Science and Philosophy

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  1. AshtonFirefly profile image69
    AshtonFireflyposted 8 years ago

    I've been researching the relationship between philosophy and science lately, and I came across this opinion during discussion:

    This person claimed that scientific theories, by nature, are ultimately influenced by and based upon personal philosophies about how to interpret evidence and data. They claimed that for this reason, scientific theories are no more factual or reliable than common philosophical ideas or even religious concepts.

    What are your thoughts on this? Are science and philosophy similar or even identical? What is their relationship? Are they simply categorizations of the same pursuit of knowledge?

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

    1. Slarty O'Brian profile image81
      Slarty O'Brianposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Philosophy is deductive reasoning. Science is inductive reasoning. In the 1800s scientists were called naturalist philosophers. A debate was held in England where philosophers argued that naturalists should not call themselves philosophers because they did experiments. Philosophers use deductive logic.

      It was decided that since they were doing science they should be called scientists, like people who do art are artists.

      True science doesn't interpret data, it records it. As soon as you interpret the facts or what they might mean, you are doing deductive logic and therefore philosophy.

      Asking a question is philosophical, and in science leads to experimentation using the scientific method.

      Theories that can not be proven or falsified are models, and until they are proven are not considered fact. Many Worlds, the holographic principal, even the big bang are models. Models try to explain facts, but are often incomplete or wrong.

      There are plenty of facts, however, and both science and philosophy are ways to discover them. They are two aspects of the same thing.

      1. Castlepaloma profile image74
        Castlepalomaposted 8 years agoin reply to this


    2. Oztinato profile image75
      Oztinatoposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      The most recent cosmological and quantum theories have in fact crossed over into pure philosophy because they can't actually measure or observe or test the math. It started with String Theory which in essence is just an untestable philosophy. Now scientists are talking about a holographic universe and how it all simply takes place inside our brain. This is remarkably similar to ancient esoteric philosophy.

      1. Slarty O'Brian profile image81
        Slarty O'Brianposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        And again, in science anything that can be falsified is not considered fact. Holographic universe is an unfalsifiable model. A hypothesis, not a theory at all, and certainly not to be considered fact.

        String theory has had 35 years to come with a single actual prediction about atoms and has failed. It was an attempt at unifying all  theories, but it's days are numbered.

        Relativity and quantum mechanics, on the other hand have proven themselves since their inception.

        The scientific method demands validation from any theory before considering it a fact. Even the Big Bang can not be considered a fact, though it has a high degree of probability considering the facts the model tries to explain. Many Worlds interpretation of QM, however, has no factual evidence at all to back it up.

        It's not science that is to blame for the zeal people have to take any idea proposed by a scientist as fact. No scientist worth their pay would advise anyone to do so.

        1. Oztinato profile image75
          Oztinatoposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          I agree.
          However there is now a distinct philosophy trend happening in science because the limits of measurement  and testing has been reached. This leaves only philosophy to deal with the rest of the whys and hows. Traditionally this has been the niche of philosophy and the "spiritual".
          Yes we can say we just don't know but this has never stopped human beings from pursuing knowledge. If string theory "works" it's "real" until the next idea comes along.
          Philosophy is often the start of practical scientific knowledge. Without pholosophy the scientific process would grind to a halt. Philosophy has it's place. It's a often the start of science, art, music , theatre etc

          1. Slarty O'Brian profile image81
            Slarty O'Brianposted 8 years agoin reply to this

            Agreed, but you kind of have one fact transposed. It has become harder for pure philosophy to make inroads in to the latest physics, because experiments have discovered may things which are counter intuitive. The way answers are found is now dominated by math; hence why physics is being taken over by mathematicians.

            However, as soon as they interpret their data they are acting like philosophers. They aren't always good at it. There is still a large function for philosophy in the philosophy of the findings of science itself.: science philosophy. Not science in and of itself, but a way to see a bigger picture than what a mathematician can provide.

