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Part 1. Part 2. Philosophy Philosophers
Observation, Hypothesis, induction, Falsification, Theory Explanation
Science divides into Methods and Applications
• Method - Procedures for acquiring knowledge • Application - Use and purpose of discoveries
Questions asked in the philosophy of science
• • • • Is science based on faith? What is the scientific method? How are new discoveries treated? Is everything reducible to physics and mathematics? • Is everything reducible to a few rules?
What Characterizes science?
• • • • • A method for retaining reliable knowledge about the universe due to test and retest Science is a testing community Science seeks consistency not truth Science tells the best minimal story about the universe. Pieces fit into a puzzle Science does not ask why, but asks how, what, where, and when. Science seeks measurement
Ideal Scientific Method
• Observation • Repetition • Induction(1) Hypothesis • Deduction or generalization Consequence or prediction • Testing • Induction(2) • Induction (1) not successful
Critique of the Ideal scientific Method
• What’s observed and studied depends on the currently accepted explanation • Explanation selects the observation Explanation Influenced by: Brain hardware • Gestalt formation Optical illusions Brain Software Education
induction Observation -----------------> Hypothesis
• • • • Induction goes from effect to cause. Effect can possibly have many causes. A cause may have a single effect. Hypothesis is a kind of cause
Critique of Induction
• There is no logical way of going from observation to hypothesis • Hypothesis is a simple guess • Frequently hypothesis precedes observation
Maybe Hypotheses should be considered only as Statements of Probability
• The universe is a series of stochastic events with ill-defined boundaries • An hypothesis is neither true nor false. It is a statement of probability for success or failure. • Replace “All swans are white” with “What is the probability of finding a green or black or blue swan?”
Genealogy of Certainty
• Hypothesis --> Theory --> Fact
Are These: Explanations, Hypotheses,Theories, or Facts?
• • • • • • • • • 2nd Law of Thermodynamics Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation Gas Law Ohm’s Law Electromagnetic Theory Kinetic Gas Theory Atomic Theory Theory of Relativity String Theory
Hypothesis, Theory, Fact
• Hypothesis are Guesses not logically derivable from deduction or Induction • Theories are statement of Probability • Facts do not exist- nothing is 100% certain
Verification & Falsification
• What is meant by explanation? • What is a fact? • When is a Fact verified? • • How many observations needed?
I put a balloon in my refrigerator and funny things happened . I really need an explanation.
First the balloon shriveled up. Next, the balloon changed color from red to blue. Finally the balloon said, “Get me out of here. It’s too cold!”
Deduction and Induction
• induction • Observation ------------> Hypothesis • deduction • Hypothesis ------------> Observation
• If there is no cogent way of going from observation to hypothesis • Then there is no cogent way of deducing from hypothesis to observation
Critique of deduction
• Is Deduction outside of mathematics possible? If this X, then that Y • Are parameters really known? • Is X truly an X • Is the equipment properly controlled? • Can one recognize an X or a Y ?
Critique of Deduction
• Modern Science does not seek causes but seeks relationship among variables • Independent variables are not causes and dependent variables are not effects • If one knows Y =g(x), can one predict (deduce) the future?
Critique of HypotheticoDeductive Method
• Y = g(X) implies X is selectable and Y is determinable • We know X and Y only within some precision range: x1, x2, x3,…y1,y2,y3,.. • Within the area defined by the range of X and the range of Y there is no Y=g(X) • All equations are statement of probability
Verification and Falsification
• Replace Verification with Falsification • Verification and falsification are asymmetrical • Multiple verification does not establish a theory more than a single verification • A single falsification overturns a theory
It takes only one green swan overturns the theory that all swans are white. Observing one million white swans does no more to prove all swans are white than witnessing ten white
• It is nearly impossible to falsify an hypothesis. • Since a test depends on many factors it is difficult to determine whether the hypothesis failed are one of the other factors failed. • Some failures of dependent factors: precision and accuracy of instrumentation, correct interpretation of data, flawless recording of data, improper experimental conditions
What is an Explanation?
• Hypothesis is not always an explanation • Explanations reference non-observables • Science explains objective reality in terms of a non-objective, non-observable reality • Among non-observable objects are electrons, quarks, photons, gluons, gravitons, positrons, black holes, dark matter, dark energy
• Explanation is to ask a quantifiable question • Explanation is not to ask a “why” question • Explanation is a sequence of events.
Limits of Explanation
• The ultimate building blocks of the universe do not interact with our instruments at all or else interact too strongly so that physical nature alters. • It is possible we are at the end of traditional empiricism where observations suggest for or else test for hypothesis. • String theory perhaps is an harbinger of Post-scientism wherein hypothesis and observation formally separate
Theory Have Limits of Application
• • • • • Ptolemaic Astronomy replaced by Copernican Astronomy replaced by Newtonian Astronomy replaced by Einsteinium Astronomy replaced by Quantum Gravity Theory
• A Law is an late 18th and early19th century was of saying theory: LAW = THEORY • Theory gives a mathematical relationship between observable dependent and observable independent variables.
The distinction between independent and dependent variable is arbitrary.
