Philosophy of Science Quotes

Discussions on the philosophical foundations, assumptions, and implications of science, including the natural sciences.

Philosophy of Science Quotes

Postby mtbturtle on May 24th, 2012, 5:18 pm 

"...There will be well-testable theories, hardly testable theories, and non-testable theories. Those which are non-testable are of no interest to empirical scientists. They may be described as metaphysical." -
Karl Popper Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge

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Re: Philosophy of Science Quotes

Postby Whut on May 24th, 2012, 5:28 pm 

'...We have to have some idea of what fills all the blanks. You need at least a rough sketch, otherwise you won't know what to do when the scientific facts aren't complete; and they often aren't. And the fact is, whether you think so or not, you all make assumptions, already, about how the blanks are filled. So why not make assumptions that are as sound as they can be? That's what doing metaphysics is all about.'

-Richard Carrier
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Re: Philosophy of Science Quotes

Postby mtbturtle on June 2nd, 2012, 9:14 am 

"A scientist commonly professes to base his beliefs on observations, not theories. Theories, it is said, are useful in suggesting new ideas and new lines of investigation for the experimenter; but 'hard facts' are the only proper ground for conclusion. I have never come across anyone who carries this profession into practice--certainly not the hard-headed experimentalist, who is the more swayed by his theories because he is less accustomed to scrutinise them. Observation is not sufficient. We do not believe our eyes unless we are first convinced that what they appear to tell us is credible.

It is better to admit frankly that theory has, and is entitled to have, an important share in determining belief. For the reader resolved to eschew theory and admit only definite observation facts, all astronomical books are banned. There are no purely observational facts about the heavenly bodies. Astronomical measurements are, without exception, measurements of phenomena occurring in a terrestrial observatory or station; it is only by theory that they are translated into knowledge of a universe outside."
Arthur Eddington - The Expanding Universe: Astronomy's 'Great Debate', 1900-1931 p.17
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Re: Philosophy of Science Quotes

Postby mtbturtle on June 17th, 2012, 11:34 am 

"The study of paradigms, including many that are for more specialized than those named illustratively above, is what mainly prepares the student for membership in the particular scientific community with which he will later practice. Because he there joins men who learned the bases of their field forms the same concrete models, his subsequent practice will seldom evoke overt disagreement over fundamentals. Men whose research is based on shared paradigms are committed to the same rules and standards for scientific practice. That commitment and the apparent consensus it produces are prerequisites for normal science, i.e. for the genesis and continuation of a particular research tradition."
Thomas Kuhn - The Structure of Scientific Revolutions p.11
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Re: Philosophy of Science Quotes

Postby Alan Masterman on June 24th, 2012, 12:22 pm 

I am not familiar at first hand with Popper's philosophy of science... but I wonder if he has fallen into the classic pitfall of assuming a "truth" to be absolute and eternal, when in fact it is contingent upon place, time and culture. From the point of view of practical science, we might assert that Darwinian Evolution theory was non-testable (and therefore 'metaphysical') in 1066, but eminently testable (and highly meaningful) in 1966...

This is not to say that Popper is wrong - indeed, it may help to explain why new scientific ideas fail to take root until the right moment. Olbers' Paradox is a case in point. Olbers was not the first to identify it, but he pointed it out at a moment when it suddenly seemed to be important, so his was the name which stuck.
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Re: Philosophy of Science Quotes

Postby mtbturtle on August 6th, 2012, 8:53 am 

" And so what science is, is not what the philosophers have said it is, and certainly not what the teacher editions say it is. What it is, is a problem which I set for myself after I said I would give this talk.

After some time, I was reminded of a little poem:

A centipede was happy quite, until a toad in fun
Said, “Pray, which leg comes after which?”
This raised his doubts to such a pitch
He fell distracted in the ditch
Not knowing how to run.

All my life, I have been doing science and known what it was, but what I have come to tell you – which foot comes after which – I am unable to do, and furthermore, I am worried by the analogy in the poem that when I go home I will no longer be able to do any research." Richard Feyman - What is Science?
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Re: Philosophy of Science Quotes

Postby muti on December 22nd, 2012, 8:24 am 

Alan Masterman wrote:I am not familiar at first hand with Popper's philosophy of science... but I wonder if he has fallen into the classic pitfall of assuming a "truth" to be absolute and eternal, when in fact it is contingent upon place, time and culture. From the point of view of practical science, we might assert that Darwinian Evolution theory was non-testable (and therefore 'metaphysical') in 1066, but eminently testable (and highly meaningful) in 1966...

This is not to say that Popper is wrong - indeed, it may help to explain why new scientific ideas fail to take root until the right moment. Olbers' Paradox is a case in point. Olbers was not the first to identify it, but he pointed it out at a moment when it suddenly seemed to be important, so his was the name which stuck.



I think we have to pay attention that the truth is something and our conception about truth is some thing else .

how ever the truth can changed by the time but nobody can say that the truth isn't absolute ( such clime can be paradoxical ) but it is possible to say our conception about the truth is not absolute and relative.

popper is talking about our conception of truth not about the truth

in the other hand popper never has said all the truth is inside the science and never said all sciences are truth .

he is trying to Categorized of our ideas to find how we shall evaluate each one .


