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钱柜娱乐777:加拿大作业:不确定性、工具主义与现实主义 Underdetermination, Instrumentalism and

时间:2018-05-29 08:52来源:钱柜777官网作者:cinq 点击:
本文是加拿大留学生哲学作业范文,主要内容是通过现实主义和工具主义,分析不确定性命题的相关内容。
本文结合现实主义和工具主义,对不确定命题的理解。我们知道现实主义和工具主义是科学哲学中的两种对立的观点,因此,通过解释这两种观点,更容易理解“不确定命题”的概念,这是一种复杂的学说。
这篇论文的预期读者是理科学生和对科学中的哲学问题感兴趣的人。我把这篇文章分成四部分。第一部分阐述了现实主义和工具主义的概念,第二部分详细阐述了不确定的命题,然后第三部分将陈述不同哲学家关于三个学派的观点。第四部分和最后一部分总结全文。
 
Understanding Underdetermination in conjunction with realism and instrumentalism
 
The present essay is about the understanding of under determination thesis in conjunction with the realism and instrumentalism. As we know that realism and instrumentalism are two opposite views in philosophy of science, so by explaining the two it would be much easier to grasp the concept of under determination thesis, which is one of complex doctrine.
 
The intended audiences of this essay are science student's and people who are interested to know about the philosophical issues in science. I divide the essay into four of parts. The first part explains the realism and instrumentalism concepts, second part explains the under determination thesis in detail and then the third part will state the views of different philosophers about three schools of thoughts. The fourth and the final part conclude the whole argumentation
 
Realism
The word realism in the dictionary means the tendency to view or represent things as they really are. [dic]. In philosophy of science it can be defined as “the philosophical doctrine that abstract concepts exist independent of their names”. It can be explained as an approach in philosophy that considers objects as they are in the universe as real things and their characteristics as a secondary thing. The advocate of realism are called realist and it is important to differentiate the realist's.
 
A person can be realist about the different kinds of things i.e. mountains, physical objects, numbers, universe etc. but in the case of a philosopher, it is required to specify that for what object/thing the philosopher is realist [book]. An American philosopher name Hilary Putnam stated that “A realist with respect to a given theory holds the following:
 
What makes them true or false is something external that is to say, it is not in general our sense data, actual or potential, or the structure of our minds, or our language, etc.
 
Furthermore he says that the positive argument for realism is that it is the only “philosophy that does not make the success of science a miracle”. [Book]. Generally, in science established scientific theories are treated as a true fact, but according to realist these theories would be treated as a successful explanation of the whole scientific process or its relation to an object, and not as a whole truth. [Book] An example is that sun, mountains, building etc. exists in this world, but the attributes like length, width, colour etc. are either dependent or independent of the environment.
 
For example the sun is spherical in shape, so it is independent from any material thing of this universe. But in case of a building, its shape and size, all depend upon the person who designed or built it. So it can be said that reality is related to mind and environment.
 
In general, Realism is supposed to be a term that relates to number of subjects i.e. ethics, aesthetics, causation, modality, science, mathematics, semantics etc. When we talk about the realism in the context of science then the intention is to elaborate the scientific realism which has a number of dimensions i.e. metaphysical, epistemological and methodological. Besides this it is also the truth that there is no single version of scientific realism which is being accepted by all the scientific realists.
 
The doctrine of scientific realism states that “ the world studied by science exists and has the properties it does, independently of our beliefs, perceptions, and theorizing; that the aim of science is to describe and explain that world, including those many aspects of it that are not directly observable; that, other things being equal, scientific theories are to be interpreted literally; that to accept a theory is to believe that what it says about the world is true, and that by continually replacing current scientific theories with better ones. Science makes objective progress and its theories get closer to the truth”.
 
Realism has two schools of thought, first one is called Extreme realism, represented by William, a French philosopher; according to him “universals exist independently of both the human mind and particular things”. The second one is moderate realism and according to which “universals exist only in the mind of God, as patterns by which He creates particular things”. The main proponent of this view was St. Thomas Aquinas and John of Salisbury.
 
According to epistemological view of realism, things exist in this universe, independent of our understanding or perception. This point is totally opposite to the theory of idealism, which states that “reality exists only in the mind”.
 
By having a brief explanation of realism, instrumentalism will be discussed, which is the opposite view of realism and most of time called Antirealism. Antirealism is a doctrine that rejects realism, and includes instrumentalism, conventionalism, logical positivism, logical empiricism and constructive empiricism.
 
Instrumentalism
Instrumentalism is treated as a doctrine that states “theories are merely instruments, tools for the prediction and convenient summary of data” [Book]. In other words it can be defined as “concepts and theories are merely useful instruments whose worth is measured not by whether the concepts and theories are true or false, but by how effective they are in explaining and predicting phenomena”.
 
The point is that in order to make predictions from theories, logic is required, so it can be hard to say theories have no truth values. In view of this instrumentalists admit that theories have truth values, but do not accept this argument that theories should be treated as accurately true. In view of this T.S. Kuhn said that “Theories may have truth values but their truth of falsity is irrelevant to our understanding of science”. [Book]
 
In other words instrumentalism evaluates the significance of a theory with respect to empirical evidence and did not require the understanding of the actual phenomena. For example Newton gravity model is understandable and working fine, but it has no theoretical foundation [Answer.com]
 
The another aspect of instrumentalism is that it relates closely to pragmatism and this point of view opposes the scientific realism because according to this, theories are more or less true in nature. Moreover, instrumentalism refutes that theories can be evaluated on the basis of truth. Theories will not be perceived as air plane black box which gives output on the basis of observed input. The point is that there should be a clear distinction between theory and observation that further leads to a distinction between terms and statements in each type.
 
Like in science for statement of observation there is a specific meaning for an observable truth, for example if "the litmus paper is red", so the observation terms have their meaning fixed by their referring to observable things or properties, e.g. "red". Theoretical statements have their meaning fixed by their function within a theory and aren't truth evaluable, e.g. "the solution is acidic", whereas theoretical terms have their meaning fixed by their systematic function within a theory and don't refer to any observable thing or property, e.g. "acidic".
 
Though you may think that "acidic" refers to a real property in an object, the meaning of the term can only be explained by reference to a theory about acidity, in contrast to "red", which is a property you can observe. Statements that mix both T-terms and O-terms are therefore T-statements, since their totality cannot be directly observed”.
 
There is some criticism of this distinction, however, as it confuses "non-theoretical" with "observable", and likewise "theoretical" with "non-observable". For example, the term "gene" is theoretical (so a T-term) but it can also be observed (so an O-term). Whether a term is theoretical or not is a semantic matter, because it involves the different ways in which the term gets its meaning (from a theory or from an observation).
 
Whether a term is observable or not is an epistemic matter, because it involves how we can come to know about it. Instrumentalists contend that the distinctions are the same, that we can only come to know about something if we can understand its meaning according to truth-evaluable observations. So in the above example, "gene" is a T-term because, although it is observable, we cannot understand its meaning from observation alone.
 
The explanation of realism and instrumentalism above has provided us the capability to understand the topic with much insight. Now, I switch to under determination thesis. From the above discussion we have the knowledge that instrumentalism is related to pragmatism and this point of view is in contrasts with the scientific realism, which states that theories are often more or less true. Here, I refer to Quine, who said that theories can be underdetermined by all possible observations [23], and Newton Smith's, treat this as a threat to realism. He said, realism in his sense has to be rejected if there can be cases of under determination of theories.


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