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Logic & Scientific Philosophy, Uncategorized

Philosopy of Deutsch – Richard and Greg

“You know what is so good about the truth? Everyone knows what it is, no matter how long they’ve lived without it. No one forgets the truth, they just get better at lying”

David Deustch is a British Physicist who came up with a a theory that determines the objectivity, and the truth between opposing points, or between many different points of view or explanations of a certain occurrences.

He first defines science as not making predictions based on your observations but rather deriving explanations from the observations so that you’ll be able to apply this knowledge. He believes that it is better to understand the concept before using it, rather than just blindly recognising the correlation, and then just applying it right off the bat. He believes that only if we really understand how a events can we then go ahead and apply that knowledge.

He also argues that science is indeed objective because despite the fact that from a single experiment, or from multiple experiments you could end up with multiple opposing, or different theories, that conflict is only temporary. This is because Darwinian evolutionary theory takes place. So, eventually those explanations that are subjective, and wrong, will be criticised, and rooted out, to the extent that they eventually become obsolete, and are eliminated from our knowledge base. And, over the time span of many years, if not generations or longer all we’ll have left is that single objective truth, because it’s the only one that can stand the test of time as it’ll get criticised but still survive as it is the truth.

For example, the belief of a geocentric vs. a heliocentric solar system, and no matter how much the church, and the establishment of the time tried to stick with the geocentric theory, and trying to reject the heliocentric explanation that they perceived as wrong, over time reason, objectivity, and truth prevailed, instituting the heliocentric system as the correct system of the solar system.

So in conclusion, Deustch’s theory simply states that given sufficient time, our theories, and our explanations that we’ve derived from Science will be objective, because only the objective truth will truly stand the test of time in the end.

And a question for the feminists, how are you so sure that our “master and dominate” mindset a) exists, and b) causes the environmental damage inflicted upon this earth? It seems like that this is more of an opinion, and subjective, rather than a truth, and it has yet to stand the test of time to see if it really will turn out to be true.

And to all the sceptics in the room, for example the length of the universe always will stay the same no matter how you slice, and dice it, using whatever measurement instruments, or units. If I say a room is 1 meter wide, or 3 and a third feet wide, does that make a difference? They’re the same. No matter what measurement we come up with, and what other races or alien lifeforms use to measure the same thing, if you use unitary rates to convert one to the other you’ll end up with the exact same thing.

Secondly, to those who say to prove something true we need to go around proving all of them the same, you can also use the same lens to turn the tables around, and say that something is true, and you cannot prove it false unless until you find a false example in every rock, or every atom, or etc.

Thirdly, sure we may put things in different terms, so that we understand something, but if you shine a light against a wall, you’ll get something constant, and while you may explain it in many different ways, are we altering what is happening? We say that if we shine a light against a regular wall, like the one in the philosophy classroom, we see the colour because it is the certain wavelengths of light reflected that gets us to perceive the reflected light as a colour. I may explain it this way, and someone else another, and aliens a third, and maybe God another way, but does it change that we’re all describing the same thing, albeit differently?

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Discussion

2 thoughts on “Philosopy of Deutsch – Richard and Greg

  1. “…those explanations that are subjective, and wrong, will be criticised, and rooted out, to the extent that they eventually become obsolete, and are eliminated from our knowledge base. And, over the time span of many years, if not generations or longer all we’ll have left is that single objective truth, because it’s the only one that can stand the test of time as it’ll get criticised but still survive as it is the truth.”

    As an extension of this idea, I wonder where Deustch would place the “truths” and scientific understanding of the ethno-botanists and other scientific philosophers of the indigenous civilizations. In his TED Talk from a few years back (http://www.ted.com/talks/wade_davis_on_the_worldwide_web_of_belief_and_ritual.html), Wade Davis talks about the Polynesian knowledge of the Southern Pacific Ocean as equivalent to the Western scientific knowledge that put men on the moon. Knowledge of the forests of British Columbia, and how to survive in the Arctic, for instance, are culturally-honed truths developed over 10,000 years; the scientific innovations and efficiencies of modernity that have effectively eradicated these specific knowledge bases (and thus out-‘competed’ them in the Darwinian sense) has only been created and maintained over the last couple, or few thousand years.

    Do you think Deustch might place any emphasis on the role of the scientist, or scientific pursuit in a broader sense, to ensure a more inclusive participation in the creation of Truth (ie. account for an imbalance in different voices in a conversation about truth)?

    Posted by bryanjack | October 21, 2012, 10:28 pm
    • Thank you, Richard and Greg, for discussing the philosophy of Deutsch, and Bryan, for your comments.

      I would like to add that traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) is indeed a vast domain interested, appropriated and investigated by experts and participants in many fields including some nutritionists, chefs, alternative medicine practitioners, environmentalists, linguists, ethnoscientists and anthropologists. Granted, TEK, like many indigenous peoples and languages, are under threat.

      Posted by SoundEagle | October 25, 2012, 11:30 pm

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