Scientific Realism or Antirealism
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20-04-2017, 08:25 AM (This post was last modified: 20-04-2017 08:32 AM by Naielis.)
Scientific Realism or Antirealism
Scientific realism attempts to combine two claims:
1. Our thoughts and feelings about reality do not determine reality.
2. We can come to know things about reality.

Scientific realists hold that science aims at truth about reality and actually arrives at true theories. Theories are true about observable (to the unaided senses) and unobservable reality. This position is based on the first two claims. One main issue for the realist is that the two positions are at odds. If our thoughts and feelings don't determine things about the world, then the realist has to explain why we are able to come to know things about reality. Why are our senses at all reliable? Another main issue is to explain how science can arrive at truth about reality. Why does it follow that an empirically adequate theory describes true reality? How does the realist make this leap.

Source: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/scientific-realism/

The main antirealist position I've studied is constructive empiricism. In this view, science aims at truth about observable phenomena only. And it's important to note that aiming at truth doesn't mean arriving at truth. A constructive empiricist might say that the method aims at truth, but fails to arrive or affirm an arrival at the truth of a theory. Constructive empiricists want to rid science of metaphysics. The scientific realist claims that there are natural kinds and laws. This is a metaphysical position that the empiricist wants to avoid.

Source: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/const...mpiricism/

I'm not convinced either way. I'm open to hearing both arguments. And any helpful books or links would be appreciated.

"I think part of the appeal of mathematical logic is that the formulas look mysterious - you write backward Es!" - Hilary Putnam
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20-04-2017, 08:31 AM
RE: Scientific Realism or Antirealism
(20-04-2017 08:25 AM)Naielis Wrote:  1. Our thoughts and feelings about reality do not change reality.
...
If our thoughts and feelings don't determine things about the world...

You've done a bait-and-switch

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20-04-2017, 08:36 AM
RE: Scientific Realism or Antirealism
(20-04-2017 08:31 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(20-04-2017 08:25 AM)Naielis Wrote:  1. Our thoughts and feelings about reality do not change reality.
...
If our thoughts and feelings don't determine things about the world...

You've done a bait-and-switch

Sorry I think I was misleading in the first formulation. I edited it, but for clarification, this means that the content of our thoughts does not determine what is true about reality. Kuhn thought this claim was false because he thought reality only made sense in terms of paradigms. Any given claim could be true or false according to the paradigm, but there is no reality above paradigms. Scientific realists think this places too much power in the observer and I'm inclined to agree.

"I think part of the appeal of mathematical logic is that the formulas look mysterious - you write backward Es!" - Hilary Putnam
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20-04-2017, 08:48 AM (This post was last modified: 20-04-2017 08:52 AM by Robvalue.)
RE: Scientific Realism or Antirealism
Scientific knowledge is not claimed to be absolute. It's our best models of reality. So no, there is no problem.

If someone claims that it is absolute, then yeah, they are stupid.

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20-04-2017, 08:58 AM
RE: Scientific Realism or Antirealism
You have to be trolling us, this is ridiculous. I don't know why I'm even replying to you, but here you are anyway.

You're the one who has been constantly claiming to able to project your "certainty" onto reality. So you're entirely guilty of what you're complaining about. At the same time, you've previously attacked science for the very reason that it isn't absolute knowledge. So unless you're referring to a few crazy fringe scientists who think their science can dictate reality, you're again arguing with no one. You're just trying to throw mud at science because your own ideas have no merit whatsoever and you think you can slip them in by default.

If you're not a troll, you're so far entrenched in your own dogma that you can't see the sun anymore.

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20-04-2017, 09:01 AM
RE: Scientific Realism or Antirealism
Please define your usage of the word "truth", and while you are at it, "theory".

"If our thoughts and feelings don't determine things about the world, then the realist has to explain why we are able to come to know things about reality" in reference to claim "1. Our thoughts and feelings about reality do not change reality" is a non-sequitur to me.

Please explain to all non native latin speakers what "antirealist" means or translates to. Hint, this word is composed of two latin words, "anti" and "realiter".

If someone claims that science "fails to arrive or affirm an arrival at the truth of a theory" (quotation marks, since i am not sure about your usage of those words), then he cant be sure if you end up dead after jumping from a 50 story building, according to the theory of gravity (or general relativity if you like high-precision), correct?

I am going to be blunt now:
Scientific realists have sent space probes to Pluto, presupposing that "probes", "Pluto" and the rest of reality as they preceive it exist and match with the scientists´ model of them (inside his brain).
Antirealists seem not (yet) to be decided whats gonna happen if they jump from a 50 story building (which again, would have to be designed and constructed by some scientific realists).
I would put my $ on the former, taking the, minimal, risk of being wrong or having a incomplete model of reality.

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20-04-2017, 09:06 AM
RE: Scientific Realism or Antirealism
(20-04-2017 08:25 AM)Naielis Wrote:  Scientific realism attempts to combine two claims:
1. Our thoughts and feelings about reality do not determine reality.
2. We can come to know things about reality.

