Questions tagged [philosophy-of-science]

For questions about the branch of philosophy studying science, scientists, the scientific method and related topics.

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Did Poincaré argue against defining terms before you proceed?

Can the following point of view be traced back to a particular publication by Poincaré? In Section 3.1 of Gravitation, by Misner, Thorne and Wheeler, the authors write: Here and elsewhere in science, ...
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52 views

Should Occam's razor be used in judging hypothetical cosmological theories?

Should Occam's razor be used in making preference between cosmological theories, which in order to fit in new experimental results, introduce hypothetical concepts, such as dark matter and dark energy,...
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182 views

The status of Tarski's theory of truth

Tarski's truth theorem asserts that a truth definition for a (reasonably strong) theory cannot be formalized within that theory. I have seen that Tarski's theory of truth has received a lot of ...
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Did ancient Greek mathematicians consider numbers independently of geometry?

I am currently reading Oliver Bryne's edition of Euclid's Elements, and in The Elements many arithmetic propositions are proved geometrically, and it feels to me that numbers are always treated as ...
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72 views

Is there an objective way to measure how significant a discovery has been?

When the Nobel prize or Fields Medal gets awarded, I believe one of the criteria is the impact the discoveries have been. My question is, whether there are any objective ways to measure the impact? It ...
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49 views

Was Kants theory of space and time inspired by that of colour?

Kants theory of space, time and causality is that they are the very forms of experience and ground all the other phenomena that we can experience. He called them the forms of sensibility. Kant studied ...
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Did Ibn al-Haytham write anything about his experiments that is general enough to be seen as prefiguring the scientific method?

Ibn al-Haytham is considered one of the first experimenters. Since he was also a kind of philosopher did he write anything close in meaning and generality to the scientific method?
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100 views

Are the ancient Egyptians and the ancient Mesopotamians really the cradles of civilization? [closed]

Is it true that ancient Greek knowledge of mathematics, science, astronomy, engineering, architecture, civilization came from the ancient Minoan civilization and ancient Mycenaean civilizations and ...
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28 views

What were C.S Peirce's contributions to theory of relations?

In my study of Peirce I came across a number statements that he extended De Morgan's relation algebra. What exactly are his contributions to relation algebra?
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45 views

What was the first randomized experiment that was ever conducted?

C.S Peirce is credited by wikipedia with the invention of randomized experiments. What was C.S Peirce's contribution to randomized experiments exactly if there were such experiments before Peirce? How ...
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64 views

Is there any book or site where John Von Neumann's collected philosophical writings are presented?

I was wondering if Von Neuman has any philosophical writings beside his writings on the relation of computers to the human mind and vice versa.
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Why did the existential and universal quantifiers in logic took so long to become formalized into symbols after the invention of boolean algebra?

Was there a specific reason that prevented researchers in boolean algebra to invent such quantifiers in the flexible format that are known today earlier? Since the compact symbols for multiplication ...
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49 views

Did the brain anatomists and psychophysicists of the early to mid 1800s make any philosophical speculations on the nature of emotions and cognition?

I was wondering if the psychophysicists and brain anatomists from 1800 up until 1860s made any novel, noteworthy philosophical speculations about the emotions and cognition.If they did is there any ...
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69 views

Is there any book or site where Gauss' collected philosophical writings are presented?

From the questions on some of Gauss' philosophical ideas here at HSM stackexchange it's clear that Gauss had some major philosophical ideas that despite their profundity don't seem to have had much ...
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Was C.S Peirce in his abductive reasoning influenced by the generalization from special cases that is used by mathematicians?

I am reading some random bits from Peirce's collected works and they give me the impression that Peirce tried to integrate every(or nearly every) major scientific and mathematical concept which he was ...
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Did C.S Peirce make any noteworthy contributions to physics or chemistry?

According to this article Peirce was the first to experimentally tie a unit, the meter, to an absolute standard, the wavelength of a spectral line Did C.S Peirce make any other noteworthy ...
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64 views

Origin of the Intelligence question?

