I cannot help thinking, said the Marchioness, that this proportion in the squares of the

Distances of Places, or rather of Times, is observed even in Love. Thus after 8 Days

Absence Love becomes 54 times less that it was the first Day and according to

Proportion it must soon be entirely obliterated; I fancy there will be found, especially

in the present Age very few Experiences to the contrary.

From Francesco Algarotti’s Isaac Newton’s Philosophy Explained for the Use of the

Ladies (1739)

Newton’s Principia    1686

1.

 

 

“No! No! said the Marchioness,

Gallantry must never destroy a

theorem.  It geometry was permitted to get some footing here in little Time it would produce Wonders”                                                                                                     2.

 

 

Why ?

 

entertaining

 

greatest scientist – complex

 

expectations of the Newtonian approach

 

Newton hoped that:

 

 “we could derive the rest of the phenomena of Nature by the same kind of reasoning from these mechanical principles”

 

aim – certain knowledge of causes

3.

 

 


Newton’s Method

 

Rule 3

If it universally appears, by experiments and astronomical observations, that all bodies about the earth gravitate towards the earth, and that in proportion to the quantity of matter which they severally contain; that the moon likewise, according to the quantity of its matter, gravitates towards the earth; that, on the other hand, our sea gravitates towards the moon; and all the planets one towards another; and the comets in like manner towards the sun; we must, in consequence of this rule, universally allow that all bodies whatsoever are endowed with a principle of mutual gravitation.

 

Rule 4.

In experimental philosophy we are to look upon propositions inferred by general induction from phenomena as accurately or very nearly true, notwithstanding any contrary hypotheses that may be imagined, till such time as other phenomena occur, by which they may either be made more accurate, or liable to exceptions.

 

Hypotheses    ş         speculations

To be avoided!                                                                                               4.

 

 

 

 

Hume’s Treatise         1739

 

 

Hume hoped to emulate Newton in producing a science of man (thinking, acting, feeling)

 

 

atoms -           impressions

 

laws     -           laws of association

 

 

Science of nature; science of man

 

discovery of substantial truths

which would give explanations and predictions

 

because true, theories are permanent

5.


 

Why such faith ?

 

            Particularly as the results were not yet in !

 

Real question for us

 

            scientific revolutions

 

                        relativity, quantum mechanics

 

                        cosmology (steady state;       big bang;         hot and cold;   singularity; inflationary;    Hawking)

 

bewilderingly rapid change

 

 

Hawking - final theory - know mind of god

6.

 

 

 

What justfied Newton’s faith ?

 

            right in one sense

 

            200 years no serious rival

 

            Newtonian Framework

 

            paradigm of a good theory

 

fertility - lots of applications

flexible  - copes with anomalies

simple

 

            but the choice was made in advance of evidence

7.

 


This couldn’t be Newton’s reason

            religious grounding

 

                        God’s word

                        God’s work

 

scriptures - God gives truth to pious men

 

\ permanent

 

Moses

 

Fatio

 

vegetation, medicine

 

alchemy - Renaissance Magi

 

Keynes

8.

 

 

Newtonian legacy

 

            not just scientific achievement

 

            model of science itself

 

            Building Block model

 

            discover truths

            record them

            move on

 

 

Whewell

 

            “no revolutions in science”

 

            History of the Inductive Sciences 1857

9.

 


Who knocked over the blocks?

Einstein - Special Theory of Relativity

simultaneity becomes relative to a frame

not a refinement of Newton

Minkowski spacetime

radically different picture

preserved observational success

preserved method of doing science

progress through revolution

10.

 

 

“The history of science like the history of all human ideas is a history of irresponsible dreams, of obstinacy, of error.  But science is one of the very few human activities - perhaps the only one - in which errors are systematically criticized and fairly often in time correct.  In other fields there is change but rarely progress. The history of science like the history of all human ideas is a history of irresponsible dreams, of obstinacy, of error.  But science is one of the very few human activities - perhaps the only one - in which errors are systematically criticized and fairly often in time correct.”

                        Karl Popper

 

Progress ? Through revolution ?

Progress in question

11.

 

 

Science is special

            Ben Johnson story

            Theories may come and go

            But technological spin-off remains

If science is special, what makes it so ?                                                                   12.


classical answer : scientific method

important to articulate

            improve understanding

                                    (progress thro’ revolution)

            explaining the success of science

            improve chances of success

13.

 

 

discoveries in science and discoveries about how to do science

Bacon’s Novum Organum     1620

Mill’s Methods

Whewell

logical positivists

Popper

Bayesian

14.

 

 

WHY SO DIFFICULT ?

            now confusion

            Feyerabend’s Against Method

            free ourselves from “the ideology of the one true science”

15.

 

 

What is science?

 

Oxford Concise

 

Science: organized body of knowledge that has been accumulated on a subject especially if conducted on scientific principles.

 

Scientific: of investigation - according to the rules laid down in exact science for preforming observation and testing soundness of conclusions

hopeless definition

touchingly other worldly

observation and principles or rules

16.

 

 

Rational Model of Science

family of models

explain success of science

1.         Goal of science

science institution with goal

predictive power

 explanation

 discovery of laws

                        constraint on members

                        goal of college

17.

 

2. Methodogy

-Principles of comparison

            part of scientific method

Missing ingredient

3. Scientific community

follows outcome of the methods

contrast chemistry department (quantum chemistry )and Central Committee of the Tory party (rejoining ERM)

Kitcher

18.

Rational model

 

1.         Goal

                        (truth, verisimilitude, explanation, predictive power)

 

2.         Methodology

                        (Mill, Whewell, Popper, positivists)

 

3.         Linkage

                        (method means to goal)

 

4.         Fit with scientific practice

19.

 

 

Scientific Change

 

            1905

            aether drift ® special theory

 

            better on the evidence

            motivates shift in allegiance

 

            internal factors

            external factors

 

Young wave theory 1800’s

 

Feuer - climate was ripe in Zurich

20.

 

 

Essential Reading in Logical Positivism, edited O Hanfling.  See especially papers by Schlick.

 

K Popper Objective Knowledge.  See especially Ch. 1 “Conjectural Knowledge: My Solution to the Problem of Induction”.

 

Conjectures and Refutations.Ch 10 “Truth, Rationality and the Growth of Scientific Knowledge”                                                                                                                21.