Would a Thread on Limits of the Scientific Method Be Allowed?

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  • #1
kyphysics
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This would involve philosophy of science, which I'm not sure is allowed, but, of course, overlaps with science as a whole.

I think it'd be an interesting discussion and I'd propose it for General Discussion section.
 

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  • #2
fresh_42
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This would involve philosophy of science, which I'm not sure is allowed, but, of course, overlaps with science as a whole.

I think it'd be an interesting discussion and I'd propose it for General Discussion section.
What should the scientific method even be? There is no such thing. There are quite a few limits concerning science as a whole: ethical limits, limits toward politics, technical limits, financial limits, limits caused by time, and probably some more which I currently can't think of.

It is not necessarily philosophy, although I assume that it will be hard to draw the line. Epistemology is primarily a philosophical subfield, however, can limiting constraints of science be discussed without?

The results will be ...
  • definitely a discussion
  • interesting? definitely not
  • proving why we banned philosophy
  • impossible to moderate according to our current rules
  • participants who definitely will not restrict themselves to whatever frame we set
  • a far too broad topic to be of any use at all
  • a new version of Popper's book that was already highly controversial at its time?
My vote is clear: it can't be done in any meaningful way.
 
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  • #3
phinds
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This would involve philosophy of science, which I'm not sure is allowed
And there you have answered your own question
 
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  • #4
DaveE
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This would involve philosophy of science
My issue with "the philosophy of..." is that I seldom know WTH y'all are actually talking about.
Granted Kant, Nietzsche, Hegel, Hume, et. al. can write reasonable texts in this area. But most people posting about philosophy just confuse me. My impression is that they either won't do the requisite work or can't communicate well enough if they have.

OK go ahead, I'll crack open a beer and you can impress me. But first, what is "the philosophy of science"?

“philosophy of science is as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds” - R. Feynman

On a lighter note:
 
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  • #5
StevieTNZ
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I think we should all be very clear on what is written in the rules:
Philosophical discussions are permitted only at the discretion of the mentors and may be deleted or closed without warning or appeal
-- https://www.physicsforums.com/help/terms-of-service/
 
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  • #6
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On a lighter note:
And not too long before:
Why not call everything "Bruce", just to prevent confusion?

It's predestination, I tells ye! It's predestination!
 
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  • #7
Algr
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We talk about science fiction here, surely the philosophy of science is no less worthy.

My issue with "the philosophy of..." is that I seldom know WTH y'all are actually talking about.
Then it should be good to have a forum where you can ask questions and decide what ideas you find useful.
 
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DaveE
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We talk about science fiction here, surely the philosophy of science is no less worthy.
We also talk about the rock star that died recently. Yes, I agree the philosophy of science is not less worthy for PF than the death of entertainers. But I know I'm in the minority here, only caring about physical science. Go ahead philosophize or eulogize; whatever makes y'all happy. I've learned not to care much about what gets put in the General Discussion Forum.
 
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  • #9
Nugatory
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We talk about science fiction here, surely the philosophy of science is no less worthy.
Yes, but much harder to constructively discuss and moderate in an open Internet forum.
 
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  • #10
Ibix
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We talk about science fiction here, surely the philosophy of science is no less worthy.
I think the point is that moderating SF (or the social chit chat @DaveE mentioned) is easy: dump it in the relevant forum and keep an eye that the discussion stays civil. Philosophy and philosophy of science is harder because too many people mistake navel gazing for philosophy, and without people with similar philosophy skills to the science skills on staff it's more or less impossible to keep the conversation anything like high quality.
 
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  • #11
Frabjous
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On the other hand, these requests keep appearing. I would suggest a policy change. The thread will be allowed with the requestor as the moderator. If the thread goes bad the thread will be closed and the requestor/moderator will be banned.
 
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  • #12
fresh_42
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On the other hand, these requests keep appearing. I would suggest a policy change. The thread will be allowed with the requestor as the moderator. If the thread goes bad the thread will be closed and the requestor/moderator will be banned.
So you want a thread, and therefore a major change in our legislation, where executive power and jurisdictional power are on one hand? Interesting point of view ...

Counterproposal:
We allow a philosophical thread and delete all posts which are not philosophy in a scientific sense twice a day at noon and midnight.
 
  • #13
phinds
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On the other hand, these requests keep appearing. I would suggest a policy change. The thread will be allowed with the requestor as the moderator. If the thread goes bad the thread will be closed and the requestor/moderator will be banned.
I just don't get why anyone would want to fill up PF with crap, which is inevitably what would happen. We've BEEN THERE and DONE THAT and it doesn't work. It just doesn't work.
 
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  • #14
Frabjous
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So you want a thread, and therefore a major change in our legislation, where executive power and jurisdictional power are on one hand? Interesting point of view ...
A major reason these threads are problematic is that they are difficult to moderate. They are not inherently wrong. If the requestor is willing to do the work, why not. The ban for failure is to prevent frivolous requests.
 