            The sciences are divided and seldom kept up to date with each other or compared and melded in to one big picture. Philosophy can bridge that gap with properly trained science philosophers. Not always in making new discoveries, but in understanding the implications of scientific discoveries and creating a logical model from them.

            1. Oztinato profile image75
              Oztinatoposted 8 years agoin reply to this

              We are agreeing.
              Philosophy is the growing tip. At the moment they're waxing lyrical and very spiritual about the holographic universe. This bears a remarkable resemblance to ancient Eastern philosophy. For this reason it is my belief there is in fact some truth in the idea that our universe is a projection of sentience. As the Hindus say "a diamond has no value without having a person to appreciate it"! This idea was noticed thousands of years ago by ancient philosophers as a self evident Truth.

    3. Jack Melrose profile image64
      Jack Melroseposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Philosophy and science both seek similar answers to the same questions, but in a different way. As one user commented, science has to be inductive reasoning: we test something once, twice, three times, eventually we accept the truth of our results for all cases.

      Philosophy can be inductive and deductive. But philosophy's aim is broader, bigger. Philosophy is an examination of big problems--problems that haven't really advanced much in the last several hundred years that people have talked about them. I think that philosophy is without a doubt a challenge of our minds--as such, we've come very close to the limit of our natural minds through sheer thinking (philosophy).

      Science, thus, is a process to sidestep the limitations of our natural minds by slowly building upon inductive observations. That is how I see it.

      1. Slarty O'Brian profile image81
        Slarty O'Brianposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        And I think you see it pretty clearly. The only thing I might add is, we may have reached the limit of what the classically trained mind alone can discover But as we understand more about the unconventional way the quantum seems to work and accept it, we can retrain the classical mind to function on those levels and eventually change our reasoning methods to correspond to this new reality, and once again make more direct contributions, even without being mathematicians.

        1. Jack Melrose profile image64
          Jack Melroseposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          That is true, but without science that realm of thinking couldn't be supported, which I suppose is another key difference.

          There could be millions of ways of characterizing the universe, and until we have one that makes logical sense they are all equally as likely to be wrong. Quantum makes logical sense simply because of various scientific results. I once read (I think Nietzsche) that science will one day solve for certain what philosophy can only speculate on. There's obviously a lot going on here, but that was pretty thought provoking for me.

  2. Link10103 profile image60
    Link10103posted 8 years ago

    I see philosophy being the pursuit of knowledge about the natural world, and science being the tool to understanding and sharing that knowledge.

  3. pennyofheaven profile image79
    pennyofheavenposted 8 years ago

    The manifest and the mystery. The objective and the subjective pursuit of knowledge. I do agree that science is a tool for understanding and sharing that knowledge  however philosophy in my view is too.

    1. Castlepaloma profile image74
      Castlepalomaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Hi, penny good to see you again.

      Love your clarification views on such grand topics.

      Spiritual is like those 99% unknown mysteries. From our imagination or ideas we manifested into our ego self. We form a philosophy or idea on how we fit into a culture like an ancient Religion or I am what I think.

      Sometimes too much philosophy feels like mental masturbation. Where as everything achieved in life was all once imagined.

      1. pennyofheaven profile image79
        pennyofheavenposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        Hi Castlepaloma

        So nice to see you again! Its been a while.

        Imagination indeed, I do agree. From the imagination came all that is manifest.

        Cannot have one without the other.

        1. Slarty O'Brian profile image81
          Slarty O'Brianposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          Sorry for butting in, but I don't think imagination by itself does anything. Acting on it does, of course. If that's what you mean I agree.

          There is an objective reality which we all interpret. But our imagination alone can't effect it. All that is manifest is manifest by reality, energy and its nature: the laws of physics.

          Truth is a set of conditions, not perspective. If it was we'd all be rich and young and healthy for ever.

          1. Castlepaloma profile image74
            Castlepalomaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

            Imagination is the eye of the soul, closest thing to being God-like I've ever experienced.

