Science and Philosophy

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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:43 pm UTC

Zcorp wrote:Yes, and I've many times spelled out for you the logic behind mine. Science means three things! Why are you choosing to ignore the other 2? Make an argument for why we should or for why you hold the belief that those other two things are not science.
Again, I've very clearly described what I consider science to mean, and why philosophy doesn't fulfill it.

Your logic and support has been identical to the logic and support I have used to support my own arguments. Respectfully, do not claim the argumentative high ground here when you've done nothing different than I have with respect to this discussion.

Zcorp wrote:No, they never stopped doing philosophy. Everything else they did was toward their goal in the field of philosophy. While they became Astronomers, they did not stop being philosophers. They did not stop working toward answering the fundamental questions, in fact the very reason they 'became Astronomers' was to answer those questions.
And, again, when they started doing astronomy, they were not doing philosophy. If they continued to do philosophy, and their philosophy was influenced by their astronomy, then they could have been both astronomers and philosophers, but were not 'doing philosophy' nor were they 'philosophers' when they were peering into a telescope and taking measurements of stars.

Furthermore, their motivations are actually irrelevant. When they went back to discussing their existential place in the universe, and used astronomical data to influence their thinking, they were not 'doing astronomy'. When they wondered about their existential place in the universe, and turned to astronomy to start answering that, they were not 'doing philosophy'.
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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Zcorp » Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:58 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Zcorp wrote:Yes, and I've many times spelled out for you the logic behind mine. Science means three things! Why are you choosing to ignore the other 2? Make an argument for why we should or for why you hold the belief that those other two things are not science.
Again, I've very clearly described what I consider science to mean, and why philosophy doesn't fulfill it.

Your logic and support has been identical to the logic and support I have used to support my own arguments. Respectfully, do not claim the argumentative high ground here when you've done nothing different than I have with respect to this discussion.

But I have done something quite different, which is exactly what I'm trying to convey to you.

When I say 'science class' what is the primary thing you expect to learn in that class?
When I say 'scientific community' what group of people do you think I'm referring to?
When I say 'scientific thinking' what pattern of thought do you think I mean?
When I say 'science' in no context what is the first idea that this means to you, and do you understand it doesn't convey the same meaning to everyone?

Here is the wikipedia on science:
"Science (from Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge"[1]) is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.[2][3][4] In an older and closely related meaning, "science" also refers to a body of knowledge itself, of the type that can be rationally explained and reliably applied. A practitioner of science is known as a scientist.

Since classical antiquity, science as a type of knowledge has been closely linked to philosophy. During the Islamic Golden Age, the foundation for the scientific method was laid, which emphasized experimental data and reproducibility of its results.[5][6][7] In the Western World during the early modern period the words "science" and "philosophy of nature" were sometimes used interchangeably.[8] In the Western World not until the 17th century, natural philosophy (which is today called "natural science") was considered a separate branch of philosophy.

In modern usage, "science" most often refers to a way of pursuing knowledge, not only the knowledge itself. It is also often restricted to those branches of study that seek to explain the phenomena of the material universe.[10] In the 17th and 18th centuries scientists increasingly sought to formulate knowledge in terms of laws of nature such as Newton's laws of motion. And over the course of the 19th century, the word "science" became increasingly associated with the scientific method itself, as a disciplined way to study the natural world, including physics, chemistry, geology and biology"

Do you understand how the above questions lead to many different concepts conveyed by the word science? Do you understand how this quote directly disagrees your perception that the word 'science' only applies and should only be used to mean 'the scientific method?"

We've gone over how science was created, different things that the word science is now used to mean, I've spelled them out for you directly many times quite clearly, we have gone over how and why it is used to mean different ideas. This article even gives some more specific time periods.

Do you understand how you have done none of those things? Do you understand that I'm making an argument with lots of history and culture to back up my stance on this issue, and you have only expressed an opinion?

We are not doing the same thing.

Zcorp wrote:And, again, when they started doing astronomy, they were not doing philosophy. If they continued to do philosophy, and their philosophy was influenced by their astronomy, then they could have been both astronomers and philosophers, but were not 'doing philosophy' nor were they 'philosophers' when they were peering into a telescope and taking measurements of stars.

What does a philosopher do?
Tries to answer fundamental questions about existence.

What does an Astronomer do?
Studies celestial objects.

If I scientifically study celestial objects to answer fundamental questions about existence, I am a philosopher, a scientist and an astronomer.

They never stopped trying to answer fundamental questions of existence, they never stopped being a philosopher. Please utilize a little bit of logic here. Not everything anyone does is mutually exclusive from everything they can do.

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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:06 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:If you're asking questions about what we should do or what things/lives/people are "worthwhile", then on some level you're doing philosophy.
Which is why science (well, good science) isn't trying to answer questions like 'Is gmalivuk a good person?'
Pretty sure I never claimed it was.

CU had a flippant dismissive response to Zcorp's examples of philosophical questions, and I was responding to that.

Zcorp wrote:Philosophers looked up and wondered what things are, they found planets and named them, they found stars and grouped them.
And when they started that they became astronomers. Or rather, they were doing astronomy when they did that. Just like when astronomers today study, say, gravitational lensing from black holes, they aren't doing philosophy.
On the other hand, when scientists discuss why parsimonious explanations are to be preferred, they are doing philosophy. When they talk about the value of practical testability and falsifiability, they are doing philosophy. When they assume that the universe is not arbitrary, they are doing philosophy.

Scientists may not be trying to answer questions like, 'Is gmalivuk a good person?', but many of them are trying to answer questions like, 'Is this thing I'm doing good science?' And the latter is no less a philosophical question than the former.
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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:17 pm UTC

Zcorp wrote:We are not doing the same thing.
I urge you to reread the thread then, because I have most certainly defined what I consider science, and why I feel your broad definitions are not as precise as you think they are. If you have a specific issue with something I've mentioned, please say so, but you have done nothing different than I have with respect to establishing a logical framework from which to base your opinions on.

