Science vs. Humanities

Epistemologist
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Science vs. Humanities

I have been having an interesting discussion with some nice forum members. I enjoyed it. Thank you. A stance I held in that discussion is that there are aspects of the human experience that are ineffable to science.

 

Three years ago, I studied a year-long module on the humanities at university. I was taught that the humanities study and convey truths, meanings, and knowledge, that are not accessible through the sciences. In other words, academics who specialize in the humanities, from what I have learned, maintain that the humanities study and convey aspects of the human experience that cannot be and/or are not studied or conveyed by the sciences.

 

By the sciences I mean mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, sociology etc.

 

By the humanities I mean music, poetry and other creative writing, drama, painting, sculpture, law, history, linguistics etc.

 

I have some questions about this.

 

Is it irrational to conclude that the humanities study and express truths, meanings, and knowledge, which cannot be and/or are not studied or expressed by the sciences?

 

A related question is, do the humanities encompass aspects of the human experience (truths, meanings and knowledge) that are ineffable to the sciences, but not ineffable to the humanities? In other words, are there aspects of the human experience that can be known through the humanities, but not known through the sciences?

 

Do the humanities encompass aspects of the human experience that are not reducible to scientific naturalism?

 

Since specialists in the humanities maintain that the humanities encompass aspects of the human experience that are not or cannot be encompassed by the sciences, does that mean that the humanities are in opposition to scientific naturalism?

 

If a person concludes that the humanities do indeed encompass truths, meanings, and knowledge, that cannot be or are not encompassed by the sciences, does that mean that person is not a scientific naturalist?

 

There seem to be many scientific naturalists in this forum, and I would be most interested in your thoughts on this. I am not going to debate you. I just want to know, from your perspective, whether it is irrational to conclude that the humanities study and convey truths, meanings and knowledge that cannot be and/or are not studied and/or conveyed by the sciences.

 

Although I am an atheist, happy Easter! Smiling

 

 


mellestad
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I'm just going to go out on

I'm just going to go out on a limb and declare the following: "When you try to prove your point by citing your essay scores in philosophy class, you lose."

 

Want some eye opening discussion?  Ask your favorite philosophy professor to check this discussion out.

 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


Tapey
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mellestad wrote:I'm just

mellestad wrote:

I'm just going to go out on a limb and declare the following: "When you try to prove your point by citing your essay scores in philosophy class, you lose."

 

Want some eye opening discussion?  Ask your favorite philosophy professor to check this discussion out.

 

im going to deny your declaration and change it to it doesn't help your case. it really doesn't affect anything.

 

P.S. on a personal note, metaphysics is really boring. ethics and political philosophy are the only ones worth looking at

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Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
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No animal shall sleep in a bed.
No animal shall drink alcohol.
No animal shall kill any other animal.
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BobSpence
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Epistemologist

Epistemologist wrote:

 

BobSpence1 wrote:
“That statement of Epistemologist that I underlined is definitely a fallacy, and if it is indeed "the definition of metaphysical idealism, which is part of Platonism", then both those thought systems are fallacies.

 

I already knew that about Platonism, and if that statement really is "the definition of metaphysical idealism", then obviously that is also a fallacy. I already consider metaphysics to be a pointless, worthless 'discipline', so it all fits.

 

Epistemologist is fundamentally lacking in understanding of logic.”

 

Then why did my philosophy professor give me a distinction for that definition and say that it is perfectly logical? It is well known in metaphysics that idealism is logical. However, I personally do not believe in idealism.

Possibly because the statement of a fallacy may indeed be an accurate characterisation of a thought-system based on fallacious ideas.

Or, putting it another way, if the idea, the 'reasoning', contained in that statement is indeed the defining idea behind "metaphysical idealism", that would make the statement that "if we only know the world as representation, then the world is only representation" as part of a definition of "metaphysical idealism", arguably quite logical.

But the basic assertion itself, is fallacious, if it really is asserting that because we can only perceive the external world via a reconstruction from sensory data, therefore what those senses are responding to does not exist.

If you, or "metaphysical idealism", actually maintain that, to our mind, that 'representation' is all we have available to deal with, since we have no 'direct' apprehension of the world, the statement may be correct, although poorly phrased, in that is easily misunderstood. IOW, those aspects of reality that we cannot perceive or interact with may be regarded as effectively non-existent to us.

I think even that is highly questionable, since science seems to show that there are many aspects of reality that we in no way can perceive either directly, or via our senses, but do affect the nature of our experience indirectly by the way they affect those aspects we can perceive.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

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Natural Science vs. Humanities

 

mellestad wrote:
I'm just going to go out on a limb and declare the following: "When you try to prove your point by citing your essay scores in philosophy class, you lose."

 

Thanks mellestad.

 

My points are still logically valid. And this is not about winning and losing. It’s about the truth. However, you’re right in that it doesn’t help the discussion for me to describe my academic life. I am truthfully describing the relationship between metaphysics and different academic disciplines.

 

The same goes for Whatthedeuce. Using your definition of winning and losing, Whatthedeuce has also lost, because he expected me to accept his claim that he is a mathematics major means that he was right, and I was wrong. So we’ve both made the same mistake.

 

Our points are not false simply because we mention our academic lives. It is the logic you have to attack mellestad, not the debater. If you attack the debater rather than their arguments, that is ad hominem, which is a fallacy.

 

The main point I was making is that BobSpence1 claimed that a tautology is a fallacy. He’s wrong. A tautology is perfect logic, and a fallacy in logic is a contradiction. BobSpence1 doesn’t seem to know that.

 

mellestad wrote:
Want some eye opening discussion?  Ask your favorite philosophy professor to check this discussion out.

 

He could do. However, you are implying that my knowledge of philosophy expressed in this discussion is wrong, without telling me why. If you think anything I have said is wrong, show me what it is, and I will show you it’s not wrong. I have proven to be true everything that I have so far said. So the burden of proof is on you to show me what I have said is wrong. If you cannot do that, then you are just spamming.


mellestad
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Tapey wrote:mellestad

Tapey wrote:

mellestad wrote:

I'm just going to go out on a limb and declare the following: "When you try to prove your point by citing your essay scores in philosophy class, you lose."

 

Want some eye opening discussion?  Ask your favorite philosophy professor to check this discussion out.

 

im going to deny your declaration and change it to it doesn't help your case. it really doesn't affect anything.

 

P.S. on a personal note, metaphysics is really boring. ethics and political philosophy are the only ones worth looking at

 

It proves someone is a dinkus and that affects the conversation Sticking out tongue

 

If he would have come in and said, "Hey, some people inside certain humanities hold X opinion, care to comment?" I would not have had any problem.  But he didn't, he came in and said, "The humanities are the antithesis of naturalism because *drumroll* I said so." and then proceeds to play word games.  Granted, I shouldn't be shocked, because of his name, but still.  If his favorite professor (who grades his papers at 90%!) actually agrees with him, then I would willingly debate him too because the position that the humanities are all currently centered on anti-naturalistic ideas isn't tenable in any way I can see, and I'd love to hear from someone who can actually give a logical argument for it being so.

This thread is the worst kind of elitist, ego driven, navel gazing that philosophy often breeds.  Yuck.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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Natural Science vs. Humanities

 

mellestad wrote:
If he would have come in and said, "Hey, some people inside certain humanities hold X opinion, care to comment?" I would not have had any problem.  But he didn't, he came in and said, "The humanities are the antithesis of naturalism because *drumroll* I said so." and then proceeds to play word games.  Granted, I shouldn't be shocked, because of his name, but still.  If his favorite professor (who grades his papers at 90%!) actually agrees with him, then I would willingly debate him too because the position that the humanities are all currently centered on anti-naturalistic ideas isn't tenable in any way I can see, and I'd love to hear from someone who can actually give a logical argument for it being so.

 

Lying, as you are doing, does not contribute to the discussion.

 

I have never given as evidence ‘because I said so’. You just made that up. I have been giving evidence for every point I make.

 

As I said before, if you want to contribute to this discussion, pick out what I have said that you think is wrong, and I will show you that it’s not wrong. If you can’t do that, then what you have said above is just bunk.

 

By the way, attack the ideas, not the person who presents them. Attacking the debater personally, makes you look bad, and its also ad hominem.


mellestad
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Epistemologist wrote: 

Epistemologist wrote:

 

mellestad wrote:
If he would have come in and said, "Hey, some people inside certain humanities hold X opinion, care to comment?" I would not have had any problem.  But he didn't, he came in and said, "The humanities are the antithesis of naturalism because *drumroll* I said so." and then proceeds to play word games.  Granted, I shouldn't be shocked, because of his name, but still.  If his favorite professor (who grades his papers at 90%!) actually agrees with him, then I would willingly debate him too because the position that the humanities are all currently centered on anti-naturalistic ideas isn't tenable in any way I can see, and I'd love to hear from someone who can actually give a logical argument for it being so.

 

Lying, as you are doing, does not contribute to the discussion.

 

I have never given as evidence ‘because I said so’. You just made that up. I have been giving evidence for every point I make.

 

As I said before, if you want to contribute to this discussion, pick out what I have said that you think is wrong, and I will show you that it’s not wrong. If you can’t do that, then what you have said above is just bunk.

 

By the way, attack the ideas, not the person who presents them. Attacking the debater personally, makes you look bad, and its also ad hominem.

 

I'm out of patience, but that does not give me the right to be rude, my apologies.

 

Are you willing to concede that you should re-phrase your argument to be less broad, or are you going to hold fast to the idea that humanities and the people who study are, by deninition, opposed to naturalism?

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


BobSpence
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Epistemologist,if you regard

Epistemologist,

if you regard the statement "if we only know the world as representation, then the world is only representation" as a tautology, I would have modified it as follows

"if we only know the world as representation, then, to us, the world is only that representation"

to make that intended meaning clearer.

I still find that a questionable assertion, as I outlined in my previous post.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


Epistemologist
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Natural Science vs. Humanities

 

mellestad wrote:
I'm out of patience, but that does not give me the right to be rude, my apologies.

 

Are you willing to concede that you should re-phrase your argument to be less broad, or are you going to hold fast to the idea that humanities and the people who study are, by definition, opposed to naturalism?

 

Oh, so you can be nice. That’s a surprise. Smiling Apology accepted.

 

I have narrowed my definitions to the following:

 

– Metaphysics conflicts with Naturalism.

 

– Social constructionism conflicts with naturalism.

 

– Rationalism conflicts with empiricism.

