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Is Objectivism Falsifiable or Merely Explanatory?

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Karl Popper denied that Freudian psychology is a science. He likened it to astrology which is only explanatory. Both theories explain, but cannot predict.

Philosophy is explanatory, but not predictive. If it were, we would know good philosophies from bad, just as no working chemist today adheres to phlogiston theory. Science leaves weak theories behind. Phiosophy does not. But does Objectivism? Is there any claim within the philosophy that can be tested by replication, the failure to replicate being falsification?

It would seem that happiness, prosperity, and material success would be evident among those who embrace a philosophy of rational self-interest. The lack of that would be falsification.

But, perhaps, falsification does not apply to philosophy. But if not, why not? Is some knowledge - some classes of knowledge - not amenable to the scientific method?

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Karl Popper denied that Freudian psychology is a science. He likened it to astrology which is only explanatory. Both theories explain, but cannot predict.

Philosophy is explanatory, but not predictive. If it were, we would know good philosophies from bad, just as no working chemist today adheres to phlogiston theory. Science leaves weak theories behind. Phiosophy does not. But does Objectivism? Is there any claim within the philosophy that can be tested by replication, the failure to replicate being falsification?

It would seem that happiness, prosperity, and material success would be evident among those who embrace a philosophy of rational self-interest. The lack of that would be falsification.

But, perhaps, falsification does not apply to philosophy. But if not, why not? Is some knowledge - some classes of knowledge - not amenable to the scientific method?

Karl Popper denied that Freudian psychology is a science. He likened it to astrology which is only explanatory. Both theories explain, but cannot predict.

Philosophy is explanatory, but not predictive. If it were, we would know good philosophies from bad, just as no working chemist today adheres to phlogiston theory. Science leaves weak theories behind. Phiosophy does not. But does Objectivism? Is there any claim within the philosophy that can be tested by replication, the failure to replicate being falsification?

It would seem that happiness, prosperity, and material success would be evident among those who embrace a philosophy of rational self-interest. The lack of that would be falsification.

But, perhaps, falsification does not apply to philosophy. But if not, why not? Is some knowledge - some classes of knowledge - not amenable to the scientific method?

Interesting! Since the only means of measurement would be subjective (people with different philosophies reporting their levels of happiness, etc., and attributing the happiness to right philosophy), it would seem that falsification cannot apply.Perhaps we must leave it to intellectual market forces and just count heads as the knowledge seekers vote with their feet.

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A set of philosophical beliefs can't be tested by the scientific method. The scientific method is based on certain epistemological propositions in the first place... this means that using the scientific method to prove or disprove philosophy will either be Stolen Concept or Circular Reasoning.

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Well, it is possible to prove that man needs food and shelter to live, and he needs to work to obtain those things. Most personal philosophies I encounter revolve around giving and receiving rather than making.

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A set of philosophical beliefs can't be tested by the scientific method. The scientific method is based on certain epistemological propositions in the first place... this means that using the scientific method to prove or disprove philosophy will either be Stolen Concept or Circular Reasoning.

If so, philosophy is like mathematics which is purely deductive and non-empirical. How do we judge mathematics then? One two grounds: One on its usefulness when applied to something empirical (like physics) and two on its beauty and symmetry which are purely aesthetic subjective grounds for judgments (truth = beauty, which strictly speaking is nonsense). Perhaps philosophy should be judged in a similar fashion.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Science without observation is not science.

You can't falsify observation as an existent.

You either observe or your don't and you can only explain what that is--to others who can observe.

(I suppose you could explain observation to a rock, but there wouldn't be much point. :) )

So on that level, according to Popper's falsifiability thing, science itself isn't science.

How's them apples?

Michael

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So on that level, according to Popper's falsifiability thing, science itself isn't science.

How's them apples?

Michael

Not true. Real science (the physical sciences) make definite predictions which could turn out to be false. What kind of predictions does philosophy make. A theory which makes no testable and possibly false predictions , or allows any outcome is not a scientific theory.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Bob,

I said at that level, i.e., observation.

Remove observation and you have no science.

But the rub is you can't falsify observation for testing. Is there any reproducible result you can imagine that would negate observation? It's like trying to falsify God.

Therefore, according to that standard, science itself (which has to include observation in order to be science) is not science (i.e., is not falsifiable).

Science is not science and Popper proved it.

:)

Michael

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Karl Popper denied that Freudian psychology is a science. He likened it to astrology which is only explanatory. Both theories explain, but cannot predict.

