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Re: [Cognitive Neuroscience Forum] Karl Popper as the 'Ultimate Warrior'

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  • Loisenman@aol.com
    In a message dated 2/24/2008 6:11:11 PM Eastern Standard Time, ... Sorry for such a tardy response. Certainly Popper accepted observation, but he felt it came
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 1, 2008
      In a message dated 2/24/2008 6:11:11 PM Eastern Standard Time,
      jamikes@... writes:

      > Lois, according to your studies (what I appreciate) and your belief upon
      > them (what I appreciate even more): do you think Sir Karl (P) accepted
      > 'observation' which 'is' the foundation for science? What and HOW do we observe?
      >

      Sorry for such a tardy response. Certainly Popper accepted observation, but
      he felt it came out of theory. He was strongly influenced by Einstein's work.
      So only because of Einstein's theory was the bending of light measured. Not
      only are what measurements made strongly influenced by theory, but also how
      any measurements are interpreted.

      Certainly our instruments are getting increasingly sophisticated and do a
      better job than our naïve senses. But still the larger implication or meaning of
      measurements most often still depends on a theoretical framework.

      I agree with most of what you said---I was so taken by the the passages I
      wrote about from Conjecture and Refutation because there Popper proposes
      relatively broad standards for what constitutes a scientific theory--much broader than
      I had realized before.  It becomes clear that potential empirical
      falsification is not necessarily required according to his view here.    Instead the
      paramount issue is whether the theory can be subject to falsification either
      empirical or rational.  This greatly surprised me and seemed noteworthy.

      I called him the 'ultimate warrior' because he was taking on the issue about
      how  humans could approach understanding the universe even when they could not
      make empirical tests of theory and when observation could easily lead
      astray.  His message in these passages---that theories beyond what we can empirically
      test at the current time can be legitimate areas of scientific concern, if
      one can engage in critical discourse about them--- is also relevant today.

      Of course refutation is in the eye of the refuter. Popper does talk a lot
      about what it takes to falsify a theory elsewhere, as has been pointed out-- but
      his discussion seems rather removed from the nitty-gritty of actually doing
      science.   But even he seems to know that it is really a judgment call.

      Nonetheless I feel his most important point, that science is about conjecture
      and refutation, is true.  Indeed we cannot ask more from science than this
      (except for technology of course--- which it supplies us with a plenty.)  I feel
      that looking at science in terms of its falsifiability is really a gift as it
      can open us to the fact that there is much more to know than what can
      currently be known and no doubt even more than we can imagine.  Taken this way--it is
      mind expanding. Science just goes on and on-

      Knowledge clutter---interesting idea. Shows the limit of observation.



      Best,

      Lois






      Resident Scholar
      Women's Studies Research Center
      Brandeis University
      Waltham, Massachusetts

      weblog: Intuition In-depth: Bridging Science and Spirituality
      Click here: INTUITION IN-DEPTH







      **************
      Ideas to please picky eaters. Watch video on AOL Living.

      (http://living.aol.com/video/how-to-please-your-picky-eater/rachel-campos-duffy/
      2050827?NCID=aolcmp00300000002598)


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • John
      Thanks, Lois, I consider your tardy reply one well worth having waited for. John ... From: Loisenman@aol.com To: cognitiveneuroscienceforum@yahoogroups.com
      Message 2 of 4 , Mar 2, 2008
        Thanks, Lois,

        I consider your 'tardy' reply one well worth having waited for.

        John
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Loisenman@...
        To: cognitiveneuroscienceforum@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Saturday, March 01, 2008 10:48 PM
        Subject: Re: [Cognitive Neuroscience Forum] Karl Popper as the 'Ultimate Warrior'


        In a message dated 2/24/2008 6:11:11 PM Eastern Standard Time,
        jamikes@... writes:

        > Lois, according to your studies (what I appreciate) and your belief upon
        > them (what I appreciate even more): do you think Sir Karl (P) accepted
        > 'observation' which 'is' the foundation for science? What and HOW do we observe?
        >

        Sorry for such a tardy response. Certainly Popper accepted observation, but
        he felt it came out of theory. He was strongly influenced by Einstein's work.
        So only because of Einstein's theory was the bending of light measured. Not
        only are what measurements made strongly influenced by theory, but also how
        any measurements are interpreted.

        Certainly our instruments are getting increasingly sophisticated and do a
        better job than our naïve senses. But still the larger implication or meaning of
        measurements most often still depends on a theoretical framework.

        I agree with most of what you said---I was so taken by the the passages I
        wrote about from Conjecture and Refutation because there Popper proposes
        relatively broad standards for what constitutes a scientific theory--much broader than
        I had realized before. It becomes clear that potential empirical
        falsification is not necessarily required according to his view here. Instead the
        paramount issue is whether the theory can be subject to falsification either
        empirical or rational. This greatly surprised me and seemed noteworthy.

        I called him the 'ultimate warrior' because he was taking on the issue about
        how humans could approach understanding the universe even when they could not
        make empirical tests of theory and when observation could easily lead
        astray. His message in these passages---that theories beyond what we can empirically
        test at the current time can be legitimate areas of scientific concern, if
        one can engage in critical discourse about them--- is also relevant today.

        Of course refutation is in the eye of the refuter. Popper does talk a lot
        about what it takes to falsify a theory elsewhere, as has been pointed out-- but
        his discussion seems rather removed from the nitty-gritty of actually doing
        science. But even he seems to know that it is really a judgment call.

        Nonetheless I feel his most important point, that science is about conjecture
        and refutation, is true. Indeed we cannot ask more from science than this
        (except for technology of course--- which it supplies us with a plenty.) I feel
        that looking at science in terms of its falsifiability is really a gift as it
        can open us to the fact that there is much more to know than what can
        currently be known and no doubt even more than we can imagine. Taken this way--it is
        mind expanding. Science just goes on and on-

        Knowledge clutter---interesting idea. Shows the limit of observation.



        Best,

        Lois






        Resident Scholar
        Women's Studies Research Center
        Brandeis University
        Waltham, Massachusetts

        weblog: Intuition In-depth: Bridging Science and Spirituality
        Click here: INTUITION IN-DEPTH







        **************
        Ideas to please picky eaters. Watch video on AOL Living.

        (http://living.aol.com/video/how-to-please-your-picky-eater/rachel-campos-duffy/
        2050827?NCID=aolcmp00300000002598)


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




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