• Shushi
    34
    Hello,
    In my experience of talking with scientists about philosophy, I have found that many times most scientists seem to look down on it like if it were just speculative non-conducive discussions about random thoughts that anyone can make up. (Here's a recent example of this bias when attempting to discuss Philosophy of Science in a General Discussion sub forum in the Physics Forums)
    Physics Forums: Philosophy of Science
    or
    Physics Forums: Metaphysics
    it's usually helpful to examine the roots of an unfamiliar term. Try a search on "metaphysical etymology" .

    Meta= beyond,
    so what's beyond physical ? Philosophy, i guess, and maybe the occult

    Philosophy has three* principal parts, metaphysics being one of them broadly deals with the same topics as science but often without the focus on empiricism and scientific method, like Aristotelian hand-waving . The branch is IMO- a dead one.

    It seems as though these individuals are going beyond the scientific method, by making claims that aren't scientifically verifiable (like testing things through a test tube) about the truth of philosophy (even though science isn't primarily concerned about what is truth but rather the results of experiments and predictions that depend on metaphysical and frameworks about truth and axioms that value ethics, specifically the virtue of looking for truth), but I'm not judging these individuals as everyone is free to discuss whatever they want within in their circles.

    But it just seems to me an almost impossible task to discuss anything remotely meaningful in most branches of academia if philosophy is completely rejected, which is impossible, and replaces it with philosophical theories like scientism, physicalism, reductionism, materialism, etc. (and claim that those beliefs are pure science and that they don't hold to any beliefs and that they are not philosophy at all). It seems really ridiculous to the point that you may get banned or silenced if one attempts to discuss these things in these circles, as though they were a cult of scientism or something akin to that (I don't mean any offense to them by that, it's just difficult to properly label these sorts of behavior).

    For example in the intial post I made and linked above from the physics forums, I was interested to see the insight of some scientists about their views of philosophy of science as it relates to the areas where these different disciplines seem to cross-over and depend on each other, such as when I stated,

    And a side question, is analytic or theoretical physics under the field of philosophy of physics?

    Such as when dealing with axioms, paradigms, and properly basic beliefs/assumptions, conducting meta-analysis studies, the debate between idealism realism nominalism antirealism instrumentalism of science and scientific theories and facts, Digital Physics theories, if the universe is a closed system or what came before/is outside the universe, if information is metaphysical and/or more fundamental than space-time, matter-energy and the fundamental forces?

    Or how much does psychology, neuroscience have to do with the field of philosophy of the mind,

    like when studying the mind and metacognition (written language and manifestation of symbolism and abstraction), what the relationship between the mind and brain are (like Cartesian-Substance Dualism, dual aspect idealism, Epiphenomenalism, non-Reductive Physicalism or Neutral Monism), or the relationship between data in mind/brains vs hardware/software of AIs, nature and nurture, libertarian free will vs determinism vs compatibilism, meta cognitive self-awareness of those diagnosed with tourette or aspergers or down syndrome, mental/cognitive force i.e. "mind over matter" phenomena of mind manipulating chemical composition of brain, Epistemological discussions on Perceptual Cognition/Visual Cortex/phenomenological experience of reality (subjectivism from myths [historical proper definition] and worldview of observers [like a religion, materialism, solipsism, scientism, physicalism, reductionism, etc.]), unified perception and visual binding problem, the map–territory relation or Kant's phenomenal vs Noemenal distinctions, the reliability of the human mind (since the human mind is involved in all experiments and measurements) in discovering scientific facts/knowledge (the debate of a priori/analytic epistemology vs empirical epistemology from limitations of knowledge such as from the Problem of Criterium, agrippa's trilemma, problem of universals, problem of bayesian knowledge, godel's incompleteness theorem (maths), tarski's undefinability theorem (logic), open question argument and fact-value distinction and is-ought dilemma (moral knowledge), quantum physics general theory of relativity incompatibility and the heisenberg principle of uncertainty and the underdetermination problem (science))

    And
    one area where there may be a mutual growth between science, philosophy/ethics is as Gabriel Marcel stated, on the ontological mystery, he says that the most fruitful and profound avenue to understanding being, to understanding metaphysics, to understanding ontology is the study of sanctity, in that if we understand our own being, we can know the being of anything else, and if we understand our ideal form we can truly know our true self. As in When you study anatomy, instead of studying diseased human body, we define diseases by health. Likewise the ideal human psyche is sanctity rather than vice and unethical behavior which modern psychology uses defective ethical behavior as the standard to measure well being and happiness of people, and if instead people take seriously an ethical ideal form of man, then there wouldn't be issues with deceptive practices in publishing papers, there wouldn't be an irreproducibility crises in science where politics and pseudoscience changes outcomes of studies or uses cheap rhetoric that makes an outcome appear to be valid, and if we understand our ideal selves people would cherish more studying and finding truth and using science for an ultimate good end rather than whatever anyone wants like the nazi scientists to use it to validate their own beliefs of a nazi race or whatever ideologies may influence progress of truth.

    And how much does the abbreviation Phd have to do with Philosophy? Although popular opinion is split on that, I guess there's some type of philosophy in everything I suppose, which is why clicking the firtstor second link of every wiki article eventually leads to the philosphy wiki page

    Do scientists have an irrational bias against philosophy, specifically philosophy of science? Or am I not understanding an obvious truth, such as that science doesn't seem to have anything to do with philsophy of science?