For example, my very first post in this thread outlines something quite important about what I feel separates science and philosophy, that I have brought up a few times directly in response to you, that as far as I'm aware, you have not addressed.

You have repeatedly asserted that philosophy is a super set in which science also finds itself. I do not agree with this opinion, and I do not wish to keep circling it.

gmalivuk wrote:Scientists may not be trying to answer questions like, 'Is gmalivuk a good person?', but many of them are trying to answer questions like, 'Is this thing I'm doing good science?' And the latter is no less a philosophical question than the former.
Naturally, and Philosophers of Science may contribute towards assisting in defining the best ways for science to address these issues. But typically, I feel, only at the most fundamental level. "Do we agree that experimentation is the best way to address this query?" is a fairly broad question that philosophers may weigh in on. "Do we agree that a Western Blot is the best experimental technique to answer that question?" is a fairly specific question that most philosophers cannot/should not.
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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Zcorp » Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:33 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Zcorp wrote:We are not doing the same thing.
I urge you to reread the thread then, because I have most certainly defined what I consider science

Yes, you have done that. You have not however utilized reason in your definition. You ignore large aspects of reality, history and logic in your definition. I don't ignore those things and I utilze reason, which is why we are not doing the same thing.


If you have a specific issue with something I've mentioned, please say so, but you have done nothing different than I have with respect to establishing a logical framework from which to base your opinions on.

I have a specific issue with you thinking that we are doing the same thing.

I'm not sure how to spell it out clearer for you. I've given you history of what science is, I've give you real world examples of how science is used prevalently in more ways than how you want to use it, I've given you outside sources that not only confirm my definition but add to it and show you that your usage is only one way it is used and the most recent way it is used.

Yet you refuse to accept history's, common culture's and academic definitions of the word. There can be no reasonable answer to your question if you can not accept reasonable definitions.

There can also be no reasonable answer to your question if you can not accept that not all actions and intentions are mutually exclusive or that one can perform an action to fulfill multiple intentions.

You have repeatedly asserted that philosophy is a super set in which science also finds itself. I do not agree with this opinion, and I do not wish to keep circling it.

It isn't just an opinion, it is history, it is reason, it is logic. I form my opinion based on those things. What do you form yours on? Please express your argument on how and science is not a sub-set of philosophy.

If philosophy is about asking fundamental question of existence, and to do so has needed to ask quite specific one, and the Scientific Method was developed by philosophers to answer specific questions so that the fundamental questions can one day hopefully be answered, how do you not see science as a sub-set of philosophy?


This entire discussion is about circling your opinion and the relationship of philosophy and science. If we stopped circling it this discussion would be either quite off topic or die.
Last edited by Zcorp on Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:45 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:43 pm UTC

Lets try this again;
You recently linked wikipedia's definition of science. I'll quote back to you the pertinent part, the part that I raised in my first post, the part that you have yet to address.

Zcorp wrote:is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.


Now tell me, since I raised the point in the very first post of this thread that the critical separation between 'what is science' and 'what is philosophy' is;
Something I posit is a fundamental different between the way philosophy and science are 'done', is that science utilizes reproducibility and falsifiability in a way that philosophy does not.


Now. You have repeatedly claimed that science is used to connote three concepts:
The method, the knowledge and a synonym for reason


Myself and others have repeatedly pointed out that those three concepts are not in and of themselves sufficient to define science or scientists. Myself and others have repeatedly given examples that disagree with your initial example of 'philosophy is to science as rectangles are to squares'. You have repeatedly ignored/dismissed the notion of philosophy merely proceeded science with respect to addressing the natural world, while simultaneously repeating your assertions that science is a subset of philosophy.

So. Againagain. I am not interested in circling this point with you, because;
Zcorp wrote:Yet you refuse to accept history's, common culture's and academic definitions of the word. There can be no reasonable answer to your question if you can not accept reasonable definitions.
despite what you may think, you have not proven the above to be true. It is all, at this point, merely discussion of one's opinions. The difference is you are claiming some kind of argumentative high ground based on your superior position or tactics, while others are attempting to continue a discourse.

Zcorp wrote:Please express your argument on how and science is not a sub-set of philosophy.
I will do so again; science is falsifiable based on experimentation to test the validity of hypotheses. Philosophy is not.

If you wish to express why you think science is a sub-set of philosophy, please address the issue of reproducibility and falsifiability.
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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby morriswalters » Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:05 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
Zcorp wrote:
nicklikesfire wrote:Sorry for this aside, but, what exactly does a philosopher do?

Tries to answer questions about the nature of existence.
Such as:
1 What is the point of life?

1) Philosophers ask this question but have no basis for an answer. Science DOES have an answer; there isn't one. At least not an inherent one.
I question the statement I bolded. Science doesn't know any such thing. How could it? It implies that science knows all there is to know. Science acts, in effect, like a explorer mapping a strange coast. They fill in the map.

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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Zcorp » Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:24 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Lets try this again;
You recently linked wikipedia's definition of science. I'll quote back to you the pertinent part, the part that I raised in my first post, the part that you have yet to address.

I have addressed it multiple times.
Please attribute the quote to the right source for those not closely following the discussion.
Cherry picking parts of a definition to suit your ends is not only unreasonable it is also rude and causes harm to the discussion and yourself. Confirmation bias is a weakness of our nature, we should strive to overcome it.

Finally, if you must cherry pick parts of a definition to maintain your bias at least pick ones that actually make your point for you.

wikipedia wrote:is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.