 

I have said that the difference between the humanities and the natural sciences is that the humanities allow for multiple metaphysical perspectives. The natural sciences only allow for one metaphysical perspective – naturalism. In that sense they conflict. However, the humanities allow for the perspective of naturalism in the humanities, and in that sense the humanities and natural sciences do not conflict.


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Epistemologist wrote: 

Epistemologist wrote:

 

mellestad wrote:
I'm out of patience, but that does not give me the right to be rude, my apologies.

 

Are you willing to concede that you should re-phrase your argument to be less broad, or are you going to hold fast to the idea that humanities and the people who study are, by definition, opposed to naturalism?

 

Oh, so you can be nice. That’s a surprise. Smiling Apology accepted.

 

I have narrowed my definitions to the following:

 

– Metaphysics conflicts with Naturalism.

 

– Social constructionism conflicts with naturalism.

 

– Rationalism conflicts with empiricism.

 

I have said that the difference between the humanities and the natural sciences is that the humanities allow for multiple metaphysical perspectives. The natural sciences only allow for one metaphysical perspective – naturalism. In that sense they conflict. However, the humanities allow for the perspective of naturalism in the humanities, and in that sense the humanities and natural sciences do not conflict.

 

Good enough then, I don't have any debate with the first proposition.  

As long as your definition of social constructionism is the primary viewpoint I don't have a problem with that either.  

And since I don't consider myself a strict rationalist or empiricists in the pedantic sense I don't have any issue with your last proposition, as long as we have the understanding that when non-philosophy majors use those words they don't usually mean the same thing that a student of philosophy means.  When most people call themselves rationalists they usually mean a sort of practicalism that means truth can only be obtained by things within the framework of naturalism.  For example, most empiricists do not reject logic as a way to discern truth and rationalists do not reject observation.  (I imagine you know this)

 

I guessed I missed the part where the debate shifted.  I apparently ranted for a cause already won, which is not shocking to me!

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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Natural Science vs. Humanities

 

BobSpence1 wrote:
“if you regard the statement "if we only know the world as representation, then the world is only representation" as a tautology, I would have modified it as follows

 

"if we only know the world as representation, then, to us, the world is only that representation"

 

to make that intended meaning clearer.

 

I still find that a questionable assertion, as I outlined in my previous post.”

 

Thanks for engaging with that axiom, as it is the core of this discussion.

 

Have you heard of the relationship between perception and substance, described by John Locke and George Berkeley? Your modification fits the definition of reality proposed by Locke. My version fits the definition of reality proposed by Berkeley.

 

I’ll just lay them out:

 

Locke: "if we only know the world as representation, then, to us, the world is only that representation."

 

Berkeley: "if we only know the world as representation, then the world is only that representation."

 

Lock maintained that we only know our perceptions. We only know the world as our perceptions. Our perceptions are in our minds. Therefore the world we perceive is in our minds, BUT it is supervened upon a substance external to our minds that we do not perceive.

 

Berkeley differed from Lock in that he refuted the existence of such a substance that is invisible to our perception. Berkeley said there is no way of knowing whether there is such an invisible substance, simply because we cannot perceive that substance i.e. Berkeley was saying that the claim that our perceptions are supervened upon a substance invisible to our perception cannot be empirically verified. Such a substance has to be postulated metaphysically. So strangely, from Berkley’s perspective, the rejection of the metaphysical idea of an invisible substance external to our minds renders the world as inside our minds.


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Natural Science vs. Humanities

 

mellestad wrote:
“And since I don't consider myself a strict rationalist or empiricists in the pedantic sense I don't have any issue with your last proposition, as long as we have the understanding that when non-philosophy majors use those words they don't usually mean the same thing that a student of philosophy means.  When most people call themselves rationalists they usually mean a sort of practicalism that means truth can only be obtained by things within the framework of naturalism.  For example, most empiricists do not reject logic as a way to discern truth and rationalists do not reject observation.  (I imagine you know this)”

 

Thanks mellestad. I’ll bear in mind that the same terms mean different things for different people.

 

Yes I agree that rationalism doesn’t reject observation completely, and empiricism doesn’t reject logic completely e.g. empiricism verifies the truth of a statement through observation, but it does that using logic and observation simultaneously.


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I don't regard the

I don't regard the 'supervene' idea as a useful way to describe things.

This is just one reason why I regard the philosophical/metaphysical approach as irrelevant to understanding reality.

All our 'knowledge' of other than purely deductive/definitional propositions is inevitably only an internal conceptual model of external reality.

The bulk of most people's models are based on their personal sensory perceptions, modified and added to by information conveyed to them from reading written material, listening to and watching broadcast material, internet, etc, etc.

All this data, both via our own senses, and indirectly via the senses of other people, is reasonably assumed to be ultimately dependant on, derived from, actual external objects and energy flows which exist independently of we humans. Such an assumption is by far the most parsimonious explanation of what we perceive, IMHO. This is the basic assumption of Science, of course, which employs all kinds of mathematical and logical tools to analyse and correlate all the reported perceptions of many people to construct and refine a much more detailed model of what appears to be 'out there' than we individually generate.

That is the sort of language, the conceptual dictionary, which allows me to make sense, to whatever degree I can, of the totality of my perceptions and mental experience. This has served me pretty well, when compared against the accounts of other people for over half-a-century so far. And based on the responses of many people I engage with, it works well.

I have read accounts of philosophy since before I went to University. While at Uni, I read from the library the book which, for better or worse, has been the basis of my understanding of philosophy in general, and various famous philosophers in particular, since then. It was Bertrand Russell's 'History of Western Philosophy'. I have heard criticism of it, and I would not wish to defend it to the death, but I have retained a 'soft spot' for Russell. I also like Daniel Dennett a lot, I find his expositions on consciousness and evolution and religion and belief, and his ideas on chance and determinism, (as in his book 'Freedom Evolves' ), fascinating and helpful in allowing me to get my head around some subtle concepts.

Your perspective is one of the strangest I have encountered.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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No coherent approach to

No coherent approach to understanding can reject logic.

"Real-world" empiricism is totally dependent on logic, as is rationalism.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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The way I see it,

The way I see it, Epistemologist, you are conflating idealism, social constructionism and the humanities with the social sciences.  This isn't necessarily unwarranted, because, as I mentioned earlier, as field of science they are still very pseudo-scientific.  Ideally, they would follow the scientific method and thus would not be lumped together with social constructionism and the humanities.  The other issue is that the social sciences address how humans interact with each other, NOT how they interact with reality.  The social sciences are NOT metaphysical positions, they are subjects that study human behavior.  You are again conflating them by incorporating metaphysics into the discussion.  Once you start analyzing something metaphysically, it moves out of that study and into the realm of philosophy.  The reason why these fields are pseudo-scientific (IMO) is partly because they are addressed metaphysically and not empirically or rationally. 

 

Metaphysics does not conflict with the natural sciences because the natural sciences lead to a specific metaphysical conclusion.  They are two different levels of study that are not in contradiction.   The study of nature through a specific method does not contradict the study of reality (natural science and metaphysics, respectively).

 

Social constructionism does conflict with naturalism in the sense that it is idealism versus physicalism.

 

Rationalism and empiricism are only in contradiction in certain metaphysical worldviews.  In reference to science, they are not in contradiction because the worldview used is naturalism.  When reason is natural, observation of it is not a contradiction.  In other worldviews, however, they can be contradictory.

 

Your argument is that there are ways to true knowledge through means other than science, right?  The issue is that you still haven't give us a coherent set of standards for what constitutes truth.  You haven't given your own worldview, so we don't know what to work with.  In the OP you claimed there are certain truths that are ineffable to science.  You then said that the humanities have certain truths to them that can't be explained scientifically.  Like I and others said in the other thread, you need to argue how we are to decide what is true and not true.  In the other thread I pointed out that this distinction necessitates logic.  From there you can argue why there can be non-scientific truths.  I may have missed it, but so far I haven't seen anything about how YOU distinguish true and false (i.e. worldview).  I think this is why this discussion has kinda gone in circles...  We hold idealism as idiotic but you hold there are some truths to it.  I need you to explain what aspects of it are true and how you can back those claims.


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Natural Science vs. Humanities

BobSpence1 wrote:
Your perspective is one of the strangest I have encountered.”

 

Actually, it’s not my perspective. I’m not really an idealist. I am half way between idealism and physicalism.

 

However, it is useful to know what absolute metaphysical idealism is. Absolute idealism maintains that the knowledge obtained through the natural sciences (empirical knowledge) is incomplete. It asserts that complete knowledge is only attainable through reason (rational knowledge), because the universe is in our minds, not external to our minds.

 

So idealism asserts that the world/universe is inside our minds. Physicalism/materialism asserts that the world/universe is external to our minds. That’s also the difference between strong sociology and strong natural science (physics). Strong sociology asserts that the world/universe is inside human minds, and strong natural science asserts that the world/universe is external to human minds. That is the main difference between the social sciences and natural sciences.

 

This means that absolute idealism views the formal sciences (including logic and mathematics) as the only sources of truth and knowledge. Absolute idealism denies that the natural sciences (including biology, chemistry, and physics) are sources of ultimate truth and knowledge.

 

The opposite view of metaphysical idealism, is physicalism/materialism. Physicalism/materialism maintains that truth and knowledge can ultimately only be attained through the natural sciences (including biology, chemistry and physics).

 

The king and queen: Metaphysical idealism maintains that mathematics is the king of the sciences, and physics is the queen of the sciences. Physicalism/materialism maintains the opposite; that physics is the king of the sciences, and mathematics is the queen of the sciences. So metaphysical idealism asserts that only mathematics (including logic) is the gold standard of truth and knowledge. And physicalism/materialism asserts that only physics is the gold standard of truth and knowledge.

 

This was a key difference between Plato and Aristotle, the fathers of western civilization. Plato maintained that natural science (particularly physics) reveals only the shadow of truth. Plato asserted that the formal sciences (particularly logic and mathematics) reveals truth itself. However, Aristotle asserted the opposite. Aristotle maintained that that the formal sciences (particularly mathematics and logic) reveal only the shadow of truth, but the natural sciences (particularly physics) reveal truth itself.

 

It is useful to know that difference between metaphysical idealism and physicalism/materialism/naturalism, because in the history of western science and philosophy, for 3500 years, it has been the central debate.