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Re: Philosophy of Science Quotes

Postby Rilx on December 22nd, 2012, 5:17 pm 

"We have inherited from our forefathers the keen longing for unified, all-embracing knowledge. The very name given to the highest institutions of learning reminds us, that from antiquity and throughout many centuries the universal aspect has been the only one to be given full credit. But the spread, both in width and depth, of the multifarious branches of knowledge during the last hundred odd years has confronted us with a queer dilemma. We feel clearly that we are only now beginning to acquire reliable material for welding together the sum total of all that is known into a whole; but, on the other hand, it has become next to impossible for a single mind fully to command more than a small specialized portion of it.

I can see no other escape from this dilemma (lest our true aim be lost for ever) than that some of us should venture to embark on a synthesis of facts and theories, albeit with second-hand and incomplete knowledge of some of them - and at the risk of making fools of ourselves."

- Erwin Schrödinger, "What is life" (1944)
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Re: Philosophy of Science Quotes

Postby Marshall on December 22nd, 2012, 5:26 pm 

Beautiful quote from Feynman, a wise man. The Zen archer must hit the target without thinking about how to hit the target---without even knowing how to hit the target. A creative scientist must be able to do science ultimately without knowing what science is, or what the rules are.
mtbturtle wrote:"...

A centipede was happy quite, until a toad in fun
Said, “Pray, which leg comes after which?”
This raised his doubts to such a pitch
He fell distracted in the ditch
Not knowing how to run.

..." Richard Feyman - What is Science?


In part I suppose there is the tacit guidance of a partially unspoken tradition, assimilated by absorbing the minds and ways of thought exemplified in teachers and ancestors. Learned from examples, not codified and taught. But also partly codified and supported by the community of other scientists.

I like that Feynman recited the rhyme about the toad and centipede and that he worried that thinking too much about what it is you do would make him unable to do it, when he went back home to Caltech.
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Re: Philosophy of Science Quotes

Postby Obvious Leo on December 23rd, 2012, 5:05 am 

Popper does not waste too much time with the notion of truth which he regards as navel-gazing. In his interpretation the quest of science is knowledge, which we may regard as bringing us closer to truth. However if our perceptions are entangled within our frame of reference it may equally draw us further away. The science of psychology has clearly demonstrated to us that all our perceptions are a construct of mind and our minds are not as reliable a tool as we would wish them to be.

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Re: Philosophy of Science Quotes

Postby DragonFly on December 23rd, 2012, 2:32 pm 

[quote="Marshall"I like that Feynman recited the rhyme about the toad and centipede and that he worried that thinking too much about what it is you do would make him unable to do it, when he went back home to Caltech.[/quote]

It's the same as found in playing tennis: too much thinking about all the mechanics disrupts the flow, although this is necessary when learning.
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Re: Philosophy of Science Quotes

Postby Obvious Leo on December 23rd, 2012, 4:55 pm 

Over-thinking within a particular conceptual framework may lead to confusion and even to epicycling. Therefore we must think outside the square from time to time.

( From the Leo dictionary: (to) epicycle v.t To prop up an absurd hypothesis with one or more supplementary hypotheses of escalating absurdity. (Origin Ptolemy).( Example the multiverse).)

The philosopher lives in a Rumsfeldian world ( acknowledging the only intelligent statement ever uttered by this unconvicted war criminal). We have known knowns (provisionally), we have known unknowns ( temporarily), and we almost certainly have a full suite of unknown unknowns. But he that seeks knowledge in the world of philosophy will never accept the existence of an unknowable unknown, because such a proposition describes a universe that is meaningless.

It is by no means illogical to regard the universe as meaningless, although it doesn't happen to coincide with my personal conceptual taste, but to attempt to understand a meaningless universe would seem to me to be a fruitless exercise, if not downright impossible.

Overthinking is a hazard, and you'll get no argument from me, but this doesn't allow us to accept any proposition as a matter of faith, or science will simply degenerate into yet another belief system.

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Re: Philosophy of Science Quotes

Postby AllShips on January 25th, 2014, 7:21 am 

"Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds" - Richard Feynman

Ouch!
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Re: Philosophy of Science Quotes

Postby Braininvat on January 28th, 2014, 2:16 pm 

Feynman also said, "Philosophy is for tourists." He was of the school of thought that philosophy had gone as far as it could and that all the frontier stuff had moved to the realm of science. E.g. the notion that all the good metaphysics questions are now in physics, that physics would develop the methods and tools to demystify the fundamentals of reality. As much as I liked Feynman, I disagree with him on the uses of philosophy. It's always good to have a "meta" field that looks ahead into the darkness and suggests new lines of inquiry (and reassesses old lines of inquiry, points out cracks in the foundation, and so on).
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Re: Philosophy of Science Quotes

Postby Sivad on June 19th, 2017, 11:05 am 

"Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds"



That says more about birds than it does ornithology.
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Re: Philosophy of Science Quotes

Postby NoShips on June 19th, 2017, 11:19 am 

Well, the Russians used to say (according to legend):

"Under western capitalism, man exploits man. Under Russian socialism, it's the other way around".
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