PHI 31 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Deductive Reasoning, Empiricism
Course CodePHI 31
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GETTING STARTED WITH THEORETICAL MODELS
● Background Concepts
○ The “goal” of science?
■ Accurate description of appearances?
■ Or statements of truth abt “underlying” reality?
● Two may or may not be the same; disagreement
■ Describe, explain, predict, control, understand world & how it works
● Helping others by doing these (human goal)
● What you believe the goal is → how you view sci reasoning
○ If sci isn’t helping people, not worth paying for?
○ If sci isn’t devoted to practical purposes, worth it?
○ Empiricist and realist philosophical attitudes
■ Empiricist attitudes
● Science aims to acct for what we can observe in world and how it
works based on what we can observe about it
● How can we reliably/justifiably “go beyond” experience to make
claims about the unobservable?
○ “Theoretical entities” are “useful fictions” for “saving
appearances” → belief in their reality doesn’t change
● Science aims to acct for what the world REALLY is like and how it
works EVEN IF CONTRARY TO APPEARANCES
○ According to our best theories that are true using terms
that refer to the real things
● Some theoretical entities are real
○ Discovered by indirect means
■ Instruments, math models, reasoning
○ Observable ≠ fixed by human sensory equipment
■ Instruments change over time
■ Example: DNA vs. protein as hereditary material
● DNA did not appear as correct as protein (empiricist)
● In reality, DNA was the hereditary material (realist)
○ Inductive & deductive reasoning
■ Evidence vs. proof
● “Prove” and “proof” are distinct
● Inductive arguments
○ Provide strong or weak evidence for conclusions
■ Make them more or less likely
■ If premise = true → argument is good, may be
convincing or conclusive
● Deductive arguments
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