Scientific Realism or Antirealism
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20-04-2017, 12:36 PM (This post was last modified: 20-04-2017 12:44 PM by Grasshopper.)
RE: Scientific Realism or Antirealism
(20-04-2017 12:22 PM)Naielis Wrote:  
(20-04-2017 12:02 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  Take the word "empirical" out of your final statement and you will see how silly it is. It is a "no-brainer" that adequacy is preferable to inadequacy, no matter what qualifier you want to stick in front of it.

Well it's a bit more complicated than that. We can't appeal to mere definition without looking at context.

Truth > empirical adequacy > empirical inadequacy. This is so obvious that it should require no argument. Since truth is unobtainable (outside of analytic statements and logical tautologies), empirical adequacy is the best we can do when we're talking about external physical reality.

Quote:
Quote:Given that our "knowledge" of the external world is filtered through our senses (plus whatever instruments we can invent to aid our senses) and our understanding, both of which are inherently fallible, it could never be absolute. In the strict sense, it could never even be "knowledge". Empirical adequacy is the best we can hope for, and it's good enough. It works, however much you may dislike that concept. It's useful. It has allowed us to design all kinds of useful tools and machines; it has allowed us to cure diseases and lengthen our lifespans; it has allowed us to send space probes all over the solar system, and have those probes reach their destinations (which are millions of miles away, and in motion). That's pretty impressive. Is the science behind it "true"? "Absolutely" true? Who cares? It's good enough to be useful.

So you would take a constructive empiricist view? I don't know what is meant by absolute here though. Are you referring to the truth of a theory or the justification? If you mean infallible knowledge, then I think science obviously can't achieve that. But can it assign truth values to theories.

If you take "truth" at face value (something is either true or not), "absolute" is redundant. But truth is a slippery thing once you get outside of formal logic. I disagree that science can assign truth values to theories, unless you are using a non-binary spectrum of truth. Science can attempt to assign probabilities to whether or not a theory is true, and in some cases, those probabilities can approach 100%. But it can never say "X is true" in the strict sense of "true". The best it can say is "So far, X has not been shown to be false."

(edited to attempt to fix quotes -- somehow everything looks right on preview, but not when I post it???)
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20-04-2017, 12:49 PM (This post was last modified: 20-04-2017 01:01 PM by Thoreauvian.)
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.

1. Actually science has changed or created any number of realities through our thoughts and desires. I'm typing on one right now. Reality, it turns out, is malleable.

2. I think you are confused about this because you are a philosopher. A philosopher typically wants absolute knowledge. Scientists are more than happy with probable and useful knowledge. You can't say we haven't learned about realities if we've successfully changed realities through our applied knowledge.
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20-04-2017, 01:30 PM
RE: Scientific Realism or Antirealism
(20-04-2017 09:51 AM)Chas Wrote:  That is an utter non sequitur. Our brains create models of reality, not reality.

Well it's actually just a claim. But does this mean you're a realist?

Quote:Because evolution.

Sorry poor phrasing. I meant why do we have a reason to believe our senses are reliable. But this is a smaller issue I think.

Quote: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.

Straw man. Scientific theories are provisional, not absolute.
[/quote]

It's not a straw man at all. You can't assert your antirealist view of science and then expect everyone to conform to that standard. There are plenty of philosophers and scientists who take the view that some theories can be accepted as true and they have good reason behind this. I'm not necessarily in agreement with them, but it's not fair to call it a straw man.

"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, 01:36 PM
RE: Scientific Realism or Antirealism
(20-04-2017 12:49 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  1. Actually science has changed or created any number of realities through our thoughts and desires. I'm typing on one right now. Reality, it turns out, is malleable.

But the point about metaphysical modesty is not that we can't influence reality with the ultimate cause of the influence being our thoughts. It's about whether our thoughts themselves can directly control reality. And if we are increasingly metaphysically modest, then it seems that we would have to be less epistemologically presumptuous.

Quote:2. I think you are confused about this because you are a philosopher. A philosopher typically wants absolute knowledge. Scientists are more than happy with probable and useful knowledge. You can't say we haven't learned about realities if we've successfully changed realities through our applied knowledge.

I'm more than happy with probable and useful knowledge. But the question is not what we are happy with. It's what science actually provides. The philosophy of science is about analyzing the scientific method and the history of science in order to form a complete view of what it provides and how it operates.

"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, 01:43 PM
RE: Scientific Realism or Antirealism
(20-04-2017 12:36 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  Truth > empirical adequacy > empirical inadequacy.

