# What Philosophy IS and What it IS NOT

Mentat
First, This is what Philosophy IS:

The pursuit of Knowledge, Wisdom, and/or Understanding.

This is commonly known, and shouldn't need to be brought up, but some people just aren't getting it.

Every single Forum on the PFs (except for General Discussion, PhysicsForums Feedback and Announcements, and PhysicsForums Chat) is devoted to some branch of Philosophy.

That means that Science, Religion, Politics, Pseudo-Science, etc are all branches of Philosophy (because they are all ways that one can pursue Knowledge, Wisdom, and/or Understanding).

Now, This is what Philosophy IS NOT:

Philosophy is not just musing about what could be or might be. Yes, this can be part of pursuing Philosophy. However, some believe that that's all Philosophers do - muse, ponder, make wild speculations, etc. This is not so, and is a degrading assumption.

But then, what is the purpose of a Philosophy Forum, if all of the Forums are about Philosophy?

Answer: The Philosophy Forum allows us to: 1) Discuss any of the branches of Philosophy, from outside of the bounds of that field (e.g. I can discuss the pros and cons of Science, in the Philosophy Forum, without being subject to any of the assumptions that Science makes); and 2) Discuss any branches of Philosophy that are not covered by the other Forums - like Logic, for example (also, some things are just Philosophy, and don't belong to any sub-sets, but to the Grand Set itself).

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wuliheron
Magnificient, well said is not enough. Mentat, you have a way with words....

Mentat, you did not even notice how from CORRECT presumption:

Originally posted by Mentat
First, This is what Philosophy IS:

The pursuit of Knowledge, Wisdom, and/or Understanding.

This is commonly known, and shouldn't need to be brought up, but some people just aren't getting it.

Notice, that a philosophy is a "pursuit of Knowledge, Wisdom, and/or Understanding" and NOT knowledge, wisdom, and/or understanding itself (knowledge/wisdomunderstanding itself is called physics, mathematics, astronomy, geology, biology, etc). Philosophers themselves define a philosophy as "love of wisdom", and NOT wisdom itself. Philosophy is a humanitarian discipline, in contrast to natural sciences.

Basicly philosophy is somebody's unsubstantiated OPINION (usually called "school of thought").

Because philosophical education does not include education about nature(= natural sciences), philosophers usually quite poorly undertand nature's working (=math, physics, astronomy, QM, chemistry, etc) - they practically never, for instance, predict something correctly about nature. Thus, they constantly watch latest discoveries in astronomy, physics, math, quantum physics, etc and adjust (or create) school of thoughts accordingly.

I know a philosopher (faculty in very visible university) who tried to prove to me that Zenon paradox (rabbit passing a turtle) is unsolvable. He simply did not understand that infinite series can have finite sum. My attempts to explaine the difference between the number of terms in sequence and the sum of sequence failed due to lack of formal mathematical education about limits on his part. Still, he has plenty of publications, frequently attends (with presentations) professional meetings, and is actively teaching fella (by the way, deeply believer).

Wake up, philosophy divorced natural sciences long ago (~ 2 millenia), and since then became exactly
... just musing about what could be or might be, ...that is all Philosophers do - muse, ponder, make wild speculations, etc.

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Fliption

Originally posted by Alexander
Mentat, you did not even notice how from CORRECT presumption:

Wake up, philosophy divorced natural sciences long ago (~ 2 millenia), and since then became exactly

I agree with Mentat. And so does anyone else that has been properly educated on the matter. Natural sciences are a branch of philosophy.

Alexander,
Basicly philosophy is somebody's unsubstantiated OPINION (usually called "school of thought").
Philosophy is distinguished from mere opinion in that your opinions need to be supported by good reasoning. When someone spews forth some utterance that they will not, or cannot, support with good reasoning, that would be opinion. Philosophy being defined as ‘the love of wisdom’, etc. does not change by a philosopher coming to a wrong conclusion, which seems to be in effect what you are claiming when you bring the sciences into the argument. I think a philosopher shouldn’t just pop out of a cave, glance left then right, and shortly thereafter decide he has solved the great mystery of the universe by uninformed ‘reasoning’ power alone, but I also believe that philosophy is not quite as dead as you believe it is either.

