Deriving Philosophy of Science

Two posts ago I claimed that

The goal of science is, therefore, to separate the settled from the anomalous.

So what is the settled?  What is the anomalous?  How are they separated?

If we take these concepts to be fundamental then we are unable to analyze the concepts of settled, anomalous and separation scientifically: if they are at the bottom of all science, then everything within science depends upon them.

How then to understand?

At the bottom of it all is our ability to understand. We learn and we understand.  With this comes the ability to determine what we believe we understand and what we do not:  For certain things we have reasons that explain those phenomena and for other things we will not have reasons nor explanations.

These abilities are not based in science; they are metaphysical and logical.  Claiming that you cannot understand (in general) is paradoxical.  If you claim to not understand what it is to understand, then you must understand what it is not to understand.  But if you understand what it is not to understand, then you must know what it is to understand not understanding.  So you must understand what it to understand. But then you are denying being able to understand…  Hence it is nonsensical to deny understanding understanding.

Therefore we get understanding, not understanding and the difference on non-scientific grounds.   Insofar as reasons and explanations are part of understanding, we get them too.

How do we understand what is settled and what is anomalous?

Again paradox:

If you claim that it is not settled what it means to be settled then you must have known what it is to be not settled, that is, it is settled what it is to be not settled.  Then you must know what it is to be settled, i.e. it is settled.  But then you claim that it is not settled… Therefore you cannot claim that what it means for something to be settled is not settled.

If we assume that not settled and anomalous are identical in meaning (not settled = anomalous; not anomalous = settled) then we have nearly all the concepts we need.

But here comes the hard part: how do we separate the settled from the not settled?

Well, since we already have understanding, this requires doing actual science, as in creating a theory and then  going and seeing if that theory actually makes something that was anomalous no longer so by predicting it accurately.  This isn’t the post for me to get down off my metaphysical cloud, so Good Luck, you’re on your own (for now at least).

Posted in metaphysics, ontology, philosophy, science.