To what extent is evidence important in philosophy?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by DaveC426913, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    And the mods seem to have answered that accusation by simply splitting the off-topic part of the parent thread. That would seem to be a tactic acceptance of the methods of philosophy, which do not generally require evidence.

    Or are you trying to tell the mods how to do their job?
     
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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Something can be important without being required - just going off the OP.

    The claim that there are hard limits to the subject matter of scientific inquiry, for example, is a philosophical position whose counter-arguments often employ evidence.
     
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  5. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    Curious. Do you have many modern examples of the limits of scientific inquiry significantly expanding into previously thought unaddressable fields?

    At what point does faith in the potential completeness of scientific knowledge move from a field of cognitive enterprise (that understands the limits of its own methods) to an all-encompassing worldview?
     
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  7. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I typed the quote by hand, taking it from the subject line. Rereading it, I see that I wrote 'in' instead of 'is'. My mistake.

    More importantly, I assumed that you were the one that wrote the subject line, since the first post in the thread was by you. Now I get the impression that a moderator started this thread, splitting it from the (always ill-fated) brain-in-a-vat thread. So if you didn't write the subject line and I falsely arrtibuted it to you, sorry again.

    I don't think that it did any harm though, since I tried to give the question a serious answer.
     
  8. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Define "modern"? Very few "fields" have been publicly declared scientifically "unaddressable" by modern philosophers - these are intelligent people, after all, by and large.
    The establishment of limits on the choice of methods science may engage in, as well as the scope of inquiry scientists may engage in, would require an all-encompassing worldview of currently unatttainable sophistication and comprehension.
     
  9. Kittamaru Now nearly 40 pounds lighter. Staff Member

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    You did not do A = B, B = C, therefore A = C. You said you use logic for logic...

    As for my personal religious beliefs, the answer is the same as I've given you the countless OTHER times you have thrown that smelly red herring - none-ya-damn-business.
     
  10. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    What do you consider a reasonable definition of "modern"? Last century or two? While Galileo may be the father of modern physics, I'd hardly call that modern in a general sense. I'm open to suggestions, but please, feel free to go back as far as you need to to find an example. That may be illuminating, in and of itself.
    • Hard problem of consciousness
    • What happened before the Big Bang
    • Why is there something rather than nothing
    Yes, I'm sure very few defined, scientific "fields" are considered wholly unaddressable by science, although the fields of study of morality, art, etc. certainly are. Unaddressable problems are ones that do not avail themselves to the methods of science. Those for which we do not have the kinds of evidence science requires.

    Are you saying the scientific method cannot be defined? Do you consider there to be things we can never access any evidence for, like anything prior to the Big Bang?
     
  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    A fair amount of scientific progress has been made on the problem of consciousness - is anyone claiming no further progress is possible?
    The nature of the Big Bang - including whether the concept of "before the Big Bang" even makes sense as a question - is among the matters that has seen scientific progress, even with present techniques and theory - is some philosopher claiming there are limits to the techniques and advances that scientific investigators are allowed to create and employ in this matter?
    The question of why there is something rather than nothing is kind of a hot one, at the moment, scientifically. A couple of recent intriguing findings are being pursued. FYI.
    I do not share your certainty there, partly because I have found the various research efforts (into - say - music and poetry) illuminating, and see no reason why future scientific research in those fields cannot be done or would not be similarly illuminating.
    There may be such things, but we don't know what they are.
     
  12. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    iceaura, so no examples? Pity.
    Really? The Hard Problems of Consciousness? Do you have examples? Or if you consider the hard problem nonexistent, why? Few dispute that the easy problems of consciousness are solvable.
    There have been scientific attempts to explain subjective aspects of consciousness, which is related to the binding problem in neuroscience. Many eminent theorists, including molecular biologist and neuroscientist Francis Crick and mathematical physicist and philosopher Roger Penrose, have worked in this field. Nevertheless, even as sophisticated accounts are given, it is unclear if such theories address the hard problem as Chalmers formulated it. Eliminative materialist philosopher Patricia Smith Churchland famously remarked about Penrose's theories that "Pixie dust in the synapses is about as explanatorily powerful as quantum coherence in the microtubules." - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_problem_of_consciousness#Scientific_attempts
    How do you propose that science could address wholly subjective experience?

