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History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
Hakob Barseghyan

History of Science Philosophy of Science History of Science Biographies of great scientists Histories of scientific institutions Histories of Scientific theories Changes in the mosaic of accepted theories Scientific Mosaic A set of all theories accepted by the scientific community of the time Scientific Change Any change in the scientific mosaic The history of science shows that the mosaic of accepted theories changes through time Question of Absolute Knowledge what is absolute and non-changable Objective? "I am, therefore I think" Descartes Case 1: Mathematics how do you know a thing to be True? replicable experiment, replicable Mathematics does not follow a general truth Relies on axioms. 2=1+1 General template Definition + Definition = Theorem Case 2: Swans (Black Swan) Observable count for a theory/observational statement Theory/Hypothesis based on experience of events/knowledge Observation is generic, Experiments occur in controlled settings Case 3: Gravity Law of Gravity Analytic vs Synthetic Analytic Proposition- necessarily true in all possible worlds. OBJECTIVE Does not depend on structure of universe Deductible from definitions Cannot contradict the results of experiments or observations Necessarily hold in all possible worlds: the opposite is inconceivable analytic, ie formal sciences Synthetic Proposition - dependant on specifics of this universe. Dependant on variables Not deductible from definitions CONDITIONAL Can contradict its own results in a different variable/ universe Empirical science (social and natural science) physics, biology, sociology, eco, because the opposite is conceivable. Absolute knowledge Can analytic or synthetic propositions be absolutely certain? Analytic - Yes, true by necessity. Synthetic - NO How are these Justified? Justified Synthetic Propositions Experience & Theorem? Remains Hypothesis for eternity :P Sensations Swans existing vs perception of swans Are senses accurate/trustworthy? Subjectivity You cannot be absolutely sure of objective perception/ Optical illusions/ Mirages sensations cohere with each other to form group propositions Sensations have limits You cannot count every swan Induction How can you arrive at a general conclusion, if experience provides with a singular proposition Thus GENERALIZED. Thus you induct and create generalizations Negative instance/ Outliers negates a theory, thus invalidating induction Experience is limited. It will and thus always be a hypothesis. Thus synthetic propositions are Limited. Inductive generalizations are inevitably fallible. Best available theory SO FAR. Prove vs CONFIRM Theory-Ladenness You only understand specific theories through theory lenses, instruments. Instruments include senses, sober mind, instruments etc, physiology. Fallibilism 1. Problem of Sensations, never know for what something really is 2. Induction. Inductive generalizations remain fallible, able to be disproven 3. Theory-Laden. Observations are shaped by accepted theories. No synthetic propositions are infallible. Empirical knowledge cannot be absolutely certain. There is no absolute certainty. Scientific Method Analytic Propositions can be absolutely certain Synthetic propositions suffer from Sensatory problem, Induction and Theory-Ladenness. While all theories in empirical science are fallible, some are better than others Acceptance = A theory is said to be accepted if it is taken as the best available description of its fragment of reality Use = A theory is considered useful if it is taken as a n empirically adequate tool for making calculations Pursuit = A theory is said to be pursued if it is considered worthy of further development, further elaboration Its possible to accept one theory, use another and pursue yet another Acceptance, Use and Pursuit What theories should be accepted? Two contradicting theories can be used, persued but not accepted What theories should be used? From Practical perspective, there is an accumulation of useful tools, shouldnt throw away them if they still work Two competing theories can still be Applied, Eg, Classical physics and General relativity New tool must be useful in one way or another What theories should be persued? Hard to tell from outset which initial idea is worthy of further elaboration Should not impose any limitations as to which ideas are worth developing Method of appraisal necessary to determine BEST Accepted Theory, based on Evidence SCIENTIFIC METHOD /Rules of Theory Assessment = A set of rules (criteria, requirements, standards etc) for theory assessment (evaluation, appraisal, comparison) Methods - Prefer theories which are more simple Prefer theories which confirmed novel predictions Solve more problems More precise and accurate theories Accepted Ontology = the accepted views on the types of entities and interactions that populate the world How to change Muse fit the known data with more precision and accuracy Must provide confirmed predictions of hitherto unobserved phenomena Hypothetico-Deductive Method Allowed to introduce new unobservable elements/entities, IF novel predictions are confirmed Aristotelian-Medieval Method grasps the nature of a thing through intuition or is deduced from the general intuitive propositions Scientific Method = A set of ALL accepted theories and employed methods. Scientific Method and Scientific Change multiple standards equal relatavism scientific method only fixed stone of rules to accurately measure reality still somewhat mobile are methods arbitrary, or is there logic to these? arbitrary? Experimental Confirmation double bind studies accurately measure chagnes account for placebo effects blind trial experimenters bias, scientists subjective behaviour or data 'massaging' doub
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