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Science And Philosophy

Published: Thu 19 Jun 2008 07:12 PM
Science And Philosophy
By Kamala Sarup
Philosophers have a method of analysis and a conception that when one speaks of concepts about the real world they talk about things that exist ; that is, occupy space inside the brain. In fact they talk only about concepts and their relationships. Definitions and deductive logic are their tools for understanding these relationships. The result is that the results of philosophy are formal (conceptual, analytic) truths, the same as mathematics. "Philosophers have personal sense-experiences about the real world, of course, like anyone else, but these are inadequate to make formal truths into real truths. Same for math". An American Economist Stanly said recently.
He further added "To arrive at empirical truths, one tests them against the sense-experiences of many people, thus providing real world samples, which allows for generalizations from samples, a process called induction or inductive reasoning. However, there is always the possibility that the generalizations of samples by induction can be wrong. That's inherent in the process. Therefore, all inductive conclusions must be accompanied by probabilities of being true or untrue, usually expressed as a number greater than 0, but less than 1. When rigorous mathematics is applied to sampling, the probabilities are called non-Bayesian probabilities. When the probabilities are subjective, they are called Bayesian probabilities". he added.
Science is based on (1) multiple observations (experiments), (2) deductive logic, and (3) inductive logic. Its empirical truths are always probable or improbable. There is no absolute certainty associated empirical truths, called conjectures or hypotheses when the evidence is small, theories when the evidence is better, and laws when the evidence is overwhelming.
Stanly said further "Philosophy never accepted experimentation and inductive logic. It continues to deal with formal truths. Outside of language use itself, have you ever heard of any original empirical truths determined by philosophy? Not likely you ever will. The "disconnect" is that formal truths determined through philosophy tell us nothing about empirical truths, i.e., truths about the "real world". OTOH, the empirical truths of science are legion. They often result in useful predictions about the real world.
"Can the formal truths of philosophy be tested by scientists to arrive at empirical truths? Not likely, because philosophers like concepts that are untestable and they don't like uncertainty. Thus, they talk of beauty and redness (universals) as though they exist when in fact they merely convey how people think about things.
Example: beauty does exist. It is accurate to say that people consider some action so abhorrent they call them beauty actions. You want to spend your time playing word-games like, "Can truth coexist?" since the entire statement are either meaningful or existent concepts? One can't have real certain reality; that doesn't exist, although many philosophers think it does. One can obtain only certain unreality (philosophy) or uncertainty reality (science).
"Long ago many men recognized the limitations of philosophy and turned to an alternate way of knowing about the real world as a way to determine truths, i.e. facts and relationships among facts about the real world. This method later was called science. The search continues in science for better and more truths. Meanwhile philosophers continue to argue over the same concepts since antiquity with nothing to show for truths except for a few improvements in the use of language. Those achievements having been accomplished, there is some productive left for philosophers to do and teach what they know to students about language, or like poets, play with and write about words". He said.
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Journalist and Story Writer Kamala Sarup associates and writes for http://www.mediaforfreedom.com/. She is specializes in in-depth reporting and writing on peace, anti-war, women, terrorism, democracy, and development. Some of her publications are: Women's Empowerment in South Asia, Nepal (booklets); Prevention of Trafficking in Women Through Media, (book); Efforts to Prevent Trafficking in for Media Activism (media research). She has also written two collections of stories. Sarup's interests include international conflict resolution, cross-cultural communication, philosophy, feminism, political, socio-economic and literature. http://www.mediaforfreedom.com/

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