Talk:Special sciences

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Physics (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Physics, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Physics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.


1. This article was created by Noetica mainly for supporting their definition for Physics. The definition is not used now.

2. The current article does not cover the topic. For example, there is nothing on special sciences by Aristotle (e.g. Metaphysics, Book IV, part 1) and Hegel (AKA empirical sciences). Overall it’s content fall now into the topics of Reductionism and Reduction (philosophy).

So please consider merging to those articles.

On merging of Reductionism and Reduction (philosophy) — see discussion.

--Y2y (talk) 06:08, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

While it is true that I created the article for that immediate purpose, it is useful in its own right. The philosophical literature uses the term. See titles found at Googlebooks; and see 43 hits in a search of the well-regarded Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Certainly articles like Reduction (philosophy) are connected (and duly linked from this article); but the topics are separate. Anyone searching with "special sciences" on Google finds this Wikipedia article first. It gives a neat, tight account of what's going on, and then directs the enquirer to other relevant articles. I see no harm at all in that. (By the way, some claims marked as "dubious" here are not my own. And bear in mind that I have not had anything to do with the article since February 2007. I've moved on to other concerns.) NoeticaTea? 11:03, 14 April 2011 (UTC)
Thank your for the answer. Certainly, the philosophical literature uses this term. But, by my opinion, it is treated here very narrowly and so misleading. If more information would be added (relation of special sciences to philosophy — not only to physics; Aristotle, Hegel; etc), it might be a good article. But now…
As for searching — I think that here may be redirect (or disambiguation page?) from Special sciences to a chapter of merged Reductionism + Reduction (philosophy).
As for dubious claims. The only statement now marked as dubious (see below) was already in your second revision. Can you support this statement (or maybe correct it)?
And the reference to Quine, W.V.O. (1981): “Theories and Things”, Harvard University Press: Cambridge, Mass. was in your first/second revisions too. Can you please contribute with a quotation on the disputed question?
--Y2y (talk) 12:36, 14 April 2011 (UTC)
You know, I have no great commitment to this tiny article. I would like to see the term "special sciences" covered, accurately and as comprehensively as it deserves, somewhere: perhaps as a section in an article on reductionism, or philosophy of science or of physics, with a redirect from here. Sure, something about the special sciences (perhaps in a divergent sense) in their relation to philosophy (again, in a certain sense!) would be valuable. When I made the article the term was simply not to be found on Wikipedia, so I wanted to make good the omission. It's a long time since I've looked at this (and it's late at night here in Australia): but see below for something on your more detailed question. NoeticaTea? 13:34, 14 April 2011 (UTC)
I think that it shouldn't be merged as of yet, it seems like the article has some potential. IRWolfie- (talk) 22:21, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
Potential? May be. But it has no development from 2007. And it contains significant incorrect statements. (See #Dubious statement (Quine's position) below). --Y2y (talk) 10:21, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

Dubious statement (Quine's position)[edit]

Others, like W.V.O. Quine, are well-disposed towards reductionism, and may even see physics as "including" the special sciences, almost as subdivisions.

Where did Quine review the notion “special sciences”? Where did he considered special sciences “almost as subdivisions” of physics? --Y2y (talk) 06:31, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

My wording was circumspect, way back in 2006. I said like Quine, and [they] may even see. One difficulty is that the philosophers who think this way may not express the matter strictly in terms of "special sciences" (though Quine does use the term), so it is well not to attribute statements to them de dictis. They may even use the term physics with expanded or contracted meaning. But I invite you to consider Chapter 10 ("Smart's philosophy and scientific realism") of Theories and Things, in which Quine comes out as a strong advocate of Smart's reductionist and "physicsalist" views, as we might call them. Just one sample: "Physics investigates the essential nature of the world, and biology describes a local bump" (p. 93). The chapter is full of that sort of talk, and it is pretty much the idea that physics is general and global, other sciences are all local by comparison, and (it being the way of things that the global encompasses the local) physics encompasses the other sciences. There is nothing very striking or disturbing about this view for many later philosophers: only for some!
I would simply put that chapter as a reference. Details aside, anyone reading it will gain a better understanding of this kind of inquiry, dated though it might seem.
I hope that helps. I can't do it now; but let me know at my talkpage if I can be of any assistance in taking things further.
Best wishes to you. NoeticaTea? 13:34, 14 April 2011 (UTC)
Thank you! I have read it.
1. This chapter does not describe the position of Quine himself. It describes the position of J. J. C. Smart. And it is dated by 1963-1964, not 1981 (From the article one can wrongly understand that this Smart’s position was expressed historically after the Fodor’s one).
2. As I see, Smart states that biological lows are not (strictly speaking) nature lows (but physical laws are). There he compares biology even with consumers’s reports, not science. Elsewhere he claims “that the biology is not an autonomous science, but a technological application of more basic sciences, like ‘radio-engineering’ (Smart 1959, 366).”. I think “a technological application of physics” is not equal to “a part of physics”.
3. As for Quine’s using of the term “special sciences”. I have not found a much, but for example here (Quine: language, experience, and reality By Christopher Hookway, p. 81) this term has quite other meaning. Here special sciences are contraposed to logic, not to physics (so physics itself is one of special sciences).
With best wishes.
--Y2y (talk) 21:19, 25 April 2011 (UTC)