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- Popper and After: Four Modern Irrationalists
- Probability, Philosophy and Science: A briefing for Bayesians | SpringerLink
Inductive philosophy of science is defended, and a tentative methodology proposed. Four prominent anti-inductivists are analysed: Popper, Lakatos, Kuhn and Feyerabend. Popper is shown to have been misled by the problem of improper priors, in hypothesis space; his deductive doctrine of falsifiability is replaced by the inductive one of testability. It is concluded that deductive methodologies of science are untenable, and that inductive methodology is sound.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF. Skip to main content. Advertisement Hide. Probability, Philosophy and Science: A briefing for Bayesians. Authors Authors and affiliations A. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves. This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access. Synthese series vol Reidel Dordrecht. Google Scholar. The Logic of Scientific Discovery.
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Hutchinson London. Translation of: Logik der Forschung Springer, Vienna, Logical Foundations of Probability. University of Chicago Press. Reprinted as Chapter 7 of . The Popper-Carnap Controversy. Martinus Nijhoff The Hague. CrossRef Google Scholar. Reprinted in reference , revised edition , Appendix ix. Pergamon Oxford. The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory. Second edition, Princeton University Press. Translation of second French edition, It begins with a mass of confused observations and controversial theories, moves into a quiescent phase when one theory has triumphed over the others, and lapses into chaos again when the further testing exposes anomalies in the favoured theory.
Kuhn adopted the word paradigm to describe the model that rules during the middle stage,. But there is a problem when attempts are made to fuse this historical observation into a philosophy based on anti-inductivism. Paul Feyerabend has extended this anti-inductivist streak to its logical though irrational extreme.
His thesis is basically that science is just one of many possible internally consistent views of the world, and that the choice between which of these views to adopt can only be made on socio-political grounds. But the bottom line is that science does have a firm methodological basis which distinguishes it from pseudo-science, the occult and new age silliness. Science is distinguished from other belief-systems by its rigorous application of inductive reasoning and its willingness to subject itself to experimental test.
Not all science is done properly, of course, and bad science is as bad as anything. The Bayesian interpretation of probability leads to a philosophy of science which is essentially epistemological rather than ontological. Scientific theories are not absolute truths. Our knowledge of reality is never certain, but we are able to reason consistently about which of our theories provides the best available description of what is known at any given time. If that description fails when more data are gathered, we move on, introducing new elements or abandoning the theory for an alternative.
This process could go on forever. There may never be a final theory. But although the game might have no end, at least we know the rules…. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2. You can leave a response , or trackback from your own site.
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But this is mainly means you should be careful how you use them, rather than any deep question of falsification or testability. The Wikipedia page on Karl Popper says that in the late s he quit Austria for obvious reasons for a position in a New Zealand university. I have a very old edition. Mark: It is trivial to come up with a theory that you can scarcely prove wrong. Just put free parameters in it, whose values are to be estimated from the data. The point is that a good theory has to be falsifiable in principle.
Despite other shortcomings, this idea of falsifiability introduced by Popper is the best way to distinguish science from pseudoscience. In this sense, the steady-state cosmology was a good theory, because it made testable predictions. In this case, they were indeed found to be wrong, and the theory was falsified. The big-bang theory also makes predictions. It has not been falsified, but the point is that in practice it could be.
In practice, one theory will tend toward a probability of unity in any given era, but even that is relative to its rivals. In Newtonian mechanics vs Aristotelian force proportional to velocity, not acceleration , Newton wins. Please read David Stove for a detailed expose of that. However, the idea that he thought that a scientist should like to see his theory disproved seems to me like a deliberate?
Well, I have compiled a theory.
Popper and After: Four Modern Irrationalists
It is complete and consistent, reified, universal, and incommensurable with current paradigms. I welcome commentary from individuals interested in such matters. Prof P has a theory that Bayesian priors are scientifically meaningful. After many years of taking new data he notes with satisfaction that the updated probability that his theory is correct is still exactly one.
He concludes that Bayesian priors are scientific. Has he therefore scientifically proven that Bayesian priors are scientific? Tom: He is not free to set a Bayesian prior of unity. Bayesians do not know how to assign priors in every situation, but this is an incomplete science rather than as-you-like-it. It would be weird if that were not the case, in fact. The lesson is that we seldom start from certainty. Peter, Bit unfair this to Prof T.
Maybe things would have gone better if he had followed the Bayesian route! PS If you want to know why such a theory is crap, you need what Bayesians call the Ockham analysis. It is far beyond the level of sophistication that Popper attained. Nice wee essay Peter.
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Has anybody done anything interesting since him? The popularity of Popper is indeed interesting. Brit scientists like being hard nosed. Lakatos talked rubbish only about mathematics. Popper, Kuhn and Feyerabend did so about physics. The disjunction between their heads and their lives is alarming: they know well enough what effect the law of gravity would have if they jumped out of a window…. Similarly, some in the social sciences may dismiss the existence of physical addiction in favour of cultural entrainment. For them, the human psyche or mind is all a blank slate and everything is conditioned or moulded by culture or habituation.
The correct response to the postmodernists who succeeded even Feyerabend is probably action like the Sokal hoax, which I hope Peter will blog about sometime. What this ought to mean is that we assign a much smaller prior probability to a model with free parameters than to a model with one or none. But actually, Bayesians tend to ignore the prior implicitly treating such models as equally likely , and refer to an Ockham-esque penalty if one or other of the models has only a small part of its parameter space consistent with the data.
I think this is poor usage. That is clearly loony. Induction says that the fact that X has always happened in the past suggests that X will always happen in the future.
Probability, Philosophy and Science: A briefing for Bayesians | SpringerLink
Abduction which I think is the same as inference to the best explanation says that the observation of X gives us motivation for believing that Y is true, where Y is an elegant explanation for X. So one could make a strong attack on inductive reasoning without posing any threat to Bayesian methods of inference, which are neither inductive nor deductive.
Philosophers can and often do define what they like, but is it self-consistent and does it provide a useful model for human inference?
I need to check a dictionary but I had thought that abduction adduction? This is of course the hard part, for which we currently have no model and are dependent on the minds of people like Newton, Einstein, Dirac etc. Testing relativistic vs Newtonian mechanics in inevitably noisy experiments is then just an olympic-scale application of hypothesis testing. Heliocentricism became viable after the Church stopped burning people who advocated this theory.