 


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Natural Science vs. Humanities

 

v4ultingbassist wrote:
“The way I see it, Epistemologist, you are conflating idealism, social constructionism and the humanities with the social sciences.  This isn't necessarily unwarranted, because, as I mentioned earlier, as field of science they are still very pseudo-scientific.  Ideally, they would follow the scientific method and thus would not be lumped together with social constructionism and the humanities.  The other issue is that the social sciences address how humans interact with each other, NOT how they interact with reality.  The social sciences are NOT metaphysical positions, they are subjects that study human behavior.  You are again conflating them by incorporating metaphysics into the discussion.  Once you start analyzing something metaphysically, it moves out of that study and into the realm of philosophy.”

 

I am not conflating metaphysical idealism with the social sciences, and natural sciences. What I am doing is asserting that you cannot understand strong sociology unless you first understand the difference between metaphysical idealism and physicalism/materialism/naturalism.

 

I am not saying that the humanities give access to truth that science does not. Several humanities subjects are sciences, so there is no conflict between science and the humanities. The conflict is between natural science and the humanities. I am also highlighting the conflict between the formal sciences, natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. These four perspectives are fundamentally different worldviews, and the difference between them is metaphysical.

 

As Zaq mentioned earlier, science is not a perspective. It’s a method. So when strong sociology asserts that the world/universe is inside human minds, that does not make sociology any less scientific than natural science. Natural science asserts that the world/universe is external to human minds.

 

Yes, the social sciences do address how humans interact with reality. Social science maintains that social reality6 is the only reality there is i.e. it maintains that the world/universe actual is social reality. An example is the sociology of knowledge: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociology_of_knowledge

 

The sociology of knowledge maintains that human knowledge (which includes the world/universe) is a social construct and inside human minds. An example of the sociology of knowledge is the concept of scientism, which criticises natural science as being the only effective way to view the world/universe: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientism

 

To understand strong sociology, it is also necessary to know about the strong programme: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strong_programme

 

v4ultingbassist wrote:
“The reason why these fields (social sciences) are pseudo-scientific (IMO) is partly because they are addressed metaphysically and not empirically or rationally.”

 

What you are not understanding is that EVERY academic subject begins from a metaphysical perspective. It is impossible to separate metaphysics from any given academic subject, whether it is physics or sociology. Every academic subject actually defines itself through metaphysics. Naturalism is metaphysics, and strong sociology is metaphysics. In addition, sociology is perfectly empirical and rational. Sociology uses mathematics and the scientific method to study social systems.

 

v4ultingbassist wrote:
“Metaphysics does not conflict with the natural sciences because the natural sciences lead to a specific metaphysical conclusion.  They are two different levels of study that are not in contradiction.   The study of nature through a specific method does not contradict the study of reality (natural science and metaphysics, respectively).”

 

The natural sciences don’t lead to a metaphysical conclusion. They start with a metaphysical assumption, which leads to a physical conclusion.

 

Metaphysics certainly does conflict with the natural sciences, however it does not conflict at the level of method, so you are right on that point. Metaphysics conflicts with natural science at the level of perspective. Naturalism and physicalism are metaphysical perspectives of natural science that conflict with other metaphysical perspectives like idealism and strong sociology.

 

v4ultingbassist wrote:
“Rationalism and empiricism are only in contradiction in certain metaphysical worldviews.  In reference to science, they are not in contradiction because the worldview used is naturalism.  When reason is natural, observation of it is not a contradiction.  In other worldviews, however, they can be contradictory.”

 

You seem to be confusing naturalism with science. Science is not a worldview. As Zaq pointed out, science is a method, but naturalism is a perspective (a worldview). Perspectives (worldviews) are metaphysical, but methods are not.

 

And what do you mean by observing reason? How can reason be observed?

 

v4ultingbassist wrote:
“Your argument is that there are ways to true knowledge through means other than science, right?”

 

That was what I proposed in my very first post, at the beginning of the discussion. However, butterbattle pointed out that several sciences are also humanities, which means that there is no conflict between science and the humanities. Also, as I mentioned above, Zaq pointed out that science is a method, and not a perspective, so in that sense, science does not conflict with the humanities. So what I am now asserting is this:

 

Academic disciplines are divided into four categories, including humanities, formal science, natural science, and social science. The differences between these four fields of academic research are metaphysical, and therefore these differences are at the level of perspective (worldview). These different metaphysical perspectives inform the methods of each of the four disciplines/fields, which leads to different types of truth and knowledge. These different types of truth and knowledge conflict in that they incorporate different worldviews (metaphysical perspectives).


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Epistemologist, I have

Epistemologist, I have outlined now pretty well now my basic approach and understanding of the role and nature of empirical and formal sciences, in particular.

I have tried to show that I am not completely ignorant of Philosophy and Philosophers.

I regard the ideas of Plato in particular, and to a lesser extent Aristotle, as quaint and long past their 'use-by' date.

Nothing you have said remotely gives me any reason to take your counter positions seriously.

I am certainly not impressed by any 'argument from authority' to justify giving them more consideration just because a significant number of academics may take them seriously.

Math is an essential tool of both empirical and social Science. It reveals no truth about anything other than logical implications of its initial assumptions (axioms). These are only reflective of wider truth to the extent that its axioms match realities of the wider reality.

'Pure reason' is essentially the approach of mathematics applied as a general principle, and has the same limitations. IOW, it can only reveal truth to the extent that its initial assumptions/presuppositions correspond with reality. It is in the nature of complex chains of reasoning that as they progress further from those initial assumptions, the more sensitive they are to very subtle errors in those initial assumptions, so 'reason' without continual empirical grounding in reality, as is done in the natural sciences, becomes a very unreliable source of 'truth'. This is the fundamental error of most early thinkers who subscribed to the idea that all 'real' truth was inherently accessible to pure reason.

It is ironic that Math is becoming an increasingly empirical science as it explores complex realms of logic beyond the practical limits of explicit reasoning, mainly due to our all-too-finite mental powers, even with computer assistance. Some of these new areas are very strange indeed, and seem to point to a broader truth that the vast bulk of 'reality' is so complex that the elegant 'truths' of so many of our fundamental mathematical theorems represent a few tiny islands of relative simplicity in a reality of mind-bogging complexity. Which we can only now chip away at in a semi-empirical manner with the help of super-computers to run experiments and searches for patterns and correlations.

So I am sorry, but I am distinctly under-whelmed by your account so far.

 

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

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Epistemologist wrote:As Zaq

Epistemologist wrote:
As Zaq mentioned earlier, science is not a perspective. It’s a method. So when strong sociology asserts that the world/universe is inside human minds, that does not make sociology any less scientific than natural science. Natural science asserts that the world/universe is external to human minds.

That is a strangely dualistic approach. As we have not yet defined what constitutes a "human mind," nor even properly identified the properties of the "human mind," it would make sociology much less scientific than natural science.

Small but vital correction: natural science asserts that, at the moment, there is no evidence for anything other than the world/universe. The "human mind," whatever it might turn out to be, is part of the world/universe/reality/whatever you want to call it. Therefore, the "human mind" is subject to investigation by natural science.

Science is far more than a method. It is also an epistemology. Certainly, that epistemology dictates the practices of the scientific method. Additionally, in the colloquial sense, "science" also refers to the body of knowledge gathered by the application of the scientific method.

This may seem like nitpicking, but it seems as if your over-simplification of the nature of science (the epistemology, and the method) is the root of your misunderstanding.

Quote:

The sociology of knowledge maintains that human knowledge (which includes the world/universe) is a social construct and inside human minds. An example of the sociology of knowledge is the concept of scientism, which criticises natural science as being the only effective way to view the world/universe: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientism

This is a strawman representation of science. First, science is not the only effective way to view the world/universe (or as I like to call it, 'reality'). Obviously, humans have survived far longer without science than we have with it. This means whatever way of knowing our pre-science ancestors had, it was effective.

The epistemology of science claims to have the only method of gaining knowledge about reality that is verifiable  and self-correcting. As BobSpence1 said in the post above, the judicious application of empiricism goes a long, long way to correcting misunderstandings, errors, and incorrect axioms.

Finally, "scientism" is a pejorative used by people who think there are "other ways of knowing," but have no epistemology that is self-correcting and verifiable. They wish to make an ideology of the epistemology of science so they can deconstruct the strawman. In fact, most practitioners of science know that science has weaknesses. The scientific method attempts to compensate for those weaknesses, but it makes the practice of science laborious. Most scientists would welcome an epistemology that led directly to verifiable knowledge.

The problem isn't that science has become an ideology. The problem is that nobody has provided an alternative method of gaining verifiable knowledge of reality.

Quote:
What you are not understanding is that EVERY academic subject begins from a metaphysical perspective. It is impossible to separate metaphysics from any given academic subject, whether it is physics or sociology. Every academic subject actually defines itself through metaphysics. Naturalism is metaphysics, and strong sociology is metaphysics. In addition, sociology is perfectly empirical and rational. Sociology uses mathematics and the scientific method to study social systems.

Perhaps. But your unstated assumption here is that all metaphysical systems are equal. They are not.

Metaphysics is the application of logic to a set of axioms. Obviously, metaphysics with poor axioms are inferior to metaphysics with quality axioms. Most metaphysical systems use logic alone to verify their axioms. Again, BobSpence1 has beaten me to it when he stated that the practice of science is designed to verify the axioms against our measurements of reality. If our axioms are found wanting, science is further designed to determine precisely how the axiom is wanting. In that way, old axioms can be either modified to better fit observed reality, or discarded entirely in favor of new axioms.

This is the kind of event Kuhn meant with the phrase, "paradigm shift."

As an aside: I would argue this makes science much more than a metaphysical system, as metaphysics is the application of logic to a set of axioms. The systematic application of empirical data as a means of verification is what defines science, both as an epistemology and as a method.

Quote:
Academic disciplines are divided into four categories, including humanities, formal science, natural science, and social science. The differences between these four fields of academic research are metaphysical, and therefore these differences are at the level of perspective (worldview). These different metaphysical perspectives inform the methods of each of the four disciplines/fields, which leads to different types of truth and knowledge. These different types of truth and knowledge conflict in that they incorporate different worldviews (metaphysical perspectives).

Again, your unstated assumption is that all metaphysical systems are equally valid. They simply are not.

As for the distinction between natural science and social science, the distinction is more methodological than metaphysical.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Natural Science vs. Humanities

BobSpence1 wrote:
“ . . . I am distinctly under-whelmed by your account so far.”

 

Being ‘whelmed’, whether under or over, is not a feeling I am seeking to instil in you.

 

However, it is an interesting way of looking at these issues.

 

BobSpence1 wrote:
“I am certainly not impressed by any 'argument from authority' to justify giving them more consideration just because a significant number of academics may take them seriously.”

 

I’m not arguing from authority. I’m merely linking these issues to history.

