Philosophy-Science: The Bifurcation of Nature

  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Epistemology
  3. » Philosophy-Science: The Bifurcation of Nature

Get Email Updates Email this Topic Print this Page

Reply Thu 12 Oct, 2006 10:24 pm
I do not know well enough of the decline of the Aristotelian doctrine and the subsequent rise of modern ideas which replaced it but I do know that it was Nicolaus Copernicus who developed the heliocentric (Sun-centered) theory of the solar system in a form detailed enough to make it scientifically useful. And it was Copernicus' book "On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres" which marks the beginning of the shift from a geocentric (and anthropocentric) universe with the Earth at its center.

Aristotle held philosophy to be the discerning, through the use of systematic logic as expressed in syllogisms, of the self-evident, changeless first principles that form the basis of all knowledge. He taught that knowledge of a thing requires an inquiry into causality and that the "final cause"-the purpose or function of the thing-is primary.

I don't think I would make any enemies if I state that, if Aristotle were here today he would find no place in the Fermi super-collider in New Jersey or the CERN labs in Europe. I mean, I don't think they would put up with a teleological inquiry.

The question I raise is this: Is there any such thing as a scientific problematic of the universe at all? And if not where would progress lie?

People come running in literally out of the blue touting the "TAO of PHYSICS" or the "IMPLICATE ORDER" on ice that is far too thin for a reasonable person to approve of. In their books they take the great scientific achievements and graft on to it a knee-jerk philosophy. This is one of the problems that philosophy faces today: If a proposal is not strictly scientific, then how do we distinguish important philosophical knowledge from guru style poetry? The "Collective Unconscious" of Jung, for example, is just Platonic Ideas warmed up for leftovers.

For Aristotle there was something distinctly alive in the world; for Descartes matter is already finished form as it is; Thales interpreted a machine within the person and a soul within matter. The point is this: If matter, space, thoughts are all of them alive in some sense then philosophy has a future however, if matter, space, the fundamentals of physical nature are not somehow alive, then philosophy is doomed. Science will not need it; or, why would science need it?

Leibniz and Whitehead actually believed that matter was alive in some sense (that the universe as a whole is organic) and that this accounted for its ability to combine and reform and to be known through experience. For Leibniz the "Monads" have perception, for Whitehead the fundamental "things" are atoms of experience.

I suspect that there are not a great many idealists around but I can't stress enough the difficulties of realizing this position of organism, of an organic universe. In my opinion it shouldn't be confused with religion, or culture or politics for that matter.

There is a heroism to Thales, just as there is a necessary routinization, or clericalism to Descartes. The heroism of Thales' being lies in the strength of mind that has the patience to wait until the phantoms have passed and the truth revealed itself, whatever that truth may be. There is also a sport to Leibniz's Monads, because he hinted at his organic logic so we might finish them.
 
perplexity
 
Reply Fri 13 Oct, 2006 03:58 am
@Pythagorean,
Is there any such thing as a scientific problematic of the universe at all? And if not where would progress lie?

Does that mean to suggest that the problems exist only to the extent that we create them for the sake of our amusement, or something to a similar effect?

If so, I worry that this may be one problem too many.

--- RH.
 
Aristoddler
 
Reply Fri 13 Oct, 2006 04:08 pm
@Pythagorean,
If one could decide what the problem is; where would you even begin to consider starting the equation for it?
With something so presumably, theologically and scientifically infinite; would the equation just simply be "infinity is equal to infinity"? (sorry, html won't accept the symbol on this site...it turns into the Yen symbol for some reason.)
 
Pythagorean
 
Reply Fri 13 Oct, 2006 11:10 pm
@Pythagorean,
Quote:
Is there any such thing as a scientific problematic of the universe at all? And if not where would progress lie?


What I mean is: are the ultimate questions that modern science seeks to answer solvable via the scientific method alone? Or does mankind require a speculative philosophy to solve them? In other words, how do we approach the ultimate questions?

Do we solve them for example by empirical investigations alone, or by a teleological inquiry (or speculative system)? Or some combination of these?