    Examples? It seems contradictory to claim both that "before [may not] make sense as a question" and that we've "seen scientific progress." It's not philosophy that determines the limits, but physics. There is not even a theoretical way for us to receive light signals from the Big Bang, much less from any possible state proceeding it. Ever heard of the particle horizon?

    Examples? I'm starting to wonder if you intend to support any of your claims. And I hope you're not thinking of Krauss' book.

    Really? So you think science can unravel what makes a perfect piece of music or art? Again....examples? You think science can determine morality, even though the current trend seem to be a relativistic acceptance of everything?

    I guess you accept mere speculation and conjecture as fact. Tell me again how your scientism isn't a worldview.

    And again, are you saying the scientific method cannot be defined?
     
  13. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    Answering this in the appropriate thread:
    Whose to say there is a knowable explanation? Are you saying all things are knowable? That seems like a very broad claim to make. And if it is not knowable, it's ridiculous to demand an alternative, especially to mere speculation.

    AGAIN, where have I denied any link? I've told you, repeatedly, that the mind correlates to the brain. Do you understand what "correlates" means?
    I agree, science cannot "prove" anything. Science is about confidence; only math offers proof. I'm asking for EVIDENCE of causation, but apparently no one here understands the simple difference between correlation and causation. Hint, it's a fundamental aphorism of the scientific method. (Come on, man. If you look it up and do a little reading, there's a worthwhile argument you could be making here.)

    LOL! What "experience and knowledge" do we have of abiogenesis, "despite being ignorant of the exact path and method"?

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  14. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Again, I'm simply saying that [just as analogous with abiogenisis being the only scientific answser as to life] the brain, mind and consciousness are obviously connected, not just correlated.
    And your use of correlation is not causation is splitting hairs and ignoring what we know and observe.
    That has nothing to do with any silly obfuscation that you seem to imagine about me suggesting science knows everything or that all things are knowable.
    No one understands except you?

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    Perhaps others are just not taken in with your philosophical abstract rants that seem to be stretching all reason.
    Let me state at this time, I did come into this argument/debate rather late, and of course I have at times crossed swords with another philosopher by daring to belittle philosophy with a couple of humuoress quotes from reputable scientists like philosophy is for the birds.

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    I also said that in essence I do see how philosophy is the foundation of science, but that when taken to the nth degree, it is for the birds as Feynman said.
    This appears to be what you are doing.
    The evidence of causation is simply that without a brain, we have no consciousness nor a mind....just as the evidence of abiogenisis is that at one time we had no life, then we had it. Plus of course it is the only scientific answer available.
    The experience and knowledge that at one time there was no life...then their was. Again, the only scientific answer available.
     
  15. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    The discovery that it may not make sense as a question, physically, is progress. That was fairly recent.
    Sure. For example: All the neurobiological research that locates where and when the brain activity involved in a particular subjective and internal experience is located, involving (refining the example) the discovery that it incorporates the same areas that are involved in "having" that same or similar experience as a response to sensory input.
    More questions that don't make sense.
    If a question seems unapproachable in any "scientific" manner, you might want to consider that a hint - check whether you are making sense in the first place.
    The topic of how there came to be something instead of nothing is a pretty quick Google, and amid the pages of links you will find actual research and the like. Go for it.
     
  16. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    The thing you quoted was written by James R. Among the moderators he seems to be perhaps the best educated in philosophy and often makes very astute remarks. I enjoy conversing with him.

    But... if he really does know as much about philosophy as he seems to, then he will already know that the (somewhat mythical) "scientific method" often doesn't apply to philosophical thought. (It doesn't always apply to scientific thought either.) So insisting that philosophy needs to be conducted using the "scientific method" begs more questions than it's worth. It's an attempt to fit philosophy into a Procrustean bed.

