Tag Archives: Philosophy of science

The role of beauty and simplicity in scientific theories

In the post on Copernicus earlier this week, I noted that his heliocentric theory, right from its initial publication, was hailed as far more mathematically elegant than the Aristotelian / Ptolemaic system, which was taken as the canonical model of … Continue reading

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A theory more pleasing to the mind

For most of human history, the Earth was seen as the stationary center of the universe, with the sun, planets, and starry firmament circling around it at various speeds.  The ancient Greeks quickly managed to work out that the Earth … Continue reading

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The problems with post-empirical science

Jim Baggott has a pretty good piece at Aeon on the problems with post-empirical science.  I’ve highlighted Baggott’s views before.  Along with others like Sabine Hossenfelder and Peter Woit, he calls attention to a serious issue in physics, the rising … Continue reading

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Is the ultimate nature of reality mental?

Philosopher Wilfrid Sellars had a term for the world as it appears, the “manifest image.”  This is the world as we perceive it.  In it, an apple is an apple, something red or green with a certain shape, a range … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , | 84 Comments

Empirical vs Fundamental IIT and the benefits of instrumentalism

The other day, when discussing a paper that criticized IIT (the Integrated Information Theory of consciousness) as unscientific, I noted that IIT, while questionable as the ultimate answer for consciousness, could be useful in the more limited capacity of distinguishing … Continue reading

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The relationship between usefulness and falsifiability

There’s an article by Matthew R. Francis in Symmetry magazine garnering a lot of attention asking whether falsifiability is a useful criteria for scientific theories. Popper wrote in his classic book The Logic of Scientific Discovery that a theory that cannot be … Continue reading

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Is cosmic inflation settled science?

Ethan Siegel at Starts With a Bang has a post up arguing that the multiverse must exist.  His reasoning has to do with cosmic inflation.  Inflation is the theory that the universe expanded at an exponential rate in the first … Continue reading

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Probability is relative

At Aeon, Nevin Climenhaga makes some interesting points about probability.  After describing different interpretations of probability, one involving the frequency with which an event will occur, another involving its propensity to occur, and a third involving our confidence it will … Continue reading

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Being committed to truth means admitting the limitations of what we can know

Michela Massimi has a long article at Aeon defending scientific realism. The time for a defence of truth in science has come. It begins with a commitment to get things right, which is at the heart of the realist programme, despite mounting Kuhnian … Continue reading

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Are the social sciences “real” science?

YouTube channel Crash Course is starting a new series on what is perhaps the most social of social sciences: Sociology. The social sciences, such as sociology, but also psychology, economics, anthropology, and other similar fields get a lot of grief … Continue reading

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