What's is this sub-forum all about?

  • Thread starter Willowz
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  • #1
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So what goes on in this section? What kind of topics are deemed "worthy" or otherwise to be placed in this section of the forum?

For example, what does "philosophical implications" mean in the https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=459350" topic,
Also, when discussing the philosophical implications of some piece of scientific work, references are required for both the underlying scientific content as well as the resulting philosophical discussion.
 
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  • #2
Pythagorean
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Philosophical interpretations of scientific theories and observations. I.e. unfalsifiable, but logically sound interpretations.
 
  • #3
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Interpretations of what?
 
  • #4
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Philosophical interpretations of scientific theories and observations. I.e. unfalsifiable, but logically sound interpretations.
Can't say it better than that.
 
  • #5
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Yes, but what are philosophical implications of anything? What do they mean?

For example,

What philosophical implications does QM have?
 
  • #6
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Another way of putting into simpler words what I am trying to say is,

How do you know you are reading philosohpy?
 
  • #7
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If you don't know what philosophy is, this probably isn't the sub-forum for you.
 
  • #8
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Can you tell me what philosophy is? When does it occur to you that this or that text is philosophical?
 
  • #10
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So, from the looks of it. Philosophy is just about rational speculation. Just wanted to get my ducks in row.
 
  • #11
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Not merely rational speculation, but our interpretations as well including the meaning of words like speculation and interpretation.
 
  • #12
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Not merely rational speculation, but our interpretations as well including the meaning of words like speculation and interpretation.
Well at the heart of it is rational speculation. The interpretations as well as meaning is derived from the context of a given phrase, word.
 
  • #13
Pythagorean
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Willowz, interpretations of QM, for instance, can be philosophical. There may be some technology or stroke of insight someday that allows us to test such interpretations (see Bell) but ther will alway be room for other interpretations that aren't currently (or won't ever be) testable.

This is as opposed to moral philosophy. Philosophy of science often pertains to the nature of space and time. Or in the whole brain-mind discussion, it's still not known scientifically how consciousness arises from matter. So lots of room for philosophy.
 
  • #14
apeiron
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Can you tell me what philosophy is? When does it occur to you that this or that text is philosophical?
Philosophy is distinguished mainly by being dependent on reasoned arguments rather than empirical evidence. It considers what is rationally or logically possible as well as what is provenly actual.

But what makes a particular text "philosophical" is that it is grounded in a context of scholarship - all the alternative views that also exist. It is rational argument connected also to the history of those arguments.
 
  • #15
ConradDJ
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I think of philosophy and science as two aspects of mental exploration.

Science says -- given everything we can imagine might be true, how do we narrow this down to what we can really count on and build on, as reliable truth? This means we need to frame what we imagine in terms of specific, clearly-defined hypotheses we can test against reason and empirical evidence.

Philosophy, for me, says -- given what we know about the world, what do we need to be able imagine in order to understand it? What new ways of using our minds do we need, what new kinds of conceptual language do we need to invent, to open up our minds to what might be true? And its procedures are much more ad hoc.

I take the state of physics nowadays as making a strong case for this notion of philosophy. I think we know pretty much what we need to know about fundamental physics, but we haven't imagined what we need to imagine, in order to understand it. We're still operating within an essentially "classical", 19th-century mental framework, even though it's clear that the world doesn't fit that framework.
 
  • #16
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Philosophy is distinguished mainly by being dependent on reasoned arguments rather than empirical evidence.
This is confusing and interesting. If philosophy does not rely on empirical evidence, then what makes one theory more appealing interesting than the other? Or more plainly, what do these reasoned non-empirical arguments depend on?
 
  • #17
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This is confusing and interesting. If philosophy does not rely on empirical evidence, then what makes one theory more appealing interesting than the other? Or more plainly, what do these reasoned non-empirical arguments depend on?
Logic.
 
  • #18
apeiron
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This is confusing and interesting. If philosophy does not rely on empirical evidence, then what makes one theory more appealing interesting than the other? Or more plainly, what do these reasoned non-empirical arguments depend on?
Yes, the arguments depend on logic. And the appeal of some logical arguments can be very strong, even when commonsense would suggest there must be a flaw in them.