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  • leo
    585
    But it just seems to me an almost impossible task to discuss anything remotely meaningful in most branches of academia if philosophy is completely rejected, which is impossible, and replaces it with philosophical theories like scientism, physicalism, reductionism, materialism, etc. (and claim that those beliefs are pure science and that they don't hold to any beliefs and that they are not philosophy at all). It seems really ridiculous to the point that you may get banned or silenced if one attempts to discuss these things in these circles, as though they were a cult of scientism or something akin to thatShushi

    Do scientists have an irrational bias against philosophy, specifically philosophy of science?Shushi

    Yes. To separate philosophy from science is to make science a religion. They think they have eliminated metaphysics from physics, but all they have done is blind themselves to the metaphysics in physics. They often believe they are dealing with the fundamental constituents of existence, and that there is no belief involved in their conclusions or in the reasonings that lead to their conclusions. They are not aware of their metaphysical beliefs, and it takes some philosophizing to uncover them. Without philosophy they just react like a cult.
  • Wallows
    8.7k
    Ask them if the wavefunction is metaphysical and see what they say.
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.8k
    It seems really ridiculous to the point that you may get banned or silenced if one attempts to discuss these things in these circles, as though they were a cult of scientism or something akin to that (I don't mean any offense to them by that, it's just difficult to properly label these sorts of behavior).Shushi

    I left my last forum, now defunct, for exactly this reason. I was told that "non-scientific" topics were unsuitable for discussion. Such topics were trolled and treated with derision - even by our moderators! - with the intention of preventing their discussion. And this in a supposedly philosophical forum, not a specifically scientific one.

    Do scientists have an irrational bias against philosophy, specifically philosophy of science?Shushi

    I don't think so. The people you refer to are sciencists. They have become enamoured of their own discipline, to the extent that they have come to believe that science is the One and Only Tool that is acceptable for intellectual inquiry. They are zealots, nothing more. The worrying thing is that today, in the world of Trump, Brexit and fake news, their viewpoint is becoming accepted in the wider world. This, I think, we should oppose, where and how we can. :chin:
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.8k
    To separate philosophy from science is to make science a religion. They think they have eliminated metaphysics from physics, but all they have done is blind themselves to the metaphysics in physics. They often believe they are dealing with the fundamental constituents of existence, and that there is no belief involved in their conclusions or in the reasonings that lead to their conclusions. They are not aware of their metaphysical beliefs, and it takes some philosophizing to uncover them. Without philosophy they just react like a cultleo

    :lol: Yes! :up:
  • Coben
    802
    Physics Forums: Metaphysics
    it's usually helpful to examine the roots of an unfamiliar term. Try a search on "metaphysical etymology" .

    Meta= beyond,
    so what's beyond physical ? Philosophy, i guess, and maybe the occult
    Shushi

    It's funny, really, that scientists don't realize that science has a metaphysics. In fact, several, not necessarily compatible ones.
  • god must be atheist
    583
    I always have thought that metaphysics itself was not a meaningful term, but a chapter heading that followed Physics in a book written by Aristotle.

    So if there is a thing beyond physics... what is it? Why is it "beyond" and not "outside", "under", "above" or "beside" physics?
  • god must be atheist
    583
    Scientists are individuals. They may or may not realize that science is performed within the structure of philosophy, namely, that they believe that the world operates on laws, and the laws can be learned by humans, and the laws don't change.

    But most scientists don't worry about that... they just make sure they get passing or better grades in their training, and that their research finds a grantor, and that their research will uncover some publishable fact.
  • god must be atheist
    583
    Also, most people on forums are not professionals, or even learned in the topics they discuss. The participants are enthusiastic, but not trained or even smart. This applies to all specialized forums.

    So the scientists you argued with may not even have been scientists, but avid reader of publications like "Popular Science", "Science", or "Sighans".

    So for you to draw a general statement of what scientists are like or what they think, is a bit unfair if you base it on responses on a so-called science forum.
  • Coben
    802
    So if there is a thing beyond physics... what is it? Why is it "beyond" and not "outside", "under", "above" or "beside" physics?god must be atheist
    There are different ways metaphysics is defined, but to me it includes ontological assumptions. Like, there are natural laws, everything is physical. The idea of 'emergent property' could be seen as metaphysical. Certainly much of cosmology in physics is metaphysics discussion. QM raises a lot of metaphysics issues. And if this seems distant, it's not. QM based phenomena affect large organisms, like birds and plants and perhaps for things. IOW a bird will change course due to qm phenomena inside its visual system. And any attempt to be objective is necessarily working with metaphysics. What is, fundamentally, perception and how is ours skewing our metaphysics. Since we need to know this to know what are objective conclusions and ones biased by the fact that we are primate bodies/brained, time bound something or others? And the idea that there are natural laws is a kind of metaphysical viewpoint and there is quite a bit within science challenging it. Not that the patterns we've noticed aren't there, but they may be much more local and time bound then we assumed. They may not be laws but local, temporary patterns. Of course 'local' may means something huge from part of to the whole of our universe in a multiverse. And time bound may be in billions of years - though there are indications of changes in constants in much short time periods.

    Paradigm shifts in physics would, it seems to me, involve metaphysics.