This is not a definition of the scientific method, this is a definition of scientific theory. Something that certainly lies outside of your definition.

This is one of the the parts you left out of the above paragraph you quoted:
A practitioner of science is known as a scientist.


This paragraph defines scientist as someone who builds theories on how existence behaves, or applies the knowledge gained from it. It makes no mention at all of the scientific method until half way through the 3rd paragraph talking various things the word means.

Here are the other definitions.

In an older and closely related meaning, "science" also refers to a body of knowledge itself, of the type that can be rationally explained and reliably applied

In modern usage, "science" most often refers to a way of pursuing knowledge, not only the knowledge itself.

And over the course of the 19th century, the word "science" became increasingly associated with the scientific method itself


The first quote of science on wikipedia is formulation of theory. Something squarely in the realm of Reason, one of the definitions I mentioned.
The second quote recognized - which is actually the second sentence - states that science is knowledge, one if the definitions I mentioned.
The third quote means philosophy of science. Something again squarely in the realm of Reason.
The fourth quote of science is the Method, one if the definitions I mentioned.

There is no way to read this article and apply reason to it and not come away with an understanding that science is:
Seeking to understand and pursue knowledge, formulation of theory, knowledge about a field of study or the method itself.

The article then defines a practitioner of one of these things as a 'scientists.' To be extremely nit picky it more specifically describes someone who utilizes knowledge of a field or that formulates theory in a field as a scientist.

You can choose to disagree with this definition, but for any reasonable person you need to put forth an actual logical argument with evidence for why we should accept your definition.

I've given you many on why the above definition is pretty accurate. All I'm asking you to do is make an actual argument.

Izawwlgood wrote:Myself and others have repeatedly pointed out that those three concepts are not in and of themselves sufficient to define science or scientists.
You have made statements that they you believe they are insufficient, you have not yet made a single logical argument as to why. So I'll ask again, please make an argument as to why.

Don't you think it is important to define science before we can define what a scientist is?

Myself and others have repeatedly given examples that disagree with your initial example of 'philosophy is to science as rectangles are to squares'. You have repeatedly ignored/dismissed the notion of philosophy merely proceeded science with respect to addressing the natural world, while simultaneously repeating your assertions that science is a subset of philosophy.

I have not ignored it or dismissed it. In fact I directly addressed it in my response two previous to this one.

"What does a philosopher do?
Tries to answer fundamental questions about existence.

What does an Astronomer do?
Studies celestial objects.

If I scientifically study celestial objects to answer fundamental questions about existence, I am a philosopher, a scientist and an astronomer. "


So. Againagain. I am not interested in circling this point with you, because;
Zcorp wrote:Yet you refuse to accept history's, common culture's and academic definitions of the word. There can be no reasonable answer to your question if you can not accept reasonable definitions.
despite what you may think, you have not proven the above to be true. It is all, at this point, merely discussion of one's opinions. The difference is you are claiming some kind of argumentative high ground based on your superior position or tactics, while others are attempting to continue a discourse.

What more proof would you like?
I've asked you to think about how the word science is used, I can give you the answers if you like, but I assume you know them.
I've given you definition from various sources that agree with mine.
I've given you examples of how these definitions came about in history.
I've done all of this, and you've only expressed an opinion and not even an argument to back up that opinion.

I'm not claiming an argumentative high ground, I'm asking you to make an argument on why your opinion it is what is. That you can't do that and that I can, while maintaining logical consistently and reasonibility, is why I have a 'high ground', although that's a terrible thing to call it. I have an observed current reality, history and logic to form a reasonable understanding of what the word science means. This shouldn't be a 'high ground' this is really the lowest ground there is any reasonable discourse.

Zcorp wrote:Please express your argument on how and science is not a sub-set of philosophy.
I will do so again; science is falsifiable based on experimentation to test the validity of hypotheses. Philosophy is not.

This is not an argument, it is an opinion. Why do you believe this should be or is sole definition of the word science?

If you wish to express why you think science is a sub-set of philosophy, please address the issue of reproducibility and falsifiability.

Reproducibility and Falsifiability are the realm of Philosophy, specifically philosophy of science - AFAIK Popper didn't even make a discovery utilizing the method. They are questions pertaining to "Am I doing good science?" or "Am I creating an accurate understanding of what I'm studying?" This is something you even just agreed to.

Izawwlgood wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Scientists may not be trying to answer questions like, 'Is gmalivuk a good person?', but many of them are trying to answer questions like, 'Is this thing I'm doing good science?' And the latter is no less a philosophical question than the former.
Naturally, and Philosophers of Science may contribute towards assisting in defining the best ways for science to address these issues. But typically, I feel, only at the most fundamental level. "Do we agree that experimentation is the best way to address this query?" is a fairly broad question that philosophers may weigh in on. "Do we agree that a Western Blot is the best experimental technique to answer that question?" is a fairly specific question that most philosophers cannot/should not.


I'm not sure if this is unintentional, but you just settled the issue. You just agreed that philosophers of science are scientists.
You also just agreed that scientists routinely engage in philosophy, how science is a subset of philosophy.
Last edited by Zcorp on Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:53 pm UTC, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:38 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:You're being pretty dismissive of the entire field of ethics with your "answers" to 2 and 3, and therefore (by your own assertion) 4, 6, 7, and 8 as well.

Science by itself can't get you normative statements or value judgments. If you're asking questions about what we should do or what things/lives/people are "worthwhile", then on some level you're doing philosophy.