Why would you want to apply the falsifiability nonsense of a skeptical modernist fool like Karl Popper to Objectivism? Popper rejected empirical induction as a scientific method and argued that all human knowledge is irreducibly conjectural. He denied that anything could ever be proven and upheld a totally irrational view of what qualifies as “truth.” You cannot get farther away from Objectivism than the “theories” of Karl Popper.

It would seem that happiness, prosperity, and material success would be evident among those who embrace a philosophy of rational self-interest. The lack of that would be falsification.

You might argue that happiness would invariably be part of one’s rational self-interest, but prosperity and material success are concrete values that a self-interested person might well regard as unimportant. Devotion to some artistic ambition, for example, might take priority over both. But the fact that someone might follow a code of rational self-interest and not achieve happiness shows only that human beings are fallible. Nothing more. No moral code can guarantee a successful life.

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Science is not science and Popper proved it.

:smile:

Michael

Not so. Popper differentiated science from non-science by requiring that science produce testable hypotheses which could possibly be falsified empirically.

In the Princeton University physics department some of the professors there think that Popper is the only philosopher that makes sense with respect to the physical sciences. I checked.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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A set of philosophical beliefs can't be tested by the scientific method. The scientific method is based on certain epistemological propositions in the first place... this means that using the scientific method to prove or disprove philosophy will either be Stolen Concept or Circular Reasoning.

That is because philosophy does not produce empirically testable hypotheses which could possibly be false.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Not so. Popper differentiated science from non-science by requiring that science produce testable hypotheses which could possibly be falsified empirically.

In the Princeton University physics department some of the professors there think that Popper is the only philosopher that makes sense with respect to the physical sciences. I checked.

Bob,

That's how you do substance? Let's see if I can learn the proper techniques of examining substance:

1. Say it ain't so, Joe.

2. Tell a story.

3. Appeal to authority (say some experts like it).

Hmmmmmm...

Sounds pretty easy.

What about the falsifying observation stuff I mentioned? Just ignore it?

Dayaamm! This is really easy!

I might opt for this method myself...

:smile:

Michael

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Not so. Popper differentiated science from non-science by requiring that science produce testable hypotheses which could possibly be falsified empirically.

In the Princeton University physics department some of the professors there think that Popper is the only philosopher that makes sense with respect to the physical sciences. I checked.

Bob,

That's how you do substance? Let's see if I can learn the proper techniques of examining substance:

1. Say it ain't so, Joe.

2. Tell a story.

3. Appeal to authority (say some experts like it).

Hmmmmmm...

Sounds pretty easy.

What about the falsifying observation stuff I mentioned? Just ignore it?

Dayaamm! This is really easy!

I might opt for this method myself...

:smile:

Michael

I asked the staff.

Most of the physics teachers I asked at Princeton think that philosophy is a joke.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Not so. Popper differentiated science from non-science by requiring that science produce testable hypotheses which could possibly be falsified empirically.

In the Princeton University physics department some of the professors there think that Popper is the only philosopher that makes sense with respect to the physical sciences. I checked.

Bob,

That's how you do substance? Let's see if I can learn the proper techniques of examining substance:

1. Say it ain't so, Joe.

2. Tell a story.

3. Appeal to authority (say some experts like it).

Hmmmmmm...

Sounds pretty easy.

What about the falsifying observation stuff I mentioned? Just ignore it?

Dayaamm! This is really easy!

I might opt for this method myself...

:smile:

Michael

I asked the staff.

Most of the physics teachers I asked at Princeton think that philosophy is a joke.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Probably typical. Petr Beckmann thought little of it.

--Brant

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But, perhaps, falsification does not apply to philosophy. But if not, why not? Is some knowledge - some classes of knowledge - not amenable to the scientific method?

The axioms aren’t subject to falsification, for example the law of identity, beyond that why not? Take the idea that reason is man's only means of knowledge. Prove that revelation works too, and there you are, you’ve falsified the claim.

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But, perhaps, falsification does not apply to philosophy. But if not, why not? Is some knowledge - some classes of knowledge - not amenable to the scientific method?

The axioms aren’t subject to falsification, for example the law of identity, beyond that why not? Take the idea that reason is man's only means of knowledge. Prove that revelation works too, and there you are, you’ve falsified the claim.

Aristotle who was the first western philosopher to codify logic applied reason to the questions of matter, motion and change. Read his book Physics. What it is filled with is mostly wrong. Reason is necessary but not sufficient to achieve knowledge. Aristotle's philosophy was (unfortunately) taken seriously by others with the result that the science of physics (as Galileo and Newton formulate it) was retarded for for than 1500 years. Revelation is useless and reason qua reason is insufficient. What was missing?. Attention to the facts and the willingness to test one's hypotheses empirically.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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What was missing?. Attention to the facts and the willingness to test one's hypotheses empirically.

