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
A set of all theories accepted by the scientific community of the time
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
"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.
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
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.
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
Swans existing vs perception of swans
Are senses accurate/trustworthy?
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
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
Inductive generalizations are inevitably fallible. Best available theory SO FAR.
Prove vs CONFIRM
You only understand specific theories through theory lenses, instruments.
Instruments include senses, sober mind, instruments etc, physiology.
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.
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
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)
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
How to change
Muse fit the known data with more precision and accuracy
Must provide confirmed predictions of hitherto unobserved phenomena
Allowed to introduce new unobservable elements/entities, IF novel predictions are
grasps the nature of a thing through intuition or is deduced from the general intuitive
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?
double bind studies
accurately measure chagnes
account for placebo effects
experimenters bias, scientists subjective behaviour or data 'massaging'