I am dismissive of most ethicists. Not for their conclusions per se, but for their axioms and assumptions. I see no reason to assume that there is any innate morality to the universe, and any morality that exists is the morality we make. In many ways, this makes philosophy more important; there is no booming voice declaring what is Right and Wrong, no universal laws of nature guiding us beyond "reproduce", just the ethics we create for ourselves. It's easy to know what you should do in all situations when it's written down in The Book someplace, with Someone Else telling you what That Book actually means, but it's not so easy when you have to think for yourself.

morriswalters wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:
Zcorp wrote:1 What is the point of life?

1) Philosophers ask this question but have no basis for an answer. Science DOES have an answer; there isn't one. At least not an inherent one.
I question the statement I bolded. Science doesn't know any such thing. How could it? It implies that science knows all there is to know. Science acts, in effect, like a explorer mapping a strange coast. They fill in the map.


Science knows pretty much how humans came into existence. There is no evidence of any "point" beyond "produce more monkeys". If you want to argue there is a point to it all, you have to bring the evidence.

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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby ahammel » Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:49 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:I see no reason to assume that there is any innate morality to the universe, and any morality that exists is the morality we make.

I'll bet you that most people who study ethics for a living are aware of this position, much in the way that most people who study physics have heard of this "string theory" wheeze.
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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:06 am UTC

Of course; it's called Moral Skepticism/Nihilism.

And String Theory has yet to make a testable prediction; it's science, it's either proto-science or pseudo-science. Moral Skepticism isn't pseudo-philosophy.

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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:06 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:You're being pretty dismissive of the entire field of ethics with your "answers" to 2 and 3, and therefore (by your own assertion) 4, 6, 7, and 8 as well.

Science by itself can't get you normative statements or value judgments. If you're asking questions about what we should do or what things/lives/people are "worthwhile", then on some level you're doing philosophy.


I am dismissive of most ethicists. Not for their conclusions per se, but for their axioms and assumptions. I see no reason to assume that there is any innate morality to the universe, and any morality that exists is the morality we make. In many ways, this makes philosophy more important; there is no booming voice declaring what is Right and Wrong, no universal laws of nature guiding us beyond "reproduce", just the ethics we create for ourselves. It's easy to know what you should do in all situations when it's written down in The Book someplace, with Someone Else telling you what That Book actually means, but it's not so easy when you have to think for yourself.
So... you're dismissive of most ethicists because you think most ethicists are supernaturalists?

Have you, like, ever set foot inside a philosophy department or cracked open an ethics textbook? That's far from the only going theory.

You've basically said you're dismissive of Asian food because you don't care for wasabi.

morriswalters wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:
Zcorp wrote:1 What is the point of life?

1) Philosophers ask this question but have no basis for an answer. Science DOES have an answer; there isn't one. At least not an inherent one.
I question the statement I bolded. Science doesn't know any such thing. How could it? It implies that science knows all there is to know. Science acts, in effect, like a explorer mapping a strange coast. They fill in the map.

Science knows pretty much how humans came into existence. There is no evidence of any "point" beyond "produce more monkeys". If you want to argue there is a point to it all, you have to bring the evidence.
This is scientism. You're trying to use science to answer teleological questions it is not equipped to address. Claiming "produce more monkeys" is a "point" is a philosophical claim. All science can tell us is that producing more monkeys is how we got here and is therefore through natural selection the desire most of our genes conspire to instill in us.

I happen to believe that this natural selection analysis of biological function or purpose is a good one, when it comes to answering such questions as "what's the point of the hyoid bone?" But I think you and I both know that "what's the point of life?" is not meant to be the same kind of question. Sure, different people mean different things when they ask questions like that or "Why are we here?", and some of those things may turn out to be incoherent on closer examination, but I think it's fairly reasonable to accept that almost none of them are really asking, "What is a good chronological explanation of how I came to be?"

Similarly, people who ask, "How should I live my life?" are almost certainly not wondering, "What did my ancestors do that eventually led to my own existence?"

Moral skepticism isn't pseudo-philosophy, but what you're doing here pretty much is. Just as pseudoscientists will frequently dismiss entire fields of science as incorrect or pointless without actually knowing what scientists in those fields have to say on the matter, you are dismissing entire fields of philosophy without actually knowing what real philosophers have to say.
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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby morriswalters » Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:50 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Science knows pretty much how humans came into existence. There is no evidence of any "point" beyond "produce more monkeys". If you want to argue there is a point to it all, you have to bring the evidence.
No. There is no absolute knowledge of how life began, and therefore how man came to exist. The idea that there could be a point to it all can't be answered. That the question has no worth is a matter of resources. You devote resources to questions you might be able to answer. The question has merit. One possible way of looking at Philosophy is to see it as the part of human questioning that looks at those type of problems.

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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:56 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Science knows pretty much how humans came into existence. There is no evidence of any "point" beyond "produce more monkeys". If you want to argue there is a point to it all, you have to bring the evidence
I dare say you're assuming an awfully shallow perspective on this matter. As a biologist, my definition of 'what is the purpose of life' is going to be extremely boring and rather idiotic.

@Zcorp:
Spoiler:
For starters Zcorp, I'm not cherry picking anything. I literally wrote 'I will link the pertinent part', and did so. Incidentally, the pertinent part, the part that deals with my point of falsifiability and reproducibility, *is* the part I quoted back to you.

I'm going to answer two points of yours, and then stop addressing you. You're just flailing in circles and are being quite obnoxious to me, and I see no reason to continue with it, and other posters are making a better effort to discuss this matter than you.

So;

Firstly, your notion that anything that relies on Reason lays within the realm of philosophy is, again, your opinion, and nothing you have substantiated beyond your opinion. It was first made on page one, and you have done nothing but repeat it since. Mokele's analogy on reptiles and my subsequent usage of the description of 'philosophy proceeded science' was something you addressed by repeating, and I quote;
Science is entirely subset of philosophy. The intentions or motivations of the individual are not relevant to this discussion.

