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Philosophy is _not_ just comparative religion .

  1. Dec 13, 2013 #1

    rbj

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    "philosophy" is _not_ just "comparative religion".

    it's soooo much broader.

    i looked at that thread, Evo, and it's not exactly about what i was asking about.

    my question is more about, how do we discuss what it really means to be an "electrical engineer"? what it really means to do "digital signal processing"? or to do "modular programming"? or "object-oriented programming"? (these are all topics that i have expertise and opinion about, and i haven't even mentioned "physics" or "math", where my expertise is less.)

    there are philosophies about what all that means and, even in the hard sciences, much of it is subjective, but there is wisdom to be had and gleaned from the discussion.

    i totally agree that there should be no room for "comparative religion" discussions here, because we all know how that will descend into a "my god/belief_system is great and your god/beliefs are cr@p" sorta mud-flinging fest. we don't want that. in the past, PF has allowed to leak through assertions of belief systems that, IMO, masquarade as a conclusion of science, without intervention from admins. i know because i have piped in on some of them knowing that we were dancing close to the line, but i felt that it was totally unfair that only one side was presented and given the veneer of "science" when it was not science (or not yet science).

    but, whether you want to call it "philosophy" or not, there is some of that, particularly in the forums of the more recent and speculative physics just as Beyond the Standard Model and Cosmology. and also in the traditional softer sciences like in biology and medical. and it's all because we (as a species) just don't know everything about it, and we need to still try to draw some intermediate knowledge and conclusions so we can proceed with the discipline.

    i sorta think you closed that discussion prematurely, Evo (i mean the one i just started, not the February one). just my opinion.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2013
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  3. Dec 13, 2013 #2

    Borek

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    Problem is not about whether philosophy is a valid subject. It is, and many of us would be happy to see an interesting discussion on the philosophy of science, or on some particular philosophical problem.

    Thing is, it doesn't work. We tried that. People think "philosophy" means "whatever I think philosophy is", and such discussions end in an incomprehensible babble. We were not able to keep such discussion on subject, we were not able to keep them on a reasonable level, so we decided to ban them. Yes, it is our failure. But we prefer a forum with a banned topic (actually at least three) but otherwise keeping high discussion level, over a free-for-all noisy corner of the internet.

    As far as I can tell this approach works so far.
     
  4. Dec 13, 2013 #3

    jgens

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    Philosophy of math threads still get posted with some regularity here and usually remain open for an astonishingly long period of time. Even when some of our more esteemed members participate or lead the discussion, these threads are still garbage. The problems are numerous and outlined below are just two of the big ones:
    1. While some of our promising younger members have the mathematics down, many of them have some truly bizarre and/or naive philosophical ideas about the subject. Lots of them have little contact with practicing mathematicians, aside from the textbooks they read, and this gives a skewed view of things.
    2. Most of the threads end up displaying a strong disposition towards a specific philosophy of mathematics. Sometimes the bulk of posters are platonists while other times they are formalists and at other times yet something else. This is hugely problematic since each of these threads presents a gross misrepresentation of the varying philosophies. If the OP is largely ignorant of these matters, then he/she could mistakenly be lead to believe that any one of these individual philosophies is the dominating one in current mathematical practice.
    The issues above could be fixed with successful moderation, but that never seems to happen. Given that, it makes sense to ban philosophical discussions in the math section. I imagine similar criticisms could be levied about any of the other disciplines on PF and it just makes for more pleasant reading to make a uniform ban on philosophy.
     
  5. Dec 13, 2013 #4

    Evo

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    Those are all topics that can be handled without invoking "philosophy", which, unfortunately, on the internet, means "anything that pops into someone's mind". A valid discussion of the science/technology without hand waving and sourceless/invalid claims should be fine.

    As far as discussions of "philosophy", it is up to the mentor if they wish to allow some or none of a discussion along those lines. Since they are a nightmare to keep in control, of value, and within our guidelines on "speculation" and "personal theories", most don't. We have a niche in solid, mainstream, known science. There are many forums that cater to philosophy, religion and pseudoscience where people that wish to participate in such discussions can.

    We have already had this discussion on philosophy here many times rbj, there is no reason to keep starting threads on it, which is why I closed yours and referred you to one explaining why it doesn't work here based on our goals.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2013
  6. Dec 13, 2013 #5

    rbj

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    okay. thanks.
     
  7. Dec 16, 2013 #6
    What?

    This makes no sense at all because you can then object to any, absolutely any, interpretation in physics (which it requires) as being 'philosophical' and therefore subjection to rules & regulations.

