Saturday, January 17, 2004

Comment on the Philosophy of Science

I should say here that I don't agree with everything Wade stated in his essay on the Philosophy of Science that I cited below. One thing he said was that there was no such thing as the scientific method. Obviously, through use of the scientific method science and technology have made significant advances over the past 200 years, as one reader (Russell) points out. But according to guys like Quine, the scientific method is not fool-proof because one can never prove anything absolutely based on empirical evidence (see ontological relativity). I like to think of truth as a straight line and scientific knowledge as an asymptotic line which forever gets closer and closer to the straight line, but never crosses it. As science and technology advance, mankind gets closer and closer to the truth, but because of problems like ontologocal relativity, we never arrive at the actual truth. But I'd say we're doing pretty well considering a hundred years ago we were still riding horses and bleeding people as medical treatment.

Update: My philosopher husband, Randy, commented on this article that what I termed ontological relativity is actually confirmation holism or the Quine-Duhem thesis.

No comments: