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  1. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by thermophysics View Post
    Philosophy is my major - I would be very interested to read your reasoning all the way from the arguments made in these posts through the very complex processes of critical analysis right up to the conclusion offered that most of what is being posted here is false or nonsense. You seem hugely ambitious, Hugh
    Quote Originally Posted by thermophysics View Post
    WHY ALL THEORIES ARE UNPROVABLE

    We can appreciate Lakatos's point by considering a single example: Newton's theory of gravitation. Newton's theory says that every particle of matter in the universe attracts every other particle with a force according to an inverse square law. Newton's theory is a universal generalization that applies to every particle of matter, anywhere in the universe, at any time. But however numerous they might be, our observations of planets, falling bodies, and projectiles concern only a finite number of bodies during finite amounts of time. So the scope of Newton's theory vastly exceeds the scope of the evidence. It is possible that all our observations are correct, and yet Newton's theory is false because some bodies not yet observed violate the inverse square law. Since "All Fs are G" cannot be deduced from "Some Fs are G," it cannot be true that Newton's theory can be proven by logically deducing it from the evidence. As Lakatos points out, this prevents us from claiming that scientific theories, unlike pseudoscientific theories, can be proven from observational facts. The truth is that no theory can be deduced from such facts. All theories are unprovable, scientific and unscientific alike.
    Quote Originally Posted by thermophysics View Post
    WHY ALL THEORIES ARE IMPROBABLE

    While conceding that scientific theories cannot be proven, most people still believe that theories can be made more probable by evidence. Lakatos follows Popper in denying that any theory can be made probable by any amount of evidence. Popper's argument for this controversial claim rests on the analysis of the objective probability of statements given by inductive logicians.

    Consider a card randomly drawn from a standard deck of fifty-two cards. What is the probability that the card selected is the ten of hearts? Obviously, the answer is 1/52. There are fifty two possibilities, each of which is equally likely and only one of which would render true the statement "This card is the ten of hearts." Now consider a scientific theory that, like Newton's theory of gravitation, is universal. The number of things to which Newton's theory applies is, presumably, infinite. Imagine that we name each of these things by numbering them 1, 2, 3, . . . , n, . . . . There are infinitely many ways the world could be, each equally probable.

    1 obeys Newton's theory, but none of the others do.
    1 and 2 obey Newton's theory, but none of the others do.
    1, 2, and 3 obey Newton's theory, but none of the others do.

    All bodies (1, 2, 3, . . . , n, . . . ) obey Newton's theory.

    Since these possibilities are infinite in number, and each of them has the same probability, the probability of any one of them must be O. But only one, the last one, represents the way the world would be if Newton's theory were true. So the probability of Newton's theory (and any other universal generalization) must be 0.

    Now one might think that, even if the initial probability of a theory must be 0, the probability of the theory when it has been confirmed by evidence will be greater than 0. As it turns out, the probability calculus denies this. Let our theory be T, and let our evidence for T be E. We are interested in P(T/E), the probability of T given our evidence E. Bayes's theorem (which follows logically from the axioms of the probability calculus) tells us that this probability is:

    P(T/E) = [P(E/T x P(T)]/P(E)

    If the initial probability of T, that is P(T), is 0, then P(T/E) must also be O. Thus, no theory can increase in objective probability, regardless of the amount of evidence for it. For this reason, Lakatos joins Popper in regarding all theories, whether scientific or not, as equally unprovable and equally improbable.
    arguing with yourself
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  2. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmac00 View Post
    arguing with yourself
    Where am I arguing with myself?

  3. #68
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    Again, I can only point out the lack of practical application to your comments.

    We don't need theories to be "proven". We really don't.

    What we need are understanding of processes that we can then manipulate for the betterment of mankind.

    Again, THAT is practical science.

    The other problem with attempting to take a logical path with science is that it may lead to the greatest mistake that can possibly be made; the notion that no test or confirmation is required since the thought is so damn logical.

    Of course thought is PART of the process, else we would not be able to formulate theories in the first place.

    However, the hallmark of science is observation and testing.

    Postulating the existence of multi-universes based on untested logical extrapolations are fascinating thought-candy, but are also ultimately useless.
    "Social networking" is an oxymoron.

  4. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tool-Slinger View Post
    Thank you very much for explaining that to me Scrogg! I understand 'philosophy' in common terms, not a high-educated academic understanding. I was then perhaps too strong labeling the philosophy-guy an idiot. I still think he is an idiot in a pointy-headed sort of way, and factually wrong. But if it is all just speculation with unlimited truths and no concrete answers, I can file it away as non-sense such as with tatoo-art. I personally have no interest, but if others want to dabble I don't care as long as it is not pressed on me.
    Now you are getting it. Philosophy is the gym of the mind. It's mental weight lifting.

    I don't mean to discount it totally. The rules of logic exist for a very good reason, for example. They explain how rational thinking occurs.

