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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Existential Import of categorical propositions

In Aristotelian Logic one has Some B is A follows from All A is B, and Boole wrote in 1847 (Math. Anal. of Logic, p. 28) that he agreed with Whately in saying that the contrapositive All not-B is not-...
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Misunderstanding of philosopher work by other philosopher in ancient time

Throughout history, we have had many philosophers pre-Socrates to Aristotle to Morden Era, Did in ancient times around 1 B.C.E to 5 A.D, be it, philosophers or Astronomers when quoting famous ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Claims that fully formal proofs are impossible to write down

It is sometimes asserted that human-readable mathematical proofs that we construct and publish are just informal approximations to the gold standard, which is a completely formal proof in a formal ...
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1 answer
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Did thinkers we now regard as mathematicians call themselves philosophers prior to the 19th century?

Recently, a teacher of mine stated that, since the institutional division between philosophy and other fields of academic enquiry, especially the natural sciences, happened somewhere along the 19th ...
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Presocratics from the view of mathematicians and physicists

I am interested in a book that has all the fragments of pre-socratics but the notes etc. in the translation are from a mathematician or physicist relating with how each point affected the evolution of ...
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Relation between Bourbaki group and Vienna Circle

Background: I'm an undergraduate student in Mathematics and I study Mathematical Logic and Philosophy of Science in an undergraduate research project (here in Brazil, where I'm from, we call this kind ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Have there been instances in physics where different scientists have interpreted the same data differently? [closed]

Have there been instances in physics where different scientists have interpreted the same data differently? If yes, can you please give me specific examples and explain why one interpretation was ...
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Alleged quote by Habermas in original. "Science is the ideology of late capitalism." Where to find it?

M. Bunge in his book "Evaluating Philosophies" makes the following statement: Scientism has been explicitly opposed by dogmatists and obscurantists of all stripes, such as the neoliberal ...
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Who said that math or statistics is not free from class interest?

I'm not 100% sure this is the right site for this question, but here it goes. An already dead professor said in a lecture that Stalin (or perhaps another communist leader) wrote once something along ...
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Are there examples where interpretivist findings have been confirmed by (post-)positivist methodology?

Social sciences, especially sociology, embrace a distinction between interpretivism 1 and (post-)positivism 2. Some social scientist embrace one method over the other and some speak in favor of both. ...
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Is there any indication throughout history that technological progression will end?

Bernard Stiegler argued that technics was a form of memory and was always progressing. Yet, philosophy isn’t the right thing to rely on when dealing with science. Science doesn’t have a mind and ...
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Need cases of *scientistic* fallacies in 19th century anthropological/ethnological studies of Native Americans

I'm looking for primary sources in which the author(s) commit scientistic fallacies when speaking about Native Americans. I'm working my way through S.G. Morton's Crania Americana, which is close, but ...
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In which units did Sir Isaac Newton define force at that time as SI system didn't existed then? [duplicate]

Sir Isaac Newton led the foundation of his famous laws of motion during the 17th Century but at that time SI system hadn't existed. So in which units did he define force? Did he define it in some ...
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What are examples of theories in recent history of science and mathematics that were hold pretty long but turned out non-true?

The atomic theory was already present in ancient Greece. In the nineteenth century it was disputed only to return with a vengeance later on. Likewise the geocentric view was replaced by the helio ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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After the invention of Boolean algebra, why did it take so long for the existential and universal quantifiers to become formalized into symbols?

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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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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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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3 votes
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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1 answer
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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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4 votes
1 answer
102 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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9 votes
2 answers
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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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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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6 votes
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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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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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4 votes
1 answer
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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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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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3 votes
2 answers
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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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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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7 votes
1 answer
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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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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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4 votes
1 answer
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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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