• InternetStranger
    155
    I reject the notion of the special nature of the modern conception of a science broken loose of a value or of a living world view, as a continuing research across generations. The same is true of anything, any collective activity. One is impressed by the marshaling of the huge bulk and agglutinated activity of the universities as they now, in their activity, constitute the greatest ant hive ever to exist. Yet, this is, in principle, no different from a few persons chatting throughout the millennia, provided they in some way keep the flame alive, and continue to show one another their paths in thought, thereby speaking across the ages. The caliber of the output depends wholly on the judgment of the one surveying it, the whole output of the now powerful conception of science might be viewed as a trivial production of junk.

    Any notion of progress must be presupposed as a standard to keep the continuity under an idea understood as meaningful to some community.
  • TheMadFool
    2.4k
    A 100 years in the past mobile phones were nonsense. A 100 years in the future mobile phones will be, again, nonsense.

    We dress ourselves in the NOW and look back and see savages; not knowing we are the savages of the future.
  • InternetStranger
    155


    Not quite. For the first time we do know. And this is all the difference. Huge bulk and consequence of change!

    Who is the "we" here? Perhaps only the very few called and chosen to approach thought.
  • TheMadFool
    2.4k
    For the first time we do knowInternetStranger

    That's what every generation says. Science is always looking for a better theory to explain. In fact that is science's modus operandi. Wouldn't it be wrong to claim that we do know?
  • Bitter Crank
    6.3k
    A 100 years in the past mobile phones were nonsense. A 100 years in the future mobile phones will be, again, nonsense.TheMadFool

    Actually, the core technology of the cell phone is over 100 years old -- it's radio. Radio coupled with switching equipment. The smart phone is a combination of computer technology (which began to be developed around 70 years ago, and then integrated circuitry, which is a bit more recent.

    Dick Tracy (a cartoon detective character) had a wrist radio in the 1950s which HQ used to send him important messages

    tumblr_pbgg9yHxLh1s4quuao1_400.png

    Using the electromagnetic spectrum is a very basic technology. It won't disappear in 100 years (unless we do).
  • Bitter Crank
    6.3k
    I reject the notion of the special nature of the modern conception of a science broken loose of a value or of a living world view, as a continuing research across generations. The same is true of anything, any collective activity.InternetStranger

    True: Science isn't "different".

    If human activity wasn't multi-generational, we would be operating below the level of our chimpanzee relatives, pan troglodytes. Language, cultural features, writing, complex technology (like agriculture, making copper tools, art...) have to be maintained over generations or they wouldn't exist. They would have to be reinvented and perfected every 30 years or so. Science is not unique in its need for continuity.

    If you look at human activity over the last 5,000 years or so, you can see that development in the arts and sciences (encompassing culture) has been halting and sporadic. Progress has been "punctuated" rather than continuous.

    If you look at the history of science, the same thing applies--some periods of activity and periods of inactivity. Actually, it was continuity of thinking about disease (lasting for a couple thousand years) that impeded understanding of disease. The ancient Greek ideas about balanced humors in the body were still taken as fact in the 18th century. George Washington was bled so severely (to get rid of harmful humors) that it practically killed him.

    There were scientists (like Scottish anatomist John Hunter, 1728-1793) whose research showed that a lot of medical knowledge was nonsense, but his insights were not immediately followed up. There were another 100 years before Robert Koch published his germ theory in 1875.

    Science is like technology, in that insights and discoveries need to be acted upon or they lead nowhere. If the invention of the wheel hadn't been applied to other problems, civilization would have followed a much different course. Science and technology are not the same as the arts and humanities--where insights and discoveries are of a broader nature, and arise from the mulch of human experience. The literary exploration of human emotions, for example, in the 18th and 19th century novel weren't "discoveries" the way that the various elements were discovered. The novel came out of the same human mulch than the Classical Greek drama did. That's why we can understand plays like Antigone or Lysistrata. Art the world round has a common source, though refracted through very different cultures.
  • InternetStranger
    155


    "Wouldn't it be wrong to claim that we do know?"

    Science in the modern interpretation doesn't explain at all, it observes how things happen. That's a specific European conception of knowledge which has come to world power in recent generations. Horizon of knowledge is different. One learns things that never go away so long as humans continue, changes in human knowing, civilization or culture. Penetrating to common sense and daily life.

