PHL255 - Most of the Notes for J. Weisberg's class

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Jonathan Weisberg

PHL255 Notes Lecture 2 September 13, 2010 Philosophy of Science Logical Positivism Positivism school of thought that emphasizes the importance of science or empirical science Comte a famous one, Has three stage of progression: o Theological stage Gods, spirits, magic, this would be in terms of religion o Metaphysical stage Society explain whats around them like forces, particles, atoms, universe is made up of particles This has an intentional entity o Scientific It does not appeal to crazy phenomena It does not explain Why something happen, it is observable, empirical knowledge, comes from senses (hearing, touching, etc) Things not from senses is spooky, not real All things comes from observable things Contrast: Aristotles essences something has a thing in it o acorn grow because that is how it is, that is their essence o explain why things develop in a certain way th th entelechies of early biology 18 -19 o something develops because it is its purpose in life and it is its goal o this is where things stared Souls in various religious traditions o positivists say that this is beyond the realm of empirical knowledge, they said this is non sense Magnetism in Physics o Theres no force in magnets because you cant see it o Its unobservable Positivist are saying, there might be something to it and that it is not just all garbage Because modern science is been working good Pos: lets take a page out of their book German Idealism Berkeley, Kant, Hegel They talk about the nature of being, Romanticism Logic We know things through pure reason or experience Positivist have a lot of respect for this They Had respect for Formal Logic Math o 2+2 = 4 o no largest prime number Logic o P(P or Q) If P is true, then either P or Q is True Conceptual Truths o Nothing can be both red and green all over at the same Formal Logic: Frege reducing math to set theory Russell and White head o Reduced math to logic After All is Said Logical Postivism All knowledge ultimately comes from o experience / observation o Logic It is good with how science works What difference science from pseudo science How scientific method works o Step1: come up with a hypothesis Theory ex: d=4.9t ^2 o Step2: Derive in observable prediction from a theory and some conditions of testing Test how much it will drop in 3 seconds Prediction 3 sec = 44.1 meters o Step 3: Verify information Then you do drop the thing, experiment! Schematic way of seeing it o Theory + Conditional Observational Logic o O Observation o After everything is done, theory is verified Lets look at it from Mendelian Genetics Punnet squares Tt vs Tt 75% tall and 25% short Pablos Dogs o Dogs salivate with food, he wanted to see if he could make dogs salivate on other things, then he took a bell and fed them at the same time, then he took food out just ring bell and dog salivate The Verification Criterion of Meaning The positivists response to say which one is gibberish and which one is true They look at the fact that there is really something out there VS things that are in our mind Descarte vs Berkeley o Descarte desk is there because it exists even though im looking at it or not o Berkeley desk is only there whenever im looking at it This debate is metaphysical Meaningless debate because you cannot answer with observation It all goes beyond what we can observe There are things that you cannot answer through experience There is no difference, what they mean is that the same thing It doesnt matter if there is something there or not, but its there Whats possible and impossible is not the same Difference between descarte and Berkeley is meaningless o There is no actual debate Meaningful vs Meaningless Ayer Pg 5 o A meaningful hypothesis is one from which we can deduce together with other assumptions, and observable prediction that could not have been deduced from those o that could not have been deduced from those other assumptions alone. Lets say we have Hypothesis + Conditions Observation Then it is meaningful Meaningful is something we could observe, feel, touch, etc Hypothesis like berkeleys, that cannot be observable is NOT meaningful Hypothesis is only meaningful if it could be observed Read Brechtel and Ayer September 15, 2010 Lecture 3 3477827 Verification of criterion Scientific Theory is meaningful, Non-scientific theory is not meaningful Meaningful is when something is observable Start with a theory, apply in certain in conditions and deduce something observable T + C O meaningful T + C not O not meaningful According to Ayer, idealism is not meaningful Metaphysics debate: Not verifiable through observation Another debate: Could you move world 3 feet to the left. Is there really space and time or are we just addressing these debates. Space time existed independently vs space time is just religion. o Leibnitz vs Newton o They both discovered calculus These debates according to Ayer is not meaningful because it is not observable through experience Another debate: o atheist vs theist o soul in man vs no soul in man positivist say that they dont matter, they are unobservable
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