philosophy of science

Philosophical justification and critique of science.

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.

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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Wise knowledge

Presuppositions are a priori suppositions, usually unstated. They are not inevitable. Presuppositions may be replaced with suppositions. That is, presuppositions may be made explicit. For example, someone might say, “I will flip a coin. If it is heads, I will adopt presupposition A; if it is tails, I will adopt presupposition B.” In that case, …

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Middle ontologies

As the previous post noted here, nominalism seeks a minimal ontology, that is, a minimum of qualities. This qualitative parsimony leads toward the ultimate minimum ontology: an ontology of one. That is, the assertion that there is only one quality, one kind of stuff, whatever it may be called – matter, energy, or whatever. This …

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