PHL305: STUDY GUIDE 2

Ch. Short Essay Theses Thinkers, Theories and Concepts Thinkers, Theories, and Concepts
6.
  • Some scientific posits are of things that can never be observed, which are inherently observable. 
  • Posits of inherent unobservable is never scientifically warranted.
  • We are warranted in believing the unobservables posited by the best explanatory scientic theories really exist."
  • 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)
  • Probably, no coherent grand theory of absolutely everything can be constructed.
  • Shröedinger's Cat: Riddle
    • determinacy of macroscopic events
    •  v. quantum indeterminacy
  • proposed solutions
    • consciousness collapses the wave packet
    • Copenhagen
    • hidden variable
    • many worlds
  • Einstein: "God doesn't play dice with the universe."
  • Positivism
    • testability
    • empiricism
    • Humeanism
    • anti-essentialism
    • instrumentalism
    • mistrust of metaphysics
  • Manifold Image
  • Scientific Image
  • Empirical adequacy
  • Unity of Science
7.
  • Though "probablistic 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) 
  • Explanations invoking "probalistic causes . . . are incomplete ways of describing fully determinate situations" (151).
  • Probabalistic explanations "do not give a full explanation of individual events." (153)
  • "A statement of probability does not reflect anything `rational or positive or metaphysica'l in the world; it is merely a psychological device which we use when we are ignorant of the facts of the situation." (160)
  • "[W]hen we talk about the probability of events in the physical world, we are not fundamentally talking about the degree of support some evidence gives to a hypothesis" (161).
  • 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).
  • Mathematical theory of probability
    • 1 = certainty or necessity
    • 0 = certainty or necessity not
    • intermediate values >0 and <1 represent degrees of probability
    • Multiplication theorem: 
      • p = p(a) * p(b,a)
      • If a and b are independent events: p(a & b) = p(a)*p(b)
    • Addition theorem: if a and b are mutually exclusive events
      • p(a or b) = p(a) + p(b)
  • Carnap
    • state description
    • logical theory of probablity
  • Popper: propensity theory of probability
  • Relative frequency theory of probability
  • Bernoulli: Law of large numbers.
  • Determinism
  • Indeterminacy
  • Quantum indeterminacy
  • Metaphysical Indeterminacy: ObjectiveTheories of Probability
  • Epistemic Indeterminacy: Subjective Theories of Probability
  • Laplace
    • Laplace's Demon
    • Classical (a priori) theory of probability
  • Donald Davidson: Probablistic laws are temporary "explanatory" expedients until we discover the true strict causal laws. 
8.
  • Scientific reductionS "lead to what naturally might be thought of as theories of greater depth" (177).
  • "[A] reductionist program can fail without being a failiure." (179)
  • "Even if we reject the idea that they biological, say, can be reduced to the physical . . . it is still the case that biological organisms are made up of particles of matter and to that extent are subject to normal physical processes." (178)
  • "There have been hardly any completely successful major reductions in science" (180).
  • "Reducing the terms of one level of explantion to [extensionally equivalent terms] of another is not . . . sufficient for a successful scientific reduction." (188)
  • Those who say this [`there is something . . . which transcends physics'] about consciousness, or life, or the creation of helium would certainly not want what they say to be regarded as analogous to the example of round holes and square pegs.
  • Either consciousness or life, or both, is emergent.
  • Human ability to add and perform other mentalistic tasks cannot be explained in purely physical terms. (193)
  • Either sensations or propositional attitudes or both are scientifically irreducible.
  • Unity of Science is surely an unobainable ideal, and probably and undesirable one as well.
  • Unity of Science
    • Physicalism/Materialism
    • Atomism
  • Logicism
    • Goedel: Incompleteness of Arithmetic & Logic
    • Russell: Set theoretic paradoxes
  • Pythagorus
    • pythagoreanism
    • incommensurability of the diagonal
  • Newton
    • atomic theory of matter
    • affirmed the absolute existence of space & the consequent possibility of unoccupied space (a vacuum)
    • reduction of Kepler's laws of plantetary motion
    • reduction of Gallileo's laws of terrestrial motion
    • to a single account citing
      • three laws of motion
      • low of universal gravitation
  • Descartes: Cartesian Mechanics
    • Dualism
    • Nonatomic theory of matter continuous extended stuff
    • Denial of absolute existence of space, or the possiblity of unoccupied space (a vacuum)
  • Einstein's proposal: it all reduces to
    • gravitational forces, which constitute "space"
    • electromagnetic forces, which constitute "matter"
  • Bohm: quantum theory of atomic structure
  • Emergent
  • Vitalism
  • property dualism
  • definitional identities
  • extensional equivalence
  • Thomas Nagel: classical model of reduction
    • derivation of higher level laws
    • from lower level laws
    • plus "bridge laws" correlating higher & lower level elements
  • multiple realization
  • supervenience
  • overdetermination
  • epiphenomenalism &  interactionism
  • cognition
    • propositional attitudes
    • intentionality
  • sensations
    • experiences
    • qualia
9..
  • 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.
  • Philosophy of science is nothing but the anthropological study of scientific institutions and research communities.
  • Science can give us positive knowledge.
  • The light of positive scientific knowledge replaces the darkness of mythical and religious speculation -- and will ultimately totally replace it -- as science marches on.
  • "Science itself has become a mythology, perhaps the prevailing mythology of our time." (203)
  • Eliminativism is self-refuting.
  • "Science and science alone gives access to the ultimate  truth about man and the world." (204)
  • "[S]cience and scientific method (and they alone) can provide us with complete and satisfactory explanation of all phenomena." (206)
  • Science can only tell us what is the case, not what ought to be: science is a "value-free" morally neutral enterprise.
  • 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."
  • Emphasis of science as a cultural product/institution
    • positivisitic de-emphasis
    • post-Kuhnian re-emphasis
  • scientism
  • critique of "scientism"
    • method-drive vs. data-driven inquiry
    • peculiarities of social/psychological phenomena make hard scientific methods unsuited for their study.
  • "prediction" & "control" codewords for authoritarianism
    • peculiarites of social/psychological phenomena
  • alternatives to scientism
    • versehen -- interpretive understanding
    • neo-Marxism
  • peculiarities of social/psychological phenomena
    • self-referentiality
    • product of voluntary acts: c.f. verstehen
    • self-fulfilling prophetic character of predictions
    • normativity: value ladenness
  • Thales: "the first philosopher"
    • question: What is it all made of?
    • answer: Water!
  • Auguste Compte: positivism
  • Positivism
    • the light of postitive scientific knowledge 
    • replaces darkness of mythothological speculation
    • as science marches on
  • Eliminativism
  • Eliminativist Critique of folk psychology (FP)
    • offers explanations of behavior competing with neuroscienfic explanations of the same phenomena
    • proven scientific inadequacy of FP
  • Conceptual unsuitablity of FP as science
    • supposition of free will at odds with quest for causal laws & smacks of teleology
    • subjectivity of experience
    • opacity of cognitive attitudes
  • Critique of Eliminativism
    • self-refuting
    • over-reaching of mythic proportions