Maybe it’s time for another ‘Why is a philosophy highly subjective’ threads…

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
without the pursuit of knowledge, we would have no education or understanding of how anything works...philosophy asks why, science answers why...

Dissident Dan
Alexander, you are right on a lot of things, but you are dead wrong in your definition of philosophy. Mentat has a great post. If philosophy was just musings, etc., then why do universities have a class called "Philosophy of Science"? I think that you are buying into the pop-culture definition of philosophy.

Alex - I agree, there was obvious errors in Mentat's post.

Mentat - You are incorrect about your definition of Philosophy. While you have chosen one of the many derived definitions, you use one that is out of use, is out of touch, and not applicable.

Here are the definitions of philosophy based upon the 3 leading dictionary services as of this years publications. These definitions were each in every of the 3 sources:

1. A system of values by which one lives

2. Love and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means and moral self-discipline.

3. A system of thought based on or involving such inquiry

4. The discipline comprising logic, ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, and epistemology

Most of these are nothing like what you stated. And the one(s) that is has wording which makes it completely different from what you said.

In short, I have never but extremely rarely (and incorrectly) heard of your definition.

1. Number one is in the sense that one would publich are state their "philosophy". The imposition of this kind of philosophy on to others is what we call politics.

2. Notice that number 2 is similiar. The difference is the word "intellectual". Science doesn't involve intellectualism. Science uses EMPIRICAL means, not intellectual means. A momumental difference.

3. Very similiar to number one.

4. Philosophy in it's strict sense. As tied to logic, and involving "intellectualism" and "wisdom" rather than intelligence, empirical data, and knowledge.

Again, I've never heard anyone with scientific (or otherwise) credibility use your definition.

To me it sounds like an attempt to save philosophy in a world of science, like those who try to mingle creationism with evolution just to try to save (and intigrate) religion into science.

Not saying it's you whose doing it, most likely it's you who is the victim.

As you know mentat, I mean no offense. I merely attacking the statement with evidence of 3 sources!

The pursuit of Knowledge, Wisdom, and/or Understanding.

This is commonly known, and shouldn't need to be brought up, but some people just aren't getting it.

Every single Forum on the PFs (except for General Discussion, PhysicsForums Feedback and Announcements, and PhysicsForums Chat) is devoted to some branch of Philosophy.

That means that Science, Religion, Politics, Pseudo-Science, etc are all branches of Philosophy (because they are all ways that one can pursue Knowledge, Wisdom, and/or Understanding).

I thought I'd point out better, the errors here.

You include "knowledge" in the definition. I have yet, in my career nor in the 3 previously mentioned definition sources, seen this word anywhere near philosophy.

It is the defining property of science, which is distances from philosophy.

As for saying it's commonly known, apparently my highest credible sources do not agree. See above my definitions. No such definition is mentat's is mentioned. The only one is similiar but lacking the word knowledge. And all 3 use this word in science definition.

Mentat's definition immediately to me appeared to be an attempt to boost philosophy to keep it "hip" in a world of science.

I'm not claiming this was his intention, as I doubt he cooked the definintion up himself, him being one who seems to stand on the shoulders of others, like I.

However, if we remove my definitions and look at it alone, we see his further relationship that "pseudo-science, religion, science etc.." are all philosophy, because they "pursue" knowledge, wisdom understanding.

Firstly, pseudo-science doesn't pursue any of these, neither does religion.

Let's assume even further that indeed these two things do pursue those three terms.

