Edmonds and Warburton: Philosophy Bites
Edmonds and Warburton: Philosophy Bites Back
Your email address:Powered by FeedBlitz
« Kate Soper on Alternative Hedonism |
| Keith Ward on Idealism in Eastern and Western Philosophy »
Do subatomic particles really exist? Or are they convenient fictions that explain observable phenomena? David Papineau discusses arguments for and against scientific realism in this episode of Philosophy Bites.
Listen to David Papineau on Scientific Realism
Posted at 04:25 PM in Science | Permalink
TrackBack URL for this entry:http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d834516cc769e2010536e46dfe970b
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference David Papineau on Scientific Realism:
David Papineau's avoidance of epistemology causes him to misrepresent the history of philosophy and science and to misuse the term sckepticism accordingly. He sees the modern and post-modern rejection of correspondence theories of science as somehow the product of a loss of faith in scientific method due to early limitations on its capicity to answer questions regarding things that cannot be observed. For example, he mentions DesCartes without any reference to his efforts to find a foundation for scientific knowledge, let alone DesCartes' methodology of radical doubt.
The fact is that both philosophy and science were driven, starting with DesCartes, through most of modernism, to find a foundation for the sciences. This effort resulted in an increasing level of reflexivity, an increasing insight into the need to observe not only the thing observed/discussed, but also our method of observation/discussion, when attempting to discern what we know. In high modernism, we find Kant and Husserl, for example, seeking the foundation for science in what they saw as the necessary structure of subjectivity. The understanding necessarily apprehends the world in certain terms, and given the necessity of those terms, science is indeed knowledge, but only of the world as we encounter it. As is taught in basic philosophy courses, these mediating terms become historicized in Hegel and Marx (and their revisitation after Husserl), and as we move into Post-Modernity, they become liquisticized. But the point is, it wasn't a loss of faith due to science's early failings that brought about "sckepticism", as Papineau uses the term. What brought it about was an increasing insight into the roll of subjectivity (modernism) and language (post-modernism), and this increasing insight was the result of inquiries into the nature of knowledge that were driven by inherent demand that rigorous science (in the broad sense of the term) discern "the truth about truth", to borrow a phrase from Nietzsche.
Of course, as is evident from my approach to this issue, this writing is steeped in "continental" modern and post-modern criticism, which is to say my articulation of the issue is no less mediated than that of the realists or the sciences in which they put their faith. Can I say that I know this to be the case? Do I need to know it to make an important point or set of points by stating it?
January 29, 2009 at 07:18 AM
These issues are of a much older vintage than mentioned in "Doof-Scholar" fascinating though flawed analysis.
The point: "The fact is that both philosophy and science were driven, starting with DesCartes, through most of modernism, to find a foundation for the sciences. This effort resulted in an increasing level of reflexivity, an increasing insight into the need to observe not only the thing observed/discussed, but also our method of observation/discussion, when attempting to discern what we know." is incorrect.
Indeed the foundations issue is addressed particularly well in, for example, "Theaetetus".
You will no doubt be aware of Wittgenstein's observation on reading Theaetetus that "this dialogue is concerned with precisely the problems I am writing about"
It is actually Doof-Scholar who misrepresents the history of philosophy and science.
Everard izard |
February 01, 2009 at 12:23 PM
We discussed this interesting podcast in my Philosophy of Natural and Social Science course and an interesting question came up: Papineau does not clarify whether the realism/anti-realism debate applies to theories or entities or both. It seems that he is discussing the distinction at the level of theory, but this could be clearer. Do the terms of the debate change when we are focused on the level of entities rather than the level of theories?
Corey McCall |
January 28, 2013 at 08:10 PM
This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.
The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.
As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.
Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.
Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.
(URLs automatically linked.)
(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)
Name is required to post a comment
Please enter a valid email address
David Edmonds: Would You Kill the Fat Man?
David Edmonds: Caste Wars: The Philosophy of Discrimination
David Edmonds and John Eidinow: Rousseau's Dog: A Tale of Two Philosophers
David Edmonds and John Eidinow: Bobby Fischer Goes to War
David Edmonds and John Eidinow: Wittgenstein's Poker
Nigel Warburton: Philosophy: The Basics
Nigel Warburton: A Little History of Philosophy
Nigel Warburton: Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction
Nigel Warburton: The Basics of Essay Writing
Nigel Warburton: Thinking from A to Z
Nigel Warburton: Erno Goldfinger: The Life of an Architect
Nigel Warburton: Philosophy: The Essential Study Guide
Nigel Warburton: The Art Question
Nigel Warburton: Freedom: An Introduction with Readings
Nigel Warburton: Philosophy: The Classics