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The ways to know reality?
RE: The ways to know reality?
(August 25, 2012 at 3:26 pm)teaearlgreyhot Wrote: I might be wrong, but it seems to me that the only (and I guess interconnected) ways to properly understand reality are experience, science and reason (I'm not sure if experience and science should be considered one or separate). Do you agree? Am I missing something? Am I being too simplistic?

My theist buddy keeps telling me I'm arrogant for thinking that all there is to knowing truth is experience, science, and reason. I asked him, what other way is there for coming to the truth of a matter? He said "divine revelation." But I explained to him that you have to use experience, science and reason to make sure the person giving the revelation is trustworthy and that what he says is actually true. So it just comes back to experience, science and reason.

I would mostly agree, and I am a Christian… though I would perhaps consider "science" to be more like experimentation using reason rather than the consensus of modern scientists. I would also point out that scientists are experts on commenting on science, and not metaphysics, which is more the domain of philosophy and which is another thing entirely.
"the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate" (1 Cor. 1:19)
RE: The ways to know reality?
This short article might help by way of a primer (there's a helpful diagram as well):

What is the "scientific method''?
At the age of five, Skagra decided emphatically that God did not exist.  This revelation tends to make most people in the universe who have it react in one of two ways - with relief or with despair.  Only Skagra responded to it by thinking, 'Wait a second.  That means there's a situation vacant.'
RE: The ways to know reality?
(August 27, 2012 at 12:06 am)Stimbo Wrote: This short article might help by way of a primer (there's a helpful diagram as well):

What is the "scientific method''?

Wikipedia: Duhem-Quine Thesis Wrote:The Duhem–Quine thesis (also called the Duhem–Quine problem, after Pierre Duhem and Willard Van Orman Quine) is that it is impossible to test a scientific hypothesis in isolation, because an empirical test of the hypothesis requires one or more background assumptions (also called auxiliary assumptions or auxiliary hypotheses). The hypothesis in question is by itself incapable of making predictions. Instead, deriving predictions from the hypothesis typically requires background assumptions that several other hypotheses are correct; for example, that an experiment worked as designed or that previous scientific knowledge was accurate. For instance, to "disprove" the idea that the Earth is in motion, some people noted that birds did not get thrown off into the sky whenever they let go of a tree branch. This is no longer accepted as empirical evidence that the Earth is not moving, because we have a better understanding of physics.

Although a bundle of hypotheses (i.e. a hypothesis and its background assumptions) as a whole can be tested against the empirical world and be falsified if it fails the test, the Duhem–Quine thesis says it is impossible to isolate a single hypothesis in the bundle. One solution to the dilemma thus facing scientists is that when we have rational reasons to accept the background assumptions as true (e.g. scientific theories via evidence) we will have rational—albeit nonconclusive—reasons for thinking that the theory tested is probably wrong if the empirical test fails.

I haven't studied much philosophy of science, whether from a philosophical angle, historico-critical, or otherwise. However I find recurring themes in people's online representations of "science" and "the scientific method." First, a lot of mythical history is often incorporated, in which the real history of scientific revolutions is simplified and rewritten to fit people's desired ideological views on science (or perhaps this is simply the result of gross ignorance). People typically misunderstand the interdependent relationship between scientific philosophy, philosophy, math and logic. Again, this usually seems an effort to cut the corners off to make it fit in a predetermined hole. I'll ignore scientism, but that does pop up as well. And in addition to mythologizing the history of science, there are often mythical histories of the ideas which contributed to our current scientific practice from the philosophical side.

I get tired of fighting the same battles over and over again, usually due to the average science "booster" being basically ignorant, so I'm not going to do so here. But many of the representations I read on forums are reminiscent of Wolfgang Pauli's comment that, "This isn't right. This isn't even wrong."

In verifying the Pauli quote, I discovered another of his that is worth sharing:

"I don't mind your thinking slowly; I mind your publishing faster than you think."

RE: The ways to know reality?
(August 26, 2012 at 6:55 am)Rayaan Wrote: I would define reality as just "what really is." The definition might also include the totality of everything that exists. But, in the end, we still do not know if science is the only means of understanding reality. You may think it is, but that doesn't necessarily make it true. For example, there may exist other dimensions and/or regions of space in the universe in which the laws of physics become totally obsolete and everything that happens there is completely unpredictable and unexplainable by science. If that was the case, which is not impossible, then this would invalidate the idea that science is the only means of understanding reality.

Reality is reality, ......

The laws of physics may indeed only be local.


That is not to say that science cannot describe them, it means the laws we use here are not suffcient to describe them, yet (Optomistic).

If something exists, there is a mechanism by which it exists and that mechanism can be described with science. That science may vary from place to place, but it still exists.
RE: The ways to know reality?
Ryaan, do you believe science is the only way of discovering reality?

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