    We use it to make sense of what we see.

    But without something SEEN, what are the rules actually good for?
    "Social networking" is an oxymoron.

  5. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrogdog View Post
    Again, I can only point out the lack of practical application to your comments.
    Pragmatism is an approach very popular with American Philosophers. It is somewhat related to continental philosophy which tends to be more about psychology.

    Dewey, James and Saunders are the the famous American Philosophers we have read about.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dewey

    The British empiricists, Berkley, Locke and Hume, were more concerned with the question of what can we know and how can we come to know it. Not how best should we go about our day with what we have. Those three empiricists have had much impact on the practical world. Hume showed us that there was no possibility of attaining new knowledge without experience of the world - Bacon's Novum Organum then came right to the front of science. Locke established the boundaries between natural rights and earned rights, amongst other things such as arguing that no one is born with an essential destiny meaning woman should be free to choose as much as men and his Two Treatise inspired both the Glorious Revolution in England and the USA's Constitution.

    Otherwise - philosophy is mostly about getting your thinking right - your last post is pretty much all philosophy.

    Philosophy is the only protection available from dogma. The practical effects of dogma are notorious.

    Wittgenstein said “Philosophy is not one of the natural sciences. Philosophy aims at the logical clarification of thoughts. Philosophy is not a body or doctrine but an activity. A philosophical work consists essentially of elucidations. Philosophy does not result in ‘philosophical propositions’ but rather in the clarification of propositions. Without philosophy thoughts are, as it were, cloudy and indistinct: it’s a task to make them clear and to give them sharp boundaries.”

    A J Ayer says "A philosopher is NOT engaged on an empirical or a metaphysical inquiry. We may speak loosely of him as analysing facts, or notions, or even things. But we must make it clear that these are simply ways of saying that he is concerned with the definition of the corresponding words."

    Peikoff: "The theory of the analytic-synthetic dichotomy presents men with the following choice: If your statement is proved, it says nothing about that which exists; if it is about existents, it cannot be proved. If it is demonstrated by logical argument, it represents a subjective convention; if it asserts a fact, logic cannot establish it. If you validate it by an appeal to the meanings of your concepts, then it is cut off from reality; if you validate it by an appeal to your percepts, then you cannot be certain of it".

    Wittgenstein again:
    Tractatus 6.341
    Newtonian mechanics, for example, brings the description of the universe to a unified form. Let us imagine a white surface with irregular black spots. We now say: Whatever kind of picture these make I can always get as near as I like to its description, if I cover the surface with a sufficiently fine square network and now say of every square that it is white or black. In this way I shall have brought the description of the surface to a unified form.
    This form is arbitrary, because I could have applied with equal success a net with a triangular or hexagonal mesh. It can happen that the description would have been simpler with the aid of a triangular mesh; that is to say we might have described the surface more accurately with a triangular, and coarser, than with the finer square mesh, or vice versa, and so on. To the different networks correspond different systems of describing the world.
    Mechanics determine a form of description by saying: All propositions in the description of the world must be obtained in a given way from a number of given propositions -- the mechanical axioms. It thus provides the bricks for building the edifice of science, and says: Whatever building thou wouldst erect, thou shalt construct it in some manner with these bricks and these alone. (As with the system of numbers one must be able to write down any arbitrary number, so with the system of mechanics one must be able to write down any arbitrary physical proposition.)

  6. #71
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    Unfortunately for this postulate the "bricks" so to speak are constantly being revised.

    Do you think that Newton was surprised that his two objects hit the ground at the same time? If he was, well, we are no longer because an understanding of ballistic coefficients "changed", if you will, they way we think about such physical behaviors.

    The rules of today are unlike those of yesterday in many ways.

    Speaking of Descartes, if his notion is challenged thusly, is it now invalidated?

    "'I think therefore I am' underrates a tooth ache. I FEEL therefore I am is more relevant to the real world".
    "Social networking" is an oxymoron.

  7. #72
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    Oh, and one other thing I wanted to address real quick, the notion that there is no confirmation from a certain standpoint... well scientists are well aware of that; thus we get to Steve Gould's assertions that;

    Moreover, "fact" does not mean "absolute certainty." The final proofs of logic and mathematics flow deductively from stated premises and achieve certainty only because they are not about the empirical world. Evolutionists make no claim for perpetual truth, though creationists often do (and then attack us for a style of argument that they themselves favor). In science, "fact" can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent." I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.
    "Social networking" is an oxymoron.

  8. #73
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    I think, therefore I dont know for sure.............
    YOU SHALL REAP WHAT YOU HAVE _______ SOWN

  9. #74
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    'A Philosopher on Gun Control' turned out to be A Philosopher on Philosophy.

  10. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian GC View Post
    'A Philosopher on Gun Control' turned out to be A Philosopher on Philosophy.
    I agree. And an idiot too.
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