Thursday, March 05, 2015

Scientists Should Probably Read More Philosophy of Science


Exhibit A in the case that physicists who talk about philosophy of science should actually read philosophy of science.

This is actually an interesting piece, but the author Marcelo Gleiser seems to imply that Karl Popper's particular theory of the scientific method is the only alternative to peddling groundless presumptions (such as postulating the article's titular multiversal fairies). And it's not.

Popper made an important contribution to the philosophy of science, but a lot of progress on defining and defending scientific methodology has been since Popper first proposed his falsifiability criterion in The Logic of Scientific Discovery in 1959. For example, see Imre Lakatos and (more recently) Susan Haack.

This is a perfect example of an area of inquiry where philosophy actually has something useful and important to say and it is still routinely ignored by most of the interested parties. (Though perhaps I should be happy that so many scientists have at least heard about Popper and falsifiability!)
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