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Philosophy of Science
March 6, 2011 12:15 PM   Subscribe

An Introduction to the History and Philosophy of Science 8 videos in which SisyphusRedeemed, academic philosopher, attempts to explain what science is, how it got to be that way, and why it works.

posted by Obscure Reference (12 comments total) 68 users marked this as a favorite

 
Along the same lines, check out the series How to Think About Science, from the CBC's Ideas program.
posted by Johnny Assay at 12:48 PM on March 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh wow, thank you so much for this post.
posted by jonnyploy at 12:51 PM on March 6, 2011


Heh. In the first video, he says that Philosophy, done right, is our best tool for "penetrating confusion." He notes that sometimes Philosophy makes things more confusing, but that's just because Philosophy is being done wrong. Of course, that is a bit of question begging; it sounds like we have a new Demarcation Problem: How can we tell the difference between good philosophy and bad philosophy?

Maybe he should have started with a "Philosophy of Philosophy" series.

Thanks for the post, BTW - this may come in handy some courses I teach.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 12:59 PM on March 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cool, but... my knowledge of the operation principle behind magnets remains as before :/
posted by 7segment at 1:32 PM on March 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cool, but... my knowledge of the operation principle behind magnets remains as before.

Let me help you with that.
posted by Obscure Reference at 1:45 PM on March 6, 2011


the only issue at which logical positivism evens comes close to being relevant to the actual practice of science is the various debates over the "copenhagen' interpretation of quantum mechanics. although it's arguable whether there is any actual intellectual connection between the people involved.

but then the whole idea of a "philsophy of science" as versus plain old epistemology is built on a sort of positivist conceit and these talks are built on the further positivist conceit that logical positivistism arose to solve a problem in philosophy: HULK HATE HEGEL GRRRR... and in turn was found to be flawed and is succeeded by some advance in the positive chain of philosophic knowledge such as "pragmatism." i'm not sure any of this makes sense outside of an anglo-american context.

if you don't categorically reject the german idealists i.e. Kant and Hegel, then I think this discussion amounts to a huge red herring.
posted by ennui.bz at 1:47 PM on March 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is so much fun! Thank you very much.
posted by stonepharisee at 2:34 PM on March 6, 2011


Thanks for this post. I'll definitely watch them sometime. After all, if he can explain why science works, he's a genius.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 4:43 PM on March 6, 2011


One of my favorite college memories is from the Philosophy of Science class I took. The grad student teaching the class was terrible and at the end of the semester we were weeks behind where we should have been. He didn't want to let us go without showing is what science *really* is, since until then we'd just talked about failed theories. So he put a slide on the projector with about a dozen boxes, each labeled with an acronym, and arrows connecting them (also labeled with acronyms). "That is science!" he said, explained some of the boxes tersely, and moved on.
posted by jewzilla at 5:24 PM on March 6, 2011


Good stuff - bookmarked. I really believe that a foundation in philosophy is enormously important to science.

Here are some more videos about Philosophy of Science and Logical Positivism. And if you're interested, the same user has more playlists from Bryan Magee's program featuring general philosophy topics, discussed with the experts, but mostly understandable to the layman.

But if you feel your attention span running out, there's always Three Minute Philosophy: Plato. Aristotle. Descartes. Locke. Hume. Kant. But not Nietzche.
posted by MrFTBN at 5:59 PM on March 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I had high hopes for this, but it seems to be a guy reading powerpoint slides (with lots of text, and using the default template).
I am pretty sure this is better than nothing, and it clearly required a lot of work.
But reading powerpoint slides and making it a "video" doesn't utilize the strengths of video (or powerpoint, for that mattter), and wastes a fair amount of time. I wish the guy had taken just a little more time, and written some accessible blog posts.
posted by cogpsychprof at 8:11 PM on March 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ya gotta love this guy's blind spots though. In Video 3 he pretty much laughs at Aristotle for looking for an account of purpose (that would be teleos, or final cause). Two minutes later he is jumping up and down at Harvey's discovery of "what the blood is for".
posted by stonepharisee at 11:25 AM on March 7, 2011


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