    To be charitable, I think that JamesR was just trying to say that philosophical argument needs to be academically respectable, that controversial claims need to have some plausible justification.

    But (I'm adding this bit) 'plausible justification' need not be synonymous with 'scientific justification'. It might be logical or conceptual analysis. If 'plausible justification' in philosophy does appeal to evidence, that isn't typically going to be experimental or observational evidence, it's more likely going to be examples of reasoning taken from whatever area of human thought is under examination. The philosophy of science examines scientific reasoning, the philosophy of religion examines religious reasoning, and so on.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2017
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  17. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    I'd have thought it was fairly obvious what the limits to the methodology of scientific enquiry are. It is concerned with observations of nature and the construction of models to account for them. If you're not doing that you're not doing science.

    Whether there are limits - hard or soft - to the subject matter this methodology can be brought to bear on is admittedly a more subtle issue. But I would have thought there are many fields of human thought and activity where it contributes very little.
     
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  18. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    A strangely accusatory response.

    I simply stated a fact, clarifying that, while Yazata quoted me as saying "To what extent in evidence important in philosophy?" that is not actually quoting anything I said; it's a construct. I don't want anyone thinking I made that statement.

    I have no idea how you think that could be interpreted as telling the mods how to do their jobs - unless you are looking to stir up trouble, which would indicate you are not arguing in good faith.
     
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  19. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    It is not a problem at all. I saw why you did it, I just wanted to clarify for the thread -

    in the extremely improbable event that some member inadvertently or deliberately misinterp...

    Except that Syne has decided to stir the pot and, in some bizarre way, make an accusation of me telling mods how to do their job.


    .. well there ya go...

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    Last edited: Jan 9, 2017
  20. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    But since there is NO specific evidence of the brain causing the mind wholesale or for a process of abiogensis, you cannot support such claims, and are merely assuming either a science-of-the-gaps or arguing from incredulity (argument from ignorance). Since you cannot explain these, there's nothing to refute or substitute. You're basically saying, "I have no evidence, but you must provide counter-evidence" (shifting the burden of your own claims). Remember, skepticism is not a counter-claim. Maybe speculation alone comforts you, because you sure aren't talking actual, attained science.

    Hey, as soon as someone manages to express the difference between correlation and causation, instead of completely glossing over it (as you've repeatedly done), we could have a productive conversation.
    Without a brain we cannot observe consciousness, just like without your computer you cannot observe the internet. Does that mean your computer causes the internet? Of course not, because correlation does not imply causation. (Again, there's a much better argument you could be making...but I'm not going to do your homework for you.)

    Your "scientific answer" is equivalent to saying "one time there was no life, then poof, god did it." Both have zero evidence, and rely solely on faith.

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  21. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    If the internet were observed on a signal-isolated computer, then we can conclude that the computer is the cause of the internet.
     
  22. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    You really think so?
    The question itself predates modern cosmology by at least 1,600 years. Fourth-century theologian St. Augustine wrestled with the nature of God before the creation of the universe. His answer? Time was part of God's creation, and there simply was no "before" that a deity could call home. - http://science.howstuffworks.com/dictionary/astronomy-terms/before-big-bang.htm

    So you think it took modern science to ask the same question a fourth-century theologian did?

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    And? I've been touting neural plasticity, so it is rather trivial that the brain can create the same stimuli as external sources. And that's actually an argument in favor of dualism, since the mind can alter the activity and structure of the brain...the brain that is supposedly 100% responsible for all the activity of the mind. That's circular reasoning, where the brain causes the mind which causes changes to the brain that causes the mind....ad infinitum.

    So you think science can determine subjective values or judgments? Like quality of art, music, or moral value?

    There's a lot of speculation. Do you think speculation is equivalent to scientific fact?

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  23. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    internet - a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols.
     

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