 

You can say that Platonism and Aristotelianism are quaint and outdated. But the key debates here emerged from those perspectives and continue to this day.

 

A central issue here is that strong sociology maintains that the world/universe is inside human minds. And natural science maintains that the world/universe is external to human minds.

 

The first point I am making is that these two perspectives conflict, and have conflicted for 3500 years.

 

The other issue I am highlighting is the conflict between reason and observation, in terms of idealism/strong rationalism and physicalism/strong empiricism.

 

I won’t debate you on the relationship between math and truth. As you say, math may indeed be becoming more empirical.

 

However, idealism and strong rationalism maintain that truth and knowledge can, ultimately, only be attained through reason. Idealism is a dominant perspective in contemporary sociology, social psychology, and I think also in linguistics. Physicalism and strong empiricism, as expressed in physics and other natural sciences, maintain that truth and knowledge can ultimately only be attained through observation. This is a point of serious conflict between the humanities/social sciences and natural sciences.

 

In summary, the only point I am making is this:

 

Conflict exists between the humanities, social sciences, formal sciences, and natural sciences. And that conflict is metaphysical.

 

In addition, there are other conflicts that I won’t go into, like qualitative vs. quantitative research methodologies. Or perhaps we could go into that, to add a bit more fuel to the fire. Smiling

 

At the beginning of this discussion, many forum users denied that these conflicts exist. However, they, and possibly you, are now conceding that such conflicts do indeed exist.

 


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If that was your original

If that was your original argument you didn't do a very good job of expressing yourself.

 

 

Bob's point (I imagine he will speak for himself) is that although some people think there is a conflict, anyone still conflicted is beating a dead horse at worse and playing semi-stimulating mind games at best.  His point seems to be, "Look at everything naturalism and science has accomplished, now show me what metaphysics has accomplished since the rise of science."

 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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Epistemologist

Epistemologist wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:
“ . . . I am distinctly under-whelmed by your account so far.”

Being ‘whelmed’, whether under or over, is not a feeling I am seeking to instil in you.

Just a slightly more 'rhetorical' way of saying I am completely unimpressed by your arguments.

Quote:

However, it is an interesting way of looking at these issues.

BobSpence1 wrote:
“I am certainly not impressed by any 'argument from authority' to justify giving them more consideration just because a significant number of academics may take them seriously.”

I’m not arguing from authority. I’m merely linking these issues to history.

 

It is statements like these that I was referring to:

Quote:

... specialists in the humanities maintain that the humanities encompass aspects of the human experience that are not or cannot be encompassed by the sciences, 

.....

 Then why did my philosophy professor give me a distinction for that definition and say that it is perfectly logical?

Quote:

You can say that Platonism and Aristotelianism are quaint and outdated. But the key debates here emerged from those perspectives and continue to this day.

 

Which is just what you would expect when the issues are ultimately just matters of opinion rather than potentially resolvable truth.

Quote:

A central issue here is that strong sociology maintains that the world/universe is inside human minds. And natural science maintains that the world/universe is external to human minds.

The first point I am making is that these two perspectives conflict, and have conflicted for 3500 years.

The other issue I am highlighting is the conflict between reason and observation, in terms of idealism/strong rationalism and physicalism/strong empiricism.

Any inherent conflict between reason and observation can only be in the fairyland world of academic philosophy/metaphysics.

If apparent reality (observation) conflicts with what reason has lead us to expect, then this means either the reasoning is invalid, or based on false assumptions, or the observation is invalid, perhaps because of methodological error, or failure or limitations in the instruments used for observation, etc. This is typically an exciting point for science, since, if the conflict is confirmed , in means there is some new 'truth' or at least new theory or modification to an established one to be investigated.

Quote:

I won’t debate you on the relationship between math and truth. As you say, math may indeed be becoming more empirical.

However, idealism and strong rationalism maintain that truth and knowledge can, ultimately, only be attained through reason. Idealism is a dominant perspective in contemporary sociology, social psychology, and I think also in linguistics. Physicalism and strong empiricism, as expressed in physics and other natural sciences, maintain that truth and knowledge can ultimately only be attained through observation. This is a point of serious conflict between the humanities/social sciences and natural sciences.

Both reason/logic/math and empiricism/observation are essential to the pursuit of truth and knowledge - either side alone are inadequate.

Quote:

In summary, the only point I am making is this:

Conflict exists between the humanities, social sciences, formal sciences, and natural sciences. And that conflict is metaphysical.

 

Which means it is only between different perspectives and interpretations, not at a fundamental level, so is ultimately resolvable.

Quote:

In addition, there are other conflicts that I won’t go into, like qualitative vs. quantitative research methodologies. Or perhaps we could go into that, to add a bit more fuel to the fire. Smiling

Quote:

Which are just addressing different aspects of an issue, and so are not actually in conflict.


At the beginning of this discussion, many forum users denied that these conflicts exist. However, they, and possibly you, are now conceding that such conflicts do indeed exist.

No they don't exist, except in the unreal world of philosophy, and academics defending their 'turf'. 

At least as long as we don't let anyone pushing anything like "post-modernism" out of the asylum... 

Not in any fundamental sense, among people engaged in the actual search for knowledge. We need to approach understanding of the complexities of the universe using all available tools and from every available angle. They are complementary, not in conflict. If there is an apparent conflict, this points up an error somewhere which needs to be resolved, and that resolution may well provide fresh insights to both 'sides'.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

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Natural Science vs. Humanities

 

nigelTheBold wrote:
“That is a strangely dualistic approach. As we have not yet defined what constitutes a "human mind," nor even properly identified the properties of the "human mind," it would make sociology much less scientific than natural science.”

 

It’s actually monistic. Both idealism (including strong sociology) and physicalism/naturalism are monistic perspectives of the mind.

 

As we have not defined what constitutes the “human mind” nor identified it’s properties, then by the standard you identify there: Doesn’t it mean that natural science is making the same mistake by asserting that the world/universe is ‘external’ to the human mind?

 

nigelTheBold wrote:
“Science is far more than a method. It is also an epistemology. Certainly, that epistemology dictates the practices of the scientific method. Additionally, in the colloquial sense, "science" also refers to the body of knowledge gathered by the application of the scientific method.”

 

Don’t worry about nit-picking. We could break it down even further. Science, as you say consists of a method and an epistemology. It also includes data and theories (knowledge). There is also the ontological (metaphysical) perspective from which the epistemology emerges.

 

In my psychology studies, I was taught that it proceeds in the following order, with each step informing and determining the next. And it goes around in a cycle. However, please correct me if I’m wrong: 1) Ontological (metaphysical) perspective, 2) Epistemology, 3) Hypothesis, 4) Methodology (e.g. quantitative or qualitative), 5) Data, 6) Theory (knowledge).

 

From my understanding, different fields of science, at these different levels, are complimentary, coexistent, or conflicting.

 

nigelTheBold wrote:
“(Regarding ‘scientism&rsquoEye-wink The problem isn't that science has become an ideology. The problem is that nobody has provided an alternative method of gaining verifiable knowledge of reality.”

 

The criticism embodied in the concept of scientism, was formulated by sociology. But this criticism by sociologists is only directed at natural science. The Wikipedia article on this quotes the physicist Ernest Rutherford as saying: "there is physics and there is stamp-collecting." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientism

 

What gets the backs up of social scientists is the implication that all science apart from physics is just bunk. Or more specifically, that physics is the gold standard of science, and the less like physics a science is, the less scientific it is. The main problem, criticised by sociologists, is that physicalism and naturalism are not scientific. They are metaphysical, and therefore cannot be empirically verified. Physicists and other natural scientists are basically lying when they deny that.

 

nigelTheBold wrote:
“ . . . your unstated assumption here is that all metaphysical systems are equal. They are not.”

 

I didn’t mean to imply that. Ultimately, I am contrasting the metaphysical perspective of strong sociology against that of natural science, particularly physics.

 

nigelTheBold wrote:
“Metaphysics is the application of logic to a set of axioms. Obviously, metaphysics with poor axioms are inferior to metaphysics with quality axioms. Most metaphysical systems use logic alone to verify their axioms. Again, BobSpence1 has beaten me to it when he stated that the practice of science is designed to verify the axioms against our measurements of reality. If our axioms are found wanting, science is further designed to determine precisely how the axiom is wanting. In that way, old axioms can be either modified to better fit observed reality, or discarded entirely in favor of new axioms.

 

This is the kind of event Kuhn meant with the phrase, "paradigm shift."

 

As an aside: I would argue this makes science much more than a metaphysical system, as metaphysics is the application of logic to a set of axioms. The systematic application of empirical data as a means of verification is what defines science, both as an epistemology and as a method.”

 

The metaphysical difference between strong sociology and natural science that I am highlighting is that: Strong sociology asserts that the world/universe is inside human minds. And natural science asserts that the world/universe is external to human minds. As you said above, the human mind and its properties have not yet been adequately defined, so asserting that the world/universe is internal or external is going beyond what is verifiable.

 

In my psychology studies, I was taught that the data and theories of a particular science are informed and determined by the ontological (metaphysical) perspective of that science i.e. the meaning of scientific data does not come from the data, but from the ontological perspective. In that sense, it is intellectually dishonest to conclude that scientific data confirms or falsifies the ontological (metaphysical) perspective of that science.

 

nigelTheBold wrote:
“As for the distinction between natural science and social science, the distinction is more methodological than metaphysical.”

 

So are you saying that when strong sociology asserts that the world/universe is inside human minds, and natural science asserts it is external, that difference is more methodological than metaphysical? From what I understand, that difference is clearly metaphysical.


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Natural Science vs. Humanities

 

mellestad wrote:
If that was your original argument you didn't do a very good job of expressing yourself.

 

Bob's point (I imagine he will speak for himself) is that although some people think there is a conflict, anyone still conflicted is beating a dead horse at worse and playing semi-stimulating mind games at best.  His point seems to be, "Look at everything naturalism and science has accomplished, now show me what metaphysics has accomplished since the rise of science."

 

Communication includes the expression of the transmitter, and the understanding of the interpreter. Part of the problem here may be, as you say, how I’ve expressed myself. The other problem is that most people in this discussion do not seem to understand the philosophical ideas being discussed. So I have had to educate the people I am talking to, as part of the discussion.

 

It wasn’t intended to be an argument, which is why I said in my first post that I wasn’t going to debate anyone. I wanted to know other people’s views on the conflict between Natural science and the humanities. I have only debated the people who said there is no conflict, because otherwise my first post in this discussion makes no sense.