What are the roots of the Intelligence question, i.e. since when do "humans" think about what "Intelligence" means and where it actually comes from? I did some digging in the greek ...
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72 views

Who was the first to state that scientific theories could be used to make predictions?

It seems to me that very few if any scientists/philosophers stated that science could be used for predictions before the early 1900s. In the scientific context I have only encountered the use of the ...
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98 views

On atomism and philosophy of science

The background of this question is as follows. Sean Carroll is in the process of giving a series of talks recorded in his home office and published on YouTube. The setup is intentionally very informal....
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105 views

Why is it that so many early astronomers and cosmologists wanted to believe in a static/infinite/eternal Universe?

I've been doing some research for a cosmology series and I'm struck by how many physicists and philosophers, from Newton to Einstein, had a notion that the Universe should be static and eternal. Why ...
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62 views

Did Galen make any theoretical contributions to the experimental science?

The wikipedia page about experimental research history cites Ibn al-Haytham as an early pioneer of experimental research. Since Galen was the last prominent ancient greek philosophers/doctor and ...
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59 views

When was the earliest usage of diagrams to represent set relations?

According to wikipedia Euler came up with Venn-like diagrams well before Venn but Lull and Leibnitz came up with pictorial representations of set relations even before that. Was Lull the first who is ...
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105 views

Which conception of a “machine” allows to call “mechanical” the new physics of the 17th century?

My questions deal more properly with pre-Newtonian modern physics in its Cartesian or Hobbesian versions. The word "mechanical" comes from a Greek word meaning "machine". However, the received ...
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100 views

Eventually impossible to contribute to science? [closed]

(Excuse me in advance if I've hereby launched a duplicate question, but so far I didn't came across any opinions.) In other words, I was wondering: Will scientific progress finally stall, because it ...
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What was Kolmogorov’s point of view in the philosophy of mathematics?

Today the standard interpretation of intuitionistic logic is the Brouwer-Heyting-Kolmogorov interpretation which was presented independently by Arend Heyting and Andrei Nikolajewitsch Kolmogorow. ...
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364 views

Alternatives to «Lost in math: how beauty leads physics astray» by Sabine Hossenfelder?

Recently, I came across this book «Lost in math» that aroused my interest. Having read about half of it, I have to admit that I am not a big fan of Mrs. Hossenfelder's informal popular style of ...
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Were Gauss's 1846 remarks on the distinction between right and left related to orientability of surfaces?

Recently i was striked by a quotation of Gauss from a letter to his student Gerling from the date June 23, 1846. This letter states in very concise words that the distinction between right-handed and ...
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157 views

What did Hans Bethe think of von Neumann's quantum logic?

Nobel laureate Hans Bethe was a friend of mathematician-physicist John von Neumann, and he once said: "I have sometimes wondered whether a brain like von Neumann's does not indicate a species ...
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538 views

Gauss on philosophers

Carl Friedrich Gauss said: When a philosopher says something that is true then it is trivial. When he says something that is not trivial then it is false. On one occasion I read that supposedly ...
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91 views

Differences between “The Science of” versus "The Art of? [closed]

Suppose you go to a book store and you see two books titled: The Science of Cooking The Art of Cooking Before opening the books, how would you expect them to ...
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377 views

When did it become a mainstream stereotype that physicists hate philosophy?

Question I'm searching for the origin of the stereotype (regardless of validity) that physicists hate philosophy? This opinion seems to be more mainstream in the public domain. I do concede they are ...
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Theory criteria from Misner-Thorne-Wheeler

In chapter 39.1 of Gravitation, by Misner, Thorne and Wheeler, it is asserted, quite reasonably, that a theory of gravitation (and, I assume, quite generally) must satisfy the three following criteria ...
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132 views

Does Heliocentrism predate Copernicus?

I have seen this mentioned on the interwebs a few times. people have mentioned that some Greek thinkers and Islamic astronomers came up with heliocentrism before Copernicus and that Copernicus copied ...
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240 views

When and how did the notion/idea of physical constant emerge?

