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Published on October 30, 2007

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Philosophy of Science:  Philosophy of Science Faghrie Mitchell What is Philosophy?:  What is Philosophy? RefRobinson: How do we maximise right and minimize wrong? Or rather, How do we maximise SCIENCE and minimise NONSCIENCE? Just by asking these questions we are asking philosophical questions. We are also answering what philosophy is. “So what is philosophy anyway? Philosophy is not there to solve practical problems, problems of society or individual. Rather philosophy tests our most fundamental beliefs, values and convictions that we have, and to test them for the purpose of getting them right. This testing is in the form of asking critical questions, of debating, which is the central aspect of the philosophy. Philosophy is the love of wisdom. The love of getting to the right answer using debate.” (Daniel Robinson, Georgetown University). What is Philosophy? What is Philosophy of Science?:  What is Philosophy of Science? RefRobinson: Understanding philosophy can be simplified by asking two simple questions, namely: 1. What is good, what is bad? 2. What is right, what is wrong? The first question relates to human behaviour, specifically, for example, ideas on virtue, morals and ethics. BROAD STATEMENT: Scientists are less interested in this. The second question relates specifically to ideas on logic and reason, and perception and reality. BROAD STATEMENT: Scientists are more interested in this. So even though we can say that “…Philosophy is not there to solve practical problems, …”, it does not mean that we cannot use philosophical thought to help us solve scientific or practical problems. What is Philosophy of Science? The Age of Mythology: The Iliad:  The Age of Mythology The role of the gods in the thinking of the ancient Greeks is illustrated in the epic by Homer (c. 7th century BC), called the Iliad The Iliad is a story which is believed to combine myth (fiction) and ancient Greek history, and is supposed to have happened in the 12th century (The films Helen of Troy and Troy is based on this story) Wikipedia The Iliad starts off with the Greek gods Zeus and Poseidon who both desire the sea-nymph, Thetis They become afraid of pursuing Thetis when it is prophesized that any future son of Thetis wil be greater than his father; so they back off The Age of Mythology: The Iliad The Age of Mythology: The Iliad:  The Age of Mythology RefRobinson: They allow Thetis to marry the mortal king, Peleus At the wedding, you have gods, goddesses, demi-gods and mortals in attendance A dispute arise as to who is the most beautiful goddess. The gods decide that the young Trojan prince, Paris, must decide He opts for the goddess, Aphrodite, because she promises him the most beautiful woman in the world, which is Helen Amazon.com The Age of Mythology: The Iliad The Age of Mythology: The Iliad:  The Age of Mythology RefRobinson: Some time later, Paris meets Helen, but unfortunately finds her to be married to Melenaus, a Spartan prince Helen had many suitors before marriage, each of which who made a pledge to her father to protect Helen and her future husband So with Helen’s abduction, they set off to Troy Amazon.com The Age of Mythology: The Iliad The Rise of Greek Philosophy :  The Rise of Greek Philosophy Wikipedia: 12 Gods of Olympus The Iliad clearly illustrates the fickle, emotional, and unpredictable nature of the gods It also illustrate that the gods interfere with mortals’ lives, but they remain mainly interested in their own needs The ancient Greeks felt; there was a distance between Olympia (Heaven) and Athenia (Earth) However, this does not necessarily mean that they started to discard their religion, Olympianism It means that they had to deal with this dualism, each in their own way for example Plato stated: The Earth is imperfect and changeable, the heavens were perfect and immutable The Rise of Greek Philosophy The Rise of Greek Philosophy:  Wikipedia: Thalus of Miletus Prior to the establishment of the first Greek school of thought by Thales of Miletus (c. 624-546BC), the Greeks looked only towards Olympia (heaven) and the gods for explanations relating to their world Thales theorem: An inscribed angle in an semicircle is a right angle Also predicted an eclipse would happen in 585BC which actually occurred Wolfram The Rise of Greek Philosophy The Rise of Greek Philosophy:  The Rise of Greek Philosophy Wikipedia: Plato The Greek philosophers, Plato (427-347BC) and Aristotle (384-322BC), were the first Greek philosophers to adequately deal with questions about their world, their beliefs and their reality – to confront dualism Wikipedia: Aristotle The Rise of Greek Philosophy The Rise of Greek Philosophy: Raphael:  The Rise of Philosophy Wikipedia: Raphael’s School of Athens; www.hull.ac.uk The Rise of Greek Philosophy: Raphael The Rise of Greek Philosophy: Raphael:  The Rise of Philosophy