A rational, sensible review of the foundational assumptions of philosophy of science
Why it is crucial for philosophy of science to realise her very fragile foundations? The reason is, it is science that rules the minds of the world today. This hegemony over the minds of human beings has resulted in not only forming the world-view of individuals, but also influencing the ethos of mankind’s political, economic, education and other public institutions!
People keep blind confidence, that science’s theories and world-view might be infallibly true. Hence they build their moral values, world-view etcetera based on, or drawing from the world- view of science! Her authority is more than that of any political establishment because, whether health, communication gadgets like smart phones, cars or air crafts, people know, they are all in place because of the presence of science. Her values are what educational institutions follow because education is a state subject.
The chief reason behind more and more people leaving alliance to religion and God also can be attributed to science. When science finds no God or any supernatural stuff up above there, even the most intelligent man tend to believe her, and wishes to be a follower of science! Her prestige is so high, so her moral authority over minds too! Today’s wars are fought and won based of the advanced technologies Nations possess and use.
This is not to say anything against the miraculous technological innovations Science has achieved! Whatever said above was against the base beliefs science keeps, ie, the physical base of whatever that exists. World-view of people emerges from it, not from her technological miracles. She can have technological innovations to her heart’s full, but better she adopt a more open world-view with regard to the metaphysical realm of life and existence.
It is philosophy of science that defines the method of science. She is the patron of her foundational principles and assumptions. New world had emerged first from the achievements of science. It was from there during enlightenment, that our new political, economic and educational social systems and traditions followed.
Following write-up of Google blogger Abraham J.Palakudy explains what was the basic world-view of science during her inception stage, as expressed by one of the father figures of modern science, Francis Bacon: http://argumentsagainstscientificpositivism.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-initial-motivational-energies.html
We now are aware that one’s entire world-view and all inferences derive from the foundational principles, or logically speaking, from the ‘universal premise’ he keeps. An age’s logic can simply be reduced to the net universal premise man, communities and his institutions keep. Their further premises will be inferred from them, or derived from them, in strict logical consistency. Without a base premise at the bottom, man can not seek further knowledge.Those who are not yet aware of this simple logical truth may refer to following paper by a Google blogger, Abraham J. Palakudy, at his post link:
It is only philosophy of science that could open up more and more and probe following areas of her dogma like foundational principles or assumptions from where her philosophy derived. So, clearly there is high moral responsibility rests with the patrons of ‘philosophy of science’ to keep her foundational principles constantly checked, and see if any important variable is ignored, missed or kept away form those principles.
Though not declared officially, science believes in a monism about the physical base of whole existence; she believes, she can explain every aspect of reality in a ‘matter centric’ paradigm.
Though not declared officially, science believes in a monism about the physical base of whole existence; she believes, she can explain every aspect of reality in a ‘matter centric’ paradigm.
This paper intents to delve into why the above and other such unverified paradigms or presumptions make Science equal in many ways similar to religions, and her theories similar to popular myths of mankind, but of course the most dominant ones.
Besides taking up all these major presumption for detailed discussion, the paper will also introduce a ‘faculty of mind’ that science was using in all her inferences from her very inception days but without giving it any due credit, or even acknowledging its role in giving science her famed ‘certainty’ of findings. I am referring to the ‘sense-organ’ role of our faculty of Reason. Of course the role of our external sense organs are well acclaimed by science in her empirical method, but her acceptance is due for the role of the just mentioned role of faculty of reason too, in a sense organ role. This will remain one of the chief areas of emphasis in this paper.
If she is open enough to accept the ‘sense organ’ role of Reason, it might compel her to review her method, as she might be compelled to accept the existence of a ‘new variable’ in her scheme of things. What this mystery sense organ reveals ( or sense) is a novel category of existential ‘order’. It is the category of ‘order’ that helps Reason to detect and then pass all theories of science as ‘consistent’ with the evidences or arguments presented in support of the theory! More details on this aspect will be discussed when we take up this particular subject at a later portion of this paper.
Now let us start.
Though science in its institutionalized form today was the net outcome of the scientific-spirit that blossomed in the 15th and 16th centuries, it appears that she has abandoned this spirit altogether, and opted to sit proudly upon the huge bundle of her technological achievements!