    I wouldn't take that word 'beyond' too literally. metaphysics usually has to do with fundamental principles, not (necessarily) transcendent things. It could include the latter - depending on the metaphysics - but need not at all.

    Wikipedia, is well, wikipedia, but even so it casts some light on this....

    Metaphysics continues asking "why" where science leaves off. For example, any theory of fundamental physics is based on some set of axioms, which may postulate the existence of entities such as atoms, particles, forces, charges, mass, or fields. Stating such postulates is considered to be the "end" of a science theory. Metaphysics takes these postulates and explores what they mean as human concepts. For example, do all theories of physics require the existence of space and time,[12] objects, and properties? Or can they be expressed using only objects, or only properties? Do the objects have to retain their identity over time or can they change?[13] If they change, then are they still the same object? Can theories be reformulated by converting properties or predicates (such as "red") into entities (such as redness or redness fields) or processes ('there is some redding happening over there' appears in some human languages in place of the use of properties). Is the distinction between objects and properties fundamental to the physical world or to our perception of it?

    Much recent work has been devoted to analyzing the role of metaphysics in scientific theorizing. Alexandre Koyré led this movement, declaring in his book Metaphysics and Measurement, "It is not by following experiment, but by outstripping experiment, that the scientific mind makes progress."[14] That metaphysical propositions can influence scientific theorizing is John Watkins' most lasting contribution to philosophy. Since 1957[15][16] "he showed the ways in which some un-testable and hence, according to Popperian ideas, non-empirical propositions can nevertheless be influential in the development of properly testable and hence scientific theories. These profound results in applied elementary logic...represented an important corrective to positivist teachings about the meaninglessness of metaphysics and of normative claims".[17] Imre Lakatos maintained that all scientific theories have a metaphysical "hard core" essential for the generation of hypotheses and theoretical assumptions.[18] Thus, according to Lakatos, "scientific changes are connected with vast cataclysmic metaphysical revolutions."[19]

    An example from biology of Lakatos' thesis: David Hull has argued that changes in the ontological status of the species concept have been central in the development of biological thought from Aristotle through Cuvier, Lamarck, and Darwin. Darwin's ignorance of metaphysics made it more difficult for him to respond to his critics because he could not readily grasp the ways in which their underlying metaphysical views differed from his own.[20]

    In physics, new metaphysical ideas have arisen in connection with quantum mechanics, where subatomic particles arguably do not have the same sort of individuality as the particulars with which philosophy has traditionally been concerned.[21] Also, adherence to a deterministic metaphysics in the face of the challenge posed by the quantum-mechanical uncertainty principle led physicists such as Albert Einstein to propose alternative theories that retained determinism.[22] A.N. Whitehead is famous for creating a process philosophy metaphysics inspired by electromagnetism and special relativity.[23]

    In chemistry, Gilbert Newton Lewis addressed the nature of motion, arguing that an electron should not be said to move when it has none of the properties of motion.[24]

    Katherine Hawley notes that the metaphysics even of a widely accepted scientific theory may be challenged if it can be argued that the metaphysical presuppositions of the theory make no contribution to its predictive success.[25]
    — Wikipedia
  • tim wood
    3k
    Science is the structured asking and attempts to find the answers to questions. That is, to do any science, you have to ask a question (and of course there conventions and rules on how to go about science - these latter the business of scientists). To ask any question involves presuppositions about the thing asked about, the asking itself, and possible answers. And this calls into awareness the notion of presuppositions, and as well, on reflection, that any questioning is based on presuppositions.

    (A question based on a presupposition that is in fact not being made is a nonsense question; an invitation to consider and "talk" nonsense, which can be entertaining and perhaps in the sense of brainstorming of some use, but is not in itself useful in any scientific sense. "What would you do if..," can stand as representative of a class of nonsense questions, and so forth.)

    At the start, the presupposition can be expressed as a hypothesis; that is, I might presuppose that water boils at 195 degrees at 13,000 feet above sea level. Then I will design an experiment to test the hypothesis, and will find it either correct, or incorrect, and this involves a constellation of presuppositions.

    So-called relative presuppositions stand in relationship to both questions and answers. As such they are subject to experiment and can be verified. And in the case of each presupposition, you can ask what that presupposition presupposes. In this dual role as answer to some questions and the ground for other questions, these are "relative." But pretty quickly you get to a presupposition that is not the answer to a question, but is rather only a grounds. These are called absolute presuppositions. It isn't that these are either right or wrong - indeed there is no test for that - but they are absolutely presupposed in the science (or other endeavor) in which they're used. Usually they're never made explicit; they're just presupposed.

    And if you're not used to this idea, it's a difficult idea to grasp. For a full development and description, see R.G. Collingwood, An Essay on Metaphysics.

    The point is that all sciences are bounded by their presuppositions. Within those bounds, busy, working scientists might well scant philosophy, because philosophy, at the level at which they're functioning, has not much to say to them. But metaphysics, as defined by the above author, is the historical science of determining what absolute presuppositions are held by which people at what times - including the present.

    In addition to the ethics of a given science, and the considerations of its benefits v. its costs, and so forth, a consideration of presuppositions can clarify the science as a whole. This is worth thinking about, and it is in part the business of philosophers to do just this thinking. A scientist who dismisses this kind of thinking simply does not have a grown-up man's grasp of his profession. Nor is this criticism limited to scientists, but applies to any person pursuing an endeavor of any kind.
  • Shushi
    34

    Hi god must be atheist!

