Though I’m an avid blogger, for the 5+ years that I’ve been at it I’ve also been content to simply leave my writings at the sites of others in the form of commentary. This shall continue, both because I love it and also because as a working family man I don’t currently have enough time for this as well as to produce and service worthy content at my own site. But lately I’ve been thinking that I should at least document what I do online right here. (There will be no documentation of my email discussions however, since I consider them private.)
One reason for such documentation is so that any interested person could see what I’m up to right now or in the past. You know, for friends and potential friends. Then another is for posterity. If my ideas do turn out to be as good as I think they are, then once this particular paradigm does shift, my own life might become a matter of public interest. Why not help out the historians? 🙂
The kicker for me has been an excellent series of videos produced by the Crash Course people. This one is entitled “The History of Science” and is hosted by Hank Green. (I consider him to be the best of the lot. Nicole Sweeney may be fun, though to me her normative “oughting” presents cases which are sometimes less than scientific.)
The recurrent point that got me thinking this way is that good ideas would commonly surface, and yet be ignored until someone had the resources to muscle them through. This makes perfect sense from my perspective — we’re all self interested products of our circumstances. Politics do matter! Sure the better ideas seem to rise to the top in the end, often leaving original visionaries to die in frustration.
The theme to my own possibly “better ideas”, is that science suffers today given that it does not yet have generally accepted principles of metaphysics, epistemology, and axiology (or “value”), from which to work. Given this void a loose “scientific method” has permitted certain sciences, such as physics, to become “hard”, while other sciences, such as psychology, seem quite unable to develop broad theories from which to explain observations of our nature.
For the past few years I’ve been proposing one principle of metaphysics, two principles of epistemology, and one principle of axiology, from which to potentially found the institution of science better. I believe that they’d help harden up our soft sciences, which is to say permit them to develop broad general theories which are finally effective. Regardless my position is that we’ll some day have a community of professionals with such accepted principles at their disposal, and thus these “philosophers” will become one with the institution of science.
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I’m through 12 of these Crash Course History of Science videos, though apparently there are 46 so they’ll be getting quite modern! Here’s the first one:
The comment below concerns the article here:
I find the issue of objectivity/subjectivity to be where some critical mistakes are commonly made, and have three points here: i). Issues must be assessed objectively. ii). Good/bad is naturally subjective. iii). The nature of ultimate good/bad does still require definition.
i). When a given idea of good/bad is being considered, such as “Should more public money be devoted to general science research?” maintaining an objective position can be difficult. This is presumably because we’re all naturally selfish, and thus tend to let our own personal interests taint such assessments. In this post Massimo Pigliucci seems to have done a good job of building an objective assessment, while Michael White quite clearly seems to have let his own interests taint his assessments. In fact this seems to be such a common problem that we often don’t even complain when we see such subjectivity, and perhap just ask to hear the other side as well. I do find this unfortunate however. As mother always said, “Two wrongs don’t make a right!” Though it may be appropriate for a lawyer to represent his/her client in a biased manner, such subjectivity in science and philosophy shall simply bring failed assessments on each side.
ii). The tables then become turned regarding that which is good/bad itself, since this will always be subjective. This can be an even greater problem since it commonly isn’t formally understood (and yes even though Coel keeps mentioning, “Objective good does not exist!”). Nevertheless those who do formally understand good/bad to be subjective, do need to set this example and thus formally state exactly who’s good is to be promoted for any such question. (I suppose Massimo thought it clear that the subject here was “America,” though formal declarations can still be useful since other subjects may be substituted, and we also must not propagate the myth of “objective good.”)
iii). Then the final piece of the puzzle here happens to be “meta.” What exactly is ultimately good/bad for a given subject? It isn’t difficult to see why such discussions can become nauseating for those in the business, since this issue has exhaustively been explored for thousands of years without much consensus. Will we here do any better, or instead produce beaten down meta-ethics speculation? And if only the latter, perhaps we must then each just develop our own faiths from which to live by? I do, however, hope that youthful optimism can emerge once again!
The answer which I propose is “qualia.” I see this as a crucial engineering feature which permitted non-conscious minds (such as the computers we build) to evolve into conscious minds. Given this punishment/reward aspect to reality, good/bad for any given subject over a given period of time, will be the magnitude of its positive qualia minus the negative. So what is the best use of public funds regarding science research? Whatever brings the greatest amount of happiness for any given subject.