To cite a few examples, let us first take up the question of the beginning of the universe according to scientific explanation. It says the whole was a ‘quantum vacuum field’ in the beginning, and it exploded in a Big Bang some 16 billion years ago. Stephen Hawking describes this smart logic of science, by evading what is un-knowable, and then taking-up only that is within the quantifiable realm:
‘This discovery (the big bang) finally brought the question of the beginning of universe into the realm of science […] in the sense that earlier times simply would not be defined’ (Hawking. Stephen. A brief history of time,1992, 12,Bantam Books, UK)
Science simply ignores the fundamental of a pure logic, that when inferences are drawn after discarding any factor of the superstructure of any organization, it cannot be fully true about the infrastructure, because both aspects together make-up the reality. Both cannot be independent of each other, stand-alone entities.
Take one more example, the theory of biological evolution, the stand of science about the origin of life and its gradual progress. According to science, it all caused out of a pure accident some 3-4 billion years ago. By the falling of sun rays, or a spark from a lightening falling upon a ‘primordial soup’ of water minerals, life had suddenly emerged in the form of an organic protein molecule. The rest of the story was constructed and told by Charles Darwin, and it has become the scientific explanation of life and its gradual evolutionary process. Science always depends on some or other superstitious story at its superstructure level to explain the infrastructure level reality. Theory of evolution is one of the most rigid scientific dogmas of the day that all other theories of science attempts to correlate itself with it.
Some of the grave philosophical and logical inconsistencies of the evolution theory have been brought out by a Google blogger, Abraham J. Palakudy in one of his blogs:
‘Man, animals and plants are aggregates of live cells. It is the cell that mutate to bring forth evolutionary changes. Now the question is, what triggers the mutation? Is it a pre-designed, pre-determined periodical routine of nature, or the sudden changes in the habitat of living units that trigger the need for mutation for better adaptation’?
What the author argues is that the consciousness of living organisms, whether it is an ameba or a human being, is never heard to have the foresight or will to mutate it self, in order to adapt efficiently with its habitat. They are absolutely incapable of imagining what mutated form would help it to cope with the new habitat. So, we are compelled to believe that it was nature herself who had wished to mutate, in order to adapt to her own periodical course of massive environmental changes! The hero as well as villain in the story of evolution is nature herself?
In all practical sense, it has adopted rather a dogmatic stance on the physical base of reality, abandoning the old spirit of openness, pure objectivity, and absence of prejudices. At least its ordinary followers (or believers?) get agitated at the very mention of anything other than a physical explanation of the reality of existence and life. One of the chief goals of this paper is to strongly argue, that it may not be the supernatural realm of God in its religions given image that might be there up above and beyond the physical dogma of science, but a more realistic realm of pure sense!
Can this pure faculty of ‘sense’ (faculty of Reason as a sense organ) ever accept the story of science, that ‘existence has born from a tiny ‘quantum vacuum field’? No, because there is no sensible explanation as to how such a tiny ‘quantum vacuum field’ happened to be there as the beginning of the whole! Science is unwilling to answer such questions, because she has built a thick wall between what is observable and unobservable, or knowable and unknowable! Can we live on forever with our ever agitating sense of reason, believing in such make believe stories?
This paper intends to delve deeply into the blind presumptions behind science’s having been adopted the above stand. The paper also will attempt to expose the weak base behind such unverified presumptions.
What are the chief foundational assumptions of Philosophy of science?
The following are the chief unverified presumptions of science that led science to claim physical base for the whole reality: ( sourced from Wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_science)
‘The following basic assumptions are needed to justify the scientific method.
that there is an objective reality shared by all rational observers. "The basis for rationality is acceptance of an external objective reality." "Objective reality is clearly an essential thing if we are to develop a meaningful perspective of the world. Nevertheless its very existence is assumed." "Our belief that objective reality exist is an assumption that it arises from a real world outside of ourselves. As infants, we made this assumption unconsciously. People are happy to make this assumption that adds meaning to our sensations and feelings, than live with solipsism. Without this assumption, there would be only the thoughts and images in our own mind (which would be the only existing mind) and there would be no need of science, or anything else."
More over, one of the chief findings of Quantum mechanics was the ‘absence’ of any strict ‘objective reality’ in the world. Every reality occurs in a unique synergy between the observing subject and the observed object.
Now, even after clear indication and overt reference to this effect from senior physicists, that the era of the above myth is over, ever since the opposite evidences experienced from the high-energy physics field of experiments, mainstream science is yet to implement this very important finding in her day to day work and approach.