    Consider: A remote tribe, some European anthropologists or ethnologists come in and start asking questions. they understand neighbors coming to fight, or to trade, or for some local exchange of local knowledge, etc.. But simply to know about other groups, to study humans as such, this is unknown to them. After this experience they can never go back. They are transformed by knowing human beings seek that kind of knowledge.
  • InternetStranger
    155


    It’s true still now. For instance, the negative view of bacteria, only recently coming to light, which means that antibiotics have caused more deaths than the top five diseases in the last century through in-hospital overuse (of course, the antibiotic industry had something to do with holding back phage-therapy research). However, there is little meaning to a separation between “Science” as grand modern conception, i.e., the winning out of a part of philosophy, the corresponding invention/creation of “scientists” rather than natural philosophers, and so forth, and everything else left over. That is really what I want to say. Still at the turn of the twentieth century philosophy was the name for all the sciences inclusive, as is still seen in vestigial form in the term PhD (perminant head damage!). Too much faith is put in a determination of tiny importance in the long run, e.g., Geisteswissenschaft as over and against Naturwissenschaft, these are short-term notions thoughtlessly superimposed on history as though they were eternal verities.

    “ in the 18th and 19th century novel weren't "discoveries" the way that the various elements were discovered.”

    This is wrong. Anyone who knows such work knows that if things are to come clear, the piercing power to see the forms must come, the reader must know what they are reading otherwise it doesn’t mean what the author meant. Think of the universal rejection of the late 19th century avant garde painters by the public, not ready to see their work. In the same way, one must know what one is looking for in chemistry, have a trained acumen, otherwise the material is not seen as what it is to be for the science. One must awaken colleagues, produce them. The elements aren't simply there, no more than are books for apes.

    The question of discovery or creation is difficult. Remember, Franklin was still called an inventor, creativity in his time was a power reserved to god. What is it one is long used to calling creativity? One says it without the deep and large consternation of thinking these days. Surely, we are told, scientists are creative. And most of all mathematicians are artists! The theological military complex gave way to our commercial military complex, which makes maths "useful" in the creation of weapons required by the global commercial networks. The mathematicians go on naively claiming to do something that is worth while for its own sake, because as humans they want to, like musicians. And yet, is that the reason for math's resistless rise, math which was the core of the inner philosophic elite since Pythagoras' day, in the popular opinion! Certainly not. State propaganda and "education".
  • Bitter Crank
    6.3k
    For instance, the negative view of bacteria, only recently coming to light, which means that antibiotics have caused more deaths than the top five diseases in the last century through in-hospital overuseInternetStranger

    Your statement "antibiotics caused more deaths than the top 5 diseases..." sounds like hyperbole. Cite a couple of good sources for that. In his Nobel address, Fleming stated that bacterial resistance to penicillin would definitely occur, especially if too little was used. He didn't anticipate agriculture feeding advanced antibiotics to cattle to keep them from dropping dead in the crowded and unsanitary feed lots.

    Prior to 1940-45 infections were the leading cause of death. Viruses, of course, weren't treatable by antibiotics, only bacterial diseases (TB, staph and strep infections, malaria, pneumonia, etc.). The degradation of antibiotics did not occur in-hospital as much as resistant infections arrived at hospitals, and spread among patients.

    Most drug resistance is the result of bad dosing by individuals deciding how much antibiotic to take. Most people quit as soon as their symptoms disappear -- not when the disease agent is dead -- the condition required for antibiotic resistance to develop. Antibiotics are sold OTC in many countries. Some diseases, syphilis for example, didn't become resistant because penicillin is so effective on Treponema pallidum.
  • InternetStranger
    155



    In the twinkling of an eye a scientism addict will take one forever off subject. I’m not talking about creation of resistance, but killing good bacteria. It’s from Steve Stearns. You can probably email him. Soviets concluded phage therapy was the right way in the 20’s but in the US a study run by the people producing antibiotics set the tone. However, the more general issue is patently obvious, the close grand collaboration of non-human and human cells was not thematized until recently. The general view of what’s going on in the body is almost wholly wrong, and the vast diversity of its microconstituents are unknown to this day. That’s been concealed to undergrads and the public dude!

    The more pressing philosophic issue is that Science isn't anything, it's: what those people are doing, & you point...
  • InternetStranger
    155


    I know Pinker's work. He's like a a guy who wanted to be a porn star, but, instead, we get cheap and meaningless ideology. I like statistics! Wow... Irrational and boring.
  • Banno
    3.3k
    An ad hom and a denial of facts. Cool. Have fun.
  • InternetStranger
    155


    When the man is defective... OK, I shall try to "have fun".
  • Banno
    3.3k
    The caliber of the output depends wholly on the judgment of the one surveying it, the whole output of the now powerful conception of science might be viewed as a trivial production of junk.InternetStranger

    There's the problem: giving primacy to your own judgement. Progress happens, regardless of your judgement. When it comes to your own open heart surgery, do you choose a shaman or a surgeon?
  • Sam26
    983
    People tend to ignore facts, they're more interested in buying into a particular narrative (right or left); and they see everything through their narrative. We're in a culture where we belong to our own little tribe, and damn all others who don't think like my tribe.
  • InternetStranger
    155


    "When it comes to your own open heart surgery, do you choose a shaman or a surgeon?"

