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Notes on video lecture:
Epistemic Relativism, Scientific Realism, and Falsifiability
Choose from these words to fill the blanks below:
testable, observations, Galileo, objective, corpus, scholarship, bold, repeatedly, dispute, honors, neutral, sacrosanct, settling, scientific, historical, realism, universities, inference, technology, sun, predictions, indeterminate, falsifiability, better, Popper, bearing, wrong, definitively, evidence, Bellarmine, same, relevant, fallible, white, guarantee, realist, premises, pseudo, Biblical
two contrasts set                      inquiries apart from other inquiries
1. science and              science
astronomy vs. astrology
         subject matter: what is in the sky
pseudo-science inquiries look very much like scientific inquiries
both gather                 
both make                       
astronomy makes bold claims that are                  and falsifiable
astrology makes vague claims that are not testable or falsifiable
astronomy taught at                         
2. science and non-science
literary theory as non-science
similar to science since it involves
gathering evidence
yield knowledge
science makes falsifiable claims
the trial of               
Galileo used a new                      to make observations of the heavens
                     appealed to evidence of scripture to argue the        orbits the earth
that had different conceptions for what counts as evidence for                  scientific questions, e.g. "what are the heavens like?"
Galileo thinks that evidence from direct                          count the most
Bellarmine thinks that evidence also includes the evidence of scripture
Bellarmine does not believe that observation has no                at all on this question
Bellarmine believed that as the technology got             , there may someday be enough evidence to make the case that the earth orbits the sun
Bellarmine did not believe that the evidence of scripture was                     
what is important is that Bellarmine thinks that the evidence of scripture is                  to the question whereas Galileo doesn't
epistemic relativism
this is not relativism about truth
they both think that there is an objective issue that they are both trying to settle
the each think that one of them is right and one of them is           
it's a relativism about what counts as evidence for what
it seems that because their conceptions of what counts as evidence are so different, that there is no way of settling their               
there seems to be no                ground between these two disputants
how do we say to Bellarmine that his                  evidence isn't relevant, or how to say to Galileo that it is relevant?
Galileo won the argument from a                      point of view and the perspective of the scientific revolution
and with the scientific revolution came a view opposed to epistemic relativism, that of scientific               
scientific realism
the goal of science is to uncover the                    truth about the world around us
scientific progress occurs when our theories accurately represent facts which can be                      demonstrated
opposed to epistemic relativism, as there is an objective epistemic basis for evaluating scientific disagreements
which is why Galileo eventually won the argument
science              the kind of evidence that Galileo was interested in
not that which Bellarmine was interested in
what is it about the scientific method which makes it objective in a way that the scientific                maintains?
induction vs. deduction
deductive inference says that if the                  are true, then the conclusion must be true
all swans are purple, X is a swan, therefore X is purple
inductive                    says that if the premises are true, the conclusion is only likely to be true
lots of swans that have been observed are white, therefore it is likely that all swans are           
but this doesn't                    the truth of the conclusion
science proceeds by making inductive inferences
this kind of reasoning is                 
although its fallible reasoning, it's a rational way to build a              of facts about the world based on both observation, experimentation, testing and reasoning
approach of Karl Popper
says that the scientific method is essential deductive, not inductive
scientists do make lots of observations
but then make          conjectures about the way the world is
then they seek to refute and falsify those bold conjectures
e.g. (1) see lots of white swans, (2) make a bold conjecture that all swans are white, (3) go out and try to find the counter example that falsifies the bold conjecture
this is actually deduction: a conclusion refuted by a counter-example, e.g. there is a black swan, therefore it is not the case that all swans are white
claims are made bold so that they are falsifiable, they state clearly what will falsify them
             argued that theories such as those of Marxim and Freudism are not falsifiable and are therefore not scientific claims
e.g. astrology makes inferences of various kinds
claims are very vague and                           
it's unclear how one would go about testing them to                          show that they are true or false
in contrast, the scientist comes up with bold conjectures
the conjectures being bold, they offer a straight-forward way of being tested


######################### (1902-1994)
Austrian-British philosopher and professor at the London School of Economics, Popper is known for his rejection of the classical inductivist views on the scientific method, in favor of empirical falsification
  • he taught that a theory in the empirical sciences can never be proven, but it can be falsified, meaning that it can and should be scrutinized by decisive experiments
  • his political philosophy embraces ideas from all major democratic political ideologies and attempts to reconcile social democracy, classical liberalism and conservatism
  • "We are social creatures to the inmost center of our being. The notion that one can begin anything at all from scratch, free from the past, or unindebted to others, could not conceivably be more wrong."

Spelling Corrections:


Ideas and Concepts:

Via tonight's Philosophy and the Sciences class: "A fact is an interpretation of a situation that no one, at least for the moment, wants to call into question."
Epistemic Relativism, Scientific Realism, and Falsifiability
Duhem and Kuhn