Then, how viable and "purposeful" is philosophy if it is a pursuit (of what does not matter) which carries under it's wing pseudo-science, which is the secondary enemy to science, which is not only also under it's wing, but is as well the knowledge itself, without the pursuit?

In other words, not only is philosophy then the house of two enemies, but it is also a strucutre which bares two systems which defy eachother?

Furthermore, the primary enemy of truth (not because of it's nature but because of it's popularity) is religion. And thus how strict and viable is a system which encompasses two systems, one of which has taken the truth and raped the other of it's false claims?

Why, if mentat's definition and applications were true, would one want any more part in philosophy than pseudo-science or mythological superimposition?

However, while I've attacked mentat's post, I remain that this definition is at least DEAD. Although I know of no time when it was alive and well. It certainly doesn't seem well to me!

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Greetings !

I'd define philosophy as the mist that
surrounds all of our knowledge (like
units in a computer war-game ) - the
vague boundary areas dealing with the
connections of what's "visible" with the
unknown "outside". I say vague because
once a philosophical argument is discovered
to have a direct connection to our data it
becomes a part of science rather than philosophy.
We view only what is visible to us without
knowing all and yet we have no idea if there's
an "all" at all or what it might be. Philosophy
is the connection we attempt to make between the
known and the unknown.

Doubt or shout !

Live long and prosper.

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wuliheron
I'd like to point out that what Alex and LA are espousing is unsubstantiated by science. In other words, they are promoting a philosophy that philosophy sucks. Rather humorous really.

Mentat
Originally posted by wuliheron
Magnificient, well said is not enough. Mentat, you have a way with words....

Coming from you, that means a lot. Thank you.

Mentat

Originally posted by Alexander
Notice, that a philosophy is a "pursuit of Knowledge, Wisdom, and/or Understanding" and NOT knowledge, wisdom, and/or understanding itself (knowledge/wisdom/understanding itself is called physics, mathematics, astronomy, geology, biology, etc).

Yes, Philosophy is the pursuit of wisdom/knowledge/understanding. I know this. However, you are wrong about calling wisdom, knowledge, or understanding synonymous to physics, mathematics, or any other branch of science. If science were knowledge itself, the of what use is the scientific method? Yes, a scientific Law or Theory may be considered a piece of knowledge, but not Science itself.

Philosophers themselves define a philosophy as "love of wisdom", and NOT wisdom itself. Philosophy is a humanitarian discipline, in contrast to natural sciences.

Basicly philosophy is somebody's unsubstantiated OPINION (usually called "school of thought").

Again wrong, I suggest that you get some textbook on Philosophy, and learn an actual Philosopher's definition. Honestly, would I ask a layman to tell me what a Theory is (for example)? Obviously this would be foolish, because "theory" is a scientific term, and is best understood by Scientists themselves.

I know a philosopher (faculty in very visible university) who tried to prove to me that Zenon paradox (rabbit passing a turtle) is unsolvable. He simply did not understand that infinite series can have finite sum. My attempts to explaine the difference between the number of terms in sequence and the sum of sequence failed due to lack of formal mathematical education about limits on his part.

Yes, you are a different kind of Philosopher than your friend at the University. So what? So you are skilled at a different branch of Philosophy than a person who has devoted himself to the full set (as opposed to any sub-sets, like Science), what does that tell me about Philosophy itself?

Wake up, philosophy divorced natural sciences long ago (~ 2 millenia), and since then became exactly

Then why do Scientists still get a PhD?

Mentat
Originally posted by Kerrie
without the pursuit of knowledge, we would have no education or understanding of how anything works...philosophy asks why, science answers why...

Good point.

As I said in my first post, Philosophers belong to the Grand Set, as opposed to any othe particular sub-sets, and thus ask the questions, while leaving the answers to those confined within the sub-sets. It's like wuliheron and others have brought out before, asking the questions (or "the mystery itself) is what is of true importance, while answers are for those who believe that answers are necessary (which are the ones who would immediately deny the existence of paradox, uncertainty, and mystery).

