Martin Radwin

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That is why physics is not part of philosophy anymore. Physics is empirical down to its basement. A theory can only be glued to nature by way of evidence. [....]

And what, pray tell, do "empirical" and "evidence" mean, without discussing theories of epistemology, which theories are the province of philosophy?

Ellen

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That is why physics is not part of philosophy anymore. Physics is empirical down to its basement. A theory can only be glued to nature by way of evidence. [....]

And what, pray tell, do "empirical" and "evidence" mean, without discussing theories of epistemology, which theories are the province of philosophy?

Ellen

___

I was thinking of the metaphysics. Yes, epistemological considerations are important, but in connection with physics they tend to be of a technical nature.

Metaphysical considerations no longer carry much weight in physics.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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That is why physics is not part of philosophy anymore. Physics is empirical down to its basement. A theory can only be glued to nature by way of evidence. [....]

And what, pray tell, do "empirical" and "evidence" mean, without discussing theories of epistemology, which theories are the province of philosophy?

Ellen

___

I was thinking of the metaphysics. Yes, epistemological considerations are important, but in connection with physics they tend to be of a technical nature.

Metaphysical considerations no longer carry much weight in physics.

You can put all kinds of nonsense into philosophy that you cannot put into science. Objective metaphysics and epistemology are scientific to the core, but calling them "Objective" doesn't make them objective.

--Brant

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And what, pray tell, do "empirical" and "evidence" mean, without discussing theories of epistemology, which theories are the province of philosophy?

Ellen

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What does this mean? That physicists need philosophers to tell them what they know? I don't think so. :D

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And what, pray tell, do "empirical" and "evidence" mean, without discussing theories of epistemology, which theories are the province of philosophy?

Ellen

___

What does this mean? That physicists need philosophers to tell them what they know? [....]

No, that isn't what it means. LOL, indeed.

Ellen

___

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Objective metaphysics and epistemology are scientific to the core, but calling them "Objective" doesn't make them objective.

Objective metaphysics and epistemology are required in order to do science. The base of science is epistemic method.

Ellen

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Objective metaphysics and epistemology are scientific to the core, but calling them "Objective" doesn't make them objective.

Objective metaphysics and epistemology are required in order to do science. The base of science is epistemic method.

Ellen

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Objective as in assuming reality is really real as opposed to Objectivist? Objectivism (The Philosophy of Ayn Rand) has made zero contribution to science.

You are right about epistemic methodology. Epistemology is everything, metaphysics almost nothing. Aesthetics sometimes intrudes. Some scientists persist in the nonsense that beauty is a guide to truth. Beauty is opinion, not fact or testable hypothesis. It turns out our most successful theory (the Standard Model) is as ugly as warts.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Edited by BaalChatzaf

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Objective [metaphysics] as in assuming reality is really real as opposed to Objectivist?

Yes; I think that's what Brant meant also.

Ellen

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Objective metaphysics and epistemology are required in order to do science. The base of science is epistemic method.

Ellen

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It sounds like you are speaking about scientific method, which is part of science itself and not philosophy. Scientists do not need philosophy to do their work.

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Objective metaphysics and epistemology are required in order to do science. The base of science is epistemic method.

Ellen

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It sounds like you are speaking about scientific method, which is part of science itself and not philosophy. Scientists do not need philosophy to do their work.

It sounds like you have a very faulty understanding of what "philosophy" is -- hardly the first time I've noticed that.

Ellen

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I think 'philosophy' usually represents a kind of mental illness but that's irrelevant. People graduate and become scientists without any training in philosophy so your statement seems incorrect.

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I think 'philosophy' usually represents a kind of mental illness but that's irrelevant. People graduate and become scientists without any training in philosophy so your statement seems incorrect.

Everybody has a philosophy. You are defending and explicating yours with all your posts. Everybody has a psychology too. In a person as opposed to in a book, philosophy and psychology are integrated. It's very hard to change either. The older you are the harder.

If scientists are trained in the scientific method they have been trained in philosophy to that extent. It's an epistemological sub-category. If they don't understand scientific methodology, they are no better than astrologers. They are not scientists.

--Brant

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Well, saying everybody has a philosophy is not the same as what goes under the name of Philosophy. One of my philosophies in my life has been to do things for myself whenever possible.

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Well, saying everybody has a philosophy is not the same as what goes under the name of Philosophy. One of my philosophies in my life has been to do things for myself whenever possible.

Good philosophy for primitives! :P

--Brant

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It sounds like you have a very faulty understanding of what "philosophy" is...
I think 'philosophy' usually represents a kind of mental illness...

LOL...

I'm not even going to comment on this other than to say that it is priceless.

Dayaamm!

Michael

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If scientists are trained in the scientific method they have been trained in philosophy to that extent.

Yes, and trained by other scientists in the philosophy of the discipline or subdisciplines in which the 'trainee' is found. I mean that yes, the great scientist/philosophers have imformed the episteme of science, and yes, great philosophers of science -- with influence in science, but not practicing scientists -- can inform the episteme.

But there are no greater gate-keepers of the episteme of science than scientists themselves. The philosophy of science is the business of scientists. Anthropology is ruled by anthropologists, Chemistry is ruled by chemists. Any extra-disciplinary curb on the findings of science -- on philosophical grounds -- is fiercely resisted (as it should be, in my opinion).

In this sense, Brant, it's easier to understand the objection to an idea that Philosophy rules Science -- as a disciplinary matter in academe and in the real working world of science, this just isn't so.

Consider vaunted philosophers of science such as Bruno Latour or the many commentators ravaged in the pages of Higher Superstition (or spoofed by Sokal) -- they have zero effect on the work of the scientists under their scrutiny.

Similarly, it could very well be (I heartily doubt it) that Peikoff and Harriman have it right: a presumed philosophy undergirding modern physics is corrupt . . . but it is humourous to consider that Peikoff or Harriman have any influence whatsoever on any scientific enterprise, or that they will have any effect whatsoever in fitting a proper and correct philosophical girdle on the practice of working physicists.

So, no -- a reified Mother Philosophy is not an overseer of the actual practice of Science the Sons. The Sons are self-disciplined.

It's an epistemological sub-category. If they don't understand scientific methodology, they are no better than astrologers. They are not scientists.

Sure. I think Velikovsky, or Rupert Sheldrake, or Wilhelm Reich. But who were the guardians of the margins of science in these cases -- philosophers? If yes, then we need to identify them and thank them for their work . . . or acknowledge that the vast bulk of the 'philosophy of science/methodology of science' is the product of patient and recursive work interrogating reality by those at the rock face -- not checking over the shoulder for approbation of the Queen of Sciences who sits smiling and wise on her throne.

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reply to post $41.

Master Scherk, this is one of your better outputs. Bravo!

Give this lad 5 stars, I say.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Objective metaphysics and epistemology are required in order to do science. The base of science is epistemic method.

Ellen

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It sounds like you are speaking about scientific method, which is part of science itself and not philosophy. Scientists do not need philosophy to do their work.

Yes and No. When natural philosophy departed from metaphysics and became science, as we know it, it took its episteme along for the trip. See Wm. Scherks excellent post #41. The proper guardians of scientific philosophy (a technical specialization of epistemology) are the scientists themselves, not nay sayers like Pope Leonard and David Harriman. These two have not the chops to be taken seriously. However there is an epistemological component to science (in particular physics and its relata) that must be grasped by those who practice the science.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Not far from William and Bob:

http://www.solopassion.com/node/2150#comment-27308

http://www.solopassion.com/node/2150#comment-27336

However important are general epistemological ideas in the minds of scientists for the formulation and reformulation of methods for their science, it remains that scientific method is of interest and importance in the wider culture. In addition to the works on scientific method that I mentioned here:

http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...amp;#entry44975

I am finding the following book quite good.

Theories of Scientific Method

Robert Nola and Howard Sankey

McGill-Queen’s University Press (2007)

http://mqup.mcgill.ca/extra.php?id=666

From the back cover:

An authoritative and comprehensive examination of the major theories of scientific method and the demarcation of science in the past fifty years, Scientific Method begins with the question of what methodology might mean and explores the distinction between discovery and justification as well as the ideas of values, rules, and principles. The authors also consider induction and its alternatives, including abduction and inference to the best explanation, hypothetico-deductive method, and the idea of testability. They discuss what a theory is, and consider not only axiomatic and semantic views but also the idea of idealised models and the methodology of concretising ideal models. Probability and Bayesianism are also examined in detail. Popper's theory of scientific method and the demarcation of science, Lakatos' scientific research programs, and Feyerabend's anarchism are all considered. Naturalist methodologies, such as those proposed by Quine, Laudan, and Rescher, are also examined as are the extreme naturalism of the strong program in the sociology of knowledge and empirical studies of methodology that arise out of cognitive science.

Informed by the latest thinking, the book offers students an excellent introduction to the notion of scientific method and a wide-ranging discussion of how philosophers and scientists have grappled with the question over recent years.

