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Exact Opposites

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  • hibbsa
    The problem of, and for, Popper s analysis of Scientific philosophy-to-date, was the low/peripheral status of such efforts, in real terms of
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 16, 2013
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      The problem of, and for, Popper's analysis of Scientific
      philosophy-to-date, was the low/peripheral status of such efforts, in
      real terms of influence/importance in the practical shape Science was
      taking. Some of the great pioneers of science had certainly wondered how
      this miracle was happening. Trying to describe what they were intuiting
      about this was a natural thing to do. In the event they fell short of
      nailing the problem and Popper set them straight.

      But right or wrong, the significant point is in terms of the reality of
      what was taking place in scientific discovery, other than to the extent
      they were in fact correct (which they weren't as Popper says), had no
      influence or bearing on how science was actually happening.

      Which of course was one of the conclusions Popper himself came to, but
      what he meant was actually something else. That his epistomolgy of
      knowledge held that all knowledge, including scientific, evolves by the
      same mechanism.....thus to the extent progress was made in science, the
      explanation was C&R regardless of whether they thought it was something
      else.

      But Popper was seeing the causality along the lines of (1) Enlightenment
      was a happy coincidence of developmetns (2) Criticism leR (3) Beginning
      of infinity exponential progress was the result.....not because of but
      despite the pioneers, whose ideas were comprehensively and exactly
      wrong.

      It may not seem important, but I think Popper was working with the built
      in assumption that the philosophica attempts he had criticized reflected
      how Science was being done by those people. The reason is partly this
      would reflect the natural status he regarded philosophy with. There is a
      significant mismatch between the status of philosophy in the world of
      popper, and the status of those items of philosophy in the world of
      science. But the main reason is that if Popper hadn't made that
      assumption, he would have recognized that while they could help shed
      light on bad philosophy, what they couldn't do is shed any light on the
      actual character of Science.

      And neither could any other attempts at descriptions by those scientific
      pioneers. The clear implication of getting everything wrong with their
      philosophical efforts they had not yet got it clear in their heads what
      they were intuiting. So Popper had no view of Science as it really was,
      and the only way to acquire one would be directly, through a process of
      immersment. This is the unavoidable implication of a situation whereby
      Science is happening in a big way, but no one is clear what it
      happening, or how, or why.

      But unless I'm wrong....direct analysis of science as it was happening,
      is not something that Popper ever did.

      And this is a major problem. Third party accounts had proven totally
      unreliable and generic words like 'method' and 'observation' where being
      used to describe something that was very complex and multifaceted taking
      place on the ground...as unique to science as was the revolutionary
      progress. Popper needed deep first hand exposure to this and the other
      unique features also. He needed not just to know how scientific
      institutions operated, but how they came about in the first place.

      He had judged Science to have failed to understand the importance - as
      he saw it - of rejection of authority. But science did much more to the
      concept of authority than appeal to it in a philosophical argument. The
      concept became transformed into a mulidimensional construct that
      manifested multifariously depending on context. It was revolutionary,
      and unprecedented and it is and was impossible to asssess Science on
      authority without studying it.
    • David Deutsch
      ... No, he didn t say that there s no extent to which they were in fact correct , i.e. to which empiricism is true. Empiricism contains a great deal of truth,
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 16, 2013
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        On 16 Apr 2013, at 15:37, hibbsa <hibbsa@...> wrote:

        > The problem of, and for, Popper's analysis of Scientific
        > philosophy-to-date, was the low/peripheral status of such efforts, in
        > real terms of influence/importance in the practical shape Science was
        > taking. Some of the great pioneers of science had certainly wondered how
        > this miracle was happening. Trying to describe what they were intuiting
        > about this was a natural thing to do. In the event they fell short of
        > nailing the problem and Popper set them straight.
        >
        > But right or wrong, the significant point is in terms of the reality of
        > what was taking place in scientific discovery, other than to the extent
        > they were in fact correct (which they weren't as Popper says),

        No, he didn't say that there's no extent to which "they were in fact correct", i.e. to which empiricism is true. Empiricism contains a great deal of truth, even though it also contains major mistakes.

        > had no
        > influence or bearing on how science was actually happening.
        >
        > Which of course was one of the conclusions Popper himself came to, but
        > what he meant was actually something else. That his epistomolgy of
        > knowledge held that all knowledge, including scientific, evolves by the
        > same mechanism.....thus to the extent progress was made in science, the
        > explanation was C&R regardless of whether they thought it was something
        > else.
        >
        > But Popper was seeing the causality along the lines of (1) Enlightenment
        > was a happy coincidence of developmetns (2) Criticism leR (3) Beginning
        > of infinity exponential progress was the result.....not because of but
        > despite the pioneers, whose ideas were comprehensively and exactly
        > wrong.

