Support Aeon Donate now When Halloween rolled around last year, my wife and I were prepared to be greeted by scores of eager trick-or-treaters. Guided by the thought that too much candy was better than too little, we bought entirely too much, and simply poured the excess on to a platter in our living room. I have a sweet-tooth.
This was the conclusion reached a number of decades ago by Karl Popper, one of the most influential philosophers of science. He thought long and hard about it and proposed a simple criterion: For a notion to be considered scientific it would have to be shown that, at the least in principle, it could be demonstrated to be false, if it were, in fact false.
|Philosophy of the GNU Project||References and Further Reading 1. I do not expect to see anything like it again.|
|Virtue - Wikipedia||Essays on the History of Moral Philosophy J.|
Here is how in Conjectures and Refutations he differentiated among Einstein on one side, and Freud, Adler and Marx on the other: Even if our measuring instruments at the time did not allow us to pronounce on the results of the tests with complete assurance, there was clearly a possibility of refuting the theory.
The Marxist theory of history, in spite of the serious efforts of some of its founders and followers, ultimately adopted [a] soothsaying practice.
In some of its earlier formulations … their predictions were testable, and in fact falsified. Yet instead of accepting the refutations the followers of Marx re-interpreted both the theory and the evidence in order to make them agree.
The two psycho-analytic theories were in a different class. They were simply non-testable, irrefutable. There was no conceivable human behaviour which could contradict them … I personally do not doubt that much of what they say is of considerable importance, and may well play its part one day in a psychological science which is testable.
And if the theory had been tested in as was originally plannedit would have been apparently falsified. Life, and science, are complicated.
This is all good and well, but why should something written near the beginning of last century by a philosopher — however prominent — be of interest today? Well, you might have heard of string theory.
In fact, string theory is better described as a general framework — the most mathematically sophisticated one available at the moment — to resolve a fundamental problem in modern physics: Physicists agree that this means that either theory, or both, are therefore wrong or incomplete.
String theory is one attempt at reconciling the two by subsuming both into a broader theoretical framework. There is only one problem: Surprisingly, the ongoing, increasingly public and acerbic diatribe often centres on the ideas of one Karl Popper.
What, exactly, is going on? The organiser, Richard Dawid, of the University of Stockholm, is a philosopher of science with a strong background in theoretical physics. He is also a proponent of a highly speculative, if innovative, type of epistemology that supports the efforts of string theorists and aims at shielding them from the accusation of engaging in flights of mathematical fancy decoupled from any real science.
My role there was to make sure that participants — an eclectic mix of scientists and philosophers, with a Nobel winner thrown in the mix — were clear on something I teach in my introductory course in philosophy of science: In the months preceding the workshop, a number of high profile players in the field had been using all sorts of means — from manifesto-type articles in the prestigious Nature magazine to Twitter — to pursue a no-holds-barred public relations campaign to wrestle, or retain, control of the soul of contemporary fundamental physics.
Let me give you a taste of the exchange, to set the mood: This surprisingly blunt — and very public — talk from prestigious academics is what happens when scientists help themselves to, or conversely categorically reject, philosophical notions that they plainly have not given sufficient thought to.Philosophy of the GNU Project.
See alphabetnyc.com for recordings of Richard Stallman's speeches.. Free software means that the software's users have freedom. (The issue is not about price.) We developed the GNU operating system so that users can have freedom in their computing. Before his death in , Bernard Williams planned to publish a collection of historical essays, focusing primarily on the ancient world.
This posthumous volume brings together a much wider selection, written over some forty years. His legacy lives on in this masterful work, the first collection ever published of Williams's essays on the history of philosophy.
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J. B. Schneewind presents a selection of his published essays on ethics, the histo. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews is an electronic, peer-reviewed journal that publishes timely reviews of scholarly philosophy books.
Essays on the History of Moral Philosophy // Reviews // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // University of Notre Dame. History of Philosophy. The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.
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