For example: if we figure out precisely and empirically how the "Big Bang" so called creation of the universe actually happened does that mean that we have understood all there is or are we yet missing something?

-- Pythagorean
 
perplexity
 
Reply Sat 14 Oct, 2006 03:00 am
@Pythagorean,
Pythagorean wrote:
What I mean is: are the ultimate questions that modern science seeks to answer solvable via the scientific method alone? Or does mankind require a speculative philosophy to solve them? In other words, how do we approach the ultimate questions?

Do we solve them for example by empirical investigations alone, or by a teleological inquiry (or speculative system)? Or some combination of these?

For example: if we figure out precisely and empirically how the "Big Bang" so called creation of the universe actually happened does that mean that we have understood all there is or are we yet missing something?


This is the axiom issue that I have gone on about elsewhere.

The empirical version compares results to expectations in terms of repeatabilty. It is thus wonderfully effective to prove that science is predictable, but without wondering so much to what extent it does so by rigging the game to achieve that very effect.

It is like examining your hard disk as if to attempt to prove that your software is digital.

OK then, so it is digital, so what?

To solve a software problem, talk to a programmer. Examine the algorithm.

In my view further progress is only to be achieved by admitting to the fact that we create the reality; we write the program.

--- RH.
 
Aristoddler
 
Reply Sat 14 Oct, 2006 08:15 am
@Pythagorean,
We also create the problems.
 
Gillis
 
Reply Sat 14 Oct, 2006 09:58 am
@Pythagorean,
I agree in full that in classical views, we are nothing more than machines.. The movie I robot, think in the perspective of the writer and you see that he may be using it as an example. My opinion is that I,,, being the robot,, am nothing more than a so to speak "brick in the wall" floyd.. We through the ways of todays way of living, really only become a tool ,, a robot in the running of our economy.. We as human beings seem to pat ourselves on the back with the assumption or feelings that we are so smart.. but what do we really know about anything of any importants. We My grandmother is much smarter than my old chemistry professor , in my opinion. My grandmother knows how to use what she already has and survive off of it. she gardens, cooks, .. WE NEED TO GO BACK TO BASICS AND ONCE AGAIN THE UNIVERSE , SPIRITS, GODS, CAN LIVE TOGETHER IN HARMONY..
 
Gillis
 
Reply Sat 14 Oct, 2006 09:58 am
@Pythagorean,
I agree in full that in classical views, we are nothing more than machines.. The movie I robot, think in the perspective of the writer and you see that he may be using it as an example. My opinion is that I,,, being the robot,, am nothing more than a so to speak "brick in the wall" floyd.. We through the ways of todays way of living, really only become a tool ,, a robot in the running of our economy.. We as human beings seem to pat ourselves on the back with the assumption or feelings that we are so smart.. but what do we really know about anything of any importants. We are placed into highschool told to listen learn, then placed into college where we have a decision to become nothing more than a specialist in a feild that they have alredy explored and set up for use in the past.. My grandmother is much smarter than my old chemistry professor , in my opinion. My grandmother knows how to use what she already has and survive off of it. she gardens, cooks, .. WE NEED TO GO BACK TO BASICS AND ONCE AGAIN THE UNIVERSE , SPIRITS, GODS, CAN LIVE TOGETHER IN HARMONY..
 
perplexity
 
Reply Sat 14 Oct, 2006 10:35 am
@Aristoddler,
Aristoddler wrote:
We also create the problems.


Of course, especially in the narrative sense.

The vast majority of the modern style of social anxiety is self inflicted, caused by authors of their own misfortune to satisfy their appetite for drama.

There was nothing to prevent them going off to meditate quietly until the sun goes down, except that they never really fancied to do so.

-- RH.
 
boagie
 
Reply Tue 9 Jan, 2007 09:48 pm
"Is there any such thing as a scientific problematic of the universe at all? And if not where would progress lie?"

What about the emergence of general system theory and cybernetics, a new way to examine our universe.Perhaps it is old hat to many.I have just discovered them myself,so this is a brand new perspective.THEN THERE IS CREATIONISM---------JUST KIDDING!


