sciences in general, what they are and their methods

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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Metaphysics of natural science

This is the latest post in a series on science and metaphysics; the previous post is here. The one and only metaphysical postulate of natural science is this: Everything has a fixed nature. This postulate allows the study of classes or kinds or types of things with a common fixed nature. For example, it allows

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Composition order

Written compositions organized by temporal order are narratives. Items such as descriptions of people, places, or objects are organized as they occur to the narrator, for example, as the narrator takes apart an object or walks through a building or meets various people. This is a common method of composition but there are others. Spatial

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History and science balanced

As I’ve noted before (here etc.) history and science have different aims and methods. Mixing them just confuses both of them. There is no genuine “historical science” or “scientific history”. History narrates particulars among unique events. Science theorizes universals among repeatable events. In physics time is homogeneous: an experiment is the same whether conducted today

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Three kinds of empirical science

This post is related to an old post here. Broadly speaking, there are three kinds of empirical science, which correspond to three views of nature. (1) The ancient view of empirical science is represented by Aristotle, which includes the careful observation of undisturbed nature. Motion, for example, meant natural motion, not “violent” motion in which

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Science and history, part N

Science is inherently dualistic because it is based on distinctions, and cannot keep denying one side of a distinction without denying the distinction altogether. Duality is as far as science can go. Unification is a temporary state, to be superseded by a more abstract duality. Low-entropy science seeks fixed relations. High-entropy science seeks stochastic relations.

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Conventions and properties

Everything in science is a combination of conventions and properties. For example, frames of reference have certain conventions in common and particular properties that each individual frame has. The definition of a frame of reference is the first convention. Every frame of reference has an origin and at least the possibility of one or more

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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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