Saturday, July 12, 2014

Post-empirical science or an expansion of scope: which would you choose?

Bee has very interesting comments about the thoughts of Richard Dawid about what assessment of physical theory is. Dawid sees that we are making a transition to post-empirism in which other than empirical facts serve increasingly as the criteria for deciding whether physical theory is useful.

Post-empirical science does is not an attractive vision about the future of science. For instance, the standard claim during string theory hegemony has been that string theories are totally exceptional and that the usual criteria do not apply to them. Bee comments also the notion of "usefulness" having also the sociological aspects in the cruel academic world in which we have to live.

People participating in the discussion seem to agree that theory assessment has become increasingly difficult. Philosopher Richard Dawid suggests what I would call giving up.

Why theory assessment has become so difficult? Is this really true? Or could it be that some wrong belief in our scientific belief system has caused this?

Could it be that our idea about what unified physical theory should be able to describe is badly wrong. When we speak about unification, we take the naive length scale reductionism as granted. We want to believe that everything physical above weak boson length scale is understood and the next challenge is to jump directly to Planck scale (itself a notion based on naive dimensional analysis and could lead to a totally wrong track concerning the ultimate nature of gravitation!).

In practice this means that we we drop from the field of attention entire fields of natural sciences such as biology and neuroscience - to say nothing about consciousness (conveniently reduced to physics in materialistic dogma). These fields provide a rich repertoire of what might could be seen as anomalies of existing physical theory provided we give up the dogma of length scale reductionism and see these anomalies as what they really are: phenomena about whose physical description or correlates of we actually don't heave a slightest clue. Admitting that we do not actually understand could be the way out of blind alley.

This kind of expansion of the view about what theory should explain might be extremely useful and open up new words for theoretician to understand. Theory could not anymore be degenerated to a question what happens in Planck length scale and it would have huge number of observations to explain. What are the basic new principles needed? This would become the basic question. One candidate for them is obviously fractality possibly replacing the naive length scale reductionism. This would bring in also philosophy, but in good sense rather than as an attempt to authorize a theory which has turned out incapable of saying anything interesting about the observed world.


Anonymous said...

From epistemological (subjective scientific) and ontological (objectified object of epistemology) philosophical point of view there is nothing right in science and every propositional clause and theory is inherently wrong. Forming deductive chains from premisses go where the premisses show.

On epistemological and ontological philosophhical level the sociological parallel is that of an alpha male chimp and the wannabes (wannabees ha ha ha). Using head to calculate how to get on top of power hierarchy to get to use massed extension of penis. The social calculation is predictive and instrumental. By 'empirical' we mean exactly that: predictive and instrumental.

Next level of philosophical comprehension could be called social and emotional. For example collective social intelligence of the females of the chimp pack. When that level of intelligence and wisdom of what is good for the whole pack sees that the empirical predictive and instrumental level doesn't give a good fuck but just repetition of fuck-ups, practical wisdom produces disruption to the predictivity of just fucking up and making every body feel miserable. And banish the predictive and control maniac instrument from the pack in disruptive manner.

Premisses of prediction and repetition are inherent in empiricism. Therefore empiricism functions purely in what TGD calls 'psychological time', or rather psychology of control mania and fear and instrumentalism. Of course predictability is not inherently bad or good, and perhaps the good question would be that of balancing predictability and disruptive unpredictability to achieve win-win games.

One way to play a disruptive win win game when asked to make a choice between two alternatives is to refuse to choose. Freedom of choice now includes also freedom not to choose.

Given the current state of affairs of how we are living not to live, we legion of Anonymous don't choose empirical predictability, we choose to disrupt predictability by fucking it hard and good and making it cum. Life is sex, so no apologies for pardon my french. We fuck, pregnate and get impregnated with block chain DNA and all the languages we choose and choose not to communicate in.

Anonymous said...

That was pathetic drivel and I am sorry Mattis temple has been spammed by your atrocious nonsensical rhetoric

Matti Pitkanen said...

A brief answer to anonymous. I must admit that I gathered from his comment only that he had participated some philosophy course and had a romantic idea about return to the intellectual level of a caveman.

Science involves the side which could be formally called mechanical deduction and discovery of new truths, which is not at all mechanical. It is actually very difficult to distinguish these two aspects since human brain does not work like computer. Science tries to understand the world - I believe that the basic creative aspect of existence is due to its attempt to understand itself - and to me it is fine that it is so.

Anonymous said...

I'm fairly confident that the uncertainty principle governs theory assessment. ;)

Metatron said...


Over at Bee 's blog you did mention consciousness. My own take on this is that pure consciousness may be tachyonic and the transition from this to relativistic particles occurs via tachyon condensation.

Matti Pitkanen said...

To Kneemo:

I think that consciousness requires a lot of
philosophical thought, a new ontology and epistemology, new mathematics, and new physics. Unfortunately, physicists have not been philosophising since the golden era when quantum theory and relativities were born.

If one wants to explain what life is, one faces the challenge of identifying new physics mechanisms behind it.

I do not know enough about tachyon condensation to have any opinions about its possible role as a basic mechanism of life.

Why just tachyonic condensation. This is the first question what comes in mind. Why consciousness would be associated with tachyonic particles? And is this just an exotic variant of the materialistic view trying to reduce consciousness to a property of the state of material system.

Anonymous said...

We do the world. That's how life lives. Both repetitively, when it feels fine, and disrupting repetitiveness when it becomes uncomfortable. With all the drama involved, ups and downs and so forth. We live as we like. Including math. Science is not outside life and all the drama. It's all good.

Heart you all, Anonymous <3

Fractality said...


For Copernicus and Kepler, the world is the work of a divine poietes, and they aim to reveal the poetic structure.

The question invariably becomes:

Can a view become absolute?

As Nietzsche said, "the problem of science cannot be recognized on the ground of science."

Matti Pitkanen said...

No if we live in TGD Universe;-). As Universe increases its knowledge about Universe, it changes:
even in 4-D sense. New metalevels having physical
correlates emerge. The pool of truths is infinite so that a lot of things to do remains also for the later generations;-).