2009.08.22 13:00 - Philosophy or science

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    Wol Euler was guardian for this wordy session about words. Doug and I talked in circles for an hour, because I would not let go of wanting to discuss the difference between the two terms, and he insisted on the common ground between them.

    Doug was alone at the Playgoda when I arrived.

    doug Sosa: hi wol
    Wol Euler: hello doug.
    doug Sosa: where is everyone?
    Wol Euler: a good question.
    doug Sosa: is there a general awareness about low attendance?
    Wol Euler: not that I was aware of. but it is summer, people take holidays
    doug Sosa: could be it.
    doug Sosa: is there also a reatreat lunch today?
    Wol Euler: I think they meet tomorrow -- but aren't you one of them?
    doug Sosa: i am driving direct cause it would be out of the way to go to berkeley.


    Doug asked about my group tag.

    doug Sosa: What is a deipnosophist?
    Wol Euler: :)
    Wol Euler: "dinner table philosopher", my new favourite word
    doug Sosa: ah.. what is philosophy for you?
    Wol Euler: well :)
    doug Sosa: yes, ...


    A friend drops in.

    doug Sosa: hi often
    Often Fallen: don't mind me, I'll just sit quietly and watch for a while. Get the feel of it.
    Wol Euler: sure, that's OK.
    doug Sosa: wonderful.
    Wol Euler: so, philosophy.
    Wol Euler: I'd go with the greek root, the love of knowledge
    doug Sosa: often, have you been here before?
    Often Fallen: no, but Wol has told me about it.
    doug Sosa: Isn't is love of wisdom?
    Wol Euler smiles.
    doug Sosa: ah, so you are ok with all this.
    Wol Euler: might well be, Doug, I'm not sure.


    The conversation begins in earnest.

    doug Sosa: To me philosophy began with "what is the good life, how to live", the use of wisdom to deal with that question.
    Wol Euler: I'd go with any attempt to understand non-physical reality (which is "science")
    Wol Euler: meaning that the boundary between philosophy and religious thought is pretty porous
    Wol Euler: but I'm cool with that.
    doug Sosa: The idea of "physical" is just an attemtp to deal with bumping into thingsthat seem to exist independent of mind.
    Wol Euler: true, but "philosophy" tends not to be much concerned wtih things you bump into.
    doug Sosa: hm?
    Wol Euler: as I understand it, anyway.
    doug Sosa: You see phil and science as different?
    Wol Euler: yes, I do.


    Wol Euler: philosophy looks for "the good life", as you said; science looks at "what is life itself"
    doug Sosa: to the extent they are, they are limiting themselves... the good life involves things... art, food... others...
    Wol Euler: sure.
    Wol Euler: which part of "science" examines art, though?
    Wol Euler: some limitations are valid, IMHO
    doug Sosa: if we want to understand a human, humans make art, understanding how humans relate to art..
    doug Sosa: then ther is pereption, representation, symbols, meanings..
    Wol Euler: sure, but is that "science"?
    doug Sosa: Isn't science just exploring what is interesting and worth knowing?



    Wol Euler: no, "science" to me is exploring and observing verifiable reality.
    Wol Euler: the difference between science and religion is that the things said by science can be proven true or false.
    doug Sosa: ouch, how can you know if its verifiable until you explore it?
    Wol Euler: symbols cannot be proven true or false, htey are ideas or images or representations.
    Wol Euler: in what sense of the word "false" might the ABC logo be said to be false?
    Wol Euler: yes, of course science explores.
    Wol Euler: but science evaluates and judges and determines.
    doug Sosa: the abc logo by itself, not much, but then, who made, it why , what did they think the reaction would be, .. much to test out.
    Wol Euler: fine, true. but unless it can arrive at a test to prove true or false, it is not "science" as I understand that word
    doug Sosa: and science s never "right", every theory has turned out to be fundamentally wong.
    Wol Euler: that's not the point!
    doug Sosa: what isn't?
    Wol Euler: proving a theory false is scientific.
    Wol Euler: that the theory CAN be disproven at all is what makes it science, not religion.
    doug Sosa: If you look at what scientistss actually do they ar rearely trying to prove something fals. More just trying to find it.
    Wol Euler: we are splitting hairs, doug.
    doug Sosa: we?
    Wol Euler: fine. I am splitting hairs. whatever.
    doug Sosa: So where does this start? To me good philosophy is consistent with sceince, good science is deeply philosophical.


    Do words have meanings?