    All of us have different insights and some may have actual valid conclusions to many of these different points that 'seem' to lie beyond reality, but aren't and I have found deep insights from scholars of different disciplines that shed more light in certain areas that may entail a philosophical position over another, that may provide the proper metaphysical framework from which new advancements in science could be made (every discipline and publishing journals lock up their ideas in their own ivory towers and it's difficult for different insights to cross over shed more insight, as our academic circles have become so specialized and illiterate over basic aspects of other fields, where basic issues such as in science for example there's the irreproducibility crisis that's stagnating the scientific community as pseudoscience is garnering reputation and conflicts arise about building upon valid ideas through which a simple examination of other's frameworks, ethics, and political biases may be examined and filter those faulty papers that may be rhetorically framed through simple fallacies).

    In my experience, starting out as someone who only wanted to do physics, I later took a side course on philosophy not knowing what it really was and believing that it was just pure speculative talk and nonsense that anyone could make up. To my surprise, I later found out that it's essentially a part of every discipline and most people utilize it without realizing it, which although someone may be a scholar in say cosmology, their philosophy may be weak where they may intentionally add a "fudge factor" to their model science their worldview entails them to believe dogmatically that the universe was past eternal, and eventual studies later verified the initial conclusions of the initial model. In short philosophy examines the underpinning metaphysical frameworks and axioms that underpins all ideas and affects how we conduct a discipline effectively

    Now in science the methodological naturalistic principle has been successful in discovering many aspects of the natural world since it worked quite well with a clockwork universe conception rather than the superstitious animistic conception of the universe. But science Einstein's general theory of relativity has replaced the Newtonian conception which involved basic maths and simple notions of comparing the universe to a giant clock, and ever since quantum mechanics replaced many aspects of the general theory of relativity, methodological naturalism would have denied many possibilities that pure empirical approach verified such as kotchen specker theorem, and quantum superposition (and spooky action at a distance), as well as the higgs bosom field, so a method such as that one needs to be nuanced further through its metaphysical underpinnings, like treating logical and mathematical truths as merely empirical truths, like “If p implies q, and p, then q” or “2 + 2 = 4” are to all appearances necessary truths, not merely empirical generalizations, and the principle of induction cannot be scientifically justified.

    So if there is a thing beyond physics... what is it? Why is it "beyond" and not "outside", "under", "above" or "beside" physics?
    I suppose that is a debate within philosophy, such as Idealism vs Realism vs alethic Realism vs Anti-Realism (like an Aristotelian version) vs Nominalism vs Fictionalism etc.

    depending on the worldview of an individual, the distinction between metaphysical and physical may not really be a real one, as it seems that all reality is intertwined/connected and every time we discover new properties or discover new laws or phenomena, they will be categorized as "physical" by definition, but that's just my opinion [as this is a physicalist perspective which I think is sort of ad-hoc as it keeps updating the meaning of what is physical to fit new discoveries].

    My opinion about all reality (metaphysical and physical combined together) really stems from my belief, about information, specifically I think that most people will agree that information is a metaphysical entity (which "metaphysical entity" depends on what position one takes about abstract objects, which I don't think this point changes much whether one is a realist, anti-realist, nominalist, etc.).

    For example, the point about information in Physics seems to come from some theoretical physicists and philosophers of science discussing Maxwell's Demon and Active Information (a termed coined by john polkinghorne) which more information on that is on the citation below (which I think there maybe an interesting connection with the measurement problem and the kochen specker theorem in quantum mechanics since the human observer is involved in the measurement if we consider the nature of information, which may also relate to the findings and phenomena from Sir Roger Penrose's work on quantum consciousness and microtubules, although I'm not sure since these are just some thoughts I had)
    Szilard, Leo (1929). "Über die Entropieverminderung in einem thermodynamischen System bei Eingriffen intelligenter Wesen (On the reduction of entropy in a thermodynamic system by the intervention of intelligent beings)". Zeitschrift für Physik. 53 (11–12): 840–856.

    You can find it cited and discussed in the Wikipedia article on Maxwell's demon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxwell's_demon.

    So it seems that information is more fundamental, yet a part of physical reality with tangible effects as it were, while at the same time being a property of physical instances that may take different physical forms or manifestations like ink on paper [like textbooks], or carvings on stones, or electrical signals/meaningful arrangements of bits and data [like software codes or brain signals], but ultimately those things may not determine information, which information does not seem to be the electricity or ink, because information could manifest itself in almost any physical form, where different physical instances are just conduits/platforms for how information expresses itself, like say for example the number 32 on these substances, because numbers aren't physical in nature, but can take on physical forms which they are independent of (even if ink didn't exist, the number 32 will keep on existing).

