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Flashcards in Philosophy of Science Exam Deck (54):
1

Defininition of science

A systematic collecting endeavour that builds and organises knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.

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The three pillars of science

Naturalism, Empiricism & Theory

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Naturalism

Takes account only the natural elements and forces, excluding the supernatural. Only the the scientific method should be used to investigate all areas of reality.

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Empiricism

Hypothesis and theories must be tested against observations of the natural world rather than relying on prior reasoning.

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Theory

Putting data together coherently in a model to explain causal relations and to gain new knowledge by prediction.

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The three scientific methods

Deduction, Induction & Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE)

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Deduction

Valid inference from more general principles to a more specific conclusion. Always 100% certain but only in closed systems. If the premises are true, then the conclusion must be too.

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Problems with deduction

Finding the basic premises to make the deduction.

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Induction

Logical reasoning which derives general laws from specific facts or examples - going from premises of objects we have examined to conclusions about objects of the same sort we haven't examined. Capabe of taking us from a true premise to a false conclusion.

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Problems with induction

Assumes the uniformity of nature and under-determination (available evidence is unsufficient)

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Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE)

An educated guess based on the available evidence - searching for the most plausible explanation.

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Problems with IBE

Although the inference is a reasonable one, we cannot be certain it is true as the premise does not entail the conclusion (non-deductive).

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Ockhams razor

Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected - proceeding to simpler theories until simplicity can be traded for a greater explanation.

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Falsifiability

Poppers hypothesis that a theory has to be falisfiable to be science.

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Corroboration degree

When you try to falsify something but it cannot be found to be false.

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The scale of ontology (metaphysics of the nature of being)

Logically impossible (God) - Logically possible (ghosts) - Physically possible (unicorns) - Physical reality (humans)

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Forms of formal logic (how to get 100% certainty)

Syllogism (Aristotle) or Propositional Logic (Frege)

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Syllogism (Aristotle)

An axiomatic deductive system (things that are self evident to be true).

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Axiomatic

Things that are self evident to be true.

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Propositional Logic (Frege) - the three types

Modus ponens, Modus tollens & Fallact of affirming the consequent

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Modus Ponens

"If it rains, the street gets wet" - "It rains" = therefore the street gets wet. Only works when you have a premise to work with.

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Modus Tollens

"If it rains, the street gets wet" - "The streets are not wet" = therefore, it does not rain.

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Fallacy of Affirming the Consequent

"If it rains, the street gets wet" - "The streets are wet" = therefore, it rains. Invalisd as there are other reasons for the premise.

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What is the question of Realism-Antirealism?

Do things that are unobservable really exist?

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Realism

The physical world exists independantly from human thought and perception.

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Anti-realism

The physical world is in some way dependent on conscious human activity.

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Truth relativism

Ther are no absolute truths - truth is always relative to some particular frame of reference.

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Scientific revolution (Kuhn)

Paradigm shift - a change in basic assumptions within the ruling theory of science.

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Descortes theory

Radical skepticism. Everything is clear and distinct to everyone is true - "I think, therefore I am".

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Popper theory

Scientific theories should be falsifiable

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Kuhn

Scientific revolution/paradigm - shifting from one scientific theory to another, overlapping or incommensurable.

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Feyerabend theory

Different subjects should be studied seperatley within their own paradigm.

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Lakatos

If subjects were studies within their own paradigm, they would end up in competition with eachother for the most successful research programme - becoming either progressive or degenerative.

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Bruno Latour

Social constructivism - identifying the difference between the context of discovery and the context of justification - reality is a social construct.

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New Athiesm

Post 9-11 form of athiesm describing why religion is dangerous to society - applying demarcation criteria to religion and making ethical arguments against it.

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Russel

The teapot theory - in order to believe in something you need to have positive evidence to prove it.

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The purpose of critical thinking?

Strive towards more knowledge of the world and fewer incorrect beliefs about the world.

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Cognitive dissonance

The tension that arises when someone tries to combine incompatible beliefs such as science and religion.

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Cognitive biases

Inherent thinking errors that humans make when processing information to accuratley understand reality, even when confronted with all needed data and evidence.

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Cognative bias: transcendental temptation

Magical thinking and belief that people or events have access to an unseen and hidden realm of power.

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Cognative bias: confirmation bias

Tendency to only seek out information that confirms pre-existing viewpoints and subsequently ignoring information that goes against it

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Cognative bias: teleological temptation

The belief that final causes exist in nature - human actions are inherent and found in the rest of nature.

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Cognative bias: creduality

Willingness to believe in the absence of reasonable proof.

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Ad-Populum

Implying something is true, because many individuals say so.

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Ad-Hominem

Attacking the speaker instead of the arguments.

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Ad-Antiquities

Implying something is true because it is an old belief.

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Ad Baculum

Threatening with violence or sanctions to make a point.

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Red Herring

A clue which is misleading or distracting from the actual issue.

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Straw man

Misinterpreting the opponents poition to create an illusion of having refuted the proposition by replacing it with another and refuting that instead.

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Falsum in uno, falsum in omnibus

False in one thing, false in everything

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Petitio Principalli

Begging the question - a statement that refers to itself to prove the assertion.

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Post hoc

Believing that temporal succession implies a causal relation.

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Non sequitur

Fallacy of false case - incorrectly assuming one thing flows on from another.

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Ad Hitlerum

Implying something is wrong because someone who does it has an association with evil.