    Wol Euler: agreed, but I think that the two words are distinct, and that they describe two different intentions.
    doug Sosa: To live a good life in the world we need to understand the world.
    Wol Euler: agreed.
    doug Sosa: To understand the world we need to know lots about how the mind works.
    Wol Euler: well ... that depends on what you mean by "the world".
    doug Sosa: oops, i hoped we put the hair back together :)
    Wol Euler: gravity doesn't require your approval of it to work.
    Wol Euler: it even works while you are asleep :)
    doug Sosa: so does love and affection.
    Wol Euler: the work they do cannot be verified in your absence, though.
    Wol Euler: I cannot go to a place where you lived seven years ago and prove "Ah, here Doug loved X"
    doug Sosa: People tend to sleep better when with a loved person..
    doug Sosa: You want to keep these things separate. How come?
    Wol Euler: I thought we were talking about the meaning of words, sorry.
    Wol Euler: I think that the meanings are different and separate and distinct.
    Wol Euler: that they both describe the world is true. I have no difficulty with that
    doug Sosa: let's see, we are really talking about three words: science, philosophy and religion. Is that right?
    Wol Euler: I was talking about the difference between science and the others.


    doug Sosa: well, can we explore that difference?
    Wol Euler: that science arrives at statements that can be proven or disproven.
    doug Sosa: Who taght you that?
    stevenaia Michinaga: hello Doug, Wol and Often
    doug Sosa: hi, we are talking about science and other words.


    Steve arrives and we take a short break.

    Wol Euler: hello steve
    Often Fallen: hello stevenaia
    Wol Euler: it's a pretty widely accepted definition, Doug.
    stevenaia Michinaga: Often, your profile looks familair but not your name
    Often Fallen: really?
    stevenaia Michinaga: seems i know others who are RL dogs
    stevenaia Michinaga: :)
    doug Sosa: "Completely Cute" and "often fallen" sound like a charachter and a plot
    Often Fallen: you mean Wol, I guess
    stevenaia Michinaga: oh confused profiles
    Often Fallen smiles. I'm pleased wiht my name, I must admit.
    Often Fallen: (sorry, please continue)
    stevenaia Michinaga: you were very lucky
    stevenaia Michinaga: yes, excuse the interruption
    Wol Euler: doug, what do you see as the difference between philosophy and science, then?
    Wol Euler: do you think there is _any_ difference?
    doug Sosa: more about the name? We are all fallen here. Questions only about how often.
    Often Fallen: hahahah
    Often Fallen: "frequently fallen" didn't have the same ring
    doug Sosa: Intersting, we fall in love, we fall asleep, we fall of the wagon.. and then we are "fallen".
    Often Fallen: or we believe the wrong things...
    Wol Euler smiles
    Wol Euler: for certain values of "wrong".
    Often Fallen: yes
    doug Sosa: wrong is so often just.... wrong!!
    Wol Euler: is that a scientific judgement or a philosophical one? :)
    doug Sosa: scientophical philotific.
    Wol Euler nods.


    Is imprecision "better" than using appropriate words?

    doug Sosa: langage is like a boomerang. The better you throw it the more likely to get hit by it :)
    Wol Euler: that is exactly why we need to be precise and careful of the words we use. They are not just sweet sounds.
    stevenaia Michinaga: perhaps it is time to create appropriat words to more clearly define subjects of our conversations
    doug Sosa: i think that precision geets in the way of good use of words. Doesn't help.
    Wol Euler: I disagree entirely.
    doug Sosa: well, let's take entirely.


    Wol Euler: [13:36] Wol Euler: doug, what do you see as the difference between philosophy and science, then? [13:36] Wol Euler: do you think there is _any_ difference?
    doug Sosa: To be precise, do you mean what hey do, how they live, their politics?
    Wol Euler: I am curious to know whether you see any distinction whatever between the words.
    Wol Euler: or are they exact and complete synonyms to you?
    doug Sosa: remember science was called natural philosophy untill the 19th century.
    Wol Euler: and therefore ... ?
    doug Sosa: science has been seen as a part of philosophy.
    Wol Euler: yes, but do you see any distinction whatever between the words?
    doug Sosa: i tend to be intersted inthe world, sometimes talking with scientists, or acting like one, helps. Same with philosophy. It is so fluid
    Wol Euler points to her question. I'm getting more curious by the minute :)
    doug Sosa: So i don't see any hard distinction, only provisional ones to try to understand what someone thinks they are doing.
    stevenaia Michinaga: so you are neither,but you play either in RL
    doug Sosa: sure.
    doug Sosa: If i am thinking about how to get to sustainability, is this more science than philosophy, more philosophy than science, ?
    Wol Euler: I'm still wondering whether you think these words have separate meanings, or if you think they are synonyms.
    doug Sosa: sometimes one, simtimes the other.
    Wol Euler: hmmmm. How do you tell which it is? Are they synonyms in months ending in "r"?
    doug Sosa: that would tie their meaning to the calendar. not likely.
    Wol Euler: ok, so you have some other method of deciding whether they are synonyms or separate concepts?
    doug Sosa: well, i said they are fluid, so why would i work so hard to put them in pigeonjoles?
    Wol Euler nods.
    doug Sosa: remember that PaB is about dropping caegories so we can pay more attention to our experiences.
    Wol Euler: sure, but it is also about describing those experiences to ourselves and each other.
    Wol Euler: to do that we have to use words, since I cannot experience your experience first-hand


