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(Science) as a tendency to repeat

Animekitty

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#1
About 3 or 5 years ago I saw a video about how a person was studying science in China and he asked the Chinese Scientist to give his translation of science. The person said tendency. If the sun will rise today it could rise tomorrow or it could not rise tomorrow. There is only a tendency for it to rise tomorrow.

Now I know that he did not use the word tendency he used a more refined fancy word just as reduce is a less refined word than reductionism. I made this thread not only to discuss why a scientist from China would equate science with a tendency. But also so that I might get help finding the refined word they used to translate the word science that I have forgotten. The sun may not rise tomorrow because a rising sun is only a tendency, is not what any western scientist would call science. I know there is a better word for it than a tendency.

edit: The word might have been inference. (But tendency precludes the persistence of observation being fixed or maintained, same conditions, same results)
 

higs

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#2
I think I can answer this actually AK. (Or help anyway)

It sounds like he is referencing the problem of induction (was this the word ? ) laid out by philosopher David Hume (Not Chinese but Scottish :) ) however it is possible that in epistemology eastern philosophers have their own theorizing of this.

What he is stating is that in science we observe phenomena repeatedly occurring, such as that the sun has risen every day so far, and so we infer that it will rise again tomorrow. However, the mere fact that we have repeatedly seen it rise in no way logically or necessarily entails that it will rise the next day, it’s all just habit. It’s meant to point out the gap in our certainty and knowledge about the world, we assume necessary regularity but in essence nothing really necessarily entails that the sun will rise the next day. If he is referencing science in this way he is trying I think, to underline that the laws of nature theorized are always ultimately uncertain and prediction can always be faulty. A “tendency”, as you say, is not the same as an absolute law.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_induction

I think the Chinese scientist in question is simply pointing out the uncertainty of empiricism and science in general.

There are essentially three reasoning methods (or ways of acquiring knowledge about the world)

Induction https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inductive_reasoning
Deduction https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deductive_reasoning
Abduction https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abductive_reasoning


Inductive reasoning is the most common form (and possibly most fundamental) of acquiring knowledge about the observable world, most of our scientific knowledge is inductive. Mathematics on the other hand are entirely deductive.
 

Animekitty

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#3
New epiphany :)

If objects must follow the path of least resistance does this mean objects gravitate towards each other because of least resistance in 4D space-time.

Quantum particle follows the path of least resistance by probing for the lowest energy state located in the future time period they are traveling to.
 

Animekitty

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#4
I think I can answer this actually AK.

It sounds like he is referencing the problem of induction (was this the word ? )
Yes, it was. :) I was just so surprised that from the man's presentation that he was presenting it as if this line of thinking may be why they did not develop science before the west.

Inductive reasoning is the most common form (and possibly most fundamental) of acquiring knowledge about the observable world.
I try to show my understanding of that here:

Introverted Thinking vs Extroverted Thinking.

I did not get the abduction part so it is mildly left out of what I said.

What you said will help me understand things better between INTP and INTJ.
 

higs

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#5
Abduction takes this form :

You hear a sound, it could be aliens or it could be your neighbor coming home, most likely its the neighbor.

Or

I see a person looking at a book -> Most likely they are reading it, not falling in love with it and staring amorously into its soul.

It’s an inference to the most likely explanation to a given piece of data.

It can usually be replaced by induction :

Up to now when I have seen people looking at open books they have been reading, conclusion: the next person looking at a book I see is reading.

I guess it’s conceivable to imagine that some types favor different reasoning formats, though we all use all of them. I will think about this.

I don’t know about Chinese history of science so I can’t pronounce myself on when they developed and how they did and such things. :)
 
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#6
New epiphany :)

If objects must follow the path of least resistance does this mean objects gravitate towards each other because of least resistance in 4D space-time.

Quantum particle follows the path of least resistance by probing for the lowest energy state located in the future time period they are traveling to.
Are you saying that even though that the universe is expanding at an exponential rate that this means that there is no guarantee that it will remain this way and that it may reverse?
 

Animekitty

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#7
Are you saying that even though that the universe is expanding at an exponential rate that this means that there is no guarantee that it will remain this way and that it may reverse?
It may not reverse but reach a static state like Einstein predicted but unfortunately, some scientists have stated that the universe will expand forever. It all depends on gravity and lower energy states.
 
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#8
It may not reverse but reach a static state like Einstein predicted but unfortunately, some scientists have stated that the universe will expand forever. It all depends on gravity and lower energy states.
Expand forever? That is pretty crazy.
 

Cognisant

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#9
 

Serac

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#10
I think I can answer this actually AK. (Or help anyway)

It sounds like he is referencing the problem of induction (was this the word ? ) laid out by philosopher David Hume (Not Chinese but Scottish :) ) however it is possible that in epistemology eastern philosophers have their own theorizing of this.

