Friday, October 16, 2020

Truth and science — Lars P. Syll

This is still a controversial area in philosophy of science. There are two major categories of approach, the instrumental or pragmatic and the realist or causal. Each has pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages.

This debate has a long history. Mary B. Hesse explores it in Forces and Fields (Dover, 1961), for those interested.

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
Truth and science
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University


Peter Pan said...

Predictable or pretty - by Tinkerbell

Scientific theories have predictive power.
Pretty theories don't.

Matt Franko said...

“Philosophy of science”

Nice try... science stands in contrast to philosophy...

Tom Hickey said...

Uh, no. "Foundations of science" means the same thing. They are interchangeable.

This is about what science or any other form of knowledge presupposes (assumes) either explicitly or implicitly (hidden assumptions). For example, how language and symbolism works. This involves logic (use of signs as symbols), ontology (reality), epistemology (knowledge), ethics (morality), value theory, action theory, etc.

Foundational studies examine fundamental assumptions. Everyone has fundamental assumptions, and there is disagreement over them. In fact, many people's fundamental assumptions are contradictory since they never looked at them critically. Some who realize this just ignore it, separating their lives into different spheres that don't mesh.

These are knotty issue because one of the key assumptions is criteria for deciding meaning and truth, for instance. But people that deal mostly with the cut and dried don't even notice this. For example, people that learn mostly by rote never learn to reflect.

In grad school, I realized that this is key and did my dissertation on it from the POV of Wittgenstein, that is, the way I read Wittgenstein. There are many possible interpretations of texts.

Tom Hickey said...


Here is an article of interest on the subject of philosophy and science.

The science of wisdom at Aeon.

Peter Pan said...

The limitations of science can be provided in list format.
Saves a lot of time.

This is another example of philosophers creating problems where none exist.

Peter Pan said...

Breaking news... science proves the Big Bang Theory is true.

Philosopher of science #1: Das the truth!
Philosopher of science #2: The proof was in the pudding.

Matt Franko said...

“ Everyone has fundamental assumptions, and there is disagreement over them. ”

That is Philosophy not science... philosophy STARTS with the thesis... this is what you are terming “fundamental assumptions” ...

Then philosophy argues back and forth thesis vs antithesis... which you are terming “disagreement”...

Science starts with a hypothesis (less than thesis) .... tests it... if it fails the test, discards the hypothesis, develops a new hypothesis and then tests that one, etc...

How do you explain these morons who keep saying we’re going bankrupt then we never go bankrupt then they keep saying we’re going to go bankrupt?

Or “printing money! is going to cause inflation!” then we “print money!” and prices collapse, then they keep saying “printing money! is going to cause inflation!” ?

How do you explain that? Conspiracy theory?

There are two primary methodologies at war with each other... philosophy and science...

They are opposing methodologies..,

Matt Franko said...

“ Everyone has fundamental assumptions, and there is disagreement over them. ”

Their thesis or “fundamental assumption” is “we’re out of money!” ... MMT antithesis or “fundamental assumption” is “we’re NOT out of money!”...

Then ofc “there is disagreement over them”... they are opposing...

neither is using Science here.., they both are using philosophy...

Matt Franko said...

Thesis and Methodology are not synonymous.., Methodology is higher abstraction than Thesis...

Peter Pan said...

In my view, scientific theories are not to be considered ‘true’ or ‘false.’ In constructing such a theory, we are not trying to get at the truth, or even to approximate to it: rather, we are trying to organize our thoughts and observations in a useful manner.

Robert Aumann

I cannot take issue with this statement, even though it's from a Nobel winner in Economic "Sciences". There are theories which are incomplete, yet are useful. Truth will be a long time coming... what do we do in the meantime?

Meteorologists use several models in their forecasting. They're not seeking truth, but consensus. The results are open for everyone to see, and judge.

Why a picture of the Tooth Fairy?
There is no method of determining whether she is true or false. If she weren't folklore, she'd be supernatural. Science has no comment.

AXEC / E.K-H said...


OMG, after 200+ years, economics becomes a science
Comment on Lars Syll on ‘Studying economics — a total waste of time’

Lars Syll argues: “It’s hard not to agree with Elster’s critique of mainstream economics and its practice of letting models and procedures become ends in themselves, without considerations of their lack of explanatory value as regards real-world phenomena. The message writes itself: If you’re really interested about what goes on in our economies — stay away from economics!”

This is correct but misses the point altogether. The lethal defect of economics is that the main approaches ― Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism, MMT ― are mutually contradictory, axiomatically false, materially/formally inconsistent, and ALL get the foundational economic concept of profit wrong.#1 Economics is a heap of proto-scientific garbage. Because of this, economic policy guidance NEVER had sound scientific foundations. With regard to scientific content, there is NO difference between left, center, right policy.

So, there is NO such thing as a choice between bad Orthodoxy and good Heterodoxy. Heterodoxy, too, gets profit wrong. As a consequence, both Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy have to be buried for good at the Flat-Earth-Cemetery.#2 What is needed is a new Paradigm.

Mainstream economics is a waste of time and Lars Syll's brain-dead critique of mainstream economics is also a waste of time: “The moral of the story is simply this: it takes a new theory, and not just the destructive exposure of assumptions or the collection of new facts, to beat an old theory.” (Blaug) In methodological terms: it takes a Paradigm Shift.

The good news for scientists and the bad news for time wasters is that the Paradigm Shift is an accomplished fact. See the new textbook Sovereign Economics.#3

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

#1 Wikipedia, economics, scientific knowledge, or political agenda pushing?

#2 Let's bury economics now

#3 Sovereign Economics, Amazon, BoD, etc.