Talk:Scientific realism

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A couple of suggestions[edit]

An article talk page is not the right place to rehash the past. Please focus on efforts for future article improvement; see WP:TPG. Johnuniq (talk) 06:53, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.


There should be more discussion of the work of Richard Boyd in this article. I think his version of scientific realism is probably the best-defended and the most long-lived to date. A number of the questions raised in the talk section are taken on in Boyd's work. A number of things should be added as a part of this. (1) A discussion of moral realism as an implication of scientific realism, (2) a discussion of approximate truth in relation to Kripke, and the idea of "socially coordinated epistemic access", (3) a discussion of Homeostatic Property Clusters, and (4) a discussion of paradigms as they relate to scientific realism, viz., that scientific realism affirms the existence of paradigms, but argues that competing paradigms are not semantically incommensurable. --Qphilo (talk) 17:07, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

How about we put and end to this long and convoluted discussion about Kusername's edits, and start over? Kusername, how about you get the one section from your edits that you think is the most significant, and post it here? Then we can discuss it to see whether we have consensus to include it in the article. That will hopefully get the ball rolling and allow more sections to be added later. StAnselm (talk) 20:13, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for your effort, StAnselm. As I tried to explain in the discussion section 21.1 "Why I sought to make the article a 'train wreck'", there is not one section most significant. Scientific realism is not a single stance, but diverse array. Virtually none of the stances can be appreciated, or sensibly chosen, without grounding in and grasp of pure philosophy, science, philosophy of science, and history of science—what requires history and review of Western society—with focus on structures, relations, and inferences as well as presumptions about truth value, and then statement of scientific theories. That is scientific realism.
I do not know a single section of the article most significant; it was all called for to enter scientific realist discourse. I think that the mountain of confusion exhibited on this talk page stems from refusal to appreciate this, and insisting that all areas of knowledge bow to a single unified method—which is positivist approach and not scientific realist approach. My last edits were somewhat rough, yet take from it what you wish, or discard it all. You are asking me to do the very opposite of what I feel needs to be done. My view if that if specific portions within a section were considered troublesome, then they ought to be pointed out and discussed and effort made to amend it, not trash the whole article and start from scratch or go with half of it.
I ask others to seriously ask themselves whether they are even interested in scientific realism to begin with, or just are alarmed because my version looked different. This coming week I shall speak with some physicists, historians, and philosophers to get input for myself, so that if I am mistaken, I can get some guidance. Take care for now. Kusername (talk) 02:45, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
Correction: That version I linked to is missing the entire section "History of Western society, science, and philosophy of science" (deleted with the explanation that it was "completely off-topic"). So in my view even that version is effectively useless to move on to the next two sections: one reviewing scientific realist versus antirealist/nonrealist discourse, and the other reviewing major scientific theories and unresolved aspects of natural science. Kusername (talk) 03:47, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

Please everyone: let's follow the suggestion from StAnselm above: focus on one point (the most significant) and make a proposal for a change to the article. There is no need for any other comments. Johnuniq (talk) 04:06, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

