1. Torsion Jim

    Torsion Jim PsyMusic Radio

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    a good article on the subject:

    https://pervegalit.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/haack-six-signs-of-scientism-october-17-2009.pdf


    ''These are the “six signs of scientism” to which my title alludes.
    Briefly and roughly summarized, they are:
    1. Using the words “science,” “scientific,” “scientifically,” “scientist,”
    etc., honorifically, as generic terms of epistemic praise.
    2. Adopting the manners, the trappings, the technical terminology, etc.,
    of the sciences, irrespective of their real usefulness.
    3. A preoccupation with demarcation, i.e., with drawing a sharp line
    between genuine science, the real thing, and “pseudo-scientific”
    imposters.
    4. A corresponding preoccupation with identifying the “scientific
    method,” presumed to explain how the sciences have been so successful.
    5. Looking to the sciences for answers to questions beyond their scope.
    6. Denying or denigrating the legitimacy or the worth of other kinds of
    inquiry besides the scientific, or the value of human activities other than
    inquiry, such as poetry or art.''
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
  2. Torsion Jim

    Torsion Jim PsyMusic Radio

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    And here's an article about the great Feynman, and his non-philosophic philosophy of science.

    I feel it stands in relation to the first one in the thread:

    https://philosophynow.org/issues/114/Richard_Feynmans_Philosophy_of_Science

    ''Here Feynman comes across as making a distinction between explicitly knowing things (a bit of data, say) and seeking understanding (a deeper and more intuitive appreciation of how nature works). As he disliked philosophical exposition, he does not use these terms, but he makes it clear that the practice of science is dependent upon more than just explicitly knowing things, applying principles, or copying a format or method. He takes the Baconian approach to be an example of where philosophers have sought a methodological description of science and failed. But he says this failure equally applies to deductive models utilizing Popper’s ‘principle of falsification’. From all this Feynman says: “And so what science is, is not what the philosophers have said it is, and certainly not what the teacher editions [science textbooks] say it is.” (Ibid.)''
     
  3. Squagnut

    Squagnut There's a gnu in my squat

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    That's an interesting and thought-provoking read - thanks.

    I have some problems with parts of it. From p.18, where Haack discusses "looking to the sciences for answers to questions beyond their scope":

    Surely this is a perfect example of looking to the sciences for answers to questions beyond their scope? "How did the universe come into existence?" is a scientific question, but "Why is there something rather than nothing?" is not - or, at least, the scientific explanation may be a part of the answer, but to me the latter seems very much like a metaphysical or philosophical question. Haack ticks off scientists for demarcating the boundaries of what science is, to the exclusion of non-scientific lines of inquiry, while simultaneously ticking off non-scientists for trying to dress up their area of study in the garb of science.

    Again, from p.9, to do with preoccupation with “the problem of demarcation”:

    Haack seems to have got it in for Popper! A short anecdote: I heard a piece on R4 recently about a long distance race. It was mixed-sex, and all runners started at the same time. There were cash prizes for winners. A man finished first, a woman second, then two more men. And yet the cash prize for the woman was less than the third-place men's prize. A fuss was made, quite understandably, because of the obvious inequality and injustice. The narrator commented that this is an instance not of feminism imposing itself on athletics, but of feminism naturally arising from athletics.

    Similarly, Popper's criterion of falsifiability wasn't a philosophical idea he imposed on science, but rather the criterion of falsifiability naturally arose from science. Popper was greatly influenced by Einstein, and Einstein had to pay attention to reality. Falsifiability is less about demarcation and more about guiding experimentation; if you have a scientific hypothesis, you do everything you can think of to prove that your hypothesis is wrong.

    More on demarcation:

    While I agree with her about creation science, she is expecting a lot of time and patience to be spent fruitlessly. I read a recent headline over on FB: "Quantum theory proves that consciousness moves to a parallel universe after death". Of course quantum theory proves no such thing, and I didn't read beyond the headline. How much time are we supposed to waste? Was I demarcating? Or was this just a piece of meaningless twaddle dressed up in the garb of science?
     
  4. Torsion Jim

    Torsion Jim PsyMusic Radio

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    In regards to the question 'why is there something rather than nothing?'..... I would put forward the idea that science is based on a philosophical and , therefore, a metaphysical assumption. Once you allow for the premise that the universe constitutes an objective reality which is held together by matter and energy (in various forms), and subsequently is constant and measurable by humans, you cannot avoid such a thing. This goes a long way in answering the initial question stated, as you said yourself. So it is those assumptions that latently answer a 'why' question for you. The 'why' here being 'there is no why'.