I am headed for the light on God's back porch!
 
Billy phil
 
Reply Sun 23 Dec, 2007 11:34 am
@Pythagorean,
I recently picked up Anthony Gottlieb's The Dream Of Reason: A history of philosophy from the Greeks to the Rennaisance. In the end he found 'there is no such thing as philosophy." "It was just not possible to confine what is usually referred to as "philosophy" to a single subject that can be placed neatly on an academic map.' (p. vii). Western science was created by philosophers who didn't accept "the gods" as adequate explanation. Economics, sociology, psychology and computer languages (logic) came from philosophy. I guess one of his points is that once something becomes truly practical, they steal it from philosophy.

Billy
 
Quatl
 
Reply Fri 25 Jan, 2008 05:59 am
@Pythagorean,
Philosophy and science have always been intertwined. Depending on what form of philosophizing you are examining the relationship is closer or more distant. Science is really a child of philosophy, or less poetically, a subset, or derived discipline. As are such things as mathematics, engineering, and a host of other very useful frames of thought. I think your fear for philosophy's utility is misplaced.

I offer Relativity as an example. I don't think that Einstein would have gotten to the answers he did, without his philosophy. His result is too strange, and very different from what the relevant science was at the time. His mathematical explanation was likely derived from his philosophical idea, and subsequently specified that idea, and elaborated on it until it reached the form he presented to the world. Relativity was I believe created out of a dance between mathematics and philosophy. This is one way in which philosophy will always be important to science.

In quantum physics philosophy is used to fill the gaps, where the theory, and experimental results do not "satisfy." The various "interpretations" are metaphysical not scientific ideas. The Copenhagen or Many Worlds ideas are what I'm referring to here. The science says "something odd is happening down here in the tiny fiddly bits of the universe" But it doesn't directly answer our need for "why." So folks generally decide upon a metaphysic that makes them feel better about the situation, or invent a new one. The results of this activity particularly irritate me, but they illustrate at minimum a psychological need for philosophy, when science is not able to give us a reassuring result. And who knows, it may be that someone's search for a comforting metaphysical of quantum physics, will lead them to a physical description of quantum behavior that is more informative than the one we have now.

Epistemologically speaking, thinking about philosophy can also train the mind in a general sense that may help when thinking about science.

There are other interactions between the too that I think are generally cooperative in nature. So many in fact that I couldn't enumerate them all here. I think that philosophy holds a great deal of utility for science yet.

As for Ultimate Truth, I am dubious in general so I can't help you there. I feel that the search for UT is usually far more self serving than enlightening; but your mileage may vary.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Fri 25 Jan, 2008 06:11 am
@Pythagorean,
Pythagorean wrote:
What I mean is: are the ultimate questions that modern science seeks to answer solvable via the scientific method alone? Or does mankind require a speculative philosophy to solve them?

Science is reductionist and descriptive. The greatest hope science can have is to have such overwhelming observations that a story can be told (i.e. a law or a theory). If this is what you mean by an ultimate question, then science can answer them, at least in theory.

But the ultimate questions that interest philosophy are mostly beyond scientific inquiry.

Let's take ethics as an example. Let's say that science can produce enough data to show survival and fertility benefits for good phenomena and the converse for bad phenomena. And further science can show the exact neuropsychological nature of good and bad.

All this is incidental to the philosophical question, which is a question of meaning. Philosophy approaches the human experience in ways beyond descriptive mechanics and function. They just have different roles.
 
iconoclast
 
Reply Mon 4 Feb, 2008 02:06 pm
@Aedes,
aedes, sorry to break into this thread to disagree with you - who have supported me elsewhere, best try to do this politely.

you say: 'the ultimate questions that interest philosophy are mostly beyond scientific inquiry. ...Let's take ethics as an example.'

i think an ethical code is implied by a holistic scientific understanding of reality - insofar as that's achievable. it starts from the fact that humankind is a single species occupying a single planetray environment. an equal right to resources within the bounds of environmental sustainability follows. population controls follow in turn - laying down ethical posaitions from the point of view of a functional and sustainable society.

