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What is Science?

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Introduction to basic ideas about epistemology and the distinction between science and pseudoscience.

Introduction to basic ideas about epistemology and the distinction between science and pseudoscience.

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  • 1. WHAT IS SCIENCE? HISTORY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY SINCE 1750 JASON M. KELLY PHD FSA JASKELLY@IUPUI.EDU | @JASON_M_KELLY
  • 2. EPISTEMOLOGY HOW DO WE KNOW THE WORLD? Dave Coverly. Speed Bump. Used according to the educational fair use guidelines provided by the Cartoonist Group. This image is copyright protected. The copyright owner reserves all rights.
  • 3. RATIONALISM AND EMPIRICISM A PRIORI AND A POSTERIORI KNOWLEDGE
  • 4. 2+2=4 a priori = knowledge independent from sensory experience (e.g. mathematics or logic) a posteriori = knowledge derived from sensory experience All bachelors are unmarried. If A is greater than B, and B is greater than C, then A is greater than C. There are four apples in the bag. Some bachelors are unhappy. The Boeing 747 is larger than the Boeing 727.
  • 5. Rationalist Variants (derived from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rationalism-empiricism/) 1. The Intuition/Deduction Thesis: Some propositions in a particular subject area, S, are knowable by us by intuition alone; still others are knowable by being deduced from intuited propositions. 2. The Innate Knowledge Thesis: We have knowledge of some truths in a particular subject area, S, as part of our rational nature. 3. The Innate Concept Thesis: We have some of the concepts we employ in a particular subject area, S, as part of our rational nature. • The Indispensability of Reason Thesis: The knowledge we gain in subject area, S, by intuition and deduction, as well as the ideas and instances of knowledge in S that are innate to us, could not have been gained by us through sense experience. • The Superiority of Reason Thesis: The knowledge we gain in subject area S by intuition and deduction or have innately is superior to any knowledge gained by sense experience. All rationalist arguments are one of these three types
  • 6. CAUSATION COINCIDENCE, CORRELATION, CONSTANT CONJUNCTION
  • 7. CAUSATION DAVID HUME ON CAUSE AND EFFECT The mind can never possibly find the effect in the supposed cause, by the most accurate scrutiny and examination. For the effect is totally different from the cause, and consequently can never be discovered in it. Motion in the second billiard ball is a quite distinct event from the motion in the first. Nor is there anything in the one to suggest the smallest hint of the other. A stone or piece of metal raised into the air, and left without any support immediately falls: but to consider the matter a priori, is there anything we discover in this situation which can beget the idea of a downward, rather than an upward, or any other motion, in the stone or metal? David Hume. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1772) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tZ6L7QNFws
  • 8. As Bertrand Russell explained more succinctly: CAUSATION DAVID HUME ON CAUSE AND EFFECT “The man who has fed the chicken every day throughout its life at last wrings its neck instead, showing that more refined views as to the uniformity of nature would have been useful to the chicken.” Bertand Russell, “On Induction” in The Problems of Philosophy (1912) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tZ6L7QNFws
  • 9. Correlation does not imply causation CAUSATION COINCIDENCE, CORRELATION, CONSTANT CONJUNCTION Stephen R. Johnson, “The Trouble with QSAR (or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Embrace Fallacy),” Journal of Chemical Information and Modelling 48:1 (2008): 25–26.
  • 10. IS AND OUGHT STATEMENTS OF FACT AND VALUE In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary ways of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when all of a sudden I am surprised to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, 'tis necessary that it should be observed and explained; and at the same time that a reason should be given; for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it. But as authors do not commonly use this precaution, I shall presume to recommend it to the readers; and am persuaded, that this small attention would subvert all the vulgar systems of morality, and let us see, that the distinction of vice and virtue is not founded merely on the relations of objects, nor is perceived by reason. David Hume. A Treatise of Human Nature (1739). Book 2, Part 1, Section 1.
  • 11. THE VIENNA CIRCLE STATEMENTS OF TRUTH Theodor Bauer. Moritz Schlick (1882-1936). ca. 1930. Österreichische Nationalbibliothek. Austria. Inventarnummer: Pf 29.355:E(1)
  • 12. There are only two types of valid philosophical/scientific statements: THE VIENNA CIRCLE STATEMENTS OF TRUTH 1. Statements and inferences that are logically true or false (e.g. 2+2=4; “All bachelors are unmarried men”; or “All men are mortal; Socrates is a man; therefore, Socrates is mortal.) 2. Statements that are empirical and can be verified (e.g. Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.)
  • 13. • Derived from the work of There are only two types of valid philosophical/scientific statements: 1. Statements and inferences that are logically true or false (e.g. 2+2=4; “All bachelors are unmarried men”; or “All men are mortal; Socrates is a man; therefore, Socrates is mortal.) 2. Statements that are empirical and can be verified (e.g. Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.) Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein • These statements are tautologies and give no facts about the external world • Their significance is in the order that they bring to language or mathematics (e.g. their internal logic and consistency)
  • 14. • Some of the logical There are only two types of valid philosophical/scientific statements: 1. Statements and inferences that are logically true or false (e.g. 2+2=4; “All bachelors are unmarried men”; or “All men are mortal; Socrates is a man; therefore, Socrates is mortal.) 2. Statements that are empirical and can be verified (e.g. Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.) positivists, as this school became known, argued that even mathematics was an inconsistent and often paradoxical system. • Kurt Gödel’s “Incompleteness Theorems” of 1931 • Strong influence of the Copenhagen school of physics, dominated by Neils Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, which in the 1920s developed quantum mechanics (e.g. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle)
  • 15. There are only two types of valid philosophical/scientific statements: 1. Statements and inferences that are logically true or false (e.g. 2+2=4; “All bachelors are unmarried men”; or “All men are mortal; Socrates is a man; therefore, Socrates is mortal.) 2. Statements that are empirical and can be verified (e.g. Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.) • This excludes substantial categories of philosophy, such as ethics, which are unable to be verified.
  • 16. The criterion that THE VIENNA CIRCLE KARL POPPER’S CRITICISM meaningful=analytic or verifiable is neither logically true or false nor empirically verifiable. Therefore, according to the logical positivist’s position, it is a meaningless principle.
  • 17. THE VIENNA CIRCLE KARL POPPER’S CRITICISM We should focus our attention on things that are empirically meaningful, such as the truth of scientific ideas. However, to do this, we need to distinguish between those things that are science and those things that are not science.
  • 18. SCIENCE AND PSEUDOSCIENCE KARL POPPER ON MARX, FREUD, AND EINSTEIN Karl Popper. ca. 1980. Archives of the London School of Economics. http://archives.lse.ac.uk/record.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog&id=IMAGELIBRARY%2f5
  • 19. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ASTRONOMY AND ASTROLOGY?
  • 20. Possible areas of demarcation • disciplinarity (structure of DEMARCATION WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ASTRONOMY AND ASTROLOGY? knowledge and professionalization) • theory • practice • scientific problems or questions • ethos • historical context
  • 21. FALSIFICATION POPPER AND FALSIFICATION “Insofar as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and insofar as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.” Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery,1959 edition, appendix 1.
  • 22. • Edmonds, David and John Eidinow, Wittgenstein's Poker: The Story of a Ten-Minute Argument Between Two Great Philosophers (Harper Collins, 2001). FURTHER READING SCIENCE AND PSEUDOSCIENCE • Hansson, Sven Ove, "Science and Pseudo-Science", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives /win2012/entries/pseudoscience/>. • Pigliucci, Massimo and Maarten Boudry, eds., Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013)