HPS100H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Determinism, Pseudoscience

History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
Course Code
Hakob Barseghyan

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HPS100 Lecture 11
Aristotelian Worldview: Hylomorphism (matter and form), pluralism (universe made
up of many di"erent substances), teleology (everything in the universe has a goal),
plenism (universe is full) , heterogeneity (two di"erent regions in the universe that
obey di"erent laws) , %nite universe (universe has physical boundaries) and
monotheism (one god) were some of the core metaphysical beliefs implicit in the
Aristotelian medieval world view.
These terms are the metaphysical components of the mosaic
Cartesian Worldview: Mechanisms (material objects are composed of bits of
interacting matters), dualism (matter and mind), action by contact (there is no action
at a distance), dualistic determinism (only the mind is free to act spontaneously),
plenism (universe is full), homogeneity (one set of laws that works for the whole
universe), in%nite universe (no boundaries), monotheism (one god)
Newtonian Worldview: Dynamism (matter is extended substance that interacts
through forces and not only by actual contact), dualism, vacuism (anti space is
possible), homogeneity, dualistic determinism, in%nite universe and monotheism.
They open up about that action can happen at a distance, AND at a contact.
Contemporary Worldview: Wave particle duality (all matter has wave and corpuscular
properties), materialism (one substance; matter – we’d leave ourselves open to
monism if we believe that one substance exists), probabilistic determinism (all events
has causes, but the same initial conditions may provide di"erent e"ects; limited),
|Contact ? Distance | Vacuism ? Plenism | In%nite ? Finite|
Is it possible for a %nite universe to be boundless?
A transition from one worldview to the next normally involves changes in our core
metaphysical beliefs. Metaphysics is a set of views about the world taken as a whole
– which contains questions
like Every world view contains some sort of answer
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Metaphysical assumptions of the mosaic may or may not be explicitly stated. Very
often, they are not explicitly stated. In both Aristotelian-medieval and Cartesian
mosaics, most metaphysical components are explicitly stated. In Newtonian and
Contemporary mosaics, most metaphysical assumptions are implicit and not explicit.
Probabilistic Determinism: All events have their causes, but the same initial
conditions may produce di"erent e"ects. There are options in the future. If we accept
quantum physics, but there are options. The options are limited. This is because
nature itself is probabilistic.
Either you discuss metaphysics openly, or you just leave things to their natural
course and metaphysics will %nd its way into the mosaic anyways.
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