But certain distinctions need to be made first.

Quote:Since truth is unobtainable (outside of analytic statements and logical tautologies), empirical adequacy is the best we can do when we're talking about external physical reality.

I think what you might mean is that infallible knowledge is unattainable. We could easily stumble upon the truth without knowing it. But you employ an inference to the best explanation approach which is present in both realist and antirealist views. But the realist says that we can infer a truth value.

Quote:If you take "truth" at face value (something is either true or not), "absolute" is redundant. But truth is a slippery thing once you get outside of formal logic. I disagree that science can assign truth values to theories, unless you are using a non-binary spectrum of truth. Science can attempt to assign probabilities to whether or not a theory is true, and in some cases, those probabilities can approach 100%. But it can never say "X is true" in the strict sense of "true". The best it can say is "So far, X has not been shown to be false."

(edited to attempt to fix quotes -- somehow everything looks right on preview, but not when I post it???)

You take a view very similar to Popper's. He argued that science aims at the truth and can arrive at it, but we will never have any absolute confirmation that our theories are actually true. It's an interesting antirealist view that I haven't looked into much.

"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, 01:46 PM
RE: Scientific Realism or Antirealism
(20-04-2017 09:50 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  I'd forgive him and go easier if this was his first topic. For those new to the forum, this is not the case. This is the latest in a series of utterly dishonest posts, and this one flies in the face of even his own previous dishonesty.

This is just far too polemic. There is no way in which anything I have said at all is dishonest. Again, the ONLY thing I did was post brief explanations of two main views and ask for input on which views people here happen to believe. Please tell me HOW I AM BEING DISHONEST.

"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, 01:47 PM
RE: Scientific Realism or Antirealism
(20-04-2017 09:33 AM)Metazoa Zeke Wrote:  I think a good question to this is "if a tree falls when no ones around, does it make a sound?" The answer is yes.

A human doesn't have to be around a falling tree to hear it make a sound, because it is going to make one anyway.

Same with the universe, the universe was around before life was even a thing, and it will be around even if our species goes extinct and another species fills our niche.

I don't see how that's related.

"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, 01:48 PM
RE: Scientific Realism or Antirealism
(20-04-2017 10:16 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  The scientific method is exactly how we make sure our senses aren't pulling a fast one on us. We remove all subjectivity as far as possible. Anyone who thinks scientific theories come about by one scientist reporting what they find and that's it, hasn't the first clue how science works.

Of course, we could all just be part of one big delusion/unreality. But even then, the results of science based off our collective senses demonstrably models this "reality" well, whatever it may be or not be. Ultimately it doesn't matter what it is.

Yes... and what does that have to do with the topic of this thread?

"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, 01:56 PM
RE: Scientific Realism or Antirealism
(20-04-2017 09:01 AM)Deesse23 Wrote:  Please define your usage of the word "truth", and while you are at it, "theory".

In discussions of the philosophy of science truth is that which conforms to reality and theory is used to mean scientific theory.

Quote: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".

Well in this context it refers to those who don't think science can assign truth values to its theories.

Quote: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?

Well it depends what you mean by "sure". But the antirealist is in a position to argue for an inference to the best explanation as well as posing empirical adequacy as the necessary condition for acceptance of a theory.

Quote: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.

No. This is not the difference between the views. Antirealists do not think we cannot infer or make predictions from scientific theories. That would be preposterous. The question is whether it's necessary to arrive at truth in order to make these predictions. The constructive empiricist argues that we need only know that a theory is empirically adequate in order to accept it.

"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, 02:09 PM
RE: Scientific Realism or Antirealism
(20-04-2017 01:47 PM)Naielis Wrote:  
(20-04-2017 09:33 AM)Metazoa Zeke Wrote:  I think a good question to this is "if a tree falls when no ones around, does it make a sound?" The answer is yes.

A human doesn't have to be around a falling tree to hear it make a sound, because it is going to make one anyway.

Same with the universe, the universe was around before life was even a thing, and it will be around even if our species goes extinct and another species fills our niche.

I don't see how that's related.

One of your initial hypotheses claimed that our thoughts determine reality. Keeping in mind that (1) you aren't necessarily making this claim, just presenting it as a claim that has been made by some philosophers, and (2) the claim isn't necessarily meant to be taken literally -- he is responding to that claim. External reality exists independently of us, and in that sense, can never be created or determined by our thoughts. I'm not sure that any philosopher would ever make this claim in a literal sense, but if so, that philosopher is who Metazoa Zeke is responding to.
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