The following quotes from Fritjof Capra’s best seller book ‘The Tao of Physics’, self-explains the above referred revolutionary shift:
‘as we penetrate into matter, nature does not show us any isolated ‘basic building blocks’, but rather appears as a complicated web of relations between the various parts of the whole. These relations always include the observer in an essential way’…
The properties of any atomic object can only be understood in terms of the object’s interaction with the observer’
Niels Bohr, another veteran physicist supports it:
‘isolated material particles are abstractions, their properties being definable and observable only through their interactions with other systems’ ( book ‘ Tao of Physics, Fritjof Capra)
‘Natural science does not simply describe and explain nature; it is part of the interplay between nature and ourselves’ (ibid)
Carlo Rovelli, a modern theoretical physicist, keeps a slightly different stand. He believes, philosophy of science is all about accepting that no theory is absolute and final. She should be open to accept paradigm shifts any time:
“I'm throwing down an open door if I say it here, but restricting our vision of reality today on just the core content of science or the core content of humanities is just being blind to the complexity of reality that we can grasp from a number of points of view, which talk to one another enormously, and which I believe can teach one another enormously”
But is it the reality about philosophy of science? Is she ever willing to accept all points of views, especially about her core beliefs?
We should certainly include the stand of Thomas Kuhn also, on ‘objective’ world. He got and exposed the crux of the issue. He pinpointed the role of the scientific community of any given age for defining the ‘paradigm’ under which ‘puzzles of science’ are solved. What science solves has nothing to do with the ultimate truth of existence as an undeniable phenomenon, but what confronts this ‘community’ asking for solutions. Following link seems explaining Kuhn’s stand on ‘objective reality’ very clearly:
How the pathetically ‘subjective’ man created the myth of ‘objective’ reality? A sensible answer is attempted by the previously referred Google blogger Abraham J.Palakudy, in his following paper:
It should become clear to mankind from now on that, our science is only our own species’ ‘collectively’ subjective knowledge system, perhaps akin to possible knowledge systems prevalent among many animal species. We know how monkeys had developed a smart system of using plant reeds for sipping honey from places not accessible by their hands. Capuchin monkeys are famous for their keeping a flat stone and a hammer stone for breaking hard-shelled nuts. They also have acquired a smart system of rolling down heavy stones from mountaintops to scare away predator leopards!
We should also remember the peculiar mind-set of men who had developed science. Western society got suffocated under the long centuries of Church hegemony. Mind was restless to get free, and fly out into freedom! So scientific method had adopted whatever was directly opposite to church’s dogmas; ie, stories associated with the fuzzy, divine, God created world of Christianity. So, science adopted the stand, that world was a measurable and empirically real place, leaving all divinity associated with Church’s stories.
Telescope like high-tech instruments that enhanced the range of eyes manifold had reiterated the confidence of man! Galileo saw sun, planets and earth very close, using his telescope. A new confidence, rather a new philosophy had naturally emerged with the base assumption, that the entire cosmos could be one day turn out to be an observable, measurable, objective, physical place!
The above-referred paper of Abraham J. Palakudy might explain the rest of the story, how ‘objectivity’ had emerged among humankind as the chief criterion and category of reality.
that this objective reality is governed by natural laws; "Science, at least today, assumes that the universe obeys to knowable principles that don't depend on time or place, nor on subjective parameters such as what we think, know or how we behave." Hugh Gauch argues that science presupposes that "the physical world is orderly and comprehensible."
Natural laws were created by man and his science from the middle of a story, without touching any sensible beginning or end. He might be often observing a ‘sequences’ in a process where one event usually follows the other. For example, in the process of having rains, its starts with heat of the sun evaporating seawater and then forming clouds. These clouds when gets condensed and heavy in their long journey, it falls down to earth due to own gravity, and we call it rain. So here many natural laws are in operation, such as water turning into vapour by heat, and then clouds moved by the wind, and then these clouds get heavier with water droplets, and finally water droplets fall down to earth due to gravity. This process happens for millions of centuries, and it was science that explained this process. We know, having rain has a sequence of individual causes.
Science often attributes cause of water droplets and moisture accumulation in the atmosphere to heat of sun, and water falling from sky as rain to gravity etc. Many of her laws are thus attribution of a previous event in a natural sequences as ‘cause’, instead of providing final causes! We all know, such final cause if she probes, will automatically land her at the door of metaphysics!
