Why you should read the philosophy of science

February 6, 2007

//images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https://i0.wp.com/huizen.daxis.nl/~henkt/plaatjes/philosophy-imre-lakatos.jpg&imgrefurl=http://huizen.daxis.nl/~henkt/lakatos-eng.html&h=196&w=150&sz=5&hl=en&start=7&tbnid=-a-sVmhbJsMYYM:&tbnh=104&tbnw=80&prev=/images%3Fq%3DLakatos%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26client%3Dsafari%26rls%3Den%26sa%3DGJanet over at Adventures in Ethics and Science has a great post today on what it means to test an hypothesis. This really is a core issue for any graduate student to spend some time thinking about–many of you are, after all, earning a Doctor of Philosophy. And the subject is hardly dry. It’s full of lively thinkers like Lakatos, Bayes, Feyerabend, Kuhn, and, Popper. These guys would be fun to have beers with.

Here’s another reason to spend a bit of time on this subject. As we wield the “Science stick” against all the pseudoscience out there, it’s best to be armed with more than the we can never prove, we can only falsify and theories are hypotheses that have survived the test of time mantras. The truth, as always, is likely more subtle.