    I think, by the back door, people accept all of these (the philosophical assumptions of science) premises as a matter of fact because of the victories achieved from the Enlightenment to the present day over monotheism. And here it could be claimed that certain uncritical people have merely swapped one set of dogma for another. Not all, good lord, but lots of people have taken on assuming that physicists know everything there is to know about reality, when the same people cannot make this assumption without using a consciousness that is a complete mystery to that very physicist.

    To be clear, im not down on science in any sense. In the world of generalisation it is the safest bet. But i have noticed a trend and i must admit that after reading certain people from history, that trend began in the industrial revolution.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2017
  5. NabLa

    NabLa Spaniard DeLuxe

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    Science tries more to explain the what, and the how, and not the why. Usually.
     
  6. NabLa

    NabLa Spaniard DeLuxe

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    And certainly science is deserving of being treated with due honor, more than most things.
     
  7. Torsion Jim

    Torsion Jim PsyMusic Radio

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    Yet, as i have stated, it implicitly states the 'why' due to a philosophical standpoint. Belief in the truly objective realm is harder to prove than you think, as it throws up all sorts of problems.
     
  8. Squagnut

    Squagnut There's a gnu in my squat

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    Scientists go out of their way not to make assumptions, but perhaps two would be: 1) the universe exists, and 2) we can find out things about it. Scientists can ask questions about what the universe (and the things in it) is and what it does, and the relationship between these two, but to ask why it's there (in the sense of "what is the purpose of the universe?") would invoke another assumption, namely that the universe has a purpose. Taking the question, "why is there something rather than nothing?" at face value, science doesn't have a meaningful answer, but might put forward the anthropic principle as a response or an observation (but not an answer): "if the universe were not as it is, we wouldn't be here asking questions about it".

    Looking again at Haack's piece, she also seems to have it in for the scientific method.

    Argh! She refers to philosophers of science but not to scientists. It does improve, however, and she acknowledges that scientists in general just get on with their work without asking themselves if they're following "the scientific method" at every juncture. She seems to think that people - I don't know which people - have a preoccupation with "the scientific method," and that some people think that the scientific method is for use in science and science alone. She is describing a problem that doesn't exist.
     
  9. Torsion Jim

    Torsion Jim PsyMusic Radio

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    Things do tend to fall down though when you consider consciousness. The big problem that the (implied assumption i mentioned earlier) philosophical worldview of science has is when you try to explain how you go from the objective to the subjective experience. Or in other words, how (so-called) dead, inert matter can think. The current scientific answer to this consists of either ignoring or denying the problem. So what you are left with is the concept of a miracle occurring, which was what the enlightenment sort to do away with in the first place.

    The very fact that subjective experience is so inexplicable to the scientific materialism (SM) could suggest that such a system may have some issues with it. Given this small, yet deep objection it may be acceptable to suggest that SM is not the true explanation to the universe, only a small generalised part of it.


    In regards to the demarcation issue, i do believe that has some legs. But only in terms with how we as humans try to organise the world in which we live. Our ontology and phenomenological existence does tend to try revolve around Plato's idea of 'forms and ideas' , when perhaps it would pay to look more at a process lead view of the world, or 'part-to-whole'.

    Tbf, i need to sit down and re-read Haack's article as its been a while, and i cannot comment on the instances put forward there until i have read it again.
     
  10. Squagnut

    Squagnut There's a gnu in my squat

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    In order to function, science has to be practical and practicable. Scientists may well try to address the question of consciousness, but that question first needs to be expressed in a scientific way. SM doesn't really address a small generalised part of the universe but rather a large patchwork of many very small specialised parts of it. The question of Life, the Universe and Everything (answer: 42) is not a scientific question, but the question "how do brains work?" is (even if the answer is vast and very complex). I feel that getting bogged down with consciousness when scientists have so many other questions to explore is needlessly to give oneself a problem. We judge science on its results, on whether or not it works. If I were to publish a description of, e.g., a (trivial) experiment about the effects of hydrochloric acid on calcium carbonate (or whatever), fellow scientists wouldn't be concerned about how inert matter can think, they'd be concerned about repeating the experiment in their labs and getting the same result I did. If we can thus share subjective experiences and find that the universe is self-consistent, we can do science. We can, in a useful practical way, know things and apply that knowledge. To use an analogy, we can successfully and safely drive a car from A to B without knowing anything much about the inner workings of the internal combustion engine - and without suspecting anything miraculous has taken place.
     
  11. NabLa

    NabLa Spaniard DeLuxe

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    I think philosophy as a means to bridge the gaps in science is lazy. There's nothing outside of the realm of the natural sciences.
     
