Thursday, October 9, 2014

544: First steps in the philosophy of science

As we observed before, in several cultures homo sapiens began to think about thinking, which led to the discovery of certain properties of thinking.

One of the fundamental properties of thinking is that we require of our thoughts that they be logical.

The basic principles of logic center on the law of contradiction, which states that a statement cannot be both true and false, 

and the law of the excluded middle, which stresses that a statement must be either true or false.

This is not our invention. In india they thought of this much earlier already.  Then there was China and the Arabic world.

But even though the science of logic was derived from mathematics, logic eventually came to be considered as a study independent of mathematics yet applicable to all reasoning.

And just at one moment in history in the educated world, as far as we know, there was only one person who took this step: Aristotle(384 - 322 BC)

I don’t think he was the only one in his time, but he left us his  “Posterior Analytics”, his principal work on the philosophy of science,

in addition, the “Physics” and the “Metaphysics”, which contain discussions of certain aspects of scientific method.

Aristotle was the first philosopher of science. He created the discipline by analyzing certain problems that arise in connection with scientific explanation.

He viewed scientific inquiry as a progression from observations to general principles and back to observations. 

He maintained that the scientist should induce explanatory principles from the phenomena to be explained, 

and then deduce statements about the phenomena from premisses which include these principles.

Here are coined the basic principles of scientific method, according to Aristotle’s ideas: INDUCTION and DEDUCTION.

Aristotle believed that scientific inquiry begins with knowledge that certain events occur, or that certain properties coexist. 

Scientific explanation is achieved only when statements about these events or properties are deduced from explanatory principles. 

Scientific explanation thus is a transition from knowledge of a fact - point 1 in the diagram behind me - to knowledge of the reasons for the fact - point 3.

According to Aristotle, every particular thing is a union of matter and form, or as we would say it, an object is as it is by the configuration of its atoms.

Matter is what makes the particular a unique individual, and form is what makes the particular a member of a class of similar things. 

To specify the form of a particular is to specify the properties it shares with other particulars.

And thus Aristotle formulated the basic principles of our scientific thinking. We live in a word of individual objects,

which share properties with other individual objects, thus creating a set or class.

This line of thinking has shaped our world. And although it all may look so obvious, it isn’t, for then all cultures would have developed science in the same way.

To be continued…
Thank you… ^_^

Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
A Historical Introduction to the Philosophy of Science, John Losee (2001)

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, T. Kuhn (1962)

Gilbert Ryle, ‘Systematically Misleading Expressions’, in A. Flew, ed., Essays on Logic and Language—First Series (Oxford: Blackwell, 1951), 11–13.