RefRobinson: Plato (on the left) pointing upwards: he is interested in the forms, universals, generals Wikipedia: Raphael; www.hull.ac.uk Wikipedia: Raphael Aristotle (on the right): he is interested in particulars, specifics The Rise of Greek Philosophy: Raphael Plato (top-down):  The Rise of Philosophy: PLATO Ref:fWikipedia Knowledge is that which is true and that which is believed 1. Something can be true, but is not believed e.g. some truth about our universe which has not been discovered yet 2. Something can be believed, but is not true e.g. urban legends, myths, conspiracy theories Wikipedia Plato has a top-down perspective on knowledge, he favours deductive reasoning Plato (top-down) Aristotle (bottom-up):  The Rise of Philosophy: ARISTOTLE RefRobinson: Aristotle (384-322BC) differed from Plato in that he had favoured a bottom-up approach, and preferred empiricism over deduction Aristotle more interested in specifics, so he writes the Physics, and then the Metaphysics and later on Historia Animalium The Historia Animalium was written rather hastily, but contains lenghthy descriptions of countless species of fish, shellfish, and other, animals and their anatomies. www.natuurinformatie.nl Aristotle (bottom-up) Aristotle (bottom-up):  The Rise of Philosophy: ARISTOTLE RefRobinson: The Physics is collection of lessons on theoretical, methodological, philosophical concerns, rather than physical theories or contents of particular investigations. It sets the bases for scientists to study the world subject to change, and change, or movement, or motion (kinesis) is one of the chief topics of the work. The Metaphysics is so named because it came after the Physics. It is divided into three parts (1) ontology, (2) theology and (3) universal science. Ontology is the study of existence; it has been traditionally defined as 'the science of being'. Theology refers to the study of God (or the gods). Universal science is supposed to be the study of so-called first principles, which underlie all other inquiries. Aristotle (bottom-up) Plato and Aristotle: Two perspectives:  Plato and Aristotle: Two Perspectives RefRobinson: Plato and Aristotle: Two perspectives Conclusion: Ancient Greek Philosophy:  Conclusion: Ancient Greek Philosophy Ref: With Plato and Aristotle, the foundations for deductive and inductive reasoning was put in place, methods of thinking which could maximise science and minimise nonscience However, this was just a start on an otherwise long road Conclusion: Ancient Greek Philosophy The Rise of the Roman Empire:  The Rise of the Roman Empire Ref: The Roman Empire started to emerge in 282BC, after the Etruscans were defeated at the Battle of Populonia, and the defeat of the Greek colony at Tarentum Rome established colonies in strategic areas, which led to the demise of the Macedonian and Seleucid Empires (c 2nd century BC) Rome was the superpower, they controlled the Mediterranean Sea wps.ablongman.com The Rise of the Roman Empire The Rise of the Roman Empire:  The Rise of the Roman Empire Ref: Greek culture survived, because Rome took it as its own However, in general, the Romans did not have the same penchant for the dialectic tradition (debate) and philosophy lost its appeal Rome was more interested in conquest wps.ablongman.com The Rise of the Roman Empire The Rise of the Roman Empire:  The Rise of the Roman Empire wps.ablongman.com c. 49-45BC Expansion under Julius Caesar 14-117 CE Height of Roman Power 284-305 CE The Empire under pressure Pull back from Britain, Dacia and Mesopotamia The Rise of the Roman Empire The Decline of the Roman Empire:  The Decline of the Roman Empire c. 400-526 CE Barbarian migrations and invasions 527-565 CE Byzantium Empire under Justinian wps.ablongman.com c. 632-750 CE Rise of Islam The Decline of the Roman Empire The Byzantine and Islamic Empires:  The Byzantine and Islamic Empires wps.ablongman.com wps.ablongman.com 9th and 10th centuries Islam starts to occupy parts of the Byzantine Empire War between the two blocs, but also dialogue (debate) Start to see emergence of Islamic and Jewish scholars and philosophers who translates Greek texts into Latin E.g. Al-Farabi comments on Plato’s Republic The Byzantine and Islamic Empires The Preservation of Scholarship :  Preservation of Scholarship Wikipedia: Al-Farabi Al-Farabi (870-950) comments that justice and rational thought will not come when kings are philosophers and philosophers are kings, but rather it will come when the philosopher is a prophet and a prophet is a philosopher Many scholars and philosophers produced, e.g. al-Kindi (801–873), Al-Farabi (870-950), Avicenna (980-1037), Al-Ghazali (1058-1111), Averoes (1126-1198). Wikipedia: Avicenna The Preservation of Scholarship The Preservation of Scholarship:  Preservation of Scholarship Islam encourages scholarship, as it distinguishes between knowledge, that is (1) ijtihad (debatable) and (2) dogma (non-debatable) Avicenna (980-1037) “The Father of Modern Medicine” Ibn-Khaldun (1332-1406) “The Father of Social Sciences” www.multimediaquran.com Wikipedia: Averoes The Preservation of Scholarship The Fall of the Byzantine Empire:  The Fall of the Byzantine Empire Osprey 1453 Siege mentality Steady outflow of Byzantine-Greek scholars heading west Increases scholarship in the West Scholarship stopped in 476 AD because 1. disintegration of political structures 2. attack and invasions 3. loss control of the Mediterranean and trade routes 4. emergence of the Church The Fall of the Byzantine Empire The Scientific Revolution:  The Scientific Revolution 12th and 13th centuries The Renaissance 1543 Scientific Revolution Publication of Archimedes (287-212 BC) Copernicus (1473-1543) A heliocentric system Vesalius (1514-1564) Published work on dissections replaces Galen (129-200AD) Wikipedia Wikipedia: Copernicus Wikipedia: Vesalius The Scientific Revolution The Scientific Revolution:  The Scientific Revolution 1543 Emergence of Philosophy Father of Philosophy Rene Descartes (1596-1626) I think, therefore I am Emergence of Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) Descartes Bacon Galileo Kepler The Scientific Revolution Descartes vs Bacon:  Descartes (Platonic) vs Bacon (Aristotelian) Descartes vs Bacon Induction: Sir Frances Bacon:  Sir Francis Bacon: Induction What is induction? Inductive reasoning starts with an observation. Repeated observation leads one to conclude that: All observed swans are white (specific statement) Therefore all swans are white (general statement) Bacon Observation(s) 1 2 3 Wikipedia Induction: Sir Frances Bacon Problems with Induction:  Problems with Induction There are weaknesses to the inductive method of reasoning, for example looking at our argument: All observed swans are white (specific statement) Therefore all swans are white (general statement) What would happen if we stayed in Europe and only saw, white swans during our lifetime? CONCLUSION: All swans are white What would happen if we went to Australia and see a black swan? CONCLUSION: We were wrong, our reasoning is not sound Wikipedia: Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) Wikipedia: The Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) Problems with Induction Problems with Induction:  Problems with Induction Induction can be fatal For example: The turkey has seen may days come and go; but why should 25 December be any different? www.kidzone.ws www.kidzone.ws 01 January-24 December 25 December Problems with Induction David Hume: Problems with Induction:  Problems with Induction: David Hume The example of the swans and the turkey are both hasty generalisations, which assumes all swans are white, and turkeys can expect a long life David Hume (1711-1776), Scottish philosopher, pointed out this weakness of induction Wikipedia Hume was however, in agreement with Bacon that knowledge must be gained empirically through observation, experience and experimentation Despite Hume’s objection and the problems with induction, we see three centuries of induction, a massive gathering of scientific knowledge using induction David Hume: Problems with Induction Empiricism vs Dogma:  Empiricism vs Dogma (Induction vs Deduction) Sir Francis Bacon emphasised that knowledge could only be gained by experiencing the world i.e. make observations, collect data, conduct experiments (empiricism) The inductive method of inquiry was in opposition to the dogmatic teachings of the Church, which made biased, subjective assumptions The Church is dogmatic because it assumes that religious knowledge is true and can be used to derive scientific knowledge or truths; the Church uses deductive reasoning An example of this clash can be seen with the response of the Church to Galileo, after he supported Copernicus’ idea on a heliocentric system (the Earth is the centre and the other heavenly bodies revolve around it) Bacon Wikipedia: Torquemada Empiricism vs Dogma Empiricism vs Dogma:  Empiricism vs Dogma (Induction vs Deduction) An example of this clash can be seen with the response of the Church to Galileo, after he supported Copernicus’ idea on a heliocentric system (the Earth is the centre and the other heavenly bodies revolve around it) Galileo Wikipedia: Copernicus www.ras.org.uk ise.uvic.ca Empiricism vs Dogma Empiricism vs Rationalism:  Empiricism vs Rationalism (Induction vs Deduction) Bacon and Hume was also in opposition to the Continental Rationalists, for example Rene Descartes (1596-1626) Descartes was a mathematician and he followed the same method used by the ancient Greek mathematicians, namely, start with a set of ideas (theorems, axioms) and derive a new theorem from that body of existing knowledge The continental rationalists, like Descartes, Leibniz and Spinoza, drew a distinction between knowledge of eternal truth, for example, mathematics, and knowledge which had to be gained through experience (experimentation), for example, biology Descartes Bacon Empiricism vs Rationalism Empiricism vs Rationalism:  Empiricism