No that's not a perfect analogy at all. For all the the reasons i mentioned above, I can try to make them more clear if you don't understand them.
At which point you were mod warned.

Secondly, your claim that reproducibility and falsifiability are the realm of philosophy, is again, a semantics issue, since you are now claiming that 'philosophy of science' and 'science' are equivalents. They are not, as discussed previously, we covered that philosophy can contribute to discussion on how the scientific method should be conducted, but that this is not 'doing science'. I do concur that philosophy can contribute to metatheory, but do not consider this science.

I also did not agree that scientists routinely engage in philosophy, though were they do to so (and I'm sure many do!), they would indeed be 'doing philosophy'. Perhaps, Philosophy of Science, or Philosophy of Physics. And then they would be philosophers. Until they once again did science.

Now. I'm done responding to you, and will consider us at a position of agreeing to disagree unless you wish to bring something new into this.
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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Zcorp » Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:08 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:For starters Zcorp, I'm not cherry picking anything. I literally wrote 'I will link the pertinent part', and did so. Incidentally, the pertinent part, the part that deals with my point of falsifiability and reproducibility, *is* the part I quoted back to you.

What you quoted deals with neither of those things specifically, and the entire definition is pertinent. When you believe the only part that is pertinent is the part relevant to only your point and ignore the rest, that is the very definition of cherry picking.

Do you believe that science never existed prior to Popper's influence?

Secondly, your claim that reproducibility and falsifiability are the realm of philosophy, is again, a semantics issue, since you are now claiming that 'philosophy of science' and 'science' are equivalents.

I did not say they were equivalent, I stated that one categorically includes the other. I also provided ample evidence for why this is so, and how history, common culture and academics believe it is so. Please take the time to read posts, and if you are uncertain of what they say please ask for clarification.

I hope you haven't been believing I've been arguing the are equivalent the entire time.

consider us at a position of agreeing to disagree unless you wish to bring something new into this.

Why would I agree to disagree, you are just simply wrong and I've provided logical argument and evidence to support that logic toward my argument.
I've brought something new to this with nearly every post, and in nearly every post I've requested you to bring something new in to this. You have yet to do so.

Please try for 10 minutes to formulate an actual argument and then post the result here.
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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:42 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:You're being pretty dismissive of the entire field of ethics with your "answers" to 2 and 3, and therefore (by your own assertion) 4, 6, 7, and 8 as well.

Science by itself can't get you normative statements or value judgments. If you're asking questions about what we should do or what things/lives/people are "worthwhile", then on some level you're doing philosophy.


I am dismissive of most ethicists. Not for their conclusions per se, but for their axioms and assumptions. I see no reason to assume that there is any innate morality to the universe, and any morality that exists is the morality we make. In many ways, this makes philosophy more important; there is no booming voice declaring what is Right and Wrong, no universal laws of nature guiding us beyond "reproduce", just the ethics we create for ourselves. It's easy to know what you should do in all situations when it's written down in The Book someplace, with Someone Else telling you what That Book actually means, but it's not so easy when you have to think for yourself.
So... you're dismissive of most ethicists because you think most ethicists are supernaturalists?

Have you, like, ever set foot inside a philosophy department or cracked open an ethics textbook? That's far from the only going theory.

You've basically said you're dismissive of Asian food because you don't care for wasabi.



I have "set foot" in a philosophy department, and cracked open ethics textbooks. I had philosophy gen-eds, and my first impression of University-level philosophy is that it was mostly full of shit. I've read a few philosophy textbooks, if you count things like Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, Thomas Paine's Common Sense and Rights of Man, as well as their IR works (if you want to call that Applied Philosophy). Ayn Rand if you want Nietzsche for Dummies. Skimmed through Plato's Republic. Read the introduction to Communist Manifesto, and Marx is creaming his pants over his little socialist paradise.

Anyway, the common thread of all the philosophies I've seen -and that includes religions- is that they all seemed to be based on what the philosopher wanted to be true, and the end results just so happened to be for the author's personal imagination of the Utopia. Coming from a science background, I tend to be extra skeptical of anything that the author is clearly biased towards.

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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:45 am UTC

In case you couldn't tell, my rhetorical question was hyperbole. Kind of like asking an evolution denier if he'd ever opened a primary school science book.

You understand why people who understand physics generally don't take seriously high schoolers who claim to have refuted Einstein, right? You're doing approximately the same thing with ethics. You've read a couple works of political philosophy by guys with an ideological bone to pick and imply that you know a few things about world religions, and from there assert that you can dismiss almost the entirety of philosophical ethics as being useless bullshit.

Believe it or not, philosophy is no different than all areas of human endeavor, in that you really ought to have some breadth of exposure to the ideas that have come before you if you want anyone to listen with a straight face as you start making broad proclamations about the field as a whole.
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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Zcorp » Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:52 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Believe it or not, philosophy is no different than all areas of human endeavor, in that you really ought to have some breadth of exposure to the ideas that have come before you if you want anyone to listen with a straight face as you start making broad proclamations about the field as a whole.

And not only that, but entry level philosophy classes introduce you to people that are wrong on some fundamental level. Which is true when you study just about subject.

Freud was wrong guys, on just about everything, as was Jung, and as we go through the history of various fields we learn how prominent figures in those fields were often wrong and what little bits they got right. Then you learn how the next guy who got something else wrong but also added to those good bits and then we understand a little bit more.

While it is unfortunate that there are many fields that are taught this way, often including philosophy, its a reality. So expecting to gain much understanding of what is right rather than what is wrong when you take basic courses on a subject is a pretty flawed expectation.

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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:03 am UTC

That's more a less a Courtier's Reply; "You haven't studied High Fashion, what right do you have to say the Emperor is naked".