            You need imagination to create your dreams and without your dream your Universe cease to exist.

            Even for philosophy you need imagination. At least for an idea you need imagination then you are most of the way there. After that is the work ethic of attitude, focus and talents (least important) for success in life.

            1. Slarty O'Brian profile image81
              Slarty O'Brianposted 8 years agoin reply to this

              Sure. I can agree with most of that. Imagination is personal and subjective. Soul? I don't think I have one but that's not the issue.  I do have a great imagination though.

              All I am saying is that there seems to be a tendency these days to think reality is based on perspective/imagination. We create reality by thinking. Consciousness creates reality.

              That's demonstrably untrue, and I think it needs pointing out.

              1. Castlepaloma profile image74
                Castlepalomaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                I think of soul is a million parts of you like your arms, legs, name, country, and so on.

                The sub consciousness is much more Powerful than your conscious mind. The act of imagination is a collectiveness of experiences and fresh ideas. As you can think it you can achieve it , if you think you can't, your right too.

                1. Slarty O'Brian profile image81
                  Slarty O'Brianposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                  Again, we don't disagree here, particularly about the sub or unconscious part of our brain. Neuroscience has in fact discovered that the unconscious brain knows what we are about to do up to a full 3 seconds before our consciousness "decides" to do it. I say decides, but actually mean is informed of or becomes aware of what we are going to do.

                  Consciousness seems to be a tool used by the brain that helps teach the unconscious or auto response through deliberation, logic,language etc; giving us new options, modifying feelings (which are brought to us by the unconscious,) and thereby altering auto response.

                  Auto response is essential, as consciousness is too slow. If you see a ball coming toward your face and have to think it through, it already hit you.Skills are learned and then relegated to the unconscious. Anything we do well has simply become part of who we are.

                  And yes, there are always ways to achieve almost anything. But those ways are rooted in objective reality, using the cause and effect chains/conditions that make it reality. And yes, assuming you can't do something is a self fulfilling prophesy.

              2. Live to Learn profile image60
                Live to Learnposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                I am not sure how that is demonstrably untrue. How could it be demonstrated without consciousness being a factor in the process?

                1. Castlepaloma profile image74
                  Castlepalomaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                  We use only at Maximum 10 % of our brain. The 90% white matter of our brain we know even far less about. Kind of like we don't know by experience the 99%  material mass of our own earth.

                  The more we learn the more we learn how little we know.

                  Today on earth, we live in dangerous time period because we are playing childish with mother nature and nuclear weapon and energy. It is only our subconscious mind that can bring a source of good intentions the can bring us back to a healthier existence

                  Rather than a destructive ancient self prophesy for end of time on earth from organizations of superstitious.

                2. Slarty O'Brian profile image81
                  Slarty O'Brianposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                  Well obviously our consciousness  is involved in discussing the issue or there would be no discussion. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear, does it still make a sound? I’d say yes. We could put a recording device in the woods and wait. It’s not conscious but when we have done that we’ve recorded sounds and images with no one around for miles.

                  Better yet, if no one is in the forest, does it exist? Probably, right? When you leave the store, does it vanish from existence? Probably not, right? When you die do you think the universe will vanish? Probably not, right?

                  So our consciousness interprets reality, it doesn’t create it.

                  Nietzsche proposed something called perspectivism. It means reality is subjective, and there is no such thing as objective truth or reality. The problem is the idea shoots itself in the foot and renders itself invalid. We are to assume he was telling us an objective truth, right? So therefore he’s contradicted himself logically. Saying there is no objective truth means what he said can’t be true, see how that works?

                  Everything tells us there is an objective reality, and see it through our subjective minds. What we do is manipulate what is there. We don’t create it just by thinking. We react to it due to our needs, which we certainly don’t choose to have.

                  Our imagination is a wonderful tool that helps us survive and thrive, but you always have to do something physically to accomplish anything. And it has to be something specific. A magic wand doesn’t do the trick.

