Hi Chris,

OK. Thanks for the precisions. I like Popper, for its epistemology (modulo the chosen vocabulary)., Yet, he disappointed me on QM, and even more on the mind-body problem, where he defended the Eccles dualist, and non mechanist, theory.
But at least he tried, and he didn't put the mystery under the rug.

Bruno

On 18 Sep 2013, at 18:25, chris peck wrote:

Hi Bruno

We don't have to accept Popper's demarcation principle in order to understand that it has genuinely been influential or that Popper's arguments are used within scientific circles.

I haven't read the paper you mention but many people have taken falsificationism to task. Kuhn; Lakatos; Feyerabend to name just a few. Hilary Putnam's 'On the corroboration of Theories' is also I think a good refutation which argues that strictly speaking no hypotheses are falsifiable. But then the point is that they take Popper's ideas as a starting point from which to build more sophisticated descriptions of science.

I think Popper is often misconstrued though. I don't think he meant to argue that unfalsifiable theories had no place. His admiration for Darwinism and to a lesser extent Marxist Economics is informative here. He thought both to be valuable whilst also thinking both contained unfalsifiable elements. But it is a matter of degree. Theories that currently make falsifiable predictions are more interesting from an experimental perspective. All else being equal they have a greater claim for time in the lab and a greater claim on resources generally I would have thought...thus the current criticism of String Theory.

All the best



--- Original Message ---

From: "Bruno Marchal" <marc...@ulb.ac.be>
Sent: 19 September 2013 12:08 AM
To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: What gives philosophers a bad name?


On 18 Sep 2013, at 04:12, chris peck wrote:

Hi John

>> Exactly, Newton and Darwin and Einstein didn't need Popper to tell them how to get knowledge out of nature, and absolutely no change in how science was done happened in 1934, the year Popper's book was published. None whatsoever.

Newton and Darwin would have had problems if they had of needed Popper given they worked before he was even born. Sometimes I read your posts and just think your belching wind.

Popper was not trying to explain to people like Einstein how to 'get knowledge out of nature'. You're basing your entire argument on a straw man. In fact, he used Einstein as a paradigm example of how to conduct science properly. But what of Adler, Freud or Marx? All these people claimed their theories to be scientific too and earnt a whole lot of credit for that, but where they scientific? Their theories could be contrasted with Einstein's in so far as where Einstein derived 'bold and risky' observational predictions which could be falsified; neither Freud, Adler nor Marx did.

You say that this demarcation principle has had no influence in science. Within Psychology however, for better or worse, Psychoanalysis is now perceived as a faintly absurd artifact of history. No one gets hot under the collar about penis envy anymore. Why? Because psychoanalysis doesn't make falsifiable predictions. There has been a cognitive and neuro-scientific 'revolution' which has striven hard to base psychology on more empirically falsifiable foundations.

In physics there is a debate about whether string theory (or string "theory" if you must shake your rattle, John) deserves all the funding it receives. What is at the core of the debate?: Does it matter that it fails to make falsifiable predictions? Should other theories (quantum loop gravity) which potentially offer more scope for falsifiability receive a greater proportion of the available resources.

Go back a hundred years or so and no-one gave a toss about any of that, so has Popper and the movement he spearheaded had an effect? Of course it has. Its pompous boneheaded bullshit to suggest otherwise.


If we agree, with Popper, that a theory needs to be falsifiable to be interesting, then Popper's theory is interesting, because, strictly speaking, it has been refuted, by John Case and Ngo- Manguelle:

CASE J. & NGO-MANGUELLE S., 1979, Refinements of inductive inference by Popperian machines. Tech. Rep., Dept. of Computer Science, State Univ. of New- York, Buffalo.

By accepting that an inductive inference machine proposes, from time to time, unfalsifiable theories, you enlarge non trivially the class of phenomena that the machine can recognize, and build correct theories about.

Note the (slight) paradox here.

Bruno





Date: Tue, 17 Sep 2013 13:39:10 -0400
Subject: Re: What gives philosophers a bad name?
From: johnkcl...@gmail.com
To: everything-list@googlegroups.com

On Mon, Sep 16, 2013  Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:

>> So you are suggesting that a thing like broken glass is made of numbers

> ???? I was just saying that things are not made up of things. A broken glass is NOT made of number. That has no meaning at all. What happens is that addition and multiplication of natural numbers emulate dreams, which might be dream of a broken glass.

OK. How is that any different from saying broken glass is made of numbers?

>> don't tell me there is no such thing as a thing, that's just more gibberish.

> It is a matter of tedious, and not so simple, exercise to see that the computations exist in some definite sense when we postulate arithmetic. (This is done in good textbook, and very well done in Epstein & Carnielli, but also in Boolos & Jeffrey). Physical things then appears as stable percept

And concerning broken glass I said in my September 11 post "It must have stable properties of some sort or I wouldn't be able to identify it as a thing".

> by persons living those dreams.

OK. Therefore the physical universe and the physical things in it exist.

>> Make up your mind! First you say everything is the process of "natural numbers" in "relative computations" and then you say "digital machines, which are defined in term of number relations" are an exception to this because what they do "is not a process". The sum of number relations is not a process?? None of this makes any sense to me.

> Some number relation defines some machines, or some programs, which are static entities. *Other number relations, involving the preceding one, defines computations, or processes,

Name a number relation that does not involve a computation or some other process!

> A machine, in that setting is basically one number, relative to some universal number.

Relative? A relation needs at least 2 things, and some sort of computation with them.

  John K Clark


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