    So this would beg the question as to what sort of relationship information and the physical world have with each other (as it seems like information may be more fundamental in reality than space-time, matter-energy and the fundamental forces, as in our experience as far as we can tell the blueprints precedes the physical manifestations of things we think about), I believe this would be similar to the debate about the relationship between mind/soul and the brain, which would be the Cartesian-Substance Dualism, Dual Aspect Idealism, Epiphenomenalism, non-Reductive Physicalism or Neutral Monistim debate, but except with information rather than the soul/mind (which I would take a sort of monistic view, as I believe that all reality is interconnected with each other through more fundamental aspects and forces)

    Another fruitful discussion would be the "uncanny effectiveness of mathematics" as it were (which maths are fundamental axioms in science, in order for science to work) where there is this objective discoverability of maths in physical reality (empirical verification) and even metaphysical (analytic proofs and validation), which like information, mathematical entities do depend on ones views of idealism, realism, anti-realism, nominalism, etc., but however one views them, this aspect of mathematics must be accounted for in a reasonable sense, like in the case of Meno's Slave, or how a mathematical theorist like Peter Higgs can sit down at his desk and, by pouring over mathematical equations, predict the existence of a fundamental particle which 30 years later (after investing millions of dollars and thousands of man hours, experimentalists are finally able to detect).

    Wallows

    Ask them if the wavefunction is metaphysical and see what they say.

    Although not necessarily related to this discussion (as this is from a theological discussion), Philosopher of Science Bas van Frassen quite nicely explains many other physical phenomena as you do,
    Do the concepts of the Trinity and the soul baffle you? They pale beside the unimaginable otherness of closed space-time, event-horizons, EPR correlations, and bootstrap models

    That is to say that if you were to ask an honest physicist what electrons were, or what is gravity, or energy, they can describe to you how they are like, but the scientific theories that describe them, do not describe them in a positive sense, as if they exist, like if one were to try to describe coldness, they can't sense that doesn't have a positive existence. But those things that Bas van Frassen mentioned are more counter-intuitive than most ideas that have ever been produced by the human mind.

    So for you to draw a general statement of what scientists are like or what they think, is a bit unfair if you base it on responses on a so-called science forum.

    I do realize that there are many different scientists, and I don't try to paint with a broad brush (especially since I'm a science major myself studying physics), but I have found this to be a common attitude in the several universities I've been to in Arizona (such as UofA, ASU, etc.) or in California ( Several Cal States, Caltech, Berkley) even among my peers who study physics and philosophy with me, who although are more physicists than they are philosophers tell me anecdotally that they rather spend time in the philosophy department talking with the faculty there rather than with their peers as they don't seem to have much fruitful discussion with them about reality, truth (philosophy) and science. But by no means am I saying this is the case everywhere since this is just my anecdotal experience from interacting with a science forum that is most likely made up of just science enthusiasts, and my university experience and those from my friends as well.
  • god must be atheist
    583
    It looks like I just stepped into a nest of venomous religionist snakes.

    Tactic: if you don't have a clear argument that makes sense, then use saliva, lots of saliva. I.e. drown the dissenter in a sea of words.
  • Coben
    802
    This post of yours came after I responded to you? Is it a response to me. Am I a venomous religious snake in your opinion?
  • god must be atheist
    583
    Am I a venomous religious snake in your opinion?Coben

    I have no opinion on you. I just feel like all of a sudden I am the centre of attention, and since my posts were not responded to, IN A WAY I UNDERSTAND but people wanted to react, they decided to put a million-word posts in response to what I have written. Three very long posts buoyed up very quickly, and I don't see how they relate to my posts. A bit like being in the snake pit... look left, look right, you don't know where to look, there is danger by numbers.

    Maybe I misunderstood the posters' intention. That's possible. I apologize if I did. I just did not understand and still don't why I need to read three very long posts.

    Maybe because metaphysics is a complex thing, which can't be described in a few words? Maybe. But maybe not. I still think metaphysics is not a congruent set of thoughts, I think it is a collection of disparate elements that Aristotle thought of, and which could not be 1. discussed in other chapters and 2. together they don't form a whole. They are just put together in a container, called metaphysics, and the name has nothign to do with the contents.

    It is possible, however, that the contents gave meaning to the name. However: the disparate diversity of topics in metaphysics would warrant, in my opinion, separate subsectioning. If that makes sense.
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    It seems as though these individuals are going beyond the scientific method, by making claims that aren't scientifically verifiable about the truth of philosophy (even though science isn't primarily concerned about what is truth but rather the results of expirements and predictions that depend on metaphysical and frameworks about truth and axioms that value ethics, speciifically the virtue of looking for truth),Shushi

    I've said this many times on the forum. Here I go again - The scientific method is epistemology, i.e. philosophy. It wasn't established based on scientific principles, that would be an endless loop. I think you'll have a hard time getting most hard scientists to agree with that.

    On the other hand, I have a lot of sympathy for those who practice the scientific method on a professional or academic level - much of philosophy is baloney. Philosophers love to tie little nitpicky knots with words that have no significant impact or even meaning.

    I always have thought that metaphysics itself was not a meaningful term, but a chapter heading that followed Physics in a book written by Aristotle.god must be atheist

    See @tim wood's reference to Collingwood's "An Essay on Metaphysics" above. He originally steered me towards the essay and I've found it very helpful. The word "metaphysics" can have a very clear, specific, even technical meaning. I like Collingwood's explication of what he thinks it is.

    Ask them if the wavefunction is metaphysical and see what they say.Wallows

    Certainly much of cosmology in physics is metaphysics discussion. QM raises a lot of metaphysics issues. And if this seems distant, it's not. QM based phenomena affect large organisms, like birds and plants and perhaps for things. IOW a bird will change course due to qm phenomena inside its visual system. And any attempt to be objective is necessarily working with metaphysics.Coben

    I think these types of statements are another reason why scientists don't take philosophy seriously - they demonstrate an inability or unwillingness to acknowledge there is a true and (sometimes) clear separation between metaphysics and science. One, perhaps over-simplistic way of looking at it is that metaphysics sets the rules by which we know things and science describes what we come to know about how the world works.