 

What do you mean by ‘anyone still conflicted’?

 

You seem not to understand that metaphysics is science.

 

The issue at this point in the discussion is not metaphysics vs. natural science. It’s the metaphysical perspective of strong sociology vs. the metaphysical perspective of natural science.

 

I notice that you try to make discussion emotive, rather than rational, and you drop in lots of unhelpful fallacies like ‘beating a dead horse’ and ‘mind games’. That’s what people start saying when they’ve lost an argument. You seem to have played more mind games than anyone else in this discussion. So I can only conclude . . . projection.


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Natural Science vs. Humanities

 

BobSpence1 wrote:
“Just a slightly more 'rhetorical' way of saying I am completely unimpressed by your arguments.”

 

But that doesn’t falsify what I’ve said. You’re trying to falsify what I’ve said from the perspective of your emotions. That’s a fallacy. I think what’s happened is that my arguments are so totally excellent, that you cannot counter them with reason, so you have to resort to emotion. Smiling

 

Your debating method, like that of mellestad, is questionable.

 

All I have done is to clarify that the humanities, social sciences, formal sciences, and natural sciences, conflict.

 

The people arguing are the ones who have disagreed with that. They’ve disagreed simply because they’re ignorant. So I had to educate them.

 

This is after all the forum of the Rational Response Squad, who are famous for their ignorance.

 

I think we should stop the name calling now. Smiling

 

BobSpence1 wrote:
“Any inherent conflict between reason and observation can only be in the fairyland world of academic philosophy/metaphysics.”

 

It’s also between strong sociology and natural science. People that call philosophy ‘fairyland’ are usually those who have not studied it much, so they know very little about it. If you don’t know what something is, you can’t know it’s fairyland.

 

BobSpence1 wrote:
“If apparent reality (observation) conflicts with what reason has lead us to expect, then this means either the reasoning is invalid, or based on false assumptions, or the observation is invalid, perhaps because of methodological error, or failure or limitations in the instruments used for observation, etc. This is typically an exciting point for science, since, if the conflict is confirmed , in means there is some new 'truth' or at least new theory or modification to an established one to be investigated.”

 

So what does it mean when instances of reason and observation cannot be reconciled? For example, some physicists say that string theory is not physics, because it goes way beyond what is observable. If string theory can never be verified by observation, does that mean it’s not true?

 

BobSpence1 wrote:
“Both reason/logic/math and empiricism/observation are essential to the pursuit of truth and knowledge - either side alone are inadequate.”

 

I agree. However, ultimately, you have to decide whether physics is the queen and maths the king, or whether maths is the king and physics is the queen. That choice is metaphysical.

 

BobSpence1 wrote:
Epistemologist wrote:
In summary, the only point I am making is this:

 

Conflict exists between the humanities, social sciences, formal sciences, and natural sciences. And that conflict is metaphysical.

 

Which means it is only between different perspectives and interpretations, not at a fundamental level, so is ultimately resolvable.

 

But metaphysics is the fundamental level, so it’s not resolvable. Ontological perspective is unquestionably fundamental.

 

BobSpence1 wrote:
“They are complementary, not in conflict. If there is an apparent conflict, this points up an error somewhere which needs to be resolved, and that resolution may well provide fresh insights to both 'sides'.”

 

Actually, different academic disciplines are conflicting, coexistent, and complimentary. If you deny the existence of the conflicts, that means you don’t understand the differences. If you don’t understand the differences, then you can’t possibly understand the similarities either.


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Epistemologist

Epistemologist wrote:

 

BobSpence1 wrote:
“Just a slightly more 'rhetorical' way of saying I am completely unimpressed by your arguments.”

But that doesn’t falsify what I’ve said. You’re trying to falsify what I’ve said from the perspective of your emotions. That’s a fallacy. I think what’s happened is that my arguments are so totally excellent, that you cannot counter them with reason, so you have to resort to emotion. Smiling

 

No, you are wrong again, or should I say, still.

That is an overall assessment that I find none or your arguments adequately justified or even matching well against my understanding of the topics.

Quote:
  

Your debating method, like that of mellestad, is questionable.

All I have done is to clarify that the humanities, social sciences, formal sciences, and natural sciences, conflict.

No, you have attempted to justify that position, unsuccessfully, by referring to what are effectively fringe views of what those disciplines represent and how they are actually pursued in the mainstream.

Quote:

The people arguing are the ones who have disagreed with that. They’ve disagreed simply because they’re ignorant. So I had to educate them.

And here is where you display simultaneously your arrogance and ignorance.

Quote:

This is after all the forum of the Rational Response Squad, who are famous for their ignorance.

Quote:

And now you go into simple ad hominem.

I think we should stop the name calling now. Smiling

I hadn't actually seen much of that, unless you mean insulting scientists by saying they had some sort of 'metaphysical' position...

Quote:

BobSpence1 wrote:
“Any inherent conflict between reason and observation can only be in the fairyland world of academic philosophy/metaphysics.”

It’s also between strong sociology and natural science. People that call philosophy ‘fairyland’ are usually those who have not studied it much, so they know very little about it. If you don’t know what something is, you can’t know it’s fairyland.

Mindlessly repeating your position does not make it any more true.

There is another reason why people like myself call it that. I have spent long enough studying it to realize its ultimate emptiness, have actually gone far enough into it to 'come out the other side', so to speak, and realize that the emperor has no clothes.

Quote:

BobSpence1 wrote:
“If apparent reality (observation) conflicts with what reason has lead us to expect, then this means either the reasoning is invalid, or based on false assumptions, or the observation is invalid, perhaps because of methodological error, or failure or limitations in the instruments used for observation, etc. This is typically an exciting point for science, since, if the conflict is confirmed , in means there is some new 'truth' or at least new theory or modification to an established one to be investigated.”

So what does it mean when instances of reason and observation cannot be reconciled? For example, some physicists say that string theory is not physics, because it goes way beyond what is observable. If string theory can never be verified by observation, does that mean it’s not true?

No, just that we haven't found a resolution of a very difficult problem - the nature of the next level of 'reality' beyond Quantum Mechanics and Relativity.

Quote:

BobSpence1 wrote:
“Both reason/logic/math and empiricism/observation are essential to the pursuit of truth and knowledge - either side alone are inadequate.”

I agree. However, ultimately, you have to decide whether physics is the queen and maths the king, or whether maths is the king and physics is the queen. That choice is metaphysical.

No you don't. There is absolutely no reason to assign such utterly meaningless labels to them. The relationship between them and their respective roles in the search for overall truth and understanding are well understood, except perhaps by some philosophers.

Just what do you see as the distinction between "king" and "queen" there? I hope there is no medieval sexism involved.

Quote:

BobSpence1 wrote:
Epistemologist wrote:
In summary, the only point I am making is this:

Conflict exists between the humanities, social sciences, formal sciences, and natural sciences. And that conflict is metaphysical.

Which means it is only between different perspectives and interpretations, not at a fundamental level, so is ultimately resolvable.

But metaphysics is the fundamental level, so it’s not resolvable. Ontological perspective is unquestionably fundamental.

Metaphysics is pure reason, ie not empirical, so by itself it tells us nothing beyond whatever its primary assumptions are. If it produces 'results' which conflict with observed reality, it is far more likely than anything else that its presuppositions have not adequately captured fundamental truths.

Quote:

BobSpence1 wrote:
“They are complementary, not in conflict. If there is an apparent conflict, this points up an error somewhere which needs to be resolved, and that resolution may well provide fresh insights to both 'sides'.”
 

Actually, different academic disciplines are conflicting, coexistent, and complimentary. If you deny the existence of the conflicts, that means you don’t understand the differences. If you don’t understand the differences, then you can’t possibly understand the similarities either.

I do not deny that there can be conflicts, at some level.

You are the one who doesn't understand - if you really understand the differences, you can see which conflicts are due to simple human misunderstandings, which ones reflect some actual error or misconception in one or both sides, and which ones point to a subtlety in the nature of reality which has lead to the different approaches seizing on a different incomplete aspect of the truth. Like the classic parable of the group of blind men trying to work out the shape of an elephant.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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And BTW, Epistemologist,

And BTW, Epistemologist, 'beating a dead horse' is not a fallacy. You have made a category error.

It is a figurative way to refer to the process where someone continues to argue over an issue that has been pretty much resolved long ago.

You may disagree with whether the issue really has been resolved or not, but that doesn't make asserting that it has a 'fallacy'.

It really seems to be the case that you read and interpret many words and expressions very differently from the rest of us, which is a major reason for this ongoing disagreement.

 

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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Epistemologist wrote:What

Epistemologist wrote:
What gets the backs up of social scientists is the implication that all science apart from physics is just bunk. Or more specifically, that physics is the gold standard of science, and the less like physics a science is, the less scientific it is. The main problem, criticised by sociologists, is that physicalism and naturalism are not scientific. They are metaphysical, and therefore cannot be empirically verified. Physicists and other natural scientists are basically lying when they deny that.

The basic assumption that reality is objective, consistent, and coherent is certainly metaphysical. That I will readily admit. However, I would also say that those three assumptions are necessary for any epistemology that can claim access to reality in any fashion.

That said: I do know what you mean. Rutherford was certainly being an arrogant ass when he claimed physics was the only science. Physics has the advantage of starting with easily-soluble problems, and moving on from there. Sociology has to approach from the exact opposite direction: there are no laws of motion, or atomic models, or any other such simple starting places. Sociology has to work hard for the knowledge it gains.

Quote:

So are you saying that when strong sociology asserts that the world/universe is inside human minds, and natural science asserts it is external, that difference is more methodological than metaphysical? From what I understand, that difference is clearly metaphysical.

You'll have to forgive me. I guess I did not realize you only meant "strong sociology" when you mention the broader, "sociology." Not all sociologists are "strong sociologists."

From the sound of it (and from what I've read of your links), "strong sociology" is nothing more than solipsism dressed up for a science convention. Is there any substantial difference between strong sociology and your everyday run-of-the-mill solipsism? If there's not, then strong sociology has no ontological claim to science (the epistemology or the methodology) at all.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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BobSpence1 & mellestad

 BobSpence1,

 

I’m sure that you and mellestad are both very nice people in your own contexts. But I’m not talking to you and mellestad any more, because neither of you understand the relationship between metaphysics, science and the humanities. You both keep going off topic. And neither of you are honest enough to admit your ignorance. However, I will continue to talk to the other contributors to this discussion, when they demonstrate that they know what they’re talking about.


