Philosophy Index of Work by Daniel Goldman
An index for various ramblings on philosophy, including science and mathematics.
Having spent many years studying various areas of science, mathematics, and other areas of philosophy, I’ve accumulated a lot of material on the topic. I write about philosophy of science, which is a very important topic for all scientists. I also recently acquired an interest in historiography, which is the study of the philosophy and history of history itself.
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Philosophy is a very broad category, and a lot of people have odd notions of what the topic means. People sometimes use “philosophy” as an alternative for “religion” or “world view.” At its most basic, the term literally means “love of learning.” However, philosophy is a practice. It is the act of questioning what we think we know.
Science is therefore a form of philosophy, as is mathematics. It’s for this reason, among others, that I have to laugh at so called scientists who scoff at philosophy and think that it has no place in science. Indeed, any time we question what science can and cannot do, we’re engaging in philosophy of science.
I cover a lot of these issues in my articles. Other areas of philosophy such as ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, which is the study of first principles, and so on are also covered.
I run a publication that’s largely dedicated to philosophy. The Spiritual Anthropologists blog/publication focuses on anthropology and philosophy of religion and alcohol, but goes into more general topics of science and other matters as well.
As I said, science is a type of philosophy. But what is science?! My article, “What is Science Anyway?” covers the question in detail. But in order to understand science, a person really has to understand probability theory and formal logic. The reason being is that science is essentially a statistical form of proof by contradiction. That’s why I cover the basic nature of hypothesis testing, the core tool in science, and how it can be abused in “Abusing the Null Hypothesis.”
However, proof by contradiction relies upon the assumption that contradictions cannot occur. Certainly this assumption appears reasonable. How can two things which contradict each other both be true? Such a reality would be mind boggling. But whether something is comfortable or easy to understand has little to do with its validity. And as I explain in my “Ramblings on a Paraconsistent Reality,” there’s reason to believe that reality isn’t consistent. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t logical!
Developing Scientific Theory
I’m not sure I covered this issue in enough detail in any of my specific articles, but there are two approaches to science: the Baconian approach and Popper’s approach. The former is inductive. You start with an observation and then go on to hypothesize about an outcome and test the hypothesis. As you test more hypotheses, you generalize them into a theory.
Popper, Hume, and many other philosophers of science had an issue with induction, and so Popper developed falsification, which I describe in detail in my other articles listed above. The “science” that is taught in school is a weird bastardization of the two schools of scientific thought. And it results in — among other things — this idea that theories have to come from extensive research. And they often do!
Anthropologists spend a lot of time learning about other cultures. And in many of those cultures are volumes of folk belief. Unfortunately a lot of people scoff at these beliefs, thinking that they’re just nonsense spouted by backwards people. However, “From Folk Beliefs to Scientific Theory” explains just how important a lot of these beliefs are in informing modern scientific inquiry.
Of course, not all folk beliefs are useful. There’s flat Earth nonsense, which is actually a rather new world view ironically enough. The idea that people used to believe that the Earth was flat, that Columbus was trying to prove that it was around, and so on, are simply false myths. But then again, the nature of “myth” itself is often misconstrued, an issue covered in “Science Misconceptions.”
Ah Mathematics. Here’s another area of interest that people often misunderstand. I’m A Mathematician and I Hate Numbers. Does that statement make sense? It really does. Mathematics is not about numbers. It’s not about calculating, or solving. That’s arithmetic and accounting. Mathematics is something far more fundamental. It’s the study of logical consequence itself.
Ethics and Personhood
As an anarchist, I do look for ethical justification for my views. And I spend a lot of time writing about the nature of rights, theory of the validity and invalidity of law, and so on. I have a very specific view of the distinction between rights and privileges: “Rights Exist, but They Aren’t Privileges.”
I also tend to view rights as something unique to people. And by people, I don’t necessarily mean humans. There are a few candidates for non-human people, an issue covered in “Personhood Beyond Humanity.” There’s also artificial life, and I could probably devote a whole index page to personhood and artificial intelligence. Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to create any kind of reasonable artificial intelligence yet, but I do think that language is a key element.
Another area of ethics that I’ve covered is veganism. I’m a meat eater. I admit that sometimes I feel a little bad about eating other animals, but then I realize that I’m just being “kingdomist.” What’s so special about animals? Nothing! And that’s why I wrote “The Sound of Plants Screaming.”
Odds and Ends
As with my other “index” pages, I’ll be adding to this page frequently. I’m planning on turning all of my indices into full length articles that are rich and entertaining, rather than dry lists.