    Also, most people on forums are not professionals, or even learned in the topics they discuss. The participants are enthusiastic, but not trained or even smart. This applies to all specialized forums.god must be atheist

    That may be true, but respected and influential scientists, Stephen Hawking comes to mind, have indicated explicitly that philosophy does not have anything significant to offer.

    Science is the structured asking and attempts to find the answers to questions. That is, to do any science, you have to ask a question (and of course there conventions and rules on how to go about science - these latter the business of scientists).tim wood

    Two comments 1) I don't think science is only or primarily about asking questions. That's more true for hard experimental sciences like particle physics but much less so for observational sciences like astronomy and evolutionary biology. Much of science is about observing the world and seeing patterns. Those patterns may lead to questions, but it's not the central activity. 2) As I said, in my view, "the conventions and rules on how to go about science" are exactly philosophy.

    for example there's the irreproducibility crisis that's stagnating the scientific community as pseudoscience is garnering reputation and conflicts arise about building upon valid ideas through which a simple examination of other's frameworks, ethics, and political biases may be examined and filter those faulty papers that may be rhetorically framed through simple fallacies).Shushi

    I agree. Irreproducibility, corruption of scientific results by business and political interests, denial of established science, fraud by scientists for personal gain or advancement, sloppy methodology and poor quality control, and more are evidence of science's inability or unwillingness to take metaphysics seriously.

    I think that most people will agree that information is a metaphysical entity (which "metaphysical entity" depends on what position one takes about abstract objects, which I don't think this point changes much whether one is a realist, anti-realist, nominalist, etc.).Shushi

    I don't think I agree that information is a metaphysical entity. I'll think about it more. I do think that saying that to a scientist is a good way to invite ridicule.

    That is to say that if you were to ask an honest physicist what electrons were, or what is gravity, or energy, they can describe to you how they are like, but the scientific theories that describe them, do not describe them in a positive sense, as if they exist, like if one were to try to describe coldness, they can't sense that doesn't have a positive existence.Shushi

    As I said previously, I think science describes how the world works but doesn't say anything about why. Is "why" metaphysics? Maybe, but it seems to me it's more a meaningless question. But then, I guess that's a metaphysical statement.
  • Coben
    802
    I just feel like all of a sudden I am the centre of attention, and since my posts were not responded to,god must be atheist
    I thought I responded to what I cited, and that in context.
    Three very long posts buoyed up very quickly, and I don't see how they relate to my posts. A bit like being in the snake pit... look left, look right, you don't know where to look, there is danger by numbers.god must be atheist
    I haven't read the other long posts, just glanced at them. I can't see how snake pit is much of an analogy for getting long responses in a philosophy forum to a set of complex issues. I'd link you to the long article in Stanford's Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which goes into some of the complexity related to metaphysics in philosophy, but then this, it would seem, might qualify as venomous.
    I just did not understand and still don't why I need to read three very long postsgod must be atheist

    You don't need to. If you're interested you can, that's what the forum offers, along with no possible way to make you need to.

    Maybe I misunderstood the posters' intention. That's possible. I apologize if I didgod must be atheist
    You could forget about the intentions, iow ad hom type stuff, and then either choose to read and respond to the posts or not.

    It looks like I just stepped into a nest of venomous religionist snakes.god must be atheist
    This kind of psychic guesswork and insulting metaphor...well, my guess is it won't increase the chances of anyone learning anything or having a good discussion.

    Since you suddenly felt the center of unpleasant attention. I can instantly avoid doing that from here on out.
  • Coben
    802
    I think these types of statements are another reason why scientists don't take philosophy seriously - they demonstrate an inability or unwillingness to acknowledge there is a true and (sometimes) clear separation between metaphysics and science. One, perhaps over-simplistic way of looking at it is that metaphysics sets the rules by which we know things and science describes what we come to know about how the world works.T Clark
    Epistemology is the rules/viewpoints on how we know things, not metaphysics. And it doesn't seem like you responded to any of the points made or what is in the Wikpedia quote. I get that you are disagreeing, but that's about it.
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    I have no opinion on you. I just feel like all of a sudden I am the centre of attention, and since my posts were not responded to, IN A WAY I UNDERSTAND but people wanted to react, they decided to put a million-word posts in response to what I have written. Three very long posts buoyed up very quickly, and I don't see how they relate to my posts. A bit like being in the snake pit... look left, look right, you don't know where to look, there is danger by numbers.god must be atheist

    I went back and looked. As you said, there were three long responses to your post. They seemed reasonably responsive and clear. Also respectful. Usually, that kind of response would make someone feel good - like people are interested in what they have to say.
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    Epistemology is the rules/viewpoints on how we know things, not metaphysics.Coben

    Epistemology is often included in definitions of metaphysics. I checked once and it came out about 50/50. To me it seems clear that it belongs as part of metaphysics. I suggest again that you take a look at the Collingwood paper referenced by Tim Wood.
  • alcontali
    507
    In my experience of talking with scientists about philosophy, I have found that many times most scientists seem to look down on it like if it were just speculative non-conducive discussions about random thoughts that anyone can make up.Shushi

    It is probably more related to what Linus Torvalds quipped: "Talk is cheap. Show me the code." In that kind of context, Linus demands that you do something considered objectively "hard" in order to first gain respect.