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Epistemologist wrote:

 BobSpence1,

 

I’m sure that you and mellestad are both very nice people in your own contexts. But I’m not talking to you and mellestad any more, because neither of you understand the relationship between metaphysics, science and the humanities. You both keep going off topic. And neither of you are honest enough to admit your ignorance. However, I will continue to talk to the other contributors to this discussion, when they demonstrate that they know what they’re talking about.

You beat me too it - it is obviously pointless to continue discussion with someone who cannot recognize his own fundamental misconceptions.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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Epistemologist

Epistemologist wrote:

 BobSpence1,

 

I’m sure that you and mellestad are both very nice people in your own contexts. But I’m not talking to you and mellestad any more, because neither of you understand the relationship between metaphysics, science and the humanities. You both keep going off topic. And neither of you are honest enough to admit your ignorance. However, I will continue to talk to the other contributors to this discussion, when they demonstrate that they know what they’re talking about.

 

This actually continues your pattern of argument from the beginning, where you assert the truth based on your own circular reasoning.  You've shown, again, that your argument is purely your own personal opinion.  Saying Bob is not familiar with philosophy is absurd to anyone reading the interaction between you both.

Now you've created your own straw man versions of science and the humanities, applied a broad philosophical brush to both and claimed victory by default.  Congratulations.

 

Do you smell that?  That is the reek of ego wafting off a person who deifies their own cleverness based on some university philosophy classes.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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nigelTheBold

nigelTheBold wrote:

Epistemologist wrote:
What gets the backs up of social scientists is the implication that all science apart from physics is just bunk. Or more specifically, that physics is the gold standard of science, and the less like physics a science is, the less scientific it is. The main problem, criticised by sociologists, is that physicalism and naturalism are not scientific. They are metaphysical, and therefore cannot be empirically verified. Physicists and other natural scientists are basically lying when they deny that.

The basic assumption that reality is objective, consistent, and coherent is certainly metaphysical. That I will readily admit. However, I would also say that those three assumptions are necessary for any epistemology that can claim access to reality in any fashion.

That said: I do know what you mean. Rutherford was certainly being an arrogant ass when he claimed physics was the only science. Physics has the advantage of starting with easily-soluble problems, and moving on from there. Sociology has to approach from the exact opposite direction: there are no laws of motion, or atomic models, or any other such simple starting places. Sociology has to work hard for the knowledge it gains.

 

Yea, the only reason physics is more 'scientific' than, say, psychology, is that with physics things are cleaner (Assuming the psychologists want to be scientific anyway).  Non-physics sciences aren't less scientific, but they are more difficult to control.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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Natural Science vs. Humanities

 

nigelTheBold wrote:
“The basic assumption that reality is objective, consistent, and coherent is certainly metaphysical. That I will readily admit. However, I would also say that those three assumptions are necessary for any epistemology that can claim access to reality in any fashion.

 

That said: I do know what you mean. Rutherford was certainly being an arrogant ass when he claimed physics was the only science. Physics has the advantage of starting with easily-soluble problems, and moving on from there. Sociology has to approach from the exact opposite direction: there are no laws of motion, or atomic models, or any other such simple starting places. Sociology has to work hard for the knowledge it gains.”

 

That’s a good summary of a metaphysical perspective. Natural scientists have difficulty admitting that naturalism and physicalism are also metaphysical.

 

Rutherford’s claim that physics is the only science was indeed arrogant. Strong sociologists likewise could assert that their perspective is the only social science, which I think they do. Smiling

 

nigelTheBold wrote:
“You'll have to forgive me. I guess I did not realize you only meant "strong sociology" when you mention the broader, "sociology." Not all sociologists are "strong sociologists."

 

From the sound of it (and from what I've read of your links), "strong sociology" is nothing more than solipsism dressed up for a science convention. Is there any substantial difference between strong sociology and your everyday run-of-the-mill solipsism? If there's not, then strong sociology has no ontological claim to science (the epistemology or the methodology) at all.”

 

The difference between strong sociology and solipsism, is that solipsism maintains that one’s own mind is the only reality. Strong sociology maintains that reality is what it is agreed to be by the minds that make up a social group i.e. it’s a social construct. So from that perspective, the world/universe is inside a group of minds, rather than just one mind.

 

The reason why I contrast strong sociology against physics is because physics is the most extreme version of physicalism and naturalism in the natural sciences. And strong sociology is the most extreme perspective in the social sciences. These extremes express the ultimate difference between social science and natural science, which is metaphysical. It can be argued that the stuff in the middle can only be understood when one knows the extremes.

 

Strong sociology includes social constructionism and the sociology of knowledge, and it asserts that the only objective, consistent, and coherent reality, is human ideas which are created socially.

Message to all readers: mellestad lies.

 


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Epistemologist wrote:The

Epistemologist wrote:

The difference between strong sociology and solipsism, is that solipsism maintains that one’s own mind is the only reality. Strong sociology maintains that reality is what it is agreed to be by the minds that make up a social group i.e. it’s a social construct. So from that perspective, the world/universe is inside a group of minds, rather than just one mind.

It seems that group solipsism would suffer the same ontological and epistemic problems as regular ol' solipsism. What am I missing?

Quote:

The reason why I contrast strong sociology against physics is because physics is the most extreme version of physicalism and naturalism in the natural sciences. And strong sociology is the most extreme perspective in the social sciences. These extremes express the ultimate difference between social science and natural science, which is metaphysical. It can be argued that the stuff in the middle can only be understood when one knows the extremes.

While sociology and physics most certainly express the two poles of scientific inquiry, it still seems the metaphysical axioms are similar, if not identical. I was a physics major at university (though I am a computer geek by trade). I also studied some basic sociology (pesky requirements). It seems the major distinction between the two was the application of analytical tools, rather than a fundamental difference in the way they viewed the nature of reality.

But then again, I was a physics major. The university's sociology program was known mostly for its Alaska Native studies. Near as I could tell, nobody was a strong sociologist.

Quote:

Strong sociology includes social constructionism and the sociology of knowledge, and it asserts that the only objective, consistent, and coherent reality, is human ideas which are created socially.

It seems this assumes an objectively-real society to start with. Consensual reality can only exist if there are real entities to reach consensus.

Or am I way off-base here?

 

While I can see that sociology might assume that their subject matter is essentially consensual reality (that is, society as the collective interactions of individuals governed by consensual social contracts), it seems this would be an abstraction, rather than a fundamental basis of reality. This seems it would be a division fallacy to assume reality itself was constructed in the same fashion as aggregate human behavior.

Of am I way off-base here?

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Epistemologist wrote:I am

Epistemologist wrote:

I am not conflating metaphysical idealism with the social sciences, and natural sciences. What I am doing is asserting that you cannot understand strong sociology unless you first understand the difference between metaphysical idealism and physicalism/materialism/naturalism.

 

I understand the difference.

Quote:

I am not saying that the humanities give access to truth that science does not. Several humanities subjects are sciences, so there is no conflict between science and the humanities. The conflict is between natural science and the humanities. I am also highlighting the conflict between the formal sciences, natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. These four perspectives are fundamentally different worldviews, and the difference between them is metaphysical.

 

As Zaq mentioned earlier, science is not a perspective. It’s a method. So when strong sociology asserts that the world/universe is inside human minds, that does not make sociology any less scientific than natural science. Natural science asserts that the world/universe is external to human minds.

 

I say 'science' in a similar fashion as Nigel said.  The scientific method is entirely empirical.  Any insertion of idealism into a field renders that field as no longer being scientific.  This is why I refer to the social sciences, as you have presented them, as pseudo-scientific.  Your continued assertion that a field of science can assert any form of idealism scientifically is erroneous.

"It’s a method. So when strong sociology asserts that the world/universe is inside human minds, that does not make sociology any less scientific than natural science."

Yes, it does.  You cannot formulate a hypothesis, test it, and conclude what the data means in any objective means without empiricism, which is what idealism lacks.

"To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning." -Wiki

 

Idealism lacks these, and consequently is not scientific in that sense.  This is why I have said that you are conflating the social sciences to idealism.

 

 

 

Quote:

Yes, the social sciences do address how humans interact with reality. Social science maintains that social reality6 is the only reality there is i.e. it maintains that the world/universe actual is social reality. An example is the sociology of knowledge: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociology_of_knowledge

 

The sociology of knowledge maintains that human knowledge (which includes the world/universe) is a social construct and inside human minds. An example of the sociology of knowledge is the concept of scientism, which criticises natural science as being the only effective way to view the world/universe: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientism

 

To understand strong sociology, it is also necessary to know about the strong programme: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strong_programme

 

These lack the lack the proper requirements to be considered scientific.  Hence my argument that they are pseudo-scientific.

 

Quote:

What you are not understanding is that EVERY academic subject begins from a metaphysical perspective. It is impossible to separate metaphysics from any given academic subject, whether it is physics or sociology. Every academic subject actually defines itself through metaphysics. Naturalism is metaphysics, and strong sociology is metaphysics. In addition, sociology is perfectly empirical and rational. Sociology uses mathematics and the scientific method to study social systems.

 

But you are wrong in saying that the scientific method presupposes naturalism.  It doesn't.  It just typically leads people like me to the metaphysical conclusion that the natural is all that is.  The method is a method.  Anyone can use it.  Anyone can develop a metaphysical position based on what they find.  The method is limited to the natural, but it does not require that the natural is all that exists.  I concede that the supernatural may exist.  I just wish that people would call it natural if whatever it is interacts with nature.

 

Quote:

The natural sciences don’t lead to a metaphysical conclusion. They start with a metaphysical assumption, which leads to a physical conclusion.

 

Metaphysics certainly does conflict with the natural sciences, however it does not conflict at the level of method, so you are right on that point. Metaphysics conflicts with natural science at the level of perspective. Naturalism and physicalism are metaphysical perspectives of natural science that conflict with other metaphysical perspectives like idealism and strong sociology.

 

Like Bob said, they may not be equal. 

 

I need to ask you something.  Do you hold logic to be the most fundamental aspect of what constitutes truth?  Because as I have said you can readily argue whatever you want if it isn't.  Pointing out these conflicts, as you are, should tell you they need resolving if there is to be ANY coherent metaphysical position regarding reality.  I have asked you before, and it is important in the discussion about conflict.  I get the impression that you are suggesting naturalism is somehow wrong without telling me what can be right.

 

Quote:

You seem to be confusing naturalism with science. Science is not a worldview. As Zaq pointed out, science is a method, but naturalism is a perspective (a worldview). Perspectives (worldviews) are metaphysical, but methods are not.

 

And what do you mean by observing reason? How can reason be observed?

