SHORT ESSAY

Critically discuss one thesis from each of three different columns.
 
A
B
C
D
  1. Posits of inherent unobservables are never scientifically warranted.
  2. We are warranted in believing the unobservables posited by the best explanatory scientific theories really exist.
  3. Science progresses toward "an absolute conception of the world i.e., of the world as it is in itself independently of any particular mode of perceiving to which all particular modes of perceiving could be related" (133).
  4. "Science and science alone gives access to the ultimate  truth about man and the world." (204)
  5. "[S]cience and scientific method (and they alone) can provide us with complete and satisfactory explanation of all phenomena." (206)
  6. Philosophy of science is nothing but the anthropological study of scientific institutions and research communities.
  1. Though "probabilistic theories can be regarded as both empirically significant and empirically testable" still "there is a sense in which they are less than fully explanatory" (148) 
  2. Explanations invoking "probabilistic causes . . . are incomplete ways of describing fully determinate situations" (151).
  3. Probabilistic explanations "do not give a full explanation of individual events." (153)
  4. "A statement of probability does not reflect anything rational or positive or metaphysical in the world; it is merely a psychological device which we use when we are ignorant of the facts of the situation." (160)
  5. The probability of a single event is the "`measure of an objective propensity"" or "`tendency inherent in the specific situation to realize the event . . . to make it happen'" (170).
  1. "[A] reductionist program can fail without being a failure." (179)
  2. "There have been hardly any completely successful major reductions in science" (180).
  3. "Reducing the terms of one level of explanation to [extensionally equivalent terms] of another is not . . . sufficient for a successful scientific reduction." (188).
  4. Either consciousness or life, or both, are emergent.
  5. "[T]his human ability to add and perform other mentalistic tasks cannot be explained in purely physical terms. (193)
  6. Either sensations or propositional attitudes or both are scientifically irreducible.
  7. Unity of Science is surely an unobtainable ideal, and probably an undesirable one as well.
  8. Probably, no coherent grand theory of absolutely everything can be constructed.
  1. The social sciences should emulate the hard sciences in pursuit of prediction and control of social and psychological phenomena based on quantitatively precise measurements and mathematically expressible causal laws.
  2. The light of positive scientific knowledge replaces the darkness of mythical and religious speculation -- and will ultimately totally replace it -- as science marches on.
  3. "Science itself has become a mythology, perhaps the prevailing mythology of our time." (203)
  4. Eliminativism is self-refuting.
  5. Science can only tell us what is the case, never what ought to be: science is a "value-free" morally neutral enterprise.
  6. If "the actual reason I uttered the sounds `F=ma' on a given occasion was because of the causal effects of certain impulses in my brain" (209) then my utterance would be without meaning and import.