Mentat
Originally posted by LogicalAtheist
Alex - I agree, there was obvious errors in Mentat's post.

Mentat - You are incorrect about your definition of Philosophy. While you have chosen one of the many derived definitions, you use one that is out of use, is out of touch, and not applicable.

Well, I hope you're ready to point out my obvious errors.

2. Love and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means and moral self-discipline.

And this is the one that was in the Dictionary of Philosophy, too. It (along with number 4) is the one I was using.

The other two are based on common usage of the term. You should try looking up "theory" in leading dictionaries. They will give you the Scientific definition somewhere in there, but they crowd it out with "common-usage" definitions.

Most of these are nothing like what you stated. And the one(s) that is has wording which makes it completely different from what you said.

In short, I have never but extremely rarely (and incorrectly) heard of your definition.

1. Number one is in the sense that one would publich are state their "philosophy". The imposition of this kind of philosophy on to others is what we call politics.

Yes, but this is a common-usage term, much like when someone says "I have a theory on this matter", when in fact that have yet to rigorously test any hypotheses.

2. Notice that number 2 is similiar. The difference is the word "intellectual". Science doesn't involve intellectualism. Science uses EMPIRICAL means, not intellectual means. A momumental difference.

Any intellectual person would recognize both the merit and the limit of empirical means.

Not saying it's you whose doing it, most likely it's you who is the victim.

As you know mentat, I mean no offense. I merely attacking the statement with evidence of 3 sources!

I know you mean no offence, and I also know that you will take what I have written in reply seriously. I have at least that much faith in you.

Mentat
Originally posted by LogicalAtheist
Firstly, pseudo-science doesn't pursue any of these, neither does religion.

Tell that to someone who believes in them, and you'll see that that is exactly what they attempt to do. Take Christianity, for example. A Christian believes that they are attaining accurate knowledge and wisdom from it's only true source, Jehovah God himself. Just because you don't happen to believe in Him, doesn't mean that they are wrong (it actually may be unfalsifiable), and it doesn't mean that they are not pursuing knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, in their own way.

Until you realize that your commitment to Science is as binding as that of a typical theist to his God, you will never understand Philosophy

Let's assume even further that indeed these two things do pursue those three terms.

Then, how viable and "purposeful" is philosophy if it is a pursuit (of what does not matter) which carries under it's wing pseudo-science, which is the secondary enemy to science, which is not only also under it's wing, but is as well the knowledge itself, without the pursuit?

As I've already pointed out, Science cannot be the knowledge itself, otherwise of what use is the Scientific Method? (See my response to Alexander.)

In other words, not only is philosophy then the house of two enemies, but it is also a strucutre which bares two systems which defy eachother?

So what? "Religion" bares many contradicting beliefs "under it's wing" - as does science (just take the contraversy between "string" and "point-particle" theories, for example).

Originally posted by Dissident Dan
Alexander, you are right on a lot of things, but you are dead wrong in your definition of philosophy. Mentat has a great post. If philosophy was just musings, etc., then why do universities have a class called "Philosophy of Science"? I think that you are buying into the pop-culture definition of philosophy.

"Philosophy of science" ? Never heard of that. What is it?

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Originally posted by Kerrie
without the pursuit of knowledge, we would have no education or understanding of how anything works...philosophy asks why, science answers why...

Fractionally correct.

A philopsopher, a child, a fool, - ANYONE can ask "why?". Not a big deal - one fool can ask MORE questions that 10 wise men can answer.

But guess, who ANSWERS these questions? Who fetches them, building complicated experimental sets, taking fine spectrograms of faint quazars, or struggling with long mathematical equations?

(Hint: SCIENCE does).

So, please don't tell that asking questions is important - any fool with no education and without lifting any finger can do that.

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Excellent post, thank you!

