Backchat from Woody

Jurriaan Bendien bendien at tomaatnet.nl
Tue Aug 12 19:45:23 MDT 2003


Hi Les,

"what are A-men???"

It can be read in different ways, all true. It's a joke, I won't elaborate
because it might offend some people.

>the movie or the body of water?

I was just thinking of a real, physical swimming pool with all the
characteristics and features that you normally have with swimming pools.

"i think about this a lot. i guess our topic list is growing".

Personally, I think this issue of "scientificity" isn't very interesting in
itself, beyond identifying definite unscientific nonsense which pretends to
be science (but it is often difficult to do at the innovative or
""brainstorming" side of science). More important is the question of what is
good science, and what science should be concerned with. Unlike you, I do
not have any strong "scientific credentials" myself beyond mucking around
with data and data collection, and a longstanding interest in philosophy of
science and reasoning processes, but I am interested in scientific activity
to get better theories about the world. In continental Europe debates about
"scientificity" do not have the same significance as in Anglo-Saxon
positivism, since the word "science" in continental Europe refers normally
just to systematic, sustained inquiry using the tools of logic, experiment
and systematic observation, whatever form that takes, and people working
within a certain discipline can usually sort out quite well what is genuine
scientific effort, and what is not. Paul Feyerabend and others pointed out
that many scientific discoveries are initially reached by means of
ostensibly "unscientific" procedures, and that scientists often do not know
exactly the full process of their discoveries themselves anyway, therefore
to make a big thing about "scientificity" or a mythical "the scientific
method" is not really appropriate. The focus should therefore be more on
what a good scientific attitude is, what good science is, what the limits of
science are in improving human life (the issue of scientism and so on), in
what way scientific methods can be generalised to new fields appropriately,
the social significance and politics of scientific knowledge,  and so on.
Plus of course doing good science...

Best regards

Jurriaan





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