The Discussion

[13:20] herman Bergson: If you have any question or remark...plz feel free...the floor is yours :-)
[13:20] Dawn Rhiannyr: Thank you Herman :)
[13:20] Bejiita Imako: YAY! (yay!)
[13:20] Gemma Cleanslate: good old Aristotle
[13:20] Bejiita Imako: interesting
[13:20] Merlin Saxondale: quite tough today imho
[13:20] herman Bergson: But I must admit....this time it all isn’t that controverisal :-)
[13:21] Gemma Cleanslate GIGGLES!!
[13:21] Gemma Cleanslate: ...LOL...
[13:21] Gemma Cleanslate: right back to the very beginning
[13:21] herman Bergson: Yes Gemma...amazing to see how one individual had such a huge influence on the cultural development of whole Europe and more
[13:22] Merlin Saxondale: A lot of people say Aristotle started it all
[13:22] Beertje Beaumont: most of the time the ideas start with one individual
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: true
[13:22] herman Bergson: In a way he did Merlin....
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: in many cases at least
[13:22] Merlin Saxondale: Even though I still get mixed up with Archimedes :P
[13:23] herman Bergson: But there is one interesting historical issue here...
[13:23] herman Bergson: We link a lot of special developments and events to ONE person.....
[13:24] herman Bergson: But from a philosophy of science point of view this is already questionable....
[13:24] herman Bergson: I mean....
[13:24] herman Bergson: In Greece in Aristotle's time were dozens of teachers like him
[13:24] herman Bergson: So his ideas didn’t come out of the blue sky....
[13:25] Gemma Cleanslate: all passing ideas around
[13:25] herman Bergson: Yes...
[13:25] Gemma Cleanslate: at their forums
[13:25] herman Bergson: Like the ideas of Einstein weren't unique either...
[13:25] herman Bergson: others had the same for instance Lorenz...
[13:26] Merlin Saxondale: Its probably true of a lot of people... Newton... Darwin
[13:26] herman Bergson: But it is just the guy who steps forward first who is remembered
[13:26] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:26] herman Bergson: Oh yes Merlin.....
[13:26] Merlin Saxondale smiles
[13:26] Gemma Cleanslate: well that is how it is the scientists like to share and build on each others ideas
[13:26] herman Bergson: So , history is not a history of individuals...
[13:26] Gemma Cleanslate: except
[13:26] Gemma Cleanslate: now in many areas they are prohibited
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: fro m sharing
[13:27] herman Bergson: oh yes patents all over the place :-)
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: yes and also some governments forbid it
[13:27] herman Bergson: patents are a huge blockade of scientific development
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: true
[13:28] herman Bergson: But there is no patent on Induction and deduction :-))
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: good thing
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: i guess so
[13:28] herman Bergson: I'll get into that in a next lecture :-))
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: indeed esp the us patent system is nuts
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: Apple is a good example of that, basically using it to become the one and only smartphone manufacturer in the world
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: not fair play at all
[13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: : [Posted 1:22 PM PDT, 7 October 2014] We are performing unscheduled maintenance at this time. During this time, some residents may experience login issues, and Residents in-world may also be logged off or experience degraded performance. Please refrain from rezzing no-copy objects and making L$ transactions during this maintenance. On the website, please also avoid using any financial services until the all clear is given. Please check back here for updates.
[13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: just got that
[13:29] herman Bergson: uh oh....
[13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: no wonder nothing is working right
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: aah
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: maybe thunderstorms there too
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: they have problems at the accelerators at cern now due to storms
[13:30] Gemma Cleanslate: oh?
[13:30] Gemma Cleanslate: thought it was still closed
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: and here it rains like hell
[13:30] herman Bergson: Here too......:-)
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: the LHC is off but all other machines have started up
[13:31] Gemma Cleanslate: ah ok
[13:31] herman Bergson: I guess we are done for today with Aristotle's first steps in philosophy of science?
[13:31] Gemma Cleanslate: there is science sharing going on there with all the countries involved
[13:31] herman Bergson: Unless one of you still has a burning question or remark?
[13:31] Gemma Cleanslate: shall wait til the answer of that issue
[13:31] Gemma Cleanslate GIGGLES!!
[13:31] Gemma Cleanslate: ...LOL...
[13:32] Bejiita Imako:
[13:32] Beertje Beaumont: how could people get notice of the ideas of Aristoteles ?
[13:32] Beertje Beaumont: they couldn't read his books, could they?
[13:32] herman Bergson: time I'll dig in deeper in Aristotle's ideas ....
[[13:32] Beertje Beaumont: lol..I couldn't type any faster...
[13:32] Gemma Cleanslate: I think there was a lot of oral passing of his works
[13:33] herman Bergson: They could read Beertje...
[13:33] Gemma Cleanslate: at that time was common to talk and tell lots of stories
[13:33] herman Bergson: The "books" of Aristotle for instance are not really written by himself....
[13:33] Beertje Beaumont: o?
[13:33] Gemma Cleanslate: like all the other things
[13:33] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ LOL ♥
[13:33] herman Bergson: They seem to be mainly notes from his lectures collected by his students
[13:34] herman Bergson: The amazing thing is that they were written down!!!....and copied...and copied..and that such copies survived all these centuries
[13:34] Merlin Saxondale: Well Thanks Herman and bye everyone
[13:34] Gemma Cleanslate: like the bible i say
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: interesting
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: Bye, Bye   
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: merlin
[13:35] herman Bergson: Ok Merlin :-)
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: bye merln
[13:35] Dawn Rhiannyr: bye Merlin
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: hope i will be here Thursday
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: will try
[13:35] herman Bergson: Yes Gemma and a lot of other books.....
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:35] Beertje Beaumont: but a copy can be rewritten by another person with a lot of fantasy
[13:35] Beertje Beaumont: fantasy
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: right
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: i guess so¨
[13:35] Dawn Rhiannyr: yes Beertje
[13:35] herman Bergson: Oh yes Beertje....
[13:36] Beertje Beaumont: like the bible...
[13:36] Gemma Cleanslate: like the bible yes
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: or quoran
[13:36] Gemma Cleanslate: lots of books left out
[13:36] herman Bergson: That is why these manuscripts are subject to thorough analysis....
[13:36] herman Bergson: It is a science....
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: sh
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:36] herman Bergson: Sometimes they even recognize the person who made copies
[13:36] Beertje Beaumont:
[13:37] herman Bergson: By handwriting or systematic errors, spelling mistakes and so on
[13:37] Dawn Rhiannyr: amazing that
[13:37] Gemma Cleanslate: interesting
[13:37] herman Bergson: a complete science
[13:37] Bejiita Imako:
[13:37] Gemma Cleanslate: looks forward to thursday
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: cu then
[13:37] Gemma Cleanslate: Bye, Bye   
[13:37] Gemma Cleanslate: for now :-)
[13:37] Bejiita Imako:
[13:37] herman Bergson: Ok Gemma...take care !
[13:38] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:38] Dawn Rhiannyr: bye Gemma
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: bye
[13:38] Beertje Beaumont: bye Gemma
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: cu thursday then
[13:38] herman Bergson: Ok Bejiita :-))
[13:38] Bejiita Imako:
[13:38] herman Bergson: be well and enjoy
[13:39] Beertje Beaumont: well I have to go too, tomorrow will be a very busy day for me
[13:39] herman Bergson: YEs indeed :-))
[13:39] Beertje Beaumont: grins...
[13:39] Dawn Rhiannyr: Thank you again Herman... will have lots to think again
[13:40] herman Bergson: Keeps you healthy Dawn...
[13:40] Beertje Beaumont: thank you for the lecture Herman
[13:40] herman Bergson: My pleasure Beertje
[13:40] Beertje Beaumont: have a goodnight
[13:40] Dawn Rhiannyr: yes that's what I always say - thinking and laughing ;)
[13:40] herman Bergson: it is true....
[13:41] herman Bergson: best way to keep your brain in shape is intellectual activity and physical exersice..
[13:41] Dawn Rhiannyr: yes very true so
[13:41] Dawn Rhiannyr: and a positive way of living

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