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WSS's post is indeed excellent. I wanted to write something similar, but I'd never been able to express it so well as he did. There is a world of difference between philosophy as practiced and generated in the process of scientific research itself and "official" philosophy as practiced by academic philosophers without a solid scientific background, not to mention such clowns as Peikoff and Harriman.

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Most of the nay sayers disagree with current theories for -philosophical- reasons. That will not do. Only contrary evidence against current theories count along with reproducible experimental results supporting alternative theories count. Only one philosophical reason carries any weight. If a flat out mathematical contradiction can be found in a physics theory, it is in deep do do. Elevating one's intuition as a basis of disagreement without solid evidence against conventional theory or equally solid evidence for an alternative will not do. Intuition, by itself, lacks weight. Philosophical disagreement has little weight. Aesthetic reasons has some weight but little. What really counts is -evidence-, reproducible experimental evidence. That is why physics is not part of philosophy anymore. Physics is empirical down to its basement. A theory can only be glued to nature by way of evidence. A Kantian like effort to found physics on synthetic a priori judgments carries little or no weight.

Ba'al Chatzaf

My concern is what unquestioned intuitions do physicists still carry with them. Yes, "physics is empirical down to its basement," but we find a limit to what we can see and measure when we get to that basement. At this point it is the intuitions of physicists and philosophers alike that take hold and shape perspectives. This is where philosophical methods and considerations of metaphysics are re-introduced into our explorations. So far, philosophy has not been up to the task...neither that of the philosophers nor the physicists. Intuitions without any solid guidance from observation determine how we interpret the quantum limit. What guide is there without evidence? Science can't tell us, other than to intuit that nothing can be known or nothing is there beyond the limit. So far, philosophy hasn't had a good answer either.

Personally, I think a better understanding of the nature of our intuitive processes and a knowledge of how to control of these processes is a necessary first step to furthering our understanding of the physical universe. And I think understanding the principles of identity and causality are key to understanding and controlling the nature of our intuitive processes. But I do not think stepping back to an earlier point in the evolution of our intuition, by clinging to ether theory and denying Einstein's relativity, is the right thing to do. What is needed is not a battle between thesis and antithesis but a new synthesis. The old intuitions didn't work. I think the current intuitions are showing their limitations. Is it possible to evolve our intuitive perspective to a new level that can provide clearer insight into the hidden workings of nature the way we have so many times before?

As Barbara said:

The common sense of one era would have us still believing that we would fall off the earth's edge if we traveled too far; of another, that if God had intended us to fly, he would have given us wings; of another, that Galileo should have recanted, because his theory was absurd; of another, that blacks are by nature childlike and so cannot be set free to run their own lives; of still another, that money is the root of all evil.

Is it time to throw something of the common sense held by physicists today overboard? Is our view of what things are and how they interact, in principle, fundamentally flawed? Does this flawed intuition lead us to conclude that things really are at once particles and wave-like, and that causality is just an illusion? Is there another way to frame identity and causality so dualities are the illusion and probabilities are just an approximation?

Paul

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If scientists are trained in the scientific method they have been trained in philosophy to that extent.

Yes, and trained by other scientists in the philosophy of the discipline or subdisciplines in which the 'trainee' is found. I mean that yes, the great scientist/philosophers have imformed the episteme of science, and yes, great philosophers of science -- with influence in science, but not practicing scientists -- can inform the episteme.

But there are no greater gate-keepers of the episteme of science than scientists themselves. The philosophy of science is the business of scientists. Anthropology is ruled by anthropologists, Chemistry is ruled by chemists. Any extra-disciplinary curb on the findings of science -- on philosophical grounds -- is fiercely resisted (as it should be, in my opinion).

In this sense, Brant, it's easier to understand the objection to an idea that Philosophy rules Science -- as a disciplinary matter in academe and in the real working world of science, this just isn't so.

Consider vaunted philosophers of science such as Bruno Latour or the many commentators ravaged in the pages of Higher Superstition (or spoofed by Sokal) -- they have zero effect on the work of the scientists under their scrutiny.

Similarly, it could very well be (I heartily doubt it) that Peikoff and Harriman have it right: a presumed philosophy undergirding modern physics is corrupt . . . but it is humourous to consider that Peikoff or Harriman have any influence whatsoever on any scientific enterprise, or that they will have any effect whatsoever in fitting a proper and correct philosophical girdle on the practice of working physicists.

So, no -- a reified Mother Philosophy is not an overseer of the actual practice of Science the Sons. The Sons are self-disciplined.

It's an epistemological sub-category. If they don't understand scientific methodology, they are no better than astrologers. They are not scientists.