 

As I said above, I use science to collectively refer to all fields of study using the scientific method.  You seem to be doing the same thing in arguing that the metaphysical positions based on science are in conflict with the metaphysical positions based on idealism are conflicts in the studies themselves, and not the metaphysical positions.  This is what Bob pointed out.  The error is at the metaphysical level, not in reality itself.

 

From a physicalist perspective, reason is a form of thinking adhering to logic.  This thinking is brain activity.  If you understand physicalism/naturalism, you should have known that we posit that the human mind is synonymous with the body, in the sense that is fundamentally complex brain activity.  Brain activity can be observed.  Consequently, there is no error in saying that in my worldview, it is possible to observe reason.  Whether or not it will ever be practical or predictive is another topic, but observed?  Yes.  I find it amusing that you accuse others here of not understanding certain metaphysical positions when you seem to not understand this one.

 

Quote:

That was what I proposed in my very first post, at the beginning of the discussion. However, butterbattle pointed out that several sciences are also humanities, which means that there is no conflict between science and the humanities. Also, as I mentioned above, Zaq pointed out that science is a method, and not a perspective, so in that sense, science does not conflict with the humanities. So what I am now asserting is this:

 

Academic disciplines are divided into four categories, including humanities, formal science, natural science, and social science. The differences between these four fields of academic research are metaphysical, and therefore these differences are at the level of perspective (worldview). These different metaphysical perspectives inform the methods of each of the four disciplines/fields, which leads to different types of truth and knowledge. These different types of truth and knowledge conflict in that they incorporate different worldviews (metaphysical perspectives).

 

You can't have truth without some standard for truth.  You can't have standards for truth without a worldview.  Multiple worldviews lead to conflict in what is true.

 

Welcome to the party, you now know absolute truth is impossible to obtain.

 

My reasons for picking the physicalist/naturalist worldview?  Pragmatism.  The sciences (they are all natural for me) lead to extremely accurate and predictive models of realities.  The non-sciences are filled with disagreement and often contradict the findings of science (which are accurate).  Like others here have said, until someone finds a better way to model reality, the scientific method wins.

 


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Epistemologist wrote:There

Epistemologist wrote:
There seem to be many scientific naturalists in this forum, and I would be most interested in your thoughts on this. I am not going to debate you. I just want to know, from your perspective, whether it is irrational to conclude that the humanities study and convey truths, meanings and knowledge that cannot be and/or are not studied and/or conveyed by the sciences.
To answer your question first, yes.

I think you're making a big mistake by creating the distinction that you have between 'humanities' and 'sciences'.  I'm not sure there's as big a divide as you are under the impression there is; that there is any marked difference in the quality or kinds of truth or meaning or knowledge that can be gleaned of the world in one discipline or another.  These are naming conventions only, as far as I have ever been able to tell.  There is nothing particularly different in the process of research, for instance, between a sociology and linguistics.  In fact, the fields are co-related.  There is as much science in linguistics as there is in sociology.  There is no difference, in this respect, that is worth noting.  So, yes, it is irrational to suggest that two rather arbitrary distinctions (based on convention, in fact) between fields of study constitute a difference in the knowledge they can gain about anything.

It's trivially true, however, that physics is not going to answer the question of how language acquisition is 'programmed' into humans, or that linguistics is not going to discover definitive proof of the Higgs bozon.  The fields are investigating different things and for different reasons, but the method of investigation, the scientific method, is being employed by both.  I cannot fathom that there is actually something about reality that the field of linguistics and only the field of linguistics can discover that is off limits to, for instance, mathematics, except that no mathematician is going to be going out of her way to investigate something that a linguist is already investigating and vice versa.  Both are going to use the same methods to gain knowledge.  There is only one way, after all, to gain object knowledge about reality and every discipline utilizes the scientific method.

Quote:
Do the humanities encompass aspects of the human experience that are not reducible to scientific naturalism?
No.  First, linguistics isn't always considered a humanity (again, the distinction is rather arbitrary).  Second, any investigation is going to have to be scientific.  That's just the way it is.  There is nothing less scientific about history or more scientific about physics.  The difference is one of accuracy.  Some historical fact is (though not necessarily is) in a realm of accuracy different than how we know that Pythagoras' Theorum is always true (that it is proven, as in the mathematical sense).  There doesn't seem to me to be any fundamental difference in the view of the world or the application of science from one discipline to another.

The questions that you're asking actually strike me as bizarre, they seems so uninformed and the answers so obvious.

Edit: Damn it!  Is this what I get for joining the party late?  The discussion has rushed past these pertinent points in answering the OP only so that the OP can move the goal posts of his position into disingenuous blathering about philosophy?  Bother!

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


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Natural Science vs. Humanities

 To BobSpence1 and mellestad: Stop using rhetoric. Stop the personal attacks. Stop name-calling. Stop lying. Stop talking about smells and dead animals. Stick to the discussion topic. If you want to say something that has nothing to do with the discussion topic, DON’T SAY IT. Otherwise you are just spamming and creating a smoke screen.

 

To everyone else who has contributed to this discussion: Thank you for sticking to the topic, and for your very thoughtful and helpful ideas. I particularly thank: Kapkao, cj, KSMB, butterbattle, Whatthedeuce, Jormungander, v4ultingbassist, Zaq, Tapey, nigelTheBold, Thomathy.

 

The discussion topic is this: The metaphysical conflict between the sciences and humanities.

 

These are the two sides of the argument:

 

1) I have been explaining that the conflict exists and that it is fundamental.

 

2) Other people in this discussion first said that the conflict does not exist. Now BobSpence1 admits that the conflict does exist, but he is refusing to concede that the conflict is fundamental. That natural science proceeds from a metaphysical perspective has also been admitted by v4ultingbassist and nigelTheBold.

 

Contrary to what mellestad said, this discussion is not flogging a dead horse. It’s flogging a horse that is alive and kicking, and it is kicking with extreme violence.

 

The metaphysical conflict between strong sociology (strong social science) and physics (strong natural science) has been discussed. The metaphysical conflict between mathematics (strong formal science) and physics (strong natural science) has also been discussed.

 

BobSpence1 wrote:
Epistemologist wrote:
“. . . what does it mean when instances of reason and observation cannot be reconciled? For example, some physicists say that string theory is not physics, because it goes way beyond what is observable. If string theory can never be verified by observation, does that mean it’s not true?

 

No, just that we haven't found a resolution of a very difficult problem - the nature of the next level of 'reality' beyond Quantum Mechanics and Relativity.”

 

The very essence of this discussion is the metaphysical conflict between mathematics and physics. At the moment, this conflict between mathematics and physics is raging over string theory.

 

From the perspective of physicalism, mathematics and physics are called the queen and king of the sciences, respectively. Physics is called the king of the sciences because it is regarded by physicalism to be the primary arbiter of reality. Mathematics is called the queen of the sciences because it is regarded by physicalism to be the secondary arbiter of reality. However, metaphysical idealism switches the order; idealism views mathematics as the king, and physics as the queen.

 

This is the conflict, which is described on the Nova science documentary ‘The Elegant Universe’: Some physicists are saying that string theory is physics. Other physicists are saying that string theory is not physics, but mathematics. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/program.html

 

If string theory is not physics but mathematics, it raises this important question: Is string theory true knowledge of the world/universe? This question, and the answer to it – yes or no – is metaphysics/metaphysical i.e. metaphysics is the difference between mathematics and physics in this context.

 

If you answer ‘yes’, you are siding with idealism. If you answer ‘no’, you are siding with physicalism/materialism/naturalism.

 

Idealism and physicalism/materialism/naturalism are alternative, conflicting metaphysical perspectives. Idealism maintains that the world/universe is inside human minds, and therefore can only be known, ultimately, through reason. Physicalism/materialism/naturalism maintains that the world/universe is external to human minds, and therefore ultimately, can only be known through observation (empiricism).

 

The conflicting metaphysical perspectives of idealism and physicalism began as Platonism and Aristotelianism respectively. This metaphysical conflict has raged at the centre of science and philosophy for 3500 years.

 

My only point is this: The claim that this metaphysical conflict does not exist, and that it is not fundamental, is an absolutely false claim.

I must emphasize that I only accept the definition of science by Ernest Rutherford, who said: "there is physics and there is stamp-collecting." Physics is the only science. All other sciences, including neuroscience, are pseudo-sciences.

 


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Epistemologist wrote: To

Epistemologist wrote:

 To BobSpence1 and mellestad: Stop using rhetoric. Stop the personal attacks. Stop name-calling. Stop lying. Stop talking about smells and dead animals. Stick to the discussion topic. If you want to say something that has nothing to do with the discussion topic, DON’T SAY IT. Otherwise you are just spamming and creating a smoke screen.

Wow, such anger over people who keep finding holes in your claims. Can you not even entertain the distant possibility that you may, in fact, be mistaken, to some degree?

Maybe that nagging feeling that we may in fact have pointed to real weaknesses in your position has triggered this intemperate outburst.

It sounds like someone has had a long-held 'pet' theory seriously challenged, maybe for the first time.

Quote:

My only point is this: The claim that this metaphysical conflict does not exist, and that it is not fundamental, is an absolutely false claim.

My point is that you are falsely interpreting a difference of approach as a conflict.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

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Epistemologist wrote:I must

Epistemologist wrote:
I must emphasize that I only accept the definition of science by Ernest Rutherford, who said: "there is physics and there is stamp-collecting." Physics is the only science. All other sciences, including neuroscience, are pseudo-sciences.

Ah! I see the origins of your misunderstanding of science.

Rutherford was hardly presenting a definition of science, or even a description of science. He was presenting his personal contempt for other branches of study. Science as an epistemology encompasses far more than physics. Science as a methodology is applicable to quite a few surprising areas of knowledge.

If you were only to accept that Rutherford's arrogant statement as a definition for science, of course you'd come to the conclusion that science is in conflict with many other areas of study. That's built right in to the statement itself. But this would be a question-begging strawman, and not a basis for any kind of real discussion about the metaphysical assumptions of science, and how they relate to naturalism/physicalism/whatever.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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BobSpence1 wrote:
Blah, blah, blah . . .

 

Stay on topic.

 

If you can’t explain how what I’ve said in post number 137 is incorrect, then don’t say anything. Otherwise you’re just spamming up the discussion and creating a smoke screen.

 


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So, your arguments about

So, your arguments about this "fundamental conflict" all boil down to the difference between Platonic and Aristotelian systems of philosophy?  