Scientific realists hold that science aims at truth about reality and actually arrives at true theories. Theories are true about observable (to the unaided senses) and unobservable reality.

That's not really accurate. Science uses all kinds of instruments to extend the capabilities of the senses (not just what's observable to the unaided senses), to determine what is true or not true ... microscopes, telescopes, all sorts of detection equipment, scanners, indirect measurements, X-Rays, testing equipment, etc., etc., etc.

Saying "science arrives at" implies a finality that is not really part of the scientific method. There is no description in science that is labeled a "true theory" ... maybe "valid for the moment", or "the best we have now". There are "laws" and there are "theories". There are no "true theories". They are all subject to further observations / data.

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20-04-2017, 09:14 AM
RE: Scientific Realism or Antirealism
(20-04-2017 08:25 AM)Naielis Wrote:  Scientific realism attempts to combine two claims:
1. Our thoughts and feelings about reality do not determine reality.
2. We can come to know things about reality.

Scientific realists hold that science aims at truth about reality and actually arrives at true theories. Theories are true about observable (to the unaided senses) and unobservable reality. This position is based on the first two claims. One main issue for the realist is that the two positions are at odds. If our thoughts and feelings don't determine things about the world, then the realist has to explain why we are able to come to know things about reality. Why are our senses at all reliable? Another main issue is to explain how science can arrive at truth about reality. Why does it follow that an empirically adequate theory describes true reality? How does the realist make this leap.

Source: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/scientific-realism/

The main antirealist position I've studied is constructive empiricism. In this view, science aims at truth about observable phenomena only. And it's important to note that aiming at truth doesn't mean arriving at truth. A constructive empiricist might say that the method aims at truth, but fails to arrive or affirm an arrival at the truth of a theory. Constructive empiricists want to rid science of metaphysics. The scientific realist claims that there are natural kinds and laws. This is a metaphysical position that the empiricist wants to avoid.

Source: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/const...mpiricism/

I'm not convinced either way. I'm open to hearing both arguments. And any helpful books or links would be appreciated.
I don't see why these two positions are at odds. To question the reliability of the senses commits the fallacy of the stolen concept so it appears that this dilemma is the result of conceptual errors. The fact is that reality exists independently of anyone's conscious activity and man possesses consciousness which is his means of awareness of what exists. What's the problem here?

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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20-04-2017, 09:21 AM
RE: Scientific Realism or Antirealism
(20-04-2017 09:14 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  I don't see why these two positions are at odds. To question the reliability of the senses commits the fallacy of the stolen concept so it appears that this dilemma is the result of conceptual errors. The fact is that reality exists independently of anyone's conscious activity and man possesses consciousness which is his means of awareness of what exists. What's the problem here?

We know that for billions of years, this universe existed, before any conscious brain (we know of) existed, and that universe eventually evolved to the point where brains can examine the universe, and we can examine the process of that evolution. There is no reason to think reality is, in any way, dependent on our conscious activity.

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20-04-2017, 09:27 AM (This post was last modified: 20-04-2017 09:34 AM by true scotsman.)
RE: Scientific Realism or Antirealism
(20-04-2017 08:25 AM)Naielis Wrote:  Scientific realism attempts to combine two claims:
1. Our thoughts and feelings about reality do not determine reality.
2. We can come to know things about reality.

Scientific realists hold that science aims at truth about reality and actually arrives at true theories. Theories are true about observable (to the unaided senses) and unobservable reality. This position is based on the first two claims. One main issue for the realist is that the two positions are at odds. If our thoughts and feelings don't determine things about the world, then the realist has to explain why we are able to come to know things about reality. Why are our senses at all reliable? Another main issue is to explain how science can arrive at truth about reality. Why does it follow that an empirically adequate theory describes true reality? How does the realist make this leap.

Source: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/scientific-realism/

The main antirealist position I've studied is constructive empiricism. In this view, science aims at truth about observable phenomena only. And it's important to note that aiming at truth doesn't mean arriving at truth. A constructive empiricist might say that the method aims at truth, but fails to arrive or affirm an arrival at the truth of a theory. Constructive empiricists want to rid science of metaphysics. The scientific realist claims that there are natural kinds and laws. This is a metaphysical position that the empiricist wants to avoid.

Source: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/const...mpiricism/

I'm not convinced either way. I'm open to hearing both arguments. And any helpful books or links would be appreciated.

"If our thoughts and feelings don't determine things about the world"

That's right they don't. But it in no way follows from this that we can not have knowledge of the world. That's because knowledge is about identifying reality, not determining it. The very concept of truth rests on the fact that "Our thoughts and feelings about reality do not determine reality". If they did we wouldn't need a method like science in the first place. reality would be whatever anyone wanted it to be. Water freezes at 32 degrees? Not for me. It's 45 degrees on Tuesday and 0 degrees on Saturday.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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