I value the apparent effort by StAnselm and the interest by Johnuniq. I see fit, as always, to be frank here, yet shall try to remain courteous.
It is three editors—one editor and two deleters. One posted nearly 300 citations in mainstream scientific literature, mainstream scholarship, PBS, and BBC, including links to documentary clips and full documentaries to explain these principles. One throws everything but the kitchen skin to refute fundamental science by trying to reduce an entire quantum field to what is measured at a single point in it. One explains that my clarification of that error was absolutely confusing. The prior then throws a toilet.
Thus my version of the article—to do my part to help subvert such ongoing madness in society. Here, I see utter irony in a microcosm. I think that respect for my version of the article would have prevented most of this madness. Reality is strange. Yet my article version was highly structured—each section was brief for easy intake, appraisal, and criticism—to offer ease of mental organization of relations. I opened from first principles, and then built on principles from there—covering major topics. The article's structure was as follows:
  • Brief review of the reasons for scientific realist position, and list of scientific realism's summary positions.
  • Brief review of pure philosophy's structure.
  • Brief review of science's structure.
  • Brief review of philosophy of science—and review of modern philosophies of science.
  • Brief review of history of Western society, science, and philosophy of science, discussed within social interplay and evolution.
  • Review of scientific realist versus scientific antirealist/nonrealist discourse.
  • Review of scientific predominant scientific theories and major, unfalsified contenders.
In scientific realism the scientific theory itself is the statement of truth. Everyone is a scientific realist of one sort or another. No one believes that nature is arbitrary, and everyone asserts one's own "scientific" view of the world. I find it implausible that a scientific realist statement be made without scientific theories stated. Yet there is no single, specific scientific realist stance. Overt scientific realism simply does not duck and dodge when questioned. And philosophers of science—regardless of scientists' opinions—have almost universally indicated that scientific theory cannot effectively be reviewed without its sociocultural context since most scientists are illogical and, themselves, reason socially.
5P says to be bold but not reckless. If I crashed a train into a building, perhaps that building is best knocked down. I was not trying to make a propaganda page convincing people that the predominant scientific theories are true. I was trying to make a page so that the average reader—if interested—can join and navigate the discourse of the truth value of scientific theory with an informed and not reckless judgment for himself or herself. Paradoxically, scientific realism challenges one to start questioning presumptions including scientific theories. Just why does one believe what one believes?
Not a single citation or explanation has been offered to justify the deletion of several subsections, then the entire section, then every single one of my edits. This was all against my requests for discussion and specific criticism to support the claims "completely off-topic" and "everyone would agree, they're obviously inappropriate" and "original synthesis" or even "original research" and "undue weight" and "shameless editorializing".
I'm not asking a pound of flesh. Yet that is not consensus in the Wikipedia sense—it was mere outvote. This is like pleading for taboo information to be permitted by a censorship committee. If five minutes of reading one of my explanations with citations is too much labor, and if an hour to read an extremely structured article on scientific realism—a topic raging in philosophy of science for 100 years—is too much, then perhaps the individual is just not interested. (If one thinks my explanations longwinded, that is confession of not reading the literature on these topics.) I would not have to explain all this to one who had just used Wikipedia to learn something too—from what I wrote—and let that grand edifice of absolute certainty get knocked down by the train.
I never posed my version of the article as flawless or irrefutable. I simply asked that it be specifically criticized with explanation and, for strong assertions, citation. I said that hacking it and attacking it with unsupported assertions was not the proper way to build an article on scientific realism—bulldozing the incorrect structure. I asked that others help improve what I wrote.
One of the three specifically said scarcely anyone was interested in the article. The other said that my discussion of quantum theory was utter confusion. I don't go to article on fashionwear, hack it to bits, then delete it all, levy accusations—refuse to justify the accusations—and then say that we will move forward once the author of the article convinces me what to permit back in the article by "consensus" simply because I have someone on my side although even we two disagree over why we even wanted it deleted. I think the proper thing to do here is explain what was wrong with my edit—not bulldoze it all and tell me to salvage something from the rubble. I think that the only thing my article was at train about to wreck was presumed certainty to infer all truths about the world by application of heuristics, rules of thumb.
Meanwhile, I will visit some professors. If I discover that I am a raging lunatic, after all, then I shall stand corrected and apologize to all for so wasting everyone's time. Kusername (talk) 06:36, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
This comes across as quite clearly biased for this view. Can we please add some sources? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 119.224.16.219 (talk) 00:51, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

This will help us all move forward:[edit]

Just pick the one section "most significant", since I'm not the one who presumes there is one section "most significant". Clearly it is beyond me, yet obvious to others, that understanding of past errors does not inform better understanding, inference, and decisionmaking. I do not know how many times I must say it, yet my approach is very alike that of Karl Popper, as I believe that knowledge grows by a process of conjecture and refutation. Humans are not brilliant or original. Microorganisms can figure out solutions that human volunteers cannot. Humans see something, observe its failures, and then offer an explanation of why it failed. Thus knowledge grows. The wheel was invented only once. Refuse to analyze the past? Okay, you have ejected me from this sinking ship. Perhaps if in the future others join me in the ability to take criticism—meaning critique and not just accusations—I can return and contribute. For now, I simply cannot contribute, since my whole approach to understanding and improvement is forbidden. I hold no hard feelings. Some things are just not meant to be. Kusername (talk) 08:56, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

Fine. It looks like the episode is finished then. StAnselm (talk) 10:32, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

Definition of truth in use?[edit]

It occurs to me that some form of linkage to the different definitions of truth may be indicated. For instance, scientific realism (at least to me) gets closer to instrumentalism if the pragmatic theory of truth is used. (Would one way to sum this up be "if it looks like truth, and quacks like truth, and walks like truth, it is truth"? As in, as long as something reliably acts as true, it might as well be true for all (important, IMO) intents and purposes. This is the "working definition" that I use as a scientist, for things for which we have enough data for science to be applicable.) Some form of reliable source will need to be found for much expansion onto this, of course. Allens (talk) 10:08, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

Biased &[edit]

Article is biased and lacks historical context. After a quick perusal of the article, my impression is that content is mainly a few superficial assertions. Also, the archived talk page is amusing to scan through. If I were those guys, I'd be embarrassed.

76.250.61.95 (talk) 14:00, 5 April 2014 (UTC)