  12. Torsion Jim

    Torsion Jim PsyMusic Radio

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    ^^ a very good example of what this thread is about.
     
  13. NabLa

    NabLa Spaniard DeLuxe

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    Speaking in absolutes whilst ignoring everyone else's arguments is my chosen form of escapism.
     
  14. Torsion Jim

    Torsion Jim PsyMusic Radio

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    I know the feeling.

    But a glance over the course of philosophy would obviously suggest that science is an off-shoot of natural philosophy.

    As I mentioned him above, Mr Feynman had it correct when he stated 'what if you are wrong'. I think everyone, in all pursuits, should be prepared for the possibility that everything they know is wrong. Dogmatism prevents progress.
     
  15. Torsion Jim

    Torsion Jim PsyMusic Radio

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    Here is a quote from a review of Daniel Dennet's latest book: ''From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds''. I think it is pertinent to this thread. (i can copy and post the full review if anyone is interested. Its behind a paywall - my droids are diligent)


    Dennett asks us to turn our backs on what is glaringly obvious—that in consciousness we are immediately aware of real subjective experiences of color, flavor, sound, touch, etc. that cannot be fully described in neural terms even though they have a neural cause (or perhaps have neural as well as experiential aspects). And he asks us to do this because the reality of such phenomena is incompatible with the scientific materialism that in his view sets the outer bounds of reality. He is, in Aristotle’s words, “maintaining a thesis at all costs.”
    If I understand him, this requires us to interpret ourselves behavioristically: when it seems to me that I have a subjective conscious experience, that experience is just a belief, manifested in what I am inclined to say. According to Dennett, the red stripes that appear in my visual field when I look at the flag are just the “intentional object” of such a belief, as Santa Claus is the intentional object of a child’s belief in Santa Claus. Neither of them is real. Recall that even trees and bacteria have a manifest image, which is to be understood through their outward behavior. The same, it turns out, is true of us: the manifest image is not an image after all.
    There is no reason to go through such mental contortions in the name of science. The spectacular progress of the physical sciences since the seventeenth century was made possible by the exclusion of the mental from their purview. To say that there is more to reality than physics can account for is not a piece of mysticism: it is an acknowledgment that we are nowhere near a theory of everything, and that science will have to expand to accommodate facts of a kind fundamentally different from those that physics is designed to explain. It should not disturb us that this may have radical consequences, especially for Dennett’s favorite natural science, biology: the theory of evolution, which in its current form is a purely physical theory, may have to incorporate nonphysical factors to account for consciousness, if consciousness is not, as he thinks, an illusion. Materialism remains a widespread view, but science does not progress by tailoring the data to fit a prevailing theory.
     
  16. Bacchanal

    Bacchanal semilanceated

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    Been away but I'm glad there's still space for such a discussion here.
    I'll return when I'm less Awesome
     
  17. Torsion Jim

    Torsion Jim PsyMusic Radio

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    Its worth thinking about because Luis in particular has a nasty case of scientism. I was talking to him recently on fb about it. He cannot offer much to defend his own view, but he still holds it with passion.


    OP points 5 and 6 sum him up well.
     
  18. Bacchanal

    Bacchanal semilanceated

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    May be but all communication is performance, and finding a way to codify the other is a language game in itself.
    I think I gave up on the problem of mind to try to be and love and parent and all that muddy stuff. My brain kicks me for it, but I think my body belongs to an Anglo-Saxon peasant.

    Now excuse me, I have to wander down to the compost heap to empty my piss bucket.
     
  19. Torsion Jim

    Torsion Jim PsyMusic Radio

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    Like alcoholism, aslong as you can admit you have a problem then you are part way there. There is nothing wrong with speculating against the predominant (western) worldview. The current mode of trying to explain the mind/body problem using a model that is woefully inadequate is quite perplexing. Then you get trite answers like 'but science will eventually provide us with the truth' which seem to show a complete ignorance to the problem at hand. The problem is that scientific materialism cannot, in its current form, ever solve the hard problem of consciousness without a paradigm shift of the likes that separated science from the church in the 18th century. And, like then, certain people today cling to old forms of thinking despite of the evidence at hand. They fall on the sword of the fallacy of believing that 'correlation means causation' and any attempt to dislodge them from their self-imposed kebabing merely causes them to squirm harder and thus slip further.
     
  20. Bacchanal

    Bacchanal semilanceated

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    It cannot ever solve..?

    But there's dogma also.

    I think ultimately I reason that the complexity of mind arises from complicated matter and that there is probably a way of describing that, but I can only get so hung up on the details when there's life to be lived.

    That said I am spending a lot of time in a van looking at a banner reading "Deeds not words".
     
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