        No, they were partly true.

        It's not such a surprising 'coincidence'. The fact that empiricism contains a lot of truth is one reason. Another is that it is actually impossible to act according to empiricism. Therefore people who thought they were acting according to it were always doing something else. Sometimes they were doing science. This made it much easier for science to be done. Belief in empiricism began to be a significant drag on (some) sciences only later, when scientists such as Mach tried to take empiricism/inductivism more seriously, while methods of measurement and observation were becoming much more sophisticated.

        -- David Deutsch
      • hibbsa
        ... extent ... Sure. I only characterized that aspect sloppily because I don t think what I am saying depends on that sort of bad call from popper. A bad habit
        Message 3 of 3 , Apr 16, 2013
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          --- In Fabric-of-Reality@yahoogroups.com, David Deutsch
          <david.deutsch@...> wrote:
          >
          > On 16 Apr 2013, at 15:37, hibbsa hibbsa@... wrote:
          >
          > > The problem of, and for, Popper's analysis of Scientific
          > > philosophy-to-date, was the low/peripheral status of such efforts, in
          > > real terms of influence/importance in the practical shape Science was
          > > taking. Some of the great pioneers of science had certainly wondered how
          > > this miracle was happening. Trying to describe what they were intuiting
          > > about this was a natural thing to do. In the event they fell short of
          > > nailing the problem and Popper set them straight.
          > >
          > > But right or wrong, the significant point is in terms of the reality of
          > > what was taking place in scientific discovery, other than to the
          extent
          > > they were in fact correct (which they weren't as Popper says),
          >
          > No, he didn't say that there's no extent to which "they were in fact correct", i.e. to which empiricism is true. Empiricism contains a great deal of truth, even though it also contains major mistakes.
          >
          > > had no
          > > influence or bearing on how science was actually happening.
          > >
          > > Which of course was one of the conclusions Popper himself came to, but
          > > what he meant was actually something else. That his epistomolgy of
          > > knowledge held that all knowledge, including scientific, evolves by the
          > > same mechanism.....thus to the extent progress was made in science, the
          > > explanation was C&R regardless of whether they thought it was something
          > > else.
          > >
          > > But Popper was seeing the causality along the lines of (1) Enlightenment
          > > was a happy coincidence of developmetns (2) Criticism leR (3) Beginning
          > > of infinity exponential progress was the result.....not because of but
          > > despite the pioneers, whose ideas were comprehensively and exactly
          > > wrong.
          >
          > No, they were partly true.
          >
          > It's not such a surprising 'coincidence'. The fact that empiricism contains a lot of truth is one reason. Another is that it is actually impossible to act according to empiricism. Therefore people who thought they were acting according to it were always doing something else. Sometimes they were doing science. This made it much easier for science to be done. Belief in empiricism began to be a significant drag on (some) sciences only later, when scientists such as Mach tried to take empiricism/inductivism more seriously, while methods of measurement and observation were becoming much more sophisticated.
          >
          > -- David Deutsch
          >


          Sure. I only characterized that aspect sloppily because I don't think
          what I am saying depends on that sort of bad call from popper. A bad
          habit on my part, but I would say he was a very nuanced guy the more so
          the more importantly he viewed whatever he was trying to do.

          But pretty much just following from his own distinction that there may
          be laws governing the scientific phenomenon that do not need to be
          realized by the practicioners.

          Which pretty much frees whatever the scientists think is going on to be
          whatever they fancy, right or wrong. Which also means what scientists
          think is happening doesn't have to reflect what is actually happening.
          And what is actually happening doesn't have to reflect the real laws
          governing everything.

          The two important implications from this are:

          - Popper wasn't necessarily recieving any information describing what
          science actually looks like on the ground.

          - By the same principle that laws could govern things without needing to
          be understood, the detail of what was actually taking place could have
          their own implications. Could invoke other or additional laws also not
          requiring to be understood, and this could occur in such way that
          contradict, complement or do not interact with Popper's laws.

          Or reveal something else. And so on.

          It would be difficult to avoid Popper needed to be in a process that
          exposed him to the material phenomenon of Science at least until he'd
          seen enough to know he didn't need to see any more.

          More generally I think that there was a mismatch between the real and
          perceived status of philosophy in what he wanted to do, and the real and
          perceived status of the scientist's philosophy in terms of Science, that
          would have to be realized by him or the wrong status would get
          implicitly assumed by default. plicit the wrong status would be added by
          default, significantly influencing his judgement how much philosophical
          efforts and Science actuale are one and the same, and how much this was
          something he needed to think more on.
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