As everyone can see from the publications in professional "Philosophy of science" magazine, it is not a scientific journal, but discussion about sociology (problems of society), about debating each other personal opinions and sloppy interpretations of mathematical and physical relationships (paper about Boltsmann statistics). Just exactly what I said philosophy is about.

Second link is about history of science and third link is sloppy description of how science works.

So, turns out that philosophers of science do not even know science.

And this is understandable - working knowledge of science is not required by their job description, because a philosophy is HUMANITY - subjective discipline of opinions, not of facts as science.

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Alexander,
Philosophy is distinguished from mere opinion in that your opinions need to be supported by good reasoning. When someone spews forth some utterance that they will not, or cannot, support with good reasoning, that would be opinion. Philosophy being defined as ‘the love of wisdom’, etc. does not change by a philosopher coming to a wrong conclusion, which seems to be in effect what you are claiming when you bring the sciences into the argument. I think a philosopher shouldn’t just pop out of a cave, glance left then right, and shortly thereafter decide he has solved the great mystery of the universe by uninformed ‘reasoning’ power alone, but I also believe that philosophy is not quite as dead as you believe it is either.

Maybe it’s time for another ‘Why is a philosophy highly subjective’ threads…
I think that the "right" philosophy is a temporary
concept discribing the approach which can survive
any scrutiny by any argument and any reasoning
known at the time of this proccess taking place.
And I'm talking about any reasoning and not just
those systems we deduce from observation because
we probably can not know any absolutes about
observation and hence can't rule out any
reasoning as non-real. Of course, all of the above
is also based on a type of reasoning and hence only
probabalistic.

Doubt or shout !

Live long and prosper.

Dissident Dan
Originally posted by LogicalAtheist
2. Notice that number 2 is similiar. The difference is the word "intellectual". Science doesn't involve intellectualism. Science uses EMPIRICAL means, not intellectual means. A momumental difference.

You must have an odd definition of intellectual. From webster.com:
1 a : of or relating to the intellect or its use b : developed or chiefly guided by the intellect rather than by emotion or experience : RATIONAL c : requiring use of the intellect
2 a : given to study, reflection, and speculation b : engaged in activity requiring the creative use of the intellect

Rational and using intellect are two very important characteristics of science. Intellectual and empirical are not terms in the same category--like big and orange. You can't say that something is not orange because it's big. Mentat pointed out that it takes an intellect to realize the value and limits of empirical data.

And can you say that Einstein didn't use his intellect in coming up with the theory of relativity?

The most all-encompassing,yet concise set of definitions for philosophy that I can come up with are as follow:

1) A philosophy is a set of beliefs and/or guidelines. Beliefs are things that you hold to be true, whether logical, scientific, religious or nonreligious, true or false. For example, belief in the supremacy of science is a philosophy. Belief that we should do good because god will reward us is also a philosophy.
2) Philosophy (as a noun without an article (the, a, etc.)) is search for and spread of knowledge. The word "philosophy" literally translates "love of knowledge".'

You see, philsophy is not a defined set of beliefs, rules, etc., but the word philosophy is a description of certain types of mental processes.

That is exactly what a philosophy is about - set of BELIEFS.

Science does not use beliefs. It operates with facts and logic instead.

Originally posted by Alexander
A philopsopher, a child, a fool, - ANYONE can ask "why?". Not a big deal - one fool can ask MORE questions that 10 wise men can answer.

But guess, who ANSWERS these questions? Who fetches them, building complicated experimental sets, taking fine spectrograms of faint quazars, or struggling with long mathematical equations?

(Hint: SCIENCE does).

So, please don't tell that asking questions is important - any fool with no education and without lifting any finger can do that.

Hahah! Wonderfully said. I felt how this statement touched me, and matched my feelings exactly!

You captured the uselessness of philosophy! Bravo bravo!

Mentat - What one uses a given system for (religion etc...) isn't as important as what the system itself is for.