Oh come on! Do I have to write a treatise to get my point across? In Objectivist parlance, reason employed without due reference to facts is called rationalism, it’s an erroneous application.

All I’m trying to do is give an example of how Rand’s claim could be falsified, so, imagine someone passing the Randi challenge, winning the $1M prize. Trouble is, by what means is this proof to be accomplished? By the methods of reason, of course, and there’s the rub. You can’t prove or disprove reason.

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Aristotle didn't ignore facts. In fact quite the opposite. He concluded for example that moving bodies if left alone, will come to a stop. This is backed up by facts - well sort of - this is what he observed around him. The error is in the logic. The exact opposite is true - moving bodies if left alone will NOT come to a stop.

" Take the idea that reason is man's only means of knowledge"

This is quite clearly false, but revelation is not the only other way. The only way around it (and I've seen it argued) is to define knowledge in terms of reason and/or experience which is a textbook 'beg the question' fallacy.

Bob

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Dennis,

You see what I see.

The Popper people and the scientific eggheads generally take reason (and observation) for granted. They do not use their own methods of inquiry on their own methods of inquiry. That is taken on faith, but not exactly without a fight.

They claim that these questions are trivial, tautologies and use a whole bunch of other highfalutin-sounding ways to avoid talking about it. The important part of their argument is their pose of superiority, not their substance (which is ALWAYS pure faith).

So when some goofy crap comes from their ideas (take a look at some of the stuff coming from the quantum physics world like parallel dimensions and so on), or when a bloody dictator takes their work on specific elements and uses it to devise more efficient human killing, corralling and torturing devices, or when their own wealth to do their own work gets redistributed to some poor folks in Africa--usually because they didn't sing a party line or someone else sucked up to the power people better, they are completely disarmed.

But the pose of superiority? I'm not sure it ever goes away for many of them unless they get thrown into the concentration camps, reeducation centers or hard-labor farms they helped come into being. And even then I'm not so sure.

It's a bitch when you're wrong about something fundamental. It's even worse when you're totally blind to the importance of it in the first place.

Michael

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" Take the idea that reason is man's only means of knowledge"

This is quite clearly false, but revelation is not the only other way. The only way around it (and I've seen it argued) is to define knowledge in terms of reason and/or experience which is a textbook 'beg the question' fallacy.

By what means do you identify “begging the question” as a fallacy?

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Aristotle didn't ignore facts. In fact quite the opposite. He concluded for example that moving bodies if left alone, will come to a stop. This is backed up by facts - well sort of - this is what he observed around him. The error is in the logic. The exact opposite is true - moving bodies if left alone will NOT come to a stop.

Aristotle could have dismissed his hypothesis that heavier bodies fall faster than lighter bodies by dropping two stones of unequal weight of the nearest tall building or cliff. Why didn't he? Phillip the Grammarian (John Philliponus) wrote of just that experiment in the sixth century c.e. and dismissed Aristotle's claim as incorrect.

Why did it take so long?

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Aristotle didn't ignore facts. In fact quite the opposite. He concluded for example that moving bodies if left alone, will come to a stop. This is backed up by facts - well sort of - this is what he observed around him. The error is in the logic. The exact opposite is true - moving bodies if left alone will NOT come to a stop.

Aristotle could have dismissed his hypothesis that heavier bodies fall faster than lighter bodies by dropping two stones of unequal weight of the nearest tall building or cliff. Why didn't he? Phillip the Grammarian (John Philliponus) wrote of just that experiment in the sixth century c.e. and dismissed Aristotle's claim as incorrect.

Why did it take so long?

Ba'al Chatzaf

Because the actual experiment needed was highly sophisticated. It wasn't Aristotle's fault that nearly two-thousand years of nothing science followed him. It would have happened that way regardless; the Church would have merely grasped something else to support its dogmas. The huge Roman Empire was responsible for the Dark ages by its utter domination of most of the Western World, which it stiffled and corrupted not just in its degeneration but in its assent. The Catholic Church was its primary residue, foisted off on its populance.

--Brant

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" Take the idea that reason is man's only means of knowledge"

This is quite clearly false, but revelation is not the only other way. The only way around it (and I've seen it argued) is to define knowledge in terms of reason and/or experience which is a textbook 'beg the question' fallacy.

By what means do you identify “begging the question” as a fallacy?

When knowledge is defined as being connected to experience for one. This assumes the conclusion in the premises.

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