Monthly Archives: November 2010

About Evil, Part 3

The previous installment in this series introduced the person of Ikonnikov from Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate and contrasted his character with that of Untersturmführer Döll in Littell’s The Kindly Ones. Both men are interesting in themselves, but Döll is … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Philosophy, The Kindly Ones | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Expertise and participation

In his discussion of experts and democracy, Peter uses an article by Philip Kitcher to begin asking questions about the role of experts in democracies, particularly with regard to decision making. Kitcher’s review reports the belief that “genuine democratic participation … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Science | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Characteristic of Truth

There are many theories pertaining to what precisely is a truth as well as what it is that makes a truth true, but none of that is what will be discussed here. Similarly, whether truths are propositions, facts, statements, or … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Science: More a matter of testing or questioning?

In a recent Newsweek article, Sharon Begley proclaims: … I hereby make the heretical argument that it is time to stop cramming kids’ heads with the Krebs cycle, Ohm’s law, and the myriad other facts that constitute today’s science curricula. … Continue reading

Posted in History and Philosophy of Science, Science | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Instrumentalism in the Galileo Affair

In his unpublished notes from 1615, commenting on Cardinal Bellarmine’s Letter to Foscarini, the Carmelite Father, Galileo wrote as follows: It is of the highest prudence to believe that there is no demonstration of the mobility of the earth until … Continue reading

Posted in Galileo, History and Philosophy of Science | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Scientific method and demarcation

In The Scientific Method, Mike Zajko sets out an argument that “no agreed-upon formulation of the scientific method exists” and that “it is more effective to consider science’s methods in terms of Hugh Gauch’s ‘general principles of scientific methodology’”, going … Continue reading

Posted in History and Philosophy of Science | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Doubt and disunity

The question is: when does this incompleteness, coupled with a focus on anomalies for a given theory and an insistence that it may be wrong, become abuse – using our uncertainty to delay or undermine theories rather than developing alternatives? Continue reading

Posted in Feyerabend, History and Philosophy of Science, Politics, Science | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment