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"The game of science is, in principle, without end. He who decides one day that scientific statements do not call for any further test, and that they can be regarded as finally verified, retires from the game." -- Karl Popper, from The Logic of Scientific Discovery

Bob,

So?

More worship.

How does that connect reality to propositions?

Michael

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"The game of science is, in principle, without end. He who decides one day that scientific statements do not call for any further test, and that they can be regarded as finally verified, retires from the game." -- Karl Popper, from The Logic of Scientific Discovery

This may be an ignorant question, but why is that statement exempt from its own supposition? Why doesn't it start, "As far as I can tell, with the evidence I currently have..." And end with, "...but ask me again tomorrow and I may say something else."

To say that truth is ultimately unknowable implies a paradoxical concept of the term "truth". Anything thought of as true must necessarily be false, and so "false" also becomes meaningless.

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"The game of science is, in principle, without end. He who decides one day that scientific statements do not call for any further test, and that they can be regarded as finally verified, retires from the game." -- Karl Popper, from The Logic of Scientific Discovery

This may be an ignorant question, but why is that statement exempt from its own supposition? Why doesn't it start, "As far as I can tell, with the evidence I currently have..." And end with, "...but ask me again tomorrow and I may say something else."

To say that truth is ultimately unknowable implies a paradoxical concept of the term "truth". Anything thought of as true must necessarily be false, and so "false" also becomes meaningless.

Physical science is about the physical world. That statement is a meta statement about physical science and is not part of physical science.

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"Everything" is potentially knowable. In order to determine that something is "unknowable" you have to define what that is and in so doing you make statements about it, giving evidence that you know something about it. Thus it is not unknowable.

But unknown is a different problem. Does life exist on Mars? Unknown. ... but not unknowable.

Ba'al is correct - and it was Bertrand Russell who solved the problem of this kind of paradox. Meta-statements are outside of the bounds of the question under discussion.

I put "Everything" in quotes because language allows us to construct paradoxes and other unrealities from imaginary beasts such as unicorns and chimeras to ethical problems based on (but deviating from) real life. Do all unicorns have the same number of teeth?


“Physics is an experimental science that prides itself in getting close to reality through laboratory testing of theory. … How can we be certain that the experimental process of dissecting nature into component part is ultimately correct? We can’t! Belief in experimental science depends on one’s worldview.” -- Lea and Burke, Physics: the Nature of Things (1997)

I agree with MSK that Lawrence Krauss did not do a good job. Recently, I spent some time reading physics textbooks to see which (if any) actually teach the scientific method. Only one of eight did. In fact, the standard textbook for Sociology by Anthony Giddens does a much better job in two different chapters (near the beginning and near the ending). The one physics undergraduate textbook that did explain the scientific method fell into this deep pit of Popperian ignorance. "Science only gets closer to the truth but never finds it." What is this "truth" that we approach but never find? (On my blog, this article:"Is Physics a Science?")

The solution to the problem is recognize that we have changed topics to a meta-discussion, an investigation into investigation.

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Where is the line, then, between knowable and unknowable? If anything is knowable, why isn't everything potentially knowable?

Here is something we -cannot- know. Whether an arbitrary Turing machine will halt given its input. We cannot distinguish between a Turing machine that takes a very long time to conclude its calculation (perhaps longer than the Cosmos will last) and a machine that will never come to a halt. This was shown to be true back in the 1930s by Post, Turing and Church.

Look up entscheidungsproblem and halting problem when you have a moment.

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"Unknowable" could refer to "the unknowable inhabitants of another galaxy."--Rand

Or, they are unknown and unknowable for the distances are too great to know of them if they exist.

--Brant

"Join with me and together we can rule the galaxy as father and son!"

glad to help

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"Unknowable" could refer to "the unknowable inhabitants of another galaxy."--Rand

Or, they are unknown and unknowable for the distances are too great to know of them if they exist.

--Brant

"Join with me and together we can rule the galaxy as father and son!"

glad to help

The distances are too great to know whether they exist or do not exist. Both sides of the proposition is empirically undecidable. When something is beyond your empirical reach it may as well not exist.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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