epistemology: study about knowledge and justification
rationalism: knowledge is arrived at primary via reason; rational judgment is the basis of knowledge
empiricism: knowledge is arrived at via sensory experience / observation
pragmatism: knowledge is justified via its performance solving problems / navigating the world.
worries about epistemology:
how do people abstract physical imperfect object into mathematical objects
how do we work with imperfect senses
how do we know what we think about the world are reality
worries about instruments:
how do we know the instruments are really measuring what they suppose to measure
how reliable are the claims based on using devices
problem of under-determination of theory by evidence: for one set of data, we can come up with many theories that give us exactly the same inferences.
Do our scientific theories "match up" with the realities out there in the world?
In what why they "match up" and how do we know then they do.
ontology(metaphysical) questions: questions about the ultimate constituents
ontology; set of views about ultimate constituents
whether human brain consists only matters
ontological individualism: social science can be reduced to "desires". "beliefs", "actions" of individual.
holism: not entirely composed of individual actions
ontological stance: view points about ontology
metaphysics: ontology and its justification
atomists: world made up with indivisible atoms
energeticists: made up with energy
Methodological individualism: all social phenomena are explained by "beliefs", "desires", and "actions" of individuals. (reductionism about social phenomena)
Methodological holism: not explainable with only "beliefs", "desires", and "actions".
reductive explanation: explain phenomena at ontological level. reductionism: good explanatory theories should give a causal account on the ontological level. anti-reductionist: social facts is not explainable on ontological level.
scientific theory: a collection of related claims that describe and explain a particular phenomenon or class of phenomena. (has implications or entailments)
confirmation and dis-confirmation evidence might be different in social / physical science.
Assume that there could only exist one true theory to explain certain phenomena, scientists should accept successful explanation or prediction as a evidence of a theory's truth given that every previous observation (observation before the creation of the theory) is predicted by the theory. Assume every theory are created based on previous observations, then there is no way to evaluate a theory based on previous observations because each theory will automatically receive a full score. If scientists do not accept successful explanation or prediction as a evidence of a theory's truth, then there is no way to evaluate a theory's accuracy after its birth, since neither previous nor future observation (observation after the creation of the theory, but before "now") can be used to evaluate a theory. Since there could exists multiple theories that can successfully predict every previous observation (observation before "now"), it is essential to develop an alternative way to evaluate a theory (based on a theory's complexity, for example). Therefore, scientists should accept successful explanation or prediction as a evidence of a theory's truth, but they should also consider other variables other than "successful prediction" when evaluating a theory.
If a set of claims from a theory is used to make the prediction that turns out to be wrong, is it possible to determine which of those claims should be doubted?
Well, not that I know. It might be one of the claim or multiple of the claims are wrong, I can't tell.
Is it possible that reductionists are right ontologically but wrong epistemically? (it is possible that explanations do not require ontological level detail?)
depends on how you define causality relationship
key similarities and differences by "observe"
scope of study personal/interpretive
Anthropologists observe native rituals by embedding themselves in those communities
Pollsters can observe the political mood of the nation from the questionnaires that respondents return to them
Use of data mining techniques (pattern recognition software) allows marketing executives to observe patterns of consumer behavior
Underdetermination of theories by evidence poses
rationally choose between two theories as scientist: occam's razor by intuition or natural language processing
rationally choose between two theories as jury: first apply likelihood by big data, then occam's razor as above
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