philosophy of science

Philosophical justification and critique of science.

Science and naturalism

The purpose of science is to discover laws, which are then applied to predict and explain phenomena, develop technology, and make things. This occurs through a cycle of material induction and formal deduction. Induction consists of making observations, defining terms, and proposing postulates. Deduction consists of taking the terms and definitions from induction, possibly with […]

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Two kinds of induction

Historically, there are two kinds of induction, called here the postulational and the hypothetical. Postulational induction (cf. material induction) is the induction practiced in ancient and early modern times in which empirical induction leads to essential definitions and universal postulates for subsequent deduction. This is the Socratic view of induction: “in modern philosopher’s technical terms—the

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Science and Hypothesis excerpts

What follows are excerpts from the book Science and Hypothesis by Henri Poincaré, translated (1905) from La Science et l’hypothèse (1902). p.xxiii The latter [definitions or conventions] are to be met with especially in mathematics and in the sciences to which it is applied. From them, indeed, the sciences derive their rigour; such conventions are

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Science, unity and duality

It is a Christian concept (or at least a theistic concept) that the world we inhabit is a universe. The existence of the universe requires there to be a perspective that encompasses the whole of the world, which is the perspective of a transcendent divinity. The universe is thus the whole of creation. It is

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Cycle of science

There is a well-known alternation of induction and deduction in science (click to enlarge): The induction phase consists of data collection, data analysis, and model development. The deduction phase consists of taking the model, making hypothetical inferences, and following up with experiments that lead to new data collection. Then the cycle repeats.

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History and science combined

For previous posts on history and science, see here. History and science are different kinds of knowledge. History is based on the particulars that go into narratives. Science is based on the universals that go into theories. History is focused on the matter and science is focused on the form, in the Aristotelian sense. The

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Deep time postulate

This subject was previously mentioned, e.g., here. James Hutton proposed introducing deep time into modern science in 1788. In the early 19th century it was accepted for the geologic time scale. Biologists followed with Darwinism in the late 19th century. Astronomers accepted it to explain cosmology. What’s wrong with the deep time postulate (DTP)? The

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All theories are limited

This post continues previous posts on this topic, such as here. Once a theory becomes established, it is always valid. It is never falsified. What happens is that its limits are discovered. Any pretense to being universal breaks down. All theories are limited. Theories are analogies, and all analogies have limits. It is the scientific

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Science is conditional

Science is indifferent to metaphysics. This is seen in the break between science and philosophy in the 19th century, and before that in the rejection of metaphysics by early scientists such as Newton. The scientific community doesn’t make metaphysical arguments. The model science since classical times has been mathematics. The geometry of Euclid has been

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Science or stories

Science has no stories. Stories have characters, plots, and narratives. Science has data, hypotheses, postulates, and theories. Science and stories are different. They should be kept separate. Stories can refer to science or be about scientists, but that is not part of science. Science can refer to stories or collect data from stories, but that

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