At the risk of sounding like a postmodernist, I do happen to agree to some extent with postmodern analysis; everything is at risk of being tainted by personal biases. I don't dismiss philosophy and ethics as mostly full of shit, I dismiss most philosophers as being tainted by their own biases. Which is true of just about any field really. The difference between the hard sciences and the soft sciences/humanities is that the hard sciences have the advantage of empiricism which is must more resistant to personal biases, though it's far from immune. Philosophy doesn't have the falsifiability that, say, biology does. You can construct any logically sound argument you want from your chosen intrinsic good(s), but there is no way to measure what is "correct". The choice between Deontological intrinsic good and Consequentialist intrinsic good doesn't have a "right" answer, even if it is very interesting (and more importantly, practical) to see what the conclusions are from the choices you make, and to constantly add new hypotheticals to 'test' where your choices actually lead and if that really is something you want. For example, the runaway train with people on the track problem, versus organ harvesting for the public good.

But the problem lies when people have already decided what their conclusions are, which is virtually always "whatever is best for me". It's probably less of a problem with philosophers than the general public. I'm an Econ minor (was combined with my major), but I do have a love of economics. You have dozens if not hundreds of schools and sub-schools of economic thought, most of them contradictory. Why do so many economists and laypeople adhere to one of these schools over another? It's because it fits in with what they want to be true, or at least the applications of that school of thought will benefit themselves more than any other school. You won't find a socialist who thinks ze'll be worse off under socialism.

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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Zcorp » Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:51 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:The difference between the hard sciences and the soft sciences/humanities is that the hard sciences have the advantage of empiricism which is must more resistant to personal biases, though it's far from immune.

All sciences have empiricism. Their advantage is that what they are studying does not change through studying and interacting with it. That the system they are working it is simply less complex and there is less expressing influence on each subject.

But the problem lies when people have already decided what their conclusions are, which is virtually always "whatever is best for me".

No its not.
You don't have to look very far to see you are wrong here. Most American republicans are a example of this, I can give you tens more.

It's because it fits in with what they want to be true, or at least the applications of that school of thought will benefit themselves more than any other school. You won't find a socialist who thinks ze'll be worse off under socialism.

Ideology has very little to do with benefit of oneself or what they want to be true for most people. For nearly all people it has consistently been what the first person that taught them says ideologically true. There has been hope of changing that for a long time, but we aren't there yet.

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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:27 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:That's more a less a Courtier's Reply; "You haven't studied High Fashion, what right do you have to say the Emperor is naked".
Is telling someone they don't understand Einstein well enough to have disproved relativity similarly a Courtier's Reply?

But the problem lies when people have already decided what their conclusions are, which is virtually always "whatever is best for me". It's probably less of a problem with philosophers than the general public. I'm an Econ minor (was combined with my major), but I do have a love of economics. You have dozens if not hundreds of schools and sub-schools of economic thought, most of them contradictory. Why do so many economists and laypeople adhere to one of these schools over another? It's because it fits in with what they want to be true, or at least the applications of that school of thought will benefit themselves more than any other school. You won't find a socialist who thinks ze'll be worse off under socialism.
No, but you can certainly find socialists who are wrong about whether they'll be better off, based on their own notions of "better".

Ethical and economic claims absolutely can be tested and falsified, you just have to do so within the framework you're investigating. Showing that a utilitarian's proposal goes against what God would want according to the Bible is not a falsification, but showing that it would in fact leave people worse off according to that utilitarian's own metric is.

That's why a more productive way to attack flawed economic models is to show how they don't actually make correct predictions for their own measures of utility, rather than that those measures don't match up with yours.
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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:21 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Ethical and economic claims absolutely can be tested and falsified, you just have to do so within the framework you're investigating. Showing that a utilitarian's proposal goes against what God would want according to the Bible is not a falsification, but showing that it would in fact leave people worse off according to that utilitarian's own metric is.
Would you consider an ethicist that used survey or population outcome statistics to validate their position a sociologist?
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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:46 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Ethical and economic claims absolutely can be tested and falsified, you just have to do so within the framework you're investigating. Showing that a utilitarian's proposal goes against what God would want according to the Bible is not a falsification, but showing that it would in fact leave people worse off according to that utilitarian's own metric is.
Would you consider an ethicist that used survey or population outcome statistics to validate their position a sociologist?


Someone can certainly have multiple labels. You could also use the word Statistician to describe someone doing such things. Usually, I favor the most descriptive word for the application. Therefore, if they are doing a little bit of this, but philosophy is the main thrust of their work, philosopher would be the easy, informative label to go for. That doesn't mean that other labels are technically wrong....merely that it is unreasonably cumbersome to use every label to describe someone in discussion.

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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:29 pm UTC

That's the problem with the Courtier's Reply argument; no set definition of when it is taking place. It's more an accusation than pointing out a logical fallacy. But anyway, I hope I'm not pissing you guys off too much, the debates are fun enough.

You can certainly find logical flaws in both science and philosophy, and can sometimes disprove someone's conclusions from their own priors. Economics and philosophy both deal with utility theory, and understanding economics is one of the reasons I'm in the Utilitarian camp. Philosophy, because ethics. Econ, because it underlies virtually all of it. And once you peel off all the poorly thought out claptrap (once had a guy tell me that out economy should be backed by the sum of our elements, which I guess is the same as the sum of Au), you still have the different schools of thought. Austrians blatantly reject empirical evidence yet are still considered legit.

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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:42 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Ethical and economic claims absolutely can be tested and falsified, you just have to do so within the framework you're investigating. Showing that a utilitarian's proposal goes against what God would want according to the Bible is not a falsification, but showing that it would in fact leave people worse off according to that utilitarian's own metric is.
Would you consider an ethicist that used survey or population outcome statistics to validate their position a sociologist?