Those systems, religious mythology, pseudoscience etc..., aren't designed to give truth. The former is merely stories, and the latter is a lazy attempt at truth, but not one fueled by a true desire for it.

As far as understanding philosophy. While you may have used an old world definition, there's a reason definintions and terminology changes.

Your definition serves no real purpose now, as the idea of philosophy has been smashed by science.

As Alex put it, if philosophy is the pursuit of wisdom, or the "why", then any fool can pursue something or ask why.

I can pursue becoming God, pursue ruling the world, becoming a billionaire, and ask any question no matter how stupid.

But this has no value, it doesn't matter. Philosophy doesn't matter. It's miniscule in comparison to the power of science. The answers, not the pursuit but the reaching of the goal.

Furthermore, to say that philosophy asks why, doesn't point out it's not the only thing that asks why (and it's certainly not the best thing that asks why).

Science asks why, it's call a hypothesis. But while it asks it also answers. Philosophy just asks, asks anything at anyone, it is the pursuit, but makes no claim to reaching the goal - and it never does.

mentat said: "So what? "Religion" bares many contradicting beliefs "under it's wing" - as does science (just take the contraversy between "string" and "point-particle" theories, for example)."

Ah, but we have a difference. (a given) religion is merely confined to the pages of a book. Exactly as it says, so is in this world of this religion. If a contradiction exists, and the religion itself (the text) doesn't conclude the contradiction, the contradiction forever exists.

Science is WAY different. Science has contradictions. But science isn't the pages of a book, it isn't a publication finished at set in stone forever. Science is in reality. And science scrutinizes itself for the correct answers. It attempts to fix it's contradictions.

You're comparing the pages of a book, to the dynamic world of reality. It's like comparing a painting to a football game.

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Alex said: "And this is understandable - working knowledge of science is not required by their job description, because a philosophy is HUMANITY - subjective discipline of opinions, not of facts as science."

Heh, Alex, can you see the "philosophers" getting mad? One called you "mystical". Ha!

Oh well, like you said, any fool can ask why to anything. It requires no work, no real thought, no intelligence, no knowledge. Answering it requires the best work, the best thought, the highest intelligence, and knowledge of the universe.

Originally posted by Alexander
That is exactly what a philosophy is about - set of BELIEFS.

Science does not use beliefs. It operates with facts and logic instead.

Alex. You and me think similiarly. I like this. I read here and see you say the identical things I would. So instead of me saying them, I'll just compliment you!

You put philosophy in it's place.

As an oldworld terms, it's the cause of humans asking why before they had the ability to answer the question.

In the new world terms, philosophy doesn't exist. only A PHILOSOPHY. Which is of course ones publicated set of views as to how given sytems of their world exists.

When one takes their philosophy, and (unfriendily) decides to say it is the truth, rather than opinion and POV, and forces it upon others, this is what we call POLITICS, and a given political agenda.

This is what BUSH does for example, he acts as though we all see things identically, or that if we don't see it and he does, we must be wrong. And so he forces his views onto the world.

A religion is a given mythological text which includes a deity. other mythologies that don't include deity's are not religious.

When one takes a given religious mythology, and superimposes it on to reality. they have created their own philosophy.

Now, one usually bends the RM a bit into their own fitting, so they have unique philosophy. A religious philosophy.

When one imposes this philosophy onto others, it's called a gain politics.

Dissident Dan
Originally posted by Alexander
That is exactly what a philosophy is about - set of BELIEFS.

Science does not use beliefs. It operates with facts and logic instead.

You must have just skimmed my post. Belief doesn't necessarily have anything to do with faith. Belief in science is a belief. All it means to believe is to hold something to be true. When this is based on facts and logic or not is irrelevant to the definition of belief. Science uses lots of beliefs, such as the belief that we can learn about our surroundings using experiements.

Also, you haven't come up with a rebuttal to the philosophy of science point.

