.e. philosophy.  There is a theoretical role and a research role to be played in good science, but please don’t degrade good theoretical scientists by labeling what they do ‘philosophy.’

So how do you explain why some scientists do really bad science while some do good science? What is the qualitative difference? The difference is philosophy. The ones that do good science have good philosophy while the ones that do bad science have bad philosophy.

You are being obtuse.  I think deliberately.  If there aren’t 99 problems, each in need of their own form of knowledge, you and your buddies would have significantly fewer e-mails to write and relentlessly promoting your website would lose its fun.  I wish you happiness in your endeavors since that is the best that your efforts have any hope of achieving.

[ Edited: 24 October 2012 10:04 PM by TheCoolinator]
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Posted: 24 October 2012 10:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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ninjin - 23 October 2012 01:33 AM

TheCoolinator: Your’re limiting philosophy to one area then say its dead. Its similar to saying “If God is allmighty then he can make a stone so heavy he cant lift it.” And thats just a falty argument. Is science (all of physics, biology, chemistry etc) dead because we (might have) discovered the Higg’s boson?

I submit your post above as Exhibit A in my case for why philosophy is just a more reputable term to slap on sophistry.  What you’ve posted here is a prime example.  You make no effort to tether your arguments to reality, or even to my arguments.  And why bother?  So long as your post is imbued with sufficient truthiness.  After all, you’ve quoted the age old omnipotence conundrum and hinted at results from cutting edge research on the Standard Model.  Certainly there must be profundity lodged in there somewhere. 

I’m not limiting the definition of philosophy except to reject your crass attempt to confuse the work that it does with the legitimate scientific work done by theorists.

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Posted: 24 October 2012 11:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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TheCoolinator - 24 October 2012 10:20 PM
ninjin - 23 October 2012 01:33 AM

TheCoolinator: Your’re limiting philosophy to one area then say its dead. Its similar to saying “If God is allmighty then he can make a stone so heavy he cant lift it.” And thats just a falty argument. Is science (all of physics, biology, chemistry etc) dead because we (might have) discovered the Higg’s boson?

I submit your post above as Exhibit A in my case for why philosophy is just a more reputable term to slap on sophistry.  What you’ve posted here is a prime example.  You make no effort to tether your arguments to reality, or even to my arguments.  And why bother?  So long as your post is imbued with sufficient truthiness.  After all, you’ve quoted the age old omnipotence conundrum and hinted at results from cutting edge research on the Standard Model.  Certainly there must be profundity lodged in there somewhere. 

I’m not limiting the definition of philosophy except to reject your crass attempt to confuse the work that it does with the legitimate scientific work done by theorists.


I think you’re thinking that philosophy and science are mutually exclusive. They aren’t.


Scientists that create good science theories *are* doing good philosophy. And scientists that create bad science theories *are* doing bad philosophy. Bad philosophy means they are not doing the scientific method. For example, some scientists create unfalsifiable theories. That means that when they do the experimental phase of (scientific) knowledge creation, the experiments can’t falsify the theory, meaning that they can only corroborate the theory. This is an epistemic mistake.


Knowledge is created by (1) guesses and (2) criticism (this is Karl Popper’s C&R method). Both steps must be there. One step without the other will lead to way more mistakes and little to zero evolution of knowledge.


In science, the guesses are theories, and the criticism is tests. For this to work, the criticism must (be able to) contradict the guesses, otherwise its not criticism. So if you create an experiment that is able to contradict a theory, then this follows the knowledge creation method. But if your theory was created in such a way where it is impossible to create an experiment that could contradict the theory, then the theory is unfalsifiable. And that means that half of the knowledge creation method is impossible to do.


What I’ve just described is Popper’s line of demarcation. If a scientific theory is falsifiable, then it is science. If not, then it is pseudoscience, meaning that it is equivalent to Mythology. Some notable pseudosciences were Marx and Freud and almost all psychologists today (and most of many other fields too). On the other side of that line of demarcation are Einstein and Deutsch and most of the hard sciences.

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