• Hypothesis gives a mathematical relationship between non-observable and observable variables
Overall Criteria for Theories
• • • • • • • Consistent Parsimonious Correlative Empirically Testable (verifiable& falsifiable) Useful Progressive Retrogressive
Criteria for Theory
• • • • Logical Empirical Sociological Historical
• Clear and explicit boundary conditions • Falsifiable (imagine conditions theory is invalid) • Every theory had limits of applicability
( falsifiable means not disproving a theory but rather determining limits of use)
• Provides guidelines to interpret data
• Verifiable prediction and retrodiction (past events)
• Resolves anomalies of current theories • Defines new concepts of operations to solve problems • Propose new paradigm or problems (a paradigm is a model, a world in miniature mathematically)
• Consistence or coherent with pre-existing theories of established validity
• • • • David Hume Karl Popper Thomas Kuhn Imre Lakatos
• Scottish Empiricist- All we know is through experience • Hume argued we are not justified in making generalizations from observations because our observation are finite in number • To know something we need to experience it. Obviously we cannot have experience of the future so we cannot know it.
• Hume attacked reasoning from cause to effect • Two colliding billiard balls are not predictable. No logical connection between first ball, causing second ball to roll. We know this only by experience. • We cannot use reason to make predictions (future). Experience cannot tell us about the world (future) either because we experience only the past. • We believe Sun will rise tomorrow based on experience not reason.
• Does Newton’s Three laws of dynamics predict the future of colliding billiard balls? • Newton’s laws cannot predict trajectory of real billiard balls due to unknown boundary conditions, and to first order nature of the Laws. • If Newton’s Laws were exact and boundary conditions known, then past and present are contemporaneous
Thomas Kuhn (1922-1996)
• All research presupposes a world-view,a collection of fundamental objects, natural laws, definitions, and above all a definition of what research is. • Kuhn called a world-view, paradigms • Mature science have established paradigms • Example of mature sciences are chemistry, physics, geology; whereas, economics and psychology are immature sciences.
Model or Paradigm
• Intellectual excision (setting boundary conditions) from the universe or sub-set of universe, entities arbitrary in design but relevant to problem under study • Assembly of entities into a simplified representation of the universe or subset of universe • Determining probability of events with set of variables spanning selected ranges
• Thomas Kuhn popularized the term in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1996) by using it to describe how science works. According to Kuhn, scientific explanations of the world are controlled by a paradigm, some model of how the world is expected to work and into which actual observations are fitted, even if the fit is not very exact. As inexact fits accumulate, it becomes more apparent that the dominant paradigm is inadequate as a model of reality. When enough contradictions exist, a paradigm revolution occurs and a new paradigm is adopted. • The word paradigm comes from the Greek paradeiknunai and means "to compare." In science and philosophy it has the same basic meaning as in common usage: a model or instance used as a basis or example for further work.
Need for Paradigms
• Research requires paradigms • Paradigms are models of the way the world works • Without paradigms research is a random collection of observations lacking unification of structure into a whole. • Without paradigms, it is not possible to decide which are and which are not important observations
As a field matures, one paradigm becomes the dominant one. Once paradigms is established research progresses quickly
Paradigm guides direction of Research
It becomes clear with aid of paradigm which research areas are fruitful. These areas are ones not totally explained Paradigms give concepts and laws to build on.
Paradigm shift occurs when old paradigm shown inadequate
What is defined as research is reevaluated Concepts turn upside down Earlier research is reinterpreted
• Real research occurs during a paradigm shift • Once a paradigm dominates, research becomes puzzle solving • Puzzle solving is not research since answers known beforehand
Example of Puzzle Solving
After Newton explained solar system, later scientists using Newton’s theory predicted The presence of the then unknown planets Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto
What New Paradigms Do
• Discovery of new paradigm results in new questions being asked and old questions abandoned • Newton saw gravitation as a property of matter. Earlier theories tried to find a mechanical explanation as whirlpools in space or angels.
Paradigms are Incommensurable
• Paradigms have different world view. It is difficult to compare them • Consequently, science defines truth relative to a paradigm and not absolutely. Truth is a story
• Science is a conformist society which present only the currently accepted theory Consequently science defines reality relative to the accepted paradigm • Students are educated into the accepted paradigm and to ignore alternative paradigms • The society of science determines what scientists observe
old paradigm unexplained observations
inco mm en s u
competing new paradigms
Mopping up operation
one dominant paradigm
unsolved puzzles ignored unexplained observations and alternative interpretation ignored until enough accumulates to overturn current paradigm
Sir Karl Popper (1902-1994)
• Falsification is the idea that science advances by unjustified, exaggerated guesses followed by unstinting criticism. • Any "positive support" for theories is both unobtainable and superfluous; all we can and need do is create theories and eliminate error • Scientists never actually use induction. It is impossible to verify propositions by reference to experience
• All observations are selective and theory laden • A demarcation between science and pseudoscience is established by falsification. A theory is scientific only if it is refutable by a conceivable event • Every genuine test of a scientific theory is based on an asymmetry between verification and falsification
Karl Popper • Popper replaces induction with falsification • Science is not distinguished from nonscience on basis of methodology. No unique methodology specific to science • Science consists mostly of problem solving.
Imre Lakatos (1922 - 1974)
• All scientific theories are equally unprovable • Falsification doesn’t work due to rescue hypotheses
• the "basic unit" of scientific development is not the scientific theory, such that science progresses when one theory proves to be more successful than another.
the "basic unit" is actually the research program. Science progresses when one research program becomes more productive and more useful than other and, hence, receives a greater share of social resources through funding and younger scientists looking to join. A research program is characterized by a particular set of "hard core" fundamental ideas and is deemed successful so long as it contents continue to increase.
• In reality scientists do not abandon theories. They invent rescue hypotheses or ignore anomalies or refutations • Popperian crucial experiments and Kuhnian revolutions turn out to be myths. What happens is progressive research replaces degenerating ones. • Progressive scientific programs predict and produce dramatic, unexpected observations and results