                  I can think of a puppy monkey baby, part dog part monkey part human, but my thought alone cannot create it. I have to go to genetics to make it real. A picture is not a real puppy monkey baby, it’s just a real drawing of an imaginary thing. Special effects in a commercial doesn’t make it real, it’s an illusion designed to, in this case, entertain.

                  Reality exists without any consciousness existing, but consciousness is a real part of it as long as it exists.
                  Can you put a rope under your feet and lift yourself off the ground? No. Why not if reality is subjective? The objective reality of it is gravity, as well as other physical objective reasons and conditions.

                  Truth is a set of conditions, not subjective perspective. Again, if it were I’d be wealthy, healthy and young forever. I’m sure you would like that too. The fact that we don’t control any of that, and very little else, tells us clearly that we don’t create reality with our imagination directly.

                  Objective reality exists with or without us. But we could not exist without objective reality.

                  1. Live to Learn profile image60
                    Live to Learnposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                    Ok. You say ‘we could put a recording device in the woods’. But, is that really proof that there would be a sound if there was no life to hear it? The recording device is specifically designed to detect noises we agree to exist. Do all other life forms within hearing distance perceive a noise when it falls? If not, does the noise really exist or not?

                    The forest would exist if we were taken out of the mix because the forest is alive in its own right. The store was fashioned by life forms. It did not exist prior to our presence and will not exist as a store once we disappear.

                    Our consciousness does interpret reality but I disagree somewhat with your claim that it does not create it. It is consciousness which defines it as reality so, in some way, it is created by the very act of defining it as such.

                    I don’t see the idea of perspectivism shooting itself in the foot or being invalid. I think reality is subjective and we spend every moment of every day coming to some loose consensus on what is defined as reality. We chose to agree on things and call them ‘truths’ but I don’t think we have reached the point in our understanding of the makeup of reality where the term ‘truth’ is anything other than subjective. 

                    Saying that there is no objective truth does not mean that what he says can’t be true but it would be more easily understood if stated as ‘there is no way to honestly claim an objective truth.’

                    I agree that it is easy to believe that there is an objective reality but that is a moot point because, as you say, it is perceived through subjective minds. We do manipulate what is there, but to what extent? What is truly there?  What is the exact make up of what we are manipulating?

                    I don’t know that I would agree that reality exists without any consciousness existing. What constitutes reality? Things as they actually are, but we can’t see them as they actually are since it has to be filtered through a subjective process.

                    So, as long as those conditions exist we cannot make statements such as yours because they are simply subjective. By our understanding, I could easily agree with you but I have to accept that this is simply our incomplete understanding.

  4. paradigmsearch profile image61
    paradigmsearchposted 8 years ago

    I think. Therefor I am. All else follows. Mess that it is...

    1. Castlepaloma profile image74
      Castlepalomaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      The source of all our problems comes from our minds, not our spirits or heart or good intentions.

      When person turns to Religious book for all their answers. Their not using or putting their own mind into practice finding a limitless or boundless ways of solutions. The source of problems is in the mind, go back to the mind and find the solution.

      Is a religion more of a philosophy or more of a culture?

      1. paradigmsearch profile image61
        paradigmsearchposted 8 years agoin reply to this


      2. pennyofheaven profile image79
        pennyofheavenposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        I think some religions try to encourage going within however some people are still seeking externally and it is then that the religious books can sometimes be useful.

        When the seekers no longer get what they searched for in the texts perhaps it is only then they will decide to go within. Until then though one hopes that the texts in some way helps them.

        1. Castlepaloma profile image74
          Castlepalomaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          People are basically good and can find a positive story or idea from a bible.

          Yet, when you have to sort through all horror stories in the Bible like Hollywood, to find the good stories.

          I rather turn to my own daughter(age 25) for fresh imagination and wisdom.

          Than to make sense of biblical people back then who barely could live pass age 25.


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