vs Rationalism (Induction vs Deduction) New mathematical knowledge can be gained by from existing knowledge using logic and reason Arrow 1: Use existing mathematical truths (axioms) to derive a preposition(s); Arrows 2: Prepositions are true if they do not contradict existing knowledge; Arrow 3: New Knowledge (axiom) Observation(s) 3 Wikipedia 1 2 Weakness of rationalism: Only certain knowledge can be derived from logic and reason E.g. if you want to now the distance from A to B you have to measure it, not so much reason about it Empiricism vs Rationalism Hypothetico-deductive Method:  Hypothetico-deductive Method The natural and the physical sciences lends itself better to empiricism (induction), and less so to rationalism (deduction, the use of logic and reason alone) Deduction and induction often work together in the natural and physical science Sir Karl Popper developed the hypothetico-deductive method to reconcile inductive reasoning with deductive reasoning The hypothetico-deductive method counters the natural tendency of the mind to want to verify Wikipedia: Popper Hypothetico-deductive Method Hypothetico-deductive Method:  Hypothetico-deductive Method Induction ensures that there is an adequate number of unbiased observations (accumulated knowledge) Induction can be fatal too Deduction aims to counter the verification of induction It asks logical questions knowledge (obtained via induction) I will show this by using the example of Global Warming and Global Dimming www.kidzone.ws www.kidzone.ws Hypothetico-deductive Method Hypothetico-deductive Method:  Decide relevant kind of information Formulate theory Collect information by observation or experiment Decide relevant kind of information needed to test theory Store information Collect information by observation or experiment Develop generalisation Analyse information Formulate theory Consider result Seek verification of theory State law or truth Theory provisionally corroborated Falsification Expose to more stringent tests Theory rejected Eventual falsification Tests etc. New theory required incorporating good points of original theory and new information Start Again Hypothetico-deductive Method Example: Global Warming:  Formulate theory Decide relevant kind of information needed to test theory Collect information by observation or experiment Analyse information Consider result Theory provisionally corroborated Falsification Expose to more stringent tests Theory rejected Eventual falsification Tests etc. New theory required incorporating good points of original theory and new information Start Again GLOBAL WARMING? Glacier retreat, snow cover, rising sea levels, weather changes Glacier retreat, snow cover, rising sea levels, weather changes Analyse information Consider result Theory provisionally corroborated Example: Global Warming Example: Global Dimming:  Formulate theory Decide relevant kind of information needed to test theory Collect information by observation or experiment Analyse information Consider result Theory provisionally corroborated Falsification Expose to more stringent tests Theory rejected Eventual falsification Tests etc. New theory required incorporating good points of original theory and new information Start Again GLOBAL DIMMING? Stanhill measures irradiance levels over Israel in aid of irrigation schemes Network of light meters Very serious reduction in sunlight Consider result Theory conflicts with Global Warming, not accepted Confirmation by German, Australian and other scientists Not falsified, incorporated into Global Warming theory Example: Global Dimming Thomas Kuhn:  Thomas Kuhn Thomas Kuhn (1922-1996) stated that there are two types of knowledge or science, namely, core science and normal science Core science is proven scientific knowledge, which scientists do not question, they do not try to falsify it Normal science is the science that scientist do everyday to find answers, namely, the accumulation of data and to solve questions or puzzles Wikipedia Normal science Core science Thomas Kuhn Core Science and Normal Science :  Normal science sometimes comes up with anomolies, which does not threaten the core science, for example global dimming was explained to be a symptom of climate change However, as anomolies accumulate over time, scientists have to revisit what they previously held to be true Eventually a crisis arises, where they can no longer ignore the anomolies, and must instead replace or modify the existing core science, e.g. Quantum Physics replaces Newtonian Physics Core Science and Normal Science Chapter Conclusion:  Chapter 1 Review of Human Evolution Chapter 2 History and Civilization Chapter 3 Philosophy of Science Chapter 4 To be announced Chapter 6 To be announced Chapter 5 To be announced Chapter 7 To be announced Chapter 8 To be announced Chapter 9 To be announced I hope that you found chapter 3 informative, and that you enjoy chapter 4. Chapter Conclusion

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