There is a fundamental conflict between the worldviews expressed by Plato and Aristotle, but I'm at a loss as to how you moved from this to there being a fundamental conflict between physics and mathematics or a conflict between science and the humanities. 

Mathematics is essentially the study of quantity. Studying math does not automatically obligate you to believe that all the math represents reality. In fact, in physics courses, we frequently utilize mathematical models that do not accurately represent reality simply as a tool for understanding scientific concepts. And, mathematics itself is certainly not "inherently" opposed to physics; I'm not sure what that even means. With mathematics and physics, just like with all other fields that you've previously posed as intrinsically opposed to each or something, it seems like you're attaching your own extra definition. You're implying that mathematics supports idealism; what is your justification for this?

Perhaps you are still confusing fields of study with philosophical positions.

Quote:
This is the conflict, which is described on the Nova science documentary ‘The Elegant Universe’: Some physicists are saying that string theory is physics. Other physicists are saying that string theory is not physics, but mathematics. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/program.html

I've watched the entirely of that program before. I don't remember any point where it said anything like that, and I do not know of any physicist that ever said or wrote anything resembling either of those claims. It does, however, seem like a claim you might mistakenly derive from it; you have certainly repeatedly demonstrated a strange understanding of the definitions of important terms. There is still widespread debate over string theory, but asserting that string theory is physics, but not mathematics or mathematics, but not physics, is just completely butchering the definitions of string theory, physics, and mathematics.

String theory attempts to merge the scientific fields of quantum mechanics and general relativity. There is a conceptual model of string theory, but it also incorporates a bunch of math. So, string theory strictly includes physics AND mathematics. I *think* it could be mathematics, but not physics, in a certain sense, if string theory does not accurately represent reality, but even that would be quite a stretch.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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BobSpence1 wrote:My point is

BobSpence1 wrote:
My point is that you are falsely interpreting a difference of approach as a conflict.

Ha! You explained that better with one sentence than I could with several paragraphs.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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butterbattle

butterbattle wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:
My point is that you are falsely interpreting a difference of approach as a conflict.

Ha! You explained that better with one sentence than I could with several paragraphs.

I think he prefers long responses with lots of jargon.

 

We've been telling him that from the beginning and he can't decide whether he is debating:

1) a fundamental difference between science and the humanities (both of which seem to have a fluid definition)

E wrote:
I am not saying that the humanities give access to truth that science does not. Several humanities subjects are sciences, so there is no conflict between science and the humanities. The conflict is between natural science and the humanities. I am also highlighting the conflict between the formal sciences, natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. These four perspectives are fundamentally different worldviews, and the difference between them is metaphysical.

2) if he is debating the validity of some particular metaphysical ideas

E wrote:
The metaphysical conflict between strong sociology (strong social science) and physics (strong natural science) has been discussed. The metaphysical conflict between mathematics (strong formal science) and physics (strong natural science) has also been discussed.

3) whether physical scientists and social scientists are in a battle of philosophical metaphysics that neither side seems to be aware of or care about but is nonetheless absolutely critical to...something.

E wrote:
The conflicting metaphysical perspectives of idealism and physicalism began as Platonism and Aristotelianism respectively. This metaphysical conflict has raged at the centre of science and philosophy for 3500 years.

 

I don't know why you are still giving him your time, you're obviously more patient than I am this week.  I wouldn't mind the debate if he would decide what his point is and stick with it.

I still don't think he's made a case for the humanities (or social sciences) are anti-naturalistic in a broad sense.  If he wants to say, "Some people follow a metaphysical perspective that is anti-naturalistic" then great, but I have yet to see any evidence for the humanities or social sciences having anti-naturalistic metaphysics at their core by definition.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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Natural Science vs. Humanities

nigelTheBold wrote:
“Rutherford was hardly presenting a definition of science, or even a description of science.”

 

To be more specific, I am picking on physics and mathematics because they are classified as the king and queen of the sciences. The rest of the royal family (the other sciences) are lower down in the chain of command, and ultimately they have to take orders from the king. Physics is the king (from the perspective of physicalism).

 


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Epistemologist, I have

Epistemologist, I have repeatedly asked you how we are to define the truths that you posit are in conflict.  I have also pointed out that idealistic interpretation of a field of science is NOT the same thing as the science.  You say social science conflicts with natural science.  You have failed to explain how.  All you have said is that there are idealistic truths to certain areas of science, without giving ANY examples.  We will continue our stance that these truths are misinterpreted and their fields misrepresented until you present specific evidence instead.

 

You cannot continue talking in such broad generality about the existence of truths in 'idealistic science' when no one here accepts that.  We don't know what they are, because you won't tell us.

 

And I did NOT say that science comes FROM a metaphysical perspective; I said it applies TO only one that is based on the natural.  That is why I refuse your definition of the social sciences holding idealistic scientific truth.

 

My understanding of physicalism is that most philosophers refer to the physical as the 'scientifically natural.'  In that sense, physicalism holds that all is natural and that a complete scientific model of reality can be created of nature.  I rarely see philosophers use 'chemical, biological etc,' so my understanding was that they picked physics to represent the rest of science.  Physics is no more important than chemistry is in scientific inquiry of reality. 

 

Eistemologist wrote:

Physicalism/materialism/naturalism maintains that the world/universe is external to human minds, and therefore ultimately, can only be known through observation (empiricism).

 

Seriously, this is not a trivial error.  The human mind is NOT external to the world/universe in naturalism/etc.  This is a glaring oversight in light of your arrogance regarding philosophy.

 

Quote:

I must emphasize that I only accept the definition of science by Ernest Rutherford, who said: "there is physics and there is stamp-collecting." Physics is the only science. All other sciences, including neuroscience, are pseudo-sciences.

 

As others have pointed out, this is incorrect.  This shows a lack of understanding of science on your part, and certainly hurts your position on conflict within it.


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 mellestad, your emotions are totally irrelevant, and they add no useful meaning to the discussion. Stop talking about your emotions. Stick to crisp, clean, logic.

 

mellestad wrote:
“I still don't think he's made a case for the humanities (or social sciences) are anti-naturalistic in a broad sense”

 

We have established that the ultimate metaphysical difference between the social sciences and natural sciences is this: Strong natural science (physics) maintains that the world/universe is external to human minds. That’s physicalism/naturalism/materialism. Strong social science (strong sociology), which includes the sociology of knowledge and social constructionism, maintains that the world/universe is inside human minds. That’s idealism. So social science and natural science conflicts metaphysically between physicalism and idealism. This is because strong sociology and strong natural science, being the extremes of social and natural science, express the ultimate difference between the two perspectives.

 

The existence of that metaphysical conflict between the natural and social sciences has now been established. So we can move onto the metaphysical conflict between mathematics and physics over string theory (the ultimate nature of the world/universe).

 

mellestad wrote:
“I have yet to see any evidence for the humanities or social sciences having anti-naturalistic metaphysics at their core by definition.”

 

The humanities incorporate both naturalistic and non-naturalistic metaphysical perspectives. So the humanities have no ‘core’ metaphysical perspective. In contrast, natural science does have a core metaphysical perspective – naturalism and physicalism. And metaphysics is a humanities subject, as well as a science. It conflicts with physicalism/naturalism of the natural sciences. In that context, the humanities are in conflict with the natural sciences.

 

I have stuck with my point from the beginning of this discussion, and it’s this: The humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and formal sciences, conflict. And that conflict is ultimately metaphysical, which means it is fundamental and irreconcilable.

 

What makes you think I’m a ‘he’? BTW, the labels ‘he’ and ‘she’ are ad hominem.


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Epistemologist wrote:What

Epistemologist wrote:
What makes you think I’m a ‘he’?

People just tend to use 'he' as the convenient pronoun, me included. It's sexist, lol. 

Quote:
BTW, the labels ‘he’ and ‘she’ are ad hominem.

Eh........what? 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

Edit: Jesus f***ing Christ, where do you get all your definitions from? (ahem, rhetorical question..)

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Natural Science vs. Humanities

butterbattle wrote:
“So, your arguments about this "fundamental conflict" all boil down to the difference between Platonic and Aristotelian systems of philosophy?”

 

Yes, that’s one way of looking at it.

 

I’m not saying that the conflict is between mathematics and physics. I’m also not saying that mathematics supports idealism. Nor am I saying that fields of study are philosophical positions.

 

What I am saying is this: the decision as to whether or not string theory is true knowledge is a metaphysical decision. So the question is also metaphysical and it is this: is string theory true knowledge? If your answer is ‘yes’, then that means you are saying that the world/universe is inside human minds (idealism wins, and physicalism loses). If your answer is ‘no’, then you are saying that the world/universe is external to human minds (physicalism wins, and idealism loses).

 

butterbattle wrote:
Epistemologist wrote:
This is the conflict, which is described on the Nova science documentary ‘The Elegant Universe’: Some physicists are saying that string theory is physics. Other physicists are saying that string theory is not physics, but mathematics. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/program.html

 

I've watched the entirely of that program before. I don't remember any point where it said anything like that, and I do not know of any physicist that ever said or wrote anything resembling either of those claims. It does, however, seem like a claim you might mistakenly derive from it; you have certainly repeatedly demonstrated a strange understanding of the definitions of important terms. There is still widespread debate over string theory, but asserting that string theory is physics, but not mathematics or mathematics, but not physics, is just completely butchering the definitions of string theory, physics, and mathematics.

 

String theory attempts to merge the scientific fields of quantum mechanics and general relativity. There is a conceptual model of string theory, but it also incorporates a bunch of math. So, string theory strictly includes physics AND mathematics. I *think* it could be mathematics, but not physics, in a certain sense, if string theory does not accurately represent reality, but even that would be quite a stretch.

 

In that case it is the physicists interviewed in the Nova documentary that are doing the butchering.

The point of conflict in the Nova documentary ‘The Elegant Universe’ is expressed by a physicist in an interview when he says, “There is physics, and there is string theory.” He said that string theory is not physics because the truth of it has not been confirmed by observation (the verifiability principle of Logical Positivism). As physicists are claiming that string theory is not physics, then what is it? There are only two possibilities. It’s physics, or it’s not. That is clearly stated on the Nova documentary.

 

If the truth of string theory can never be verified through observation, then it will never be physics. However, even if string theory is not, or never becomes, physics, that does not mean it does not accurately represent reality.

 


v4ultingbassist
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Wow, you are a moron.

Wow, you are a moron.


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 butterbattle, ad hominem just means ‘to the person’. ‘He’ and ‘she’ are references to the person.

 

At least I don’t swear. Didn’t your school teachers tell you that’s wrong? Smiling