    This assumes or takes for granted the value of health. Health may be an evil. In Plato there is a sensible opinion expressed, perhaps only in passing, I don't say convincing view, but sensible, i.e., more than merely apprhendeble by the intellect, in some way persuasive, that health is an evil since the healthy are more likely to have inflated opinions about themselves.

    It is a secondary matter, but many may rightly prefer a shaman. That is why there is a large and deep polemic against so-called western medicine. What does "rightly" mean here? Who is the higher judge of it? What is "health"? Feeling good, or does it require somehow some investigation to clarify that? It's not immediately obvious once one raises the question.
  • Banno
    3.3k
    I asked which you would choose.

    I'm not too keen on Pinker either. Seems to me he made his reputation by popularising the ideas of others. But I do agree in the main with his analysis of the sort of intellectual wank that pretends values are relative.
  • Banno
    3.3k
    The most coherent proponent of the view in the OP is Feyerabend, in whom I am well-pleased.

    His view of scientific method is found in the aphorism "Anything Goes"; and philosophical, it's quite strong. The critique that catches it is that if anything goes, everything stays. What starts out as an argument for radical change becomes an argument for radical conservatism.

    A rather nice example came up in the Australian Senate last week when the libertarian nut David Leyonhejelm (Anything Goes Party) thought it was a good idea to slut-shame Sarah Hanson-young; he failed to understand that he can happily claim anything goes because of the privileged position he occupies as a white middle-aged middle-class dickhead.
  • InternetStranger
    155


    " But I do agree in the main with his analysis of the sort of intellectual wank that pretends values are relative."

    Is the pro-life vs. pro-choice an issue of values? I deliberately use an example which is admitted at the lowest level, which is to say, by the American legal profession. It's a piratical issue of tangible importance.

    You're quite mistaken, and the issue of the existence of "values" as such is also very difficult (that concept is derived from Nietzsche, through Simmel and came into general usage by way of Weber, it is itself relative to our age, and a value). It corresponds to Positivism, especially social science positivism where ideologies are produced by people like Pinker (which is true even if he is not strictly speaking a social scientist, he still produces ideology or irrational value claims, i.e., unscientifically verifiable claims), the belief that science deals in facts (rather than values).

    It's of some moment to grasp this: relativism corresponds to the situation in the universities, it goes along with positivism, even when, and more so, when it is not called by that name, but there is something else, the general attitude of the public is existentialist or historial, which means that one speaks all the time of subjectivity. Of mere subjective views of individuals, and of the radical claim to "pursuit of happiness", each one in their own way.
  • InternetStranger
    155


    "The most coherent proponent of the view in the OP is Feyerabend, in whom I am well-pleased."

    Feyerabend is a terrible uneducated epigone. And not to be taken seriously.
  • Heiko
    144
    The measure of truth of an argument is it's negative, destructive power.
  • Banno
    3.3k
    Might just let your words speak for themselves.
  • InternetStranger
    155


    Give one high-quality example of "destructive power" in action.
  • Heiko
    144
    This already has been done, I guess. Why would we need explanations and philosophy? We got YouTube.
    Philosophy just tries to solve the problems it caused itself: Every philosopher dreams of making up a huge problem which would not even exist without him.
  • InternetStranger
    155


    Such as gravity or displacement? Or being or life? True, this is what is most human: To be utterly forsaken amidst being, alone experiencing the world as a problem or question.
  • Heiko
    144
    In this philosophy kinda seems to serve the same purpose as a better clothes shop.
  • InternetStranger
    155


    I'm not sure what you mean. Are you assuming that philosophy aims at improvement? This is perhaps historically true. Though, it is not essential to philosophy. Since it can also seriously question like a music floating in an utterly forsaken world. In any case, the human exists, so it must be philosophic. For that is what it is.
  • Heiko
    144
    Do you really have that impression if you take a look on this forum, for example?
  • Heiko
    144
    That the discussions here are driven by some kind of deep need to question. The explanations are good and nice - but the question YOU made up here is how this would embed into the current social context. Take the Pinker-vid for example. How would you call that show? Philotainment?
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.