    What is "science"?

    doug Sosa: So I am interested. How did you learn about science being so definite, lke proveable-disproveable? That is very specific language. Where from?
    Wol Euler: it's a common definition, doug. Give me a moment and I will find you two dozen references in google
    Wol Euler: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method
    Wol Euler: This is what Einstein meant when he said "No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong."
    doug Sosa: in my view that is just ideology. Sceince starts with intuitions about things, ties those intuitions together, makes guessess. The trial and erro stuff comes late.
    Wol Euler: I disagree, but it is a disagreement about words.
    Wol Euler: the word "science" to me means making statements that can be proven or disproven.
    doug Sosa: no, about methos and approach, on howwe really learn about things, how we avoid getting trapped by opinion.
    Wol Euler: statements that cannot be proven or disproven, e.g. God exists, are not "science".


    Yakuzza Lethecus whispers hello
    doug Sosa: HHi yazzuka softly.
    Wol Euler: but religion makes guesses based on intuition too, doug, that is why I object to your definition of the word.
    Wol Euler: it isn't strong enough.
    doug Sosa: we are having a cool conversation, or is it a shoot out at the not ok coral - about science and what it is.
    Wol Euler: hello yakuzza
    Wol Euler: not a shoot-out as far as I can see.
    doug Sosa: cool
    Wol Euler: but I may be pressing you more than you are comfortable with. If that's the case, please say so and I will back down.
    doug Sosa: of i thought i had you cornered only you didn't see it :)
    Wol Euler: um, you're right, I didn't and still don't :)
    Wol Euler: which I guess proves that we are talking AT not TO each ohter.

    Well, it wouldn't be the first time, and won't be the last.

    doug Sosa: Why do you want science and religion to be different?
    Often Fallen grins
    Wol Euler: Because I believe that words convey meaning, that they are not merely pretty noises.
    doug Sosa: how about "meanings?"
    Wol Euler: whatever.
    Wol Euler: but they do have meanings and do convey them.
    doug Sosa: sure. So religion come from re (again) ligere (tie together),
    doug Sosa: so religion is a way of tying the universe together. But that is what science does. It is just..
    doug Sosa: that they tend to emphasise different things to tie together.
    Wol Euler: um, that is actually not true. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion
    Wol Euler: The English word religion has been in use since the 13th century, loaned from Anglo-French religiun (11th century), ultimately from the Latin religio, "reverence for God or the gods, careful pondering of divine things, piety, the res divinae".
    doug Sosa: enlighten.
    Wol Euler: ah, I'm sorry, I should ahve read further. I retract that.
    doug Sosa: the word was cined by Cicero many centuries earlier.
    Wol Euler: A historical interpretation due to Cicero on the other hand connects lego "read", i.e. re (again) + lego in the sense of "choose", "go over again" or "consider carefully".
    Wol Euler: but do you see a difference between the meaning of "religion" as a word in the English language, and "science" as another word?
    doug Sosa: But this is interesting.
    Wol Euler: as far as I can tell, you don't believe that any word has a meaning all its own.
    doug Sosa: I am more interested in what people do. Science as its root i cutting things up (scientia to cut, soething like that) wher as religion is closer to pyutting them together. The two together
    doug Sosa: remind me of the dogs on japanese temples, one with mouth open, the other closed, since intelligible speech is a combination.
    Wol Euler: then the attempt to communicate is hopeless and doomed to failure.
    doug Sosa: i beleive every word is a complex metaphor.
    doug Sosa: no doom, just poetry and news.
    Wol Euler: heh
    doug Sosa: ouch, late. gotta go.
    doug Sosa: problem unsolved...
    stevenaia Michinaga: always a pleasre Doug
    Wol Euler nods. We are well over your usual half-hour :)
    Wol Euler: have a good trip, doug. drive safely
    stevenaia Michinaga: :)
    stevenaia Michinaga: Good to see you again Wol, an interesting conversation
    Wol Euler: indeed.
    Wol Euler: though I think a futile one.
    stevenaia Michinaga: that too
    Often Fallen: nods
    stevenaia Michinaga: could have continued quite a while, Doug dances well
    Wol Euler: yep
    Wol Euler: may we turn off the recorder?
    stevenaia Michinaga: sure
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