    For example, in the philosophy of engineering, they want you to first show why they should respect you as an engineer. Generally spoken, in the philosophy of X, they want you to show your real proficiency in X.

    From there on, aptitude and knowledge of philosophy is considered impressive. Peers will respect you more as a practitioner in the field of X, if you have a deep understanding of the philosophy of X, and ultimately of general philosophy. Free-standing, general philosophy, however, is not much appreciated, because there is the impression that everybody can just spout whatever vague ideas, i.e. mere verbiage.

    It is the same with sales and management. You cannot sell airplane repair services, if it is obvious that you have never held a screw driver in your hands, ever in your life. You cannot manage programmers, if they detect that you cannot write a line of code. These people will not accept you in those circumstances. They will simply not respect you. Still, if you can really do the work itself, and you are good at philosophy, then you will automatically rise to the top of your field. Thought leaders in any field are always good philosophers, and they typically work their way through the philosophy classics too, because that really helps.

    People tend to learn things in the wrong order. Theory follows practice, and not the other way around. That is why you better get lots of work experience in your field first, before even getting a degree. The other way around will often make you sound like an arrogant prick who seeks to "skip the hard part".
  • tim wood
    3k
    Much of science is about observing the world and seeing patterns.T Clark
    As stated yours is a model of so-called Aristotelian science; i.e., observe and then make up a plausible account of what you have observed. To Francis Bacon is attributed the remark that science starts when nature is put to the question, made to answer questions put to her, rather than nature's being merely observed, to see what she voluntarily gives. Or maybe we're just saying the same thing with different emphasis. Scientists look for patterns, but usually not passively, but rather as revealed by experiment.
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    Scientists look for patterns, but usually not passively, but rather as revealed by experiment.tim wood

    As I said, that may be true for physics, but it's not for evolutionary biology. Which isn't to say that such observational, historical sciences don't eventually have to be tested, not generally by experiment but by more observations, probably more focused this time.
  • StreetlightX
    4.1k
    It is really any surprise? Science forums regularly get inundated with hacks trying to use 'philosophy' to prove whatever pet theories they have about the universe, or else prove [major and well-acceped scientific theory] wrong in some manner or another. 'Philosophy' being whatever tripe said person thought of in the shower 20 mins ago. We get that shit on a semi-regular basis. Not to mention that philosophers - professional and amateur - are notoriously undereducated with respect to science. Science is right to be weary of philosophy. That said, you'll occasionally get a science popularizer like Massimo Pigluicii or a Carlo Rovelli who argue for the necessity of philosophy in science, which is nice.

    Gregory Bateson put it best: "The would-be behavioural scientist who knows nothing of the basic structure of science and nothing of the 3000 years of careful philosophic and humanistic thought about man - who can define neither entropy nor sacrament - had better hold his peace rather than add to the existing jungle of half-baked hypothesis". How many here can talk of both entropy and sacrament?
  • Coben
    802
    Epistemology is often included in definitions of metaphysics. I checked once and it came out about 50/50. To me it seems clear that it belongs as part of metaphysics. I suggest again that you take a look at the Collingwood paper referenced by Tim Wood.T Clark
    Well, if you want to include epistemology in metaphysics then it is completely and utterly true, without controversy, that science has metaphysics, which was my original assertion in this thread. It seemed like, though I could be wrong, he took associating metaphysics with science as religious. (I am not quite sure what was going on there, since he didn't quite respond to me). But if he is taking epistemology to be a part of metaphysics, I can't see how metaphysics could possibly be problematic when associated with science..
  • leo
    585
    It is probably more related to what Linus Torvalds quipped: "Talk is cheap. Show me the code." In that kind of context, Linus demands that you do something considered objectively "hard" in order to first gain respect.

    For example, in the philosophy of engineering, they want you to first show why they should respect you as an engineer. Generally spoken, in the philosophy of X, they want you to show your real proficiency in X.

    From there on, aptitude and knowledge of philosophy is considered impressive. Peers will respect you more as a practitioner in the field of X, if you have a deep understanding of the philosophy of X, and ultimately of general philosophy. Free-standing, general philosophy, however, is not much appreciated, because there is the impression that everybody can just spout whatever vague ideas, i.e. mere verbiage.

    It is the same with sales and management. You cannot sell airplane repair services, if it is obvious that you have never held a screw driver in your hands, ever in your life. You cannot manage programmers, if they detect that you cannot write a line of code. These people will not accept you in those circumstances. They will simply not respect you. Still, if you can really do the work itself, and you are good at philosophy, then you will automatically rise to the top of your field. Thought leaders in any field are always good philosophers, and they typically work their way through the philosophy classics too, because that really helps.

    People tend to learn things in the wrong order. Theory follows practice, and not the other way around. That is why you better get lots of work experience in your field first, before even getting a degree. The other way around will often make you sound like an arrogant prick who seeks to "skip the hard part".
    alcontali

    I generally agree with this, but one problem for instance in fundamental physics is that practicing a lot of theory-learning and problem-solving can lead one to become very disconnected from the meaning of the concepts and symbols that are being manipulated. For instance when while studying general relativity we are told that matter tells spacetime how to curve and the curvature of spacetime tells matter how to move, it's very easy to start reifying spacetime as a concrete entity that does curve, especially when you have to spend a huge amount of time manipulating and solving mathematical equations, and once this misconception and others start adding on top of one another you start going down a rabbit hole that it becomes very hard to get out of. When you spend years and years studying difficult theories and learning how to solve problem within them, afterwards it becomes very difficult to think outside their frameworks and to philosophize about them.