I bet that you believe that there is no such thing as a god. (I do, too.). Science can never prove this, only provide evidence. Empirical science can disprove the existence of a particular, well-enough-defined god, such as the judeo-christian one, but not a god in general. However, logic can and does.

Gold Member
I hope no one minds if I repeat one of my favorite (if simplistic) definitions of philosophy: Philosophy is thinking about thinking.

Philosophy has been instrumental in establishing the science, so it seems the broadly educated person should know that most universities teach the philosophy of science. Do a Google search Alexander using “philosophy of science” as the search parameter, and you’ll get hundreds of hits, many of them from universities.

Science is based on applying a method that employs various logical techniques including hypothesis, deduction and inference. All these were worked out, including the principles of empiricism as a whole, by philosophers. So this is how philosophy has contemplated “how to think in scientific investigation.”

But philosophy is broader than science because it asks how does one think logically about ethics, society, God, and anything else which is meaningful to humanity.

I too think Mentat’s post is a good one. But based on the definition of philosophy as the rules for thinking about things, I must disagree with him a bit when he says philosophy is the “pursuit of Knowledge, Wisdom, and/or Understanding . . . That means that Science, Religion, Politics, Pseudo-Science, etc are all branches of Philosophy (because they are all ways that one can pursue Knowledge, Wisdom, and/or Understanding).” Here I believe Alexander is correct that science would be the actual pursuit, while the philosophy of science establishes the proper rules for thinking during scientific pursuit.

Likewise, all those other areas of thought are just that -- thought. I don’t see how a “thought” can be the truth. If reality is the “truth,” then the best a thought can do is to accurately reflect the nature of reality in one’s thinking. In that sense it assists the “pursuit of Knowledge, Wisdom, and/or Understanding” but it is not the pursuit itself. That pursuit, as the philosophy of science has been so effective at establishing, is in the experience of reality (i.e., not merely thinking about reality). Thought is just the assistant to experience because it is experience that brings actual knowledge, wisdom and understanding about the nature of reality.

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Greetings !
Originally posted by Alexander
That is exactly what a philosophy is about - set
of BELIEFS.

Science does not use beliefs. It operates with
Indeed, that is the case. The problem
arizes when you attempt to view science
as a whole and apply the same reasoning
to it that you use "within" it.

Live long and prosper.

Originally posted by drag
Greetings !

Indeed, that is the case. The problem
arizes when you attempt to view science
as a whole and apply the same reasoning
to it that you use "within" it.

You mean "facts and logic" method? OK.

Facts: science works (and, say, religion, or Santaclausism does not).

Logic: use science.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Science does not use beliefs. It operates with

That is half correct.

It operates with logic and things it calls facts, but one still has to believe that logic and the system of labelling statements as facts are the "right" way to do things.

Originally posted by Dissident Dan
You must have just skimmed my post. Belief doesn't necessarily have anything to do with faith. Belief in science is a belief. All it means to believe is to hold something to be true. When this is based on facts and logic or not is irrelevant to the definition of belief. Science uses lots of beliefs, such as the belief that we can learn about our surroundings using experiements.

The word "belief" has two quite different meanings:

1)faith without proof. This is what science does NOT use.
2)opinion. Science uses opinions on the following basis. If certain opinion has NOT been substantiated by anything yet - then it is called a hypothesis. If the opinion has been substantiated by logic (math) then it is called a theory. If the opinion has been substantiated by math and observations - then it is called proven theory.

There is interesting distinction about meaning of a word "theory" in US and in elsewhere outside US. In US a hypothesis is often called a theory, but elswere else - only proven by logic/math hypothesis (and often only after proven by observation) is upgraded into a "theory" rank.

I might add that we need to look to philosophy to see the origins of logic. As far as I'm aware, logic is still a branch of philosophy.

So, could it be that a bunch of stupid @ philosophers kept tossing around 'opinions' until something useful came out??