Re: Science and Philosophy

Brian Manning Delaney (
Wed, 08 Sep 1999 10:23:13 -0700

Joseph Sterlynne wrote:
> Brian Manning Delaney <>

>> Thanks for your comments (below). A few quick
>> replies (though I think this is not a topic that
>> interests most Extropians, so letting it die is
>> fine by me).

> While it hasn't appeared that often in such a
> straightforward form I would be surprised if it
> were not of interest to many readers of the list.
> It is more or less philosophy of science, which
> certainly relates to many of the other topics
> discussed here.

That's what I thought too.

Didn't I say I'll "sign off on this topic?" You've been too civil and interesting for me to ignore. But this WILL be brief.... (I've got a lot of impending [and missed...] deadlines.)

>> There are thus several assumptions/notions, etc.
>> whose truth obviously cannot be verified by
>> science itself (like empiricism).

> See below.


>> How does one translate into empirical terms the
>> question of the validity of empiricism? (Important:
>> "validity" is not the same as "utility," or so I
>> would [separately] argue.)

> Well, utility did come to mind. Perhaps it is
> only your parenthetical note which is
> contentious at this point?

I think this is the main open question, yes. I have not seen an argument that validity (or truth) should be understood as utility that isn't circular. This is the problem with pragmatism (especially the American variety). -->

-How do you know utility is what should count as validity (or truth)? "It works."

-How do you know "It works" is a valid criterion? "It works."

Something like that.

(An example of things getting off track here would be someone responding: "Yeah, but science DOES work!!" This isn't in question.)

Thanks again for your thoughts.

-Brian, Platonist, disguised as a Nietzschean (these days).