Someone can certainly have multiple labels. You could also use the word Statistician to describe someone doing such things. Usually, I favor the most descriptive word for the application. Therefore, if they are doing a little bit of this, but philosophy is the main thrust of their work, philosopher would be the easy, informative label to go for. That doesn't mean that other labels are technically wrong....merely that it is unreasonably cumbersome to use every label to describe someone in discussion.

Agreed, which is why I think identifying a profession with a combination of intent and activity is a reasonable approach. I would be surprised if many philosophers are working on problems that are best answered empirically though. Just like I'd be surprised if many scientists/economists/etc were working on problems that were best answered philosophically.
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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Sep 04, 2014 8:16 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Ethical and economic claims absolutely can be tested and falsified, you just have to do so within the framework you're investigating. Showing that a utilitarian's proposal goes against what God would want according to the Bible is not a falsification, but showing that it would in fact leave people worse off according to that utilitarian's own metric is.
Would you consider an ethicist that used survey or population outcome statistics to validate their position a sociologist?
The person doing the research that produces those statistics may be a sociologist, butusing them in a philosophical argument is philosophy, not sociology.
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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Cres » Thu Sep 04, 2014 8:18 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Cres wrote: My personal feeling is that, in the battle to be 'less wrong', scientism vs philosophy is shaping up to be just as important a battleground as religion vs science.

Interesting, can you elaborate on why? Internet armchair warriors aside, I don't see a lot of scientists in the real world trying to publish in philosophical texts, but I do see a lot of philosophers publishing on QM, cosmology, etc., albeit in mostly Philosophy and/or History of Science journals.


I think the exchanges between CorruptUser and gmalivuk (and the latter's impressively cogent & patient responses) in this thread do a much better job of explaining what I mean here than I could.

I would love to believe it is a problem limited to internet armchair warriors, but I think it afflicts (some) influential scientists in the public intellectual-mould as well. A recent instructive example was the reaction to the release of Thomas Nagel's new book, Mind and Cosmos. Without derailing the thread into a discussion of that book's contents, it is a philosophical work with controversial conclusions (written, incidentally, by one of the best philosophers alive today), that was dismissed out of hand, and with no engagement with the many and detailed philosophical arguments within, on scientistic (NB not scientific) grounds by people who should have known better (Steven Pinker being a particularly upsetting example of those who jumped on this bandwagon, given his excellent work in areas that are legitimately within his realm of expertise). For those interested, this article explains the episode in helpful detail: http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/philosophy/thomas-nagel-mind-and-cosmos-review-leiter-nation.

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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:36 pm UTC

Kind of an interesting read, but I think I side with the scientists on this one. Dismissing evolutionary biology because it doesn't jive with your musings doesn't convince me you've got much to contribute.

The article itself doesn't even really make it seem like many scientists were wrong in dismissing some of his claims, just that they should have separated his position from the bench science they do.
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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby ahammel » Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:07 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Dismissing evolutionary biology because it doesn't jive with your musings doesn't convince me you've got much to contribute.

Nagel didn't dismiss evolutionary biology, just the idea that evolutionary biology is likely to solve the mind/body problem.
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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:01 am UTC

It still looks like a discussion about something science will never be able to explain, much the way science would never be able to explain the "life force" right up until it did.

This doesn't seem to be something scientists rejected because of scientism, it seems to be another philosopher butting his head into a scientific field he doesn't understand and arguing from his own personal incredulity about what science can and can't accomplish in that field.
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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby ahammel » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:49 am UTC

You could certainly knock over Nagel's argument by saying "we could demonstrate that consciousness is adaptive by doing excitements X, Y, and Z and making observations P, Q, and R", but what it looks like Pinker is doing is saying "you're wrong because we can solve the problem of consciousness by science-ing it harder."

Sure, maybe it's possible that evolutionary biology can solve the mind/body, but to my mind that's something you have to demonstrate. So far as I know, there's no empirical way to tell whether or not somebody is conscious, which would surely be a good place to start.
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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Sep 05, 2014 2:14 am UTC

ahammel wrote:So far as I know, there's no empirical way to tell whether or not somebody is conscious, which would surely be a good place to start.
I think depending on the definition of consciousness you want to go with, there most certainly are. If you're talking about free will, then the question becomes more complicated, perhaps even, more philosophical.

In the consciousness thread, someone mentioned an area of the brain that is related to 'sense of body perception/self', that when zapped or whatever it is neurologists do, induces sensations akin to out of body experiences. A philosopher could certainly have interesting things to say about what that means for personal perception, sense of self, sense of other, etc., but a neurologist will be the one answering some of the more nuanced aspects of those queries.
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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby ahammel » Fri Sep 05, 2014 2:22 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:In the consciousness thread, someone mentioned an area of the brain that is related to 'sense of body perception/self', that when zapped or whatever it is neurologists do, induces sensations akin to out of body experiences.

How does that help you determine whether or not somebody has a subjective feeling of consciousness?

EDIT: actually, I won't be a Socratic-method douche about it: that's problematic as a test of consciousness because a philosophical zombie can report having out-of-body experiences without subjectively experiencing them.
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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Sep 05, 2014 2:24 am UTC

A neurologist can answer questions about how the sense of self is created by the brain and how to fuck with it, but not questions about what that means for a person's own self-identity.

One of the more annoying recent bits of scientism I can remember hearing was a neurologist who seemed to see it as an empirical fact that what comes out the other side of a teleporter wouldn't really be the same "you" as went in (or maybe he was saying it would be--the point was that he had a particular strong position). He never seemed to get that it really comes down to a philosophical question about personal identity, which isn't going to be answered by lots and lots of empirical observations.
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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 05, 2014 3:50 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:A neurologist can answer questions about how the sense of self is created by the brain and how to fuck with it, but not questions about what that means for a person's own self-identity.