    This is a blanket clause to discontinue anything in a physics conversion you want.
     
  8. Dec 16, 2013 #7

    Borek

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    To be blunt: if you don't like it here, go and start your own forum, where things will be done your way. Once you get past 400k users and 700k threads, come back, and we will happily discuss which approach to the community building is better.
     
  9. Dec 16, 2013 #8
    Also I am surprised for a forum this size you don't have a single admin dual degree holder in physics/philosophy to set people right on this. Philosophy is not something people guess at. That's like saying in physics we fall out of bed and discover a hypothesis.
     
  10. Dec 16, 2013 #9
    Okay fair enough. Politically you have issues with building up the site and all those economic factors.

    Sorry you can only do applied physics/engineering here. I will take myself off to one of the other sites that can do pure physics then.
     
  11. Dec 16, 2013 #10

    Borg

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    Annihilator, you're missing the point.
    PF tried to maintain philosophy threads and it didn't work because people with little or no scientific knowledge would try to rewrite physics with their 'theories'. That isn't physics or philosophy. It's ignorance looking for a place to justify itself by posting on a science forum.
     
  12. Dec 16, 2013 #11

    ZapperZ

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    Good luck in finding one with the same level of quality. The last time someone pointed out to me a "site" that he claimed to do "pure physics", it was a site of "pure quackery".

    I'm always baffled whenever we get complaint like this, especially from new members. Presumably, such a person knows how to read, can make simple comprehension, and actually can be trusted when an agreement has been made. Considering that our PF Rules is quite simple, and the list of banned topics are clearly written and listed, what is the problem here?

    This is like someone going into a vegetarian restaurant, knowing fully well it is a vegetarian restaurant, and then complaining that it doesn't serve any meat!

    Zz.
     
  13. Dec 16, 2013 #12
    what's wrong with "pure quackery"? I like ducks
     
  14. Dec 16, 2013 #13
    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=414380 Where does it say we can't talk about philosophy/interpretations in QM?

    This is the read that was closed - https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=728379

    BTW - there is a big difference between new research without peer-review and discussions on equivalence with peer-review like the thread above.

    Anyway I don't see how anyone can say 'no philosophy' or 'no interpretation' like every single thread on here doesn't contain physics discussions that aren't focused on applied applications of it or engineering.

    It seems to me what people really want to say is "We can't cope with QM interpretations because we want to deal with applied physics concept only." Sorry I don't see this any other way. If I was to say this in any other field, like chemistry, biology or earth science, I would be looked at oddly. Physics shouldn't be special pleading like this. Anyway I think at the end what people are saying is that they just can't differentiate between physics with peer-review that contains philosophical justification and pseudoscience without peer-review. Like I said though, your forum. You can run it how you please.
     
  15. Dec 16, 2013 #14

    ZapperZ

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    If you bother to look at the existing threads in QM, you'll see that there ARE threads that carry a certain degree of philosophical connection. This was NEVER the problem. You'll also noticed that when you started the thread and made your point, there wasn't any flag raised or any indication that there is a problem. It is when the philosophical ideas OVERTAKE the discussion, or when the physics content has been severely diminished that the discussion boiled down to nothing more than a matter of tastes that the warning and cautioned came about!

    PF HAD a philosophy discussion forum. We HAD tried it! And our policy of trying to uphold a high signal-to-noise ratio simply was incompatible with how that forum has evolved over the years! When we cannot maintain a high standard of discussion of a topic, we'd rather limit or not have it at all in here rather than cater to such a thing. We value quality, not quantity.

    Zz.
     
  16. Dec 16, 2013 #15
    I can accept that, but I think the thread didn't go overboard on philosophy, just simply tried to find if equivalence is real and how some maths axioms tied into the physics of things. Anyway its closed so someone thought the content not worth continuation. Which is a pity because halfway through reading stuff been linked, I can't reply and neither can they.

    Anyhow enough of my complaint here. I think people already have minds made up. Like I said I will take stuff like that elsewhere but will probably do the applied/engineering stuff here.
     
  17. Dec 16, 2013 #16

    WannabeNewton

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    I think it's hilarious that you equate pure physics with philosophy. I actually hurt my rib laughing.
     
  18. Dec 16, 2013 #17

    Evo

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    A good place to stop. We're beating a dead horse.
     
  19. Dec 16, 2013 #18

    Borek

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    Yep, closing.
     
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