3QD: Science and the Six Canons of Rationality

Philosophy of science, in its early days, dedicated itself to justifying the ways of Science to Man. One might think this was a strange task to set for itself, for it is not as if in the early and middle 20th century there was widespread doubt about the validity of science. True, science had become deeply weird, with Einstein’s relativity and quantum mechanics. And true, there was irrationalism aplenty, culminating in two world wars and the invention of TV dinners. But societies around the world generally did not hold science in ill repute. If anything, technologically advanced cultures celebrated better imaginary futures through the steady march of scientific progress.

So perhaps the more accurate view is that many philosophers were swept up in the science craze along with so many others, and one way philosophers can demonstrate their excitement for something is by providing book-length justifications for it. Thus did it transpire that philosophers inclined toward logical empiricism tried to show how laws of nature were in fact based on nothing more than sense perceptions and logic — neither of which could anyone dispute. Perceptions P1, P2, … Pn, when conjoined with other perceptions and carefully indexed with respect to time, and then validly generalized into a universal proposition through some logical apparatus, lead indubitably to the conclusion that “undisturbed bodies maintain constant velocities” — you know, that sort of thing.

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About Huenemann

Curious about the ways humans use their minds and hearts to distract themselves from the meaninglessness of life.
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