One of the more annoying recent bits of scientism I can remember hearing was a neurologist who seemed to see it as an empirical fact that what comes out the other side of a teleporter wouldn't really be the same "you" as went in (or maybe he was saying it would be--the point was that he had a particular strong position). He never seemed to get that it really comes down to a philosophical question about personal identity, which isn't going to be answered by lots and lots of empirical observations.


Well, no, it's not the same. The structure is the same, but an accurate copy is not the original. This is fairly easy to establish scientifically(at least, within the bounds of the thought experiment). He's still within his realm. Now, if humanity is OKAY with using a teleporter knowing this bring us into philosophy, but mere statements of fact are something science is pretty good at handling. Questions of identity are fuzzy within philosophy, but usually are not so within science.

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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Sep 05, 2014 5:15 pm UTC

Yeah, answering questions about the homunculus isn't really what neurology is talking about with 'perception of self' or 'out of body experience'. What I was getting at was more that philosophy can contribute to the dialog about what to look for, say, by raising the discussion point that 'sense of self' and include 'viewership from within the body', and neurologists could then say something like 'Ah, well this part of the brain seems to be involved in correlating bodily sensory information with spatial placement, so perhaps if we zap it, someone will lose the ability to perceive their location in relationship to their body'.

Zap.

Yup.

Which tells us interesting things about how the brain works, how 'awareness' (to again use the term perhaps fuzzily) is created, but not anything about what happens if you create an atom for atom close of yourself 20 feet away and then destroy the 'original'.
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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Sep 05, 2014 5:54 pm UTC

The teleportation thing always bothered me. Sure, you die and the doppelgänger lives, no one else cares. But if you replaced every atom in your body and create a clone named Theseus from the original atoms, it's the same thing. But that's what happens naturally, minus Theseus running around. So we are always dying. Everyone you ever loved is already dead. Yet we act as if we are still alive.

So I just looked it up; Perdurantism. You are 4 dimensional. Any two 3 dimensional slices are distinct from each other but part of you. In the case of the clone, it's two different creatures even if a 3 dimensional slice from one is effectively identical to a slice from the other.

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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 05, 2014 6:16 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:The teleportation thing always bothered me. Sure, you die and the doppelgänger lives, no one else cares. But if you replaced every atom in your body and create a clone named Theseus from the original atoms, it's the same thing. But that's what happens naturally, minus Theseus running around. So we are always dying. Everyone you ever loved is already dead. Yet we act as if we are still alive.

So I just looked it up; Perdurantism. You are 4 dimensional. Any two 3 dimensional slices are distinct from each other but part of you. In the case of the clone, it's two different creatures even if a 3 dimensional slice from one is effectively identical to a slice from the other.


The "we are always dying" perspective is true to a degree as well. The idea of us being discrete entities, unchanged thoughout time, is...a simplification. A handy one, as are many such things, but certainly we all know that people change to some degree. The definition of what is "you", like all definitions, only matters in that people agree on it, and it enables communication.

In practice, any cloning/teleport technology would likely require changes to the definition, because there is little reason to suspect that the information would have to be transmitted to only a single receiver, then destroyed. If there are a dozen perfect clones of you, they are obviously not all the same entity.

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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Sep 05, 2014 6:33 pm UTC

Why obviously?

Assume you have a sapient alien who can survive brain split. Your 'brain' is split in twain. Which half is the original, or are the two new brains 'daughters'? Now the 'daughters' recombine back to one brain. Did the 'daughters' die? Is the final brain still you or is it your 'grandson'?

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Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Sep 05, 2014 7:36 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Well, no, it's not the same. The structure is the same, but an accurate copy is not the original. This is fairly easy to establish scientifically(at least, within the bounds of the thought experiment).
No, it is not easy or even possible to establish scientifically, because science doesn't give us a definition of what "you" means. Is "you" the atoms (which are obviously not the same) or the structure (which is the same)? Are you reading the same sentence I'm writing? You're obviously seeing these words with different pixels on a different screen, but does that mean it's a different sentence?

CorruptUser wrote:So I just looked it up; Perdurantism. You are 4 dimensional. Any two 3 dimensional slices are distinct from each other but part of you. In the case of the clone, it's two different creatures even if a 3 dimensional slice from one is effectively identical to a slice from the other.
Thanks. I knew about the (philosophical) view, but I didn't know (or didn't remember) the specific name.

Tyndmyr wrote:The "we are always dying" perspective is true to a degree as well. The idea of us being discrete entities, unchanged thoughout time, is...a simplification. A handy one, as are many such things, but certainly we all know that people change to some degree. The definition of what is "you", like all definitions, only matters in that people agree on it, and it enables communication.
Yes, and what makes something a good definition is a philosophical question.

CorruptUser wrote:Why obviously?

Assume you have a sapient alien who can survive brain split. Your 'brain' is split in twain. Which half is the original, or are the two new brains 'daughters'? Now the 'daughters' recombine back to one brain. Did the 'daughters' die? Is the final brain still you or is it your 'grandson'?
Every time this discussion comes up, I have to recommend that everyone involved check out David Brin's Kiln People. It involves the ability to copy your mind into several "ditto"s for a day, and then reabsorb the memories of each ditto when it returns home. Some of the characters are dittos whose originals are dead or believed to be dead, and so there are a number of interesting perspectives on that splitting/rejoining question.

Of course, even without science fiction to look at, there's science fact to consider. We are perfectly content to call both halves of a person's brain parts of the same person, even when the corpus callosum has been cut and both halves are "thinking" somewhat independently.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
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