    And I feel strongly that the more productive way would be to focus first on observations and experiments with as little theory as possible, rather than to focus on the theory-learning and the problem-solving. After all theories are built out of observations and experiments, not the other way around, and it is much more illuminating to look at how theories were developed rather than learning how to apply them, because the observations and experiments could have been explained in different ways, and focusing on the theory makes one blind to these other ways, and then we start thinking that what these theories say is more certain than it is and we have a hard time seeing the beliefs at the roots of the prevalent paradigm.

    So I actually think that focusing on observations and experiments and good philosophy with little theory could make one a better scientist than the ones who are being trained now, who focus mostly on theory. But then the problem is that these other scientists don't see you as one of them if you don't think within their paradigm, and so it becomes hard to be acknowledged and for your ideas to be considered by these peers, and so it's not necessarily the cream that rises to the top, rather it's a system that perpetuates itself while accepting little influence that it sees as coming from outside, and then the more complicated the theories within the paradigm are the harder it is to make the system evolve, and I submit that this is why fundamental physics has become pretty much stagnant for the past decades.

    Whereas at the end of the 19th century the prevalent theories were less complicated to learn and the system had less inertia, which allowed for a paradigm shift in the beginning of the 20th century, but maybe now it would take much more than new observations and new experiments for there to be a paradigm shift, I think it would require that scientific education become more focused on observation and experiment and philosophy and much less on theory. Or one could assume that physics is pretty much done, that we have the good foundations and it's just a matter of working out the details, but I think there are way too many unsolved fundamental problems to see that as acceptable.
  • TogetherTurtle
    344
    it's usually helpful to examine the roots of an unfamiliar term. Try a search on "metaphysical etymology" .

    Meta= beyond,
    so what's beyond physical ? Philosophy, i guess, and maybe the occult

    I think it's worth mentioning that they seem to separate Philosophy and the occult. If you say what lies beyond a fence is trees and flowers, you don't necessarily imply they are alike at all.
  • TogetherTurtle
    344
    Also worth mentioning that the forum is (mostly) about physics. Makes sense to me that they might not know about things outside of their area of expertise, i.e. metaphysics.
  • leo
    585
    Also worth mentioning that the forum is (mostly) about physics. Makes sense to me that they might not know about things outside of their area of expertise, i.e. metaphysics.TogetherTurtle

    There would be no issue if they didn't make metaphysical claims about what's possible and what's not possible, what the world is and what it isn't, what we are and what we aren't, where we come from, where we are going, and then ridicule or attack people who disagree with their metaphysical claims because supposedly these people don't understand 'physics'. If they don't know about things outside of their area of expertise, it might be better if they didn't claim to know about them no? The worst part is they aren't even aware they're doing it, so fundamentally they don't even know the limits of their supposed area of expertise, and so they aren't experts about physics either, but they believe they are, and that cult is widespread.
  • alcontali
    507
    But then the problem is that these other scientists don't see you as one of them if you don't think within their paradigm, and so it becomes hard to be acknowledged and for your ideas to be considered by these peers, and so it's not necessarily the cream that rises to the top, rather it's a system that perpetuates itself while accepting little influence that it sees as coming from outside, and then the more complicated the theories within the paradigm are the harder it is to make the system evolve, and I submit that this is why fundamental physics has become pretty much stagnant for the past decades.leo

    Well, when you first need several billions of dollars to build a particle accelerator of sorts, then you will probably not see much spontaneous innovation or creative thinking.

    The most powerful accelerator currently is the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland, built by the European collaboration CERN. Other powerful accelerators are KEKB at KEK in Japan, RHIC at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the Tevatron at Fermilab, Batavia, Illinois.

    The environment around that kind of gigantic investment assets will automatically create excess orthodoxy in their core business. You won't see much innovation, unless the idea costs even more. Then, they will undoubtedly listen. If you can attractively justify why the next toy needs to be ten times more expensive, your employer will promote you, and even the funding agencies will love you.

    Now that CERN has apparently put together the largest toy in the world, I guess that Fermilab is throwing its best teams at the administrative paperwork that will explain why the next biggest toy of the world now needs to be built in Batavia, Illinois. Believe me that they have already set aside the land for that.

    Still, I've got to admit that one particular sideshow at CERN, by some external consultant of sorts, i.e. Tim Berners-Lee, seems to have nicely taken off, to say the least.

    His originally relatively obscure concoction, which at the beginning of the nineties he called, "my www project", has actually done surprisingly well. He even shoehorned a hack on SGML into that project, some kind of simplification of that markup apparatus, which became yet another markup language (but not YAML, which is another hack by someone else) of which I cannot or don't want to remember the name for the time being.
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.8k
    Wikipedia, is well, wikipedia, but even so it casts some light on this....Coben

    Metaphysics continues asking "why" where science leaves off.... — Wikipedia

    Nit-pick: metaphysics asks "why" before the prerequisites for science even exist. :smile: :up:
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