Sure. I think Velikovsky, or Rupert Sheldrake, or Wilhelm Reich. But who were the guardians of the margins of science in these cases -- philosophers? If yes, then we need to identify them and thank them for their work . . . or acknowledge that the vast bulk of the 'philosophy of science/methodology of science' is the product of patient and recursive work interrogating reality by those at the rock face -- not checking over the shoulder for approbation of the Queen of Sciences who sits smiling and wise on her throne.

I would posit then that a good liberal arts education informs itself with philosophy--good philosophy--and that that is the way to good science. Once you get there you no longer need your teacher for you have and are using the teachings. There then is no need to pick up the phone and call the philosophy department of your university. The training wheels are off the bike. Liberal Arts majors in this scenario who do not go on to scientific education have enough in their heads to recognize and respect good science as presented to the layman and to smell a rat when it's scientific crap embraced by stupid journalism. Science, taking the good and needed philosophy into itself has evolved to doing all its philosophy in house and letting the bad and ugly philosophers with veiled eyes and flabby bodies and bald heads stew in their own juices.

--Brant

Edited by Brant Gaede

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On special relativity, I recommend Part 4 of my Objectivity essay “Space, Rotation, Relativity.”

This part is in V2N6, pages 131–89.

http://objectivity-archive.com/volume2_number6.html#131

From the Abstract for Part 4

An inertial frame of reference is one at rest or traveling in a straight line at a constant speed. Part 4 introduces the modern requirement, descended from Huygens, that basic physical laws be invariant in their mathematical form when transformed from coordinates set on one inertial frame to coordinates set on any other inertial frame.

This invariance property under the transformations appropriate to the kinematics of Galileo is reported from authoritative sources (or demonstrated by the author in the endnotes) for a wide range of basic laws from classical physics. Highlighted too are the specific failures of invariance under these transformations for phenomena abiding by the wave equation, for a generalized version of Ampere’s Law, and for Faraday’s Law. It is then shown how Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity remedied those specific failures of invariance by a new and improved kinematics to replace the kinematics that had been used since Galileo. All of the basic laws of physics could then be shown to be invariant in form when transformed from coordinates set in one inertial frame to coordinates set in another inertial frame.

The revisions implied for our concepts of space and time, for Newton’s mechanics, for the distinction of kinematics and dynamics in electromagnetic phenomena, and for the equivalence of mass and energy are then laid before the reader. Experimental results are integrated all along the theoretical road.

Martin,

This part of the essay, the part on special relativity, is now available in a faster format, here:

http://www.solopassion.com/node/5267

This is the serious story of SR.

Stephen

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Reigning paradigms in physics and cosmology have for many decades been protected from open challenge by extreme intolerance, excluding debate about the most crucial problems from major journals and meetings. But the founding of the NPA in 1994 provided those struggling against this irrationality and intolerance with the strength, visibility, and credibility that comes from numbers and from collaborative, purposeful effort. It has also enabled them to share, expand, and refine their individual knowledge through contact with many other critical scholars, at NPA general meetings--held at least once per year since 1994--and by phone and mail, both postal and electronic.

Canard! The "reigning paradigms" have been, are and will constantly be subjected to brutal experimental testing aimed at -falsifying- the theories. So far quantum theory as instantiated by the Standard Model had been tested and is good to twelve decimal places. It has never been substantially falsified (some modification to the varieties of neutrinos had to be made).

So far every thing hoped for with Maxwellian Aether has been -delivered- by non-aetheric theories.

The accusations of a "scientific conspiracy" reveal you people to be Crackpots.

Your favorite theories such as Galilean Electrodynamics have been shot to shit and falsified. The world is locally Lorentzian, not Galilean. Velocities do not add and there is no such thing as absolute simultaneity. Planck and Einstein blew up your favorite errors.

Get used to this: There is not a scintilla of physical evidences for the existence of Aether, a visco-elastic solid that permeates space but does not slow down planets in their free-fall about their stars. If such an aether existed it would contradict the conservation of momentum. How do planets move through a solid and not have their orbits decay?

The reason why the current theories are accepted are:

1. The predict a wide variety of phenomena with extreme accuracy.

2. They have been tested with ever increasingly sophisticated technology and are yet to be falsified.

In short they predict correctly and so-far without error.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Edited by BaalChatzaf

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Bob,

The way you posted in post #49 makes it appear as though the blocked section is a quotation from me. It is not. I was quoting from the Natural Philosophy web site, as is clear from looking at my original post for this thread. The fact that I included this quotation from the web site in no way means that I agree with it. I brought up the whole subject to see what kind of a response I would get from the people on Objectivist Living with a strong background in physics, such as you and Stephen Boydstun.

Martin

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