Ideals of Scientific Explanation and the Nature of Its Objects

Philosophy 310=Biology 310
Bryn Mawr College
Spring, 2006
7 February

Appearance and Reality in Physics

Text: Peter Kosso, Appearance and Reality, Oxford, 1998


Chapter 1 Physics and Philosophy

What exactly IS the relation between physics (science) and philosophy? In what way is philosophy more than history? More univeral than "unlimited universality"?

Is it begging the question to start with the presumption of a distinction between epistemology and metaphysics?

Could it be that what is relevant about physics (science) is not that it is in any final sense contrary to both "day-to-day observations" and "reason" but that it is, at any given time, contrary to both prior observations and the common sense/reason that have derived from them? Why presume that "day to day observations" and "common sense/reason" are fixed commodities? Could it be that both change and that "science" is the process by which such change occurs? We are suprised because we start from point A and make observations or have thoughts that require us to acknowledge the limitations of prior observations/thoughts?

This possibility is important not only in its own right but also because it undercuts the argument that being surprised is evidence that one is getting closer to an objective description of "reality" (while retaining the argument from surprise (Popper?) that there is SOMETHING out there).

What DOES one need to do (anything?) about the circularity problem?

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