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Science is Not As Easy As You Think: Underdetermination Edition

What I’m about to claim will probably either come as a shock or confirm long-held suspicions: the scientific method—that system of coming up with and then experimentally testing hypotheses that we learned in middle school—is… 718 more words

Pop Philosophy

"Finite Additivity, Another Lottery Paradox, and Conditionalisation," C. Howson (2014)

If you know the probability theorist Bruno de Finetti, you know him either for his work on exchangeable processes, or for his legendary defense of finite additivity. 1,010 more words

Philosophy Of Science

Does Micro-indeterminism entail Macro-indeterminism?

A professor of mine, with whom I habitually disagree (much to his pretended ‘chagrin’ and our mutual amusement), has argued previously, and again recently, that even if indeterminism were true at the micro-level, for instance at the level of quantum mechanics, that would do nothing to make macro-determinism infeasible, where macro-determinism means something like: for every macro-physical event E, either (i) there is always exactly one macro-physical event E* from which E followed deterministically, or at least (ii) E, if it is not preceded by any physical events, deterministically entails all proceeding macro-physical events. 3,164 more words

Philosophy

Popper, Kuhn, and the paradigm shifts of the genomic revolution

Paradigm shifts no more. During our bioinformatics workshop in Leuven, Roland pointed out that I tend to use the phrase “paradigm shift” too liberally. 1,054 more words

Opinion

Re-visiting the matter wave (II)

My previous post was, once again, littered with formulas – even if I had not intended it to be that way: I want to convey some kind of  4,396 more words

Physics

Elliott Sober's Contrastive Empiricism

There has traditionally been a tension between empiricism and scientific realism.  Elliott Sober aims to combine important elements of the two in his Contrastive Empiricism.   In his paper “Contrastive Empiricism”, Sober defends a modest realism where “science properly aims to identify true theories about the world.”  Sober’s Contrastive Empiricism can be contrasted with Van Fraassen’s Constructive Empiricism where the goal of science is to find theories that are empirically adequate. 586 more words

Philosophy Of Science

Chicken and the Egg

Contrary to popular opinion, it is possible to answer whether the chicken or the egg came first. Like when, a few weeks ago, I answered whether a tree falling alone in the woods makes a sound, the answer is messy and not particularly satisfying. 371 more words

Pop Philosophy