Questions on Falsification

Mar 19, 2020, 3:29 PM

—“Greetings, …. I’d like to know the extent to which propertarianism depends on falsificationism(understood as a concept in the philosophy of science) and as a consequence how it answers the criticisms raised against the notions since the 1950s, notably by Quine in “Two Dogmas of Empiricism”. Quote illustrating part of the argument: … A physicist decides to demonstrate the inaccuracy of a proposition; in order to deduce from this proposition the prediction of a phenomenon and institute the experiment which is to show whether this phenomenon is or is not produced, in order to interpret the results of this experiment and establish that the predicted phenomenon is not produced, he does not confine himself to making use of the proposition in question; he makes use also of a whole group of theories accepted by him as beyond dispute. The prediction of the phenomenon, whose nonproduction is to cut off debate, does not derive from the proposition challenged if taken by itself, but from the proposition at issue joined to that whole group of theories; if the predicted phenomenon is not produced, the only thing the experiment teaches us is that among the propositions used to predict the phenomenon and to establish whether it would be produced, there is at least one error; but where this error lies is just what it does not tell us. ([1914] 1954, 185)”—

We would need an example since there is nothing in the above example that is testable. It’s a thought experiment that depends upon contingencies that are themselves dependent upon deductions and presumptions that cannot be tested. In geometry his argument might stand. In physics it’s unlikely to stand.

I think you are referring to underdetermination in the scientific method, which makes no sense.

The scientific method serves only to tell us whether the speaker has the knowledge to make a truth claim.

There is no via-positiva scientific method, only warranty of due diligence that one is testifying to observables, whether physical, logical, or experiential.

That was the net result of the 20th century attempt at it.

P completes that method in that it solves the problems of psychology and sociology, economics and politics. When we are talking about physics, we are currently at a physical testing limit given the costs of tests. In that sense, very little is testifiable. All we are doing is a lot of mathy trial and error.

—“What do you mean by underdetermination making no sense?’—

Underdetermination means (critical rationalism) that all scientific statements are incomplete (open to increase in parsimony), and reorganization into the most parsimonious paradigm.

—“The problem as I see it is that from what I’ve seen from posts by propertarians, the notion of falsification is heavily depended upon. Now I understand that notion as saying that we can be sure about what’s false even though we’re never sure about what’s true, is that accurate for the term as P uses it? And if it is, I’m not sure how the Quinean point has been answered. Given that the scientist can always either abandon his current theory /or/ change some other one of his theories, the best he can do is to make an “educated guess”. But not only with regards to what’s true (as you rightly point out), but also with regards to what’s false. … As an example: The addition of the deferent and epicycles are revisions or tweaks of the geocentric theory since(among other reasons) it preservers the centrality of the earth and so on(instead of taking retrograde movement as a falsification of the Ptolomeic model, the scientists chose to tweak their theory). They are revision of external rather than internal nodes: “well the planets do spin around the earth but they also have an epicycle and geometrically the earth is not really the center(deferent)”. Likewise when testing a theory that accounts for the movement of some particle, an incongruous result could cause the scientist to abandon his theory(or tweak it somewhat) or he could alter some of his other theories (say, his understanding of what that particle is in the first place).”—

What does that have to do with anything?

What are you asking?

What you are doing is trying to get me to educate you by criticism under the pretense that there is any legitimacy at all to justificationism, rather than asking how the method functions by falsification, parsimony, and competition.

Testimony requires due diligence against ignorance error bias wishful thinking, loading, framaing, suggestion, obscurantism, sophistry, the fictionalisms, and deceit.

There are a limited number of testifiable dimensions against which we can perform due diligence. We enumerate those tests:

Consistency under:
within stated limits,
fully accounted within those limits,
reversible (restitutable),
and within your ability to perform restitution,
thereby satisfying the demand for infallibility,
Because truth must satisfy the demand for infallibility.

If it survives those tests then we have a truth candidate. If not then you may not make a truth claim, nor advocate for the imposition of costs upon others dependent upon the truth of that claim.

This test absolves you from restitution punishment and prevention if you err.

Theories consist of two components: the search criteria (explanation) and the set of operations (formula). If you state your explanation, state limits, and state formula you are speaking truthfully.

The market in application will determine if it is in fact true.
Most of the time, as we have seen, and still pursue, gravity is continuously improved (refined) but the direction since ancient times has been correct. Even dramatic failures like humours (phlogiston) was not entirely false, just too imprecise.

So, we seek to eliminate error.
Because that is all we can do.
Because the only method of investigation (epistemology) is free association.
That’s the lesson of the 20th century.

And while it pains me to say so Wittgenstein was right: philosophy is finally correctly relegated to the analysis of speech. And I would take it further, that philosophy is of no value other than speech regarding the pursuit of preferences.

Otherwise Transcendence Law (Evolution), Natural Law (cooperation) and Physical law (sciences: formal-logical, physical, and cognitive) have replaced philosophy. With law (testimony) usurping (or restoring) its role of arbiter of truth.

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