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Lecture 10

PHL201H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Scientific Method, Logical Truth, Empiricism

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David Davies

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Lecture 10 Is Scientific Knowledge Possible?
David Hume Problem of Induction
- Knowledge can be divided into 2 kinds:
1) Relations of Ideas
- Don’t need evidence from the external world to show they are true
- Can come from reason alone priori
- Negations entail contradictions and therefore are inconceivable and impossible
Ex. Math
2) Matters of Fact
- Can only be shown to be true by gathering evidence
- Evidence comes inferences between the
relation between cause and effect
Ex. Heat and light are effects of fire; each of
these effects can be inferred from
each other
- Can only acquire (inferences about cause and
effect) through experience Posteriori
- Negations do not entail a contradiction and are
therefore conceivable and possible
- Relation of a cause and its effect
- Only way to get beyond sense experiences
- Evidence is inductive makes the matter of fact
more likely, can never entail something is true
- Anything that entails a contradiction cannot be
- Anything that entails a contradistinction can also not be thought of as being true
Humes Fork Matters of fact is knowable only from experience, relations of ideas
are knowable only from reasoning
- 3 pronged fork
Ampliative Knowledge Tells you things you didn’t already know
- All inductive knowledge is ampliative knowledge
- Therefore matters of fact are ampliative knowledge
Non-Ampliative knowledge Tells you what you already know
- Relations of ideas is non-ampliative knowledge
- We would hope that scientific knowledge would tell us about the world (matters of
fact) as well as would tell us things we didn’t already know (ampliative knowledge)
- Scientific knowledge can never entail a scientic hypothesis
- Can make the hypothesis more likely to be true
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