The Necessity of the Philosophy of Science?

A few days ago, I saw “Science Set Free” by Rupert Sheldrake when I was in a book expo. I did not buy it though. But, it made me thinking for a while.

The Incommensurability of that one annoying friend who always goes all in

As always:

For different country, the same book was published under a different title: “Science Delusion” (Of course it reminds us of “God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins). I haven’t read the book, but I watched the banned TED talk. Why it’s banned? It’s said that the talk was crossing into the realm of pseudoscience.

It is known that Rupert’s studies on morphic resonance was not receiving a good acceptance. However, I still think the idea that science has become modern dogma needs to be considered. (We can always take some good apart from the bad, right?) It comes back to the realm of the philosophy of science.

In this realm, we try to define what is science and what is not. What is pseudoscience? Is “falsifiability” is one true demarcation criterion, as Karl Propper suggested?  If we used to have an obsolete paradigm, such as alchemy, will modern science take it as pseudoscience? Should we have another term such as: proto-science?

Science is an instrument. And modern science didn’t come out of nothing. It’s been going through an evolution process while mankind’s knowledge is being expanded through science (be it day to day science and revolutionary science). And we need to revisit the tool itself, sometimes, don’t we? Is it still reliable?

Speaking of this demarcation line, it will bring us all into the question of realism, as science is supposed to make us understand more about the reality that we experience every day. In “The Grand Design”, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow argue that philosophy is dead. By bringing up Model-Dependent Realism (MDR), they argue we do not need to be confused on whether which model of reality that is true or more true than the other. As long as the theory is effective within that model, than we do not need to worry. [It feels like, science is not the “why” question as much as it is a question of how.]

In Stephen Hawking’s biography, if I’m not mistaken, Stephen Hawking was interested in science because there is a sense of control while we are trying to observe how the universe works. However, this is just a pseudo-control, because what works in the universe will work without we knowing, and what does not will never work even if we think it should be.

So, in the end, (according to MDR) there’s still a reality-as-itself. But, all we can do is building a mental picture of it to the extent of our needs, and the availability of our tools to observe them. Otherwise, it’s meaningless.

However, by introducing this MDR, which tries to create a bridge between realist and anti-realist, some questions are left hanging. But still, [if I’m not mistaken while trying to grasp its concept] this MDR stuff departs from the notion that the laws of nature are fixed, something questioned by ([of course] not only) Rupert Sheldrake in his book.

But, if there is no law governing the universe, and everything is purely random, how can we try to understand the universe?

Bringing science into this kind of realm is so abstract and confusing. But that’s the truth. We, human, keep thinking that we know things for certain, but later on we realize it ain’t so. So many open ended questions, even for cases which seem to be closed.

But, that’s the point. We need to have a contextual intelligence to prevent us getting biased (remember Dunning-Krugger Effect). And one of the many ways to understand our limit is through the philosophy of science.

And, on the other hand, whether science publishing industry is reliable is another question:

*Yet, I am still struggling to do this day to day science and to revise my paper. Pffttt.*

*I feel like my writing skill turns dusty*


Some interesting articles:

[1st Draft: July 4th]

3 thoughts on “The Necessity of the Philosophy of Science?

  1. Just an editorial comment but I believe the name of the person is Karl Popper (not Propper as you’ve rendered it here).

      1. Not a problem. Even the most careful writer has little things creep in every so often.

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