On 11 Sep 2013, at 20:37, meekerdb wrote:

On 9/11/2013 4:03 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:

On 10 Sep 2013, at 19:45, meekerdb wrote:

On 9/10/2013 1:55 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:
Today we know that science proves nothing about reality, but it can refute theories, and it can provides evidences for theories, but not automatically the truth.

Scientific theories are certainly not automatically the truth. But to say science "proves *nothing* about reality" is ridiculous.

It might depend what we mean by reality. If reality is defined by a model of arithmetic, then we can agree that science can prove statements having the shape: if there is a reality, then there is an infinity of prime numbers, and that might be an example.

But usually we prove propositions inside theories,

That's your Platonist dogma.

Not at all. It is a common definition of "proving". It is always in a theory. Observation can only lead to conceiving, choosing or abandoning a theory.

I know many people use "proof" in larger sense, but this very fact explains the mess here, around epistemology.

You can only prove propositions inside theories by assuming some axioms from which to prove them. The scientific method is prove theories (in the original sense of test) by observation. That's how Galileo proved the moon was not a perfect celestial sphere: he observed craters on it.

He just refuted the theory that the moon was a perfect sphere.

and it is always a sort of bet that such theories really apply to reality.

Sure, because the axioms and the rules of inference are never certain. But when you make an empirical observation you are interacting with reality if there's any reality at all.




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