For example, the kinds of arguments being made in this sub-forum all the time - like physical determinism making freewill an illusion, or the believability of zombies meaning consciousness must be an intrinsic property of substance.

Philosophy of course does in the end have to rely on observation, experience, scientific findings, etc, to ground its speculations. There is an empirical basis of kind. But it can then take off on logical flights of fancy. And that is academically acceptable.

However you can also take the view that the two sides to knowing - the immediate empirical impressions and logically generalised ideas - should stick more closely together. And some people call that "natural philosophy".
 
  • #19
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This is confusing and interesting. If philosophy does not rely on empirical evidence, then what makes one theory more appealing interesting than the other? Or more plainly, what do these reasoned non-empirical arguments depend on?
Logic and introspection, although at a physics website such as this empirical evidence and logic are used much more often.
 
  • #20
Philosophy is the opening of a human mental space started by the ancient greeks in which anything that has been said or is being said by no matter who ,can be questioned as long as the argument used is logically sound and in accordance with what is treated today as facts or as realistic hypothesis based on what is known as facts.The factual framework of reference is to be found in what is known broadly as Science.Therefore if I could argue successfully in your academically-minded eyes ,that "anything-that-pops-into-my-head-philosphy"should be part of this sub-forum,you would have to accept it.
 
  • #21
I feel i have to improve upon my description:Philosophy is the opening of a human mental space started by the ancient greeks in which anything that has been said or is being said by no matter who ,can be questioned as long as the argument used is logically sound and WHOSE PREMISSES are in accordance with what is treated today as facts or as realistic hypothesis based on what is known as facts.The factual framework of reference is to be found in what is known broadly as Science.Of course,the barrier between Science and Philosophy can be quite porous at times;an exemple is with thought experiment :where does science end and philosophy start?Can philosophy be an heuristic device to develop new scientific theories and therefore be a scientific tool and therefore be part of science?And vice-versa:can Science be a tool to develop Philosophical thinking and therefore be part of Philosophy?
 
  • #22
disregardthat
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Philosophy in its prime is criticism of use/misuse of language. Even philosophical theories often spring out from a refutation of former theories, or rather "ways of thinking", which corresponds to a certain usage of language. Radical philosophy in whatever kind consists of refuting current use of language.
 
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  • #23
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Yes, but what are philosophical implications of anything? What do they mean?

For example,

What philosophical implications does QM have?


Philosophy is where you make attempts at knowing reality. Through these attempts, with the help of physicists and scientists in general, a good philosopher knows that reality and models that purport to describe reality are 2 very very different things. While models can be comprehensible, reality as a whole isn't and that's the cold lesson of merging science with philosophy. It's no exaggeration to say that everyone dies as clueless about anything as they were born. This is an example of a serious philosophical implication discussed by philosophers.
 
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  • #24
-Job-
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... a good philosopher knows that ...
What's a "good" philosopher? Philosophers question, everyone else knows.
 
  • #25
What's a "good" philosopher? Philosophers question, everyone else knows.
I'd say everyone knows, even philosophers, but philosophers are never certain about their knowledge. :D

Well, my opinion about philosophy is that it is the deepest level of doubt. What I mean by this is that everyone begins knowing the world based on some premises that they hold to be true. For example physicists hold that empiricism is true, or that the world is in principle knowable and can be described by mathematics. Then they set out to describe it and know it.

But philosophers doubt everything that can be doubted. Their only premises are things incapable of being doubted, something like "I think therefore I am" (or better, "there are thoughts") or that our senses or internal emotional states, or memory cannot be doubted at the moment, although they may not correspond to anything we may think they correspond. From there on, even physical reality is in doubt, and thus there are theories about idealism, solipsism or whatever.

It is from these undoubtable things that philosophers begin to construct their knowledge of the world.

Now I'm just an undergrad computer engineer, neither a philosopher nor a scientist, but from the philosophy and science that I have studied, this is what seems to me to be the case.
 

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