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  • #15
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I just don't get why anyone would want to fill up PF with crap, which is inevitably what would happen. We've BEEN THERE and DONE THAT and it doesn't work. It just doesn't work.
Sigh for profanity and yelling.
 
  • #16
fresh_42
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A major reason these threads are problematic is that they are difficult to moderate.
No. The major reason against them is their lousy level.
They are not inherently wrong.
Only to the extent that nothing is wrong in philosophy. This statement is called a tautology.
If the requestor is willing to do the work, why not.
Establish a supermoderator to moderate their own thread? That's why not!
The ban for failure is to prevent frivolous requests.
Who judges?

There is already such a thread that works: Random Thoughts. And this is exactly what can be expected:
gibberish, gossip, ramblings, babble, empty phrases, unreferenced claims, etc. This isn't even funny.
 
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  • #17
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On the other hand, these requests keep appearing. I would suggest a policy change. The thread will be allowed with the requestor as the moderator. If the thread goes bad the thread will be closed and the requestor/moderator will be banned.
There’s no “if” here. They always go bad, which is why we don’t allow them to start.
An open Internet forum doesn’t have the same admittance controls as a university seminar, so doesn’t work for discussions in which all participants must start with some basic background in the subject - uninformed and argumentative posters outnumber and overwhelm the thoughtful and knowledgeable participants.
 
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  • #18
Frabjous
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I missed this edit.
Counterproposal:
We allow a philosophical thread and delete all posts which are not philosophy in a scientific sense twice a day at noon and midnight.
Ok.
 
  • #19
phinds
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Sigh for profanity and yelling.
But with no comment as to the truth of my statement.
 
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  • #20
fresh_42
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I missed this edit.

Ok.
Philosophical topics almost always mean to speak about something literally everybody has an opinion about. An opinion that was built on experiences in life, culture, and religious background, and unfortunately, not by studying philosophy. And even if we demanded references, they can barely be provided by the average user. This means that we have as many different points of view as there is diversity on the planet. The chances of a convergent discussion are basically zero.

You might argue that there is no need for convergence, but what else is the goal of such a discussion? Small talk? We have "Random Thoughts." What would be a natural end? There is none. What about the rules? If you look at the disputes we already have on technical topics, then you likely, too, lose all hope that pure logic can be expected from all participants. The first hurdle is the language. No, not the different languages, the linguistic meaning in an argumentation. Any debate follows automatically various levels simultaneously: the objective statement, the intention, the emotional implications, and definitely not least, the rhetorical method used to achieve those goals.

I have had the opportunity to observe - and take part in - the self-administration of the mathematical department during my study. One thing is absolutely sure: if you lift the accuracies and the corset of proofs then you will find ordinary people you would never even suspect to be persons dedicated to logic! Sure, this is a personal opinion built on a personal experience, but I'm confident that you will find evidence for this hypothesis in many threads here on PF.

This means in return, at least to me, that it is simply impossible to set up a workable frame for such a thread. "Random Thoughts" is the closest we can get without getting lost in the diversity of human life on this planet.
 
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  • #21
Frabjous
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But with no comment as to the truth of my statement.
Bullies get no respect.
 
  • #22
f95toli
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Sigh for profanity and yelling.
But it is nevertheless correct. This forum has been around for a long time (by internet standards) when I joined (some 15 years ago) discussions about philosophy were -if I remember correctly- still allowed but always ended up going really badly,. I seem to remember there then being an intermediate step(?) where discussions about philosophy were then still allowed but only in a dedicated forum, but that was a nightmare to moderate. So in the end banning all discussions about philosophy (except interpretations of QM) was the only solutions.
Every few months or so someone proposes a solution to this problem, but what they don't realise is that most suggestions have already been tried and they all failed.

Note also that the rules ARE being continuously tweaked, the last -relatively recent- change was the creation of a ,dedicated QM interpretation forum; this was needed because the "Quantum Physics" forum was being overrun by threads with questions about about interpretations; and even many of "mainstream QM" threads were being derailed with discussions about interpretations.
 
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  • #23
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First, there are some people here who, for whatever reason, want to discuss anything but physics. We have people who seldom if ever post in the technical forums, but complain bitterly that we need to increase our non-physiocs content. I do not understand these people, and suspect that they spend the rest of their days going to vegetarian restaurants demanding they put meat on their menus.

As far as philosophy, philosophy is a discipline. But most "philosophical" messages are undisciplined messes. The posters tend to get very huffy when their opinions are criticized, and eventually fall back on ":everybody is entitled to his own opinion!" Essentially, we're asked to publicly admire their ill-formed thoughts.
 
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  • #24
fresh_42
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We should end the discussion at this point. This thread ironically shows why we have difficulties with philosophical questions. There will inevitably grow discussions on multiple layers that cannot be separated.

Thanks for your participation.
 
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