Physical constants (e.g. c, h, G, alpha and so on) play a central role in our scientific theories and they have yet drawn much of controversial flavor into questions concerning the foundational status ...
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169 views

What are the principles of historiography of science?

Is there a consensus amongst historians as to the principles of the historiography of science or as to how to write/create/preserve/record history? If there is, then what are those principles? If ...
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253 views

Did Bohr comment on Bohm's interpretation of quantum mechanics?

Bohm published his interpretation of quantum mechanics in 1952. Comments on Bohm's work from Einstein, Heisenberg und Pauli are cited in the corresponding wikipedia article (https://en.wikipedia.org/...
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Does anyone know articles or books about what the notion of difficulty in science, especially physics?

In physics, many problems were known at their time to be very challenging, for example the notion of heat, or how to understand the ideal gaz law, or the phase transition criticial behaviors, etc. And ...
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164 views

Did the death of Archimedes mark the turning point of the golden age of Greek science [closed]

Western philosophy was founded by Socrates, and Greek science was blossomed by his students and descendants such as Plato, Aristotle, Euclid, Archimedes, and many others. It seemed that after the ...
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Is there a name for the idea that the limitations on the accuracy of a model depend on the point of view of the observer?

Consider a mouse who lives its whole life in a maze in a lab. If you asked the mouse about its understanding of the universe, it might say "it's 3 inches high and 3 inches wide, has two left turns and ...
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282 views

Did the Idea of Universal Gravitation predate Newton?

"Baba wrote over 60 books, almost everyone on a different topic, writing on issues from astronomy, identified stars that European scientists technology could not discover until the late 1800s, ...
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146 views

What experiments led to the sign of the electron's charge?

The famous Millikan's oil drop experiment in 1908 determined the magnitude of charge of the electron to be 1.59*10^(-19) C. However, it was well known that electron has a negative charge. Although ...
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Is it a historical coincidence that relative atomic weights by chemical methods and mass spectrometry are very close?

The concept of relative atomic weight originated from measuring the combining weight of hydrogen with a certain element. In the simplification process H was taken as unity (18th, 19th and 20th century)...
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Who associated the sharp, principal, diffuse, fundamental spectral terms with electron's momentum?

It is well documented that the notation for the electronic configuration (s,p,d,f) of atoms as used today originates from the words sharp, principal, diffuse, fundamental from alkali metal spectra (...
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How did the early chemists determine the atomic weight of hydrogen?

In early history, the relative atomic weight of hydrogen was assigned as 1 (exactly) and all other elements were compared against hydrogen. What is difficult to find who determined the absolute atomic ...
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Why is the problem of demarcation important in the history of science?

Historically, why has it been important to have a clear distinction between science and other forms of knowledge? The only thing I have come across so far is the debate between evolution and creation, ...
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444 views

How did the early chemists make a connection between gram formula weight with 1 mole and Avogadro's number?

According to one historian Mustafa Sarikaya's article in Foundations of Chemistry DOI 10.1007/s10698-011-9128-7, the mole concept was introduced to chemistry earlier than Avogadro’s number. The mole ...
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140 views

General Relativity, General Covariance and Equivalence Principle

Einstein realized that uniform acceleration is indistinguishable from a homogeneous gravitational field (the principle of equivalence) through the Einstein Elevator thought experiment. From the ...
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141 views

How close was Hooke to developing a comprehensive system of gravity?

Was Hooke close to developing a physical system of gravity on the same level as Newton. looking at Luka Trkanjec's post on Quora, he insists that Newton was quite overrated in this regard, and that ...
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166 views

If John Michell was more well known, would he rank above Isaac Newton in the history of science? [closed]

John Michell proposed black holes in the 18th century, hundreds of years before Schwarzschild and Einstein. His ideas were said to to be away head of his time, that he died in obscurity. I assume ...
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68 views

Real effects long thought to be coincidences

What examples are there of scientific effects or correlations that we now know to be real, and were known about for a long time but thought to be coincidences? To give an example of the kind of thing ...