What he is stating is that in science we observe phenomena repeatedly occurring, such as that the sun has risen every day so far, and so we infer that it will rise again tomorrow. However, the mere fact that we have repeatedly seen it rise in no way logically or necessarily entails that it will rise the next day, it’s all just habit. It’s meant to point out the gap in our certainty and knowledge about the world, we assume necessary regularity but in essence nothing really necessarily entails that the sun will rise the next day. If he is referencing science in this way he is trying I think, to underline that the laws of nature theorized are always ultimately uncertain and prediction can always be faulty. A “tendency”, as you say, is not the same as an absolute law.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_induction

I think the Chinese scientist in question is simply pointing out the uncertainty of empiricism and science in general.

There are essentially three reasoning methods (or ways of acquiring knowledge about the world)

Induction https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inductive_reasoning
Deduction https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deductive_reasoning
Abduction https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abductive_reasoning


Inductive reasoning is the most common form (and possibly most fundamental) of acquiring knowledge about the observable world, most of our scientific knowledge is inductive. Mathematics on the other hand are entirely deductive.
I think most science philosophers would disagree with you. Since Karl Popper, scientific knowledge has been understood to be mostly deductive via falsificationism. You make a theory X, and perform an experiment. If X was not falsified, you have corroborated the theory, otherwise you know X is false. That makes scientific knowledge deductive in the sense that you can deduce that a theory is false, but never that it is true. You can only approach various degrees of certainty that a theory "works".

If scientific knowledge were mostly inductive, we would just walk around writing down an infinitude of random facts: the sky is blue, rocks fall towards earth, fish live underwater, etc, and never really achieve any real understanding of anything.
 

higs

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#11
I am aware of Popper and that theories are tested out through deduction and crucial experiments and all that, my statement that most of science is inductive is merely true on the most general level, as in, you first need to observe the regularity to make the predictions and create the the theory (which can then be tested using deduction.) but it is good of you to add precision and it is true that I am being in a sense misleadin :) I am simply saying that our knowledge of the observable world (and hence scientific endeavors in general) is born first out of induction, or observed regularity first and foremost. It’s like the fundamental reasoning method (chronologically) imo.

I say all this but I’m currently being slowly seduced by Feyerabend the sith :cat::cat:

Can’t help it, he’s like a badass Philosopher jack nicholson


Edit :

Actually if we are going to get into this Popper is outdated within philosophy of science, so most science philosophers would disagree with you ;) and science itself doesn’t function with that if you look at theoretical physics and stuff now, he’s been refuted by Justificational holism (not sure if correct title in English).

Falsificationism takes the form. T = theory; O = observation
If T then O
O does not occur
T is refuted.

But justificational holism states that T is always formulated in relation to a whole coherent web of theories adjacent to it, so actually O not occurring could be a refutation of T1, T2, T3, T4 etc... i think it’s Quine or Putnam who dealt the blow.
 

Serac

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#14
Actually if we are going to get into this Popper is outdated within philosophy of science, so most science philosophers would disagree with you ;) and science itself doesn’t function with that if you look at theoretical physics and stuff now, he’s been refuted by Justificational holism (not sure if correct title in English).

Falsificationism takes the form. T = theory; O = observation
If T then O
O does not occur
T is refuted.

But justificational holism states that T is always formulated in relation to a whole coherent web of theories adjacent to it, so actually O not occurring could be a refutation of T1, T2, T3, T4 etc... i think it’s Quine or Putnam who dealt the blow.
Popper has been harshly criticized from all possible angles ever since he came up with falsificationsim. There is a very broad array of theories that have attempted to displace his philosophy. Almost all of them seem to be some sort of attempt at forcing induction into scientific inference, like Hempel's hypothetic-deductive model, or Kuhn, who tries to make a definition of science that allows e.g. string theory to be scientific rather than the other way around.

I agree Quine has an interesting argument. If an experiment disagrees with the theory, that might mean your theory is wrong, or it might mean your instruments are faulty, or there is some influence from an infinitude of possible variables. It is not clear how there can be a definite rule for which conclusion to choose over the other.

I am actually not sure what Popper would say to that.
 

sushi

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#15
science is testing out your theories and conjectures in real world to make sure they are true, especially regarding nature of universe and non-humans. Because pure thinking is not always right, one needs external verification.
 

Cognisant

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#16
Wow my last reply to this thread was lazy, granted by then Higs had pretty much covered the topic.

I will say now that the OP is a classic example of how a little knowledge can be misleading, it's absolutely correct to say that just because the sun was observed to rise in the past is no guarantee that it will rise tomorrow however to say it might not would be epistemological skepticism of an extreme and unreasonable nature, given the available evidence, and to predict that it will not would be charlatanry.

There are degrees of certainty and when talking about data of a statistical nature strict personal/peer discipline is required to interpret it without bias.
 
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