i'd like to invite your opinion, and that of others, but yours particularly as yopu are familiar with my work. there you are - polite disagreement. i can do it.

thanks, iconoclast.
 
boagie
 
Reply Mon 4 Feb, 2008 02:14 pm
@iconoclast,
Hi Everyone,Smile

"Science is reductionist and descriptive"


:)Science cannot be said to be simply reductionism, with the introduction of systems science or holistic science we are introduced to a much much wider perspective than is available through reductionism.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Mon 4 Feb, 2008 02:51 pm
@iconoclast,
iconoclast wrote:
i think an ethical code is implied by a holistic scientific understanding of reality - insofar as that's achievable. it starts from the fact that humankind is a single species occupying a single planetray environment. an equal right to resources within the bounds of environmental sustainability follows. population controls follow in turn - laying down ethical posaitions from the point of view of a functional and sustainable society.

Those are ethical ideas, but they're not scientific either in process or in form. To assert, for example, that "all humans have an equal right to resources within the bounds of environental sustainability" cannot have any scientific grounding without a reductionist justification. If you justify your theory based on studies of demography and resources and economics and nutrition, etc, etc, you're creating a holistic theory by universalizing reductionist research.

Furthermore, as I tried to make clear in the whole post of mine, the issue in ethics has to do with what's morally good, not what's scientifically advantageous. There's a big difference between the two, and the two are often at odds. For instance, why don't we implement a eugenics program and sterilize people who carry various genetic diseases? Some things that scientifically make sense also seem truly good. Other things that seem truly good make no scientific sense.

boagie wrote:
Science cannot be said to be simply reductionism, with the introduction of systems science or holistic science we are introduced to a much much wider perspective than is available through reductionism.

The scientific process is reductionism. Something like environmental science is reductionist, because you catalog and study the constituent parts of an environment -- everything from the microbiota to the atmosphere to the flora and fauna. Astrophysics also builds from studying the constituent parts of the universe -- observing red shifts and black holes, etc, and universalizing the principles gleaned from these observations. A holistic theory is an end effect of reductionist research, but the theory can never come about without breaking things down and understanding them at ever smaller levels.
 
iconoclast
 
Reply Tue 5 Feb, 2008 08:51 am
@Aedes,
Aedes,

Your problem is (you know what your problem is!) that you draw from philosophy the desire for a superlative and absolute explanation - tested to the nth degree, and superimpose this as a motive of science. Even while it's the best information available - science is always open to revision in face of further evidence.

I appreciate that people with genetic differences/defects have been killed - and science claimed as justification, and not just in Nazi Germany, but in America in the 1930's. We had a Eugenics movement here in Britain too - but the aims of the Eugenics movement were primarily ideological, and founded upon science that has been superceded to such a degree it's absurd to even suggest the practice could be rationalized by acceptance of a modern scientific understanding of reality, and applying this as a political philosophy.

The neo-Darwinian synthesis of evolutionary theory and genetics shows quite clearly that random mutations in the gene pool occur, and must occur for evolution to take place. The Eugenics movement of the 30's and 40's did not appreciate this - but thought they could clean the blood-stock by getting rid of anyone who didn't conform to a wholly imaginary ideal. We now know that there is no ideal - but that biodiversity is the spice of life.

Science is not superlative - that's why it would be ethical in application. In application the rational/moral schism introduced by the Church of Rome is broken down, and science takes on the burden of providing a society in which psychologically healthy people would want to live. Thus, while it's a fact that for the sake of environmental sustainability we need to control human population - it would not be in accord with a scientific understanding of human psychology to do this by genocidal warfare when it might be achieved by an equal right to self-replacement in two halves of two children.

I challenge you to adduce any ethical question not open to resolution by a rounded scientific understanding.

iconoclast.

p.s. you say: you're creating a holistic theory by universalizing reductionist research. yes, that's exactly what i propose.
 
 

 
  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Epistemology
  3. » Philosophy-Science: The Bifurcation of Nature
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.02 seconds on 04/24/2019 at 03:00:25