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Posted by Harvey on July 30, 2003 12:25:04 UTC

I've learned that philosophers have surpassed leading scientists and leading mathematicians in terms of acquiring fundamental knowledge (e.g., philosophy of science, philosophy of mathematics). That's not to say that some leading scientists aren't aware of the deep philosophical issues. Many leading scientists have philosophical interests and share their insights with philosophers of science, etc. This exchange is a good one and really benefits both sides.

My point is that understanding philosophy of science in some ways is more fundamental than science itself because often when we study science, we want to know philosophy as well (sometimes more so). Are theories true? Are they approximately true? Etc. These are questions that philosophers spend their time and the answers they come back with are not as definite as scientific answers, but they open so much of our understanding as to what we mean by scientific truth.

Unfortunately there isn't nearly anywhere near a universal definition of scientific truth. I think most scientists believe in some kind of approximate truth, although that may not be true I haven't seen any recent surveys (well, I recall one and scientific realism was the number one philosophy, I believe). In any case, I suppose this is just my slanted opinion. Science type people would such as yourself probably find these fightin' words. :-)

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