But she never accompanies the story till its very beginning, the ultimate cause realm! Man, animals and plants need water and rain to sustain their lives. Then there is a sensible system of climate on earth. These series of natural laws when pursued till their ultimate ‘cause’ realm, throws the process outside the realm of Science! It immediately lands her at various ‘why’ questions of existence like why man, animals and plants are here, why are they water dependent etc. She always avoids this ultimate realm of final causes for attempting sensible answers. Or she answers them with speculative stories exactly like stories of religions!
Here we straight away lands at the question of ‘universal premise’, a logical necessity for every sensible inference. What are the ‘universal premise’ science keep? How can we explain the beginning of everything? Can there be a ‘quantum vacuum field’ originated from nowhere?
So, here we will be forced to accept that, what science does is only chosen ‘puzzle’ solving, as Kuhn had said. Dr. Arthur Eddington, veteran scientist ( he was also acclaimed as a philosopher of science!) of yesteryears had also sounded a similar opinion:
“ the external world of physics has been formulated as an answer to a particular problem encountered in human experience…as he might take up a cross-word problem encountered in a newspaper. His sole business is to see that the problem is correctly solved’
the scheme of physics is now formulated in such a way as to make it almost self-evident that it is a partial aspect of something wider’
( Eddington. Sir Arthur. Nature of the physical world. .’ Philosophers of Science’.Edit. Saxe Commins and Robert N.Linscot. Modern Pocket Library. (?)424, New York)
Stephen Hawking, the recently expired veteran scientist also sounded something similar:
‘if everything in the universe depends on everything else in a fundamental way, it might be impossible to get close to a full solution by investigating’ parts’ of the problem in isolation’
(Hawking. Stephen. A brief history of time,1992, 12.Bantam Books, UK)
The above words of the most senior men of science clearly revel the nature of the scientific explanations of the world; they are explanations of localized realities, a few among an infinite number of them. It cannot claim any knowledge of whatever is the whole reality.
that reality can be discovered by means of systematic observation and experimentation. Stanley Sobottka said, "The assumption of external reality is necessary for science to function and to flourish. For the most part, science is the discovering and explaining of the external world." "Science attempts to produce knowledge that is as universal and objective as possible within the realm of human understanding."
Here the central point is how science chooses hypotheses? Several scientists choose their subjects of interests for research for reasons particular to their circumstances of life. Then the process of experiment or research begins. What is this process of research or experiment?
I think what another veteran scientist Dr. Alfred North Whitehead had said would answer this question very aptly:
“ Discussions on the method of science wander off onto the topic of experiment. But experiment is nothing else than a mode ok cooking the facts for the sake of exemplifying the law”.
(Whitehead .Albert North. Essay. Foresight.Chap.V1.part.1.’Essays in Philosophy’. Edit. Houston Peterson.1974,367.New York. Pocket Books)
that Nature has uniformity of laws and most if not all things in nature must have at least a natural cause. Biologist Stephen Jay Gould referred to these two closely related propositions as the constancy of nature's laws and the operation of known processes. Simpson agrees that the axiom of uniformity of law, an un-provable postulate, is necessary in order for scientists to extrapolate inductive inference into the unobservable past in order to meaningfully study it.
We already touched this point when we had discussed the common error of mistaking an event that takes place prior in a ‘sequence’ as its ‘cause’, and often ignoring the ultimate cause of the events, considering them as outside the realm of science. Love to share here a paper on this trend of finding ‘causes’ in the many sequence phenomenon in the world, at link: http://anatomyofrealities.blogspot.com/2010/
( author Abraham J.Palakudy, Google blogger.com)
that experimental procedures will be done satisfactorily without any deliberate or unintentional mistakes that will influence the results.
On this experimental process also, we have seen above what veteran scientist Dr. Whitehead had said.
‘experiments are a ‘mode of cooking evidences’ to exemplify the theory in hand’
that experimenters won't be significantly biased by their presumptions.
We know,’ not to be biased’ etc are basically moral values. Can we mix up moral values with pure science? How can a scientist remain unbiased when his chief motto is to collect evidence to exemplify the theory in hand? If he encounters an evidence or a variable that directly points to a different conclusion, will he grab it and ignore his ‘suitable’ evidence collection exercise? If he abandon his hypothesis in hand and grab the new piece of evidence, it will hurt his career, as new ‘paradigm shifts’ are herculean task today! We know even after many years of introducing Quantum principles, classical physics is yet to come to terms with the ground-breaking paradigm shift! ‘Shut up and count’ is now a famous satire on this dilemma among its men!
7. that random sampling is representative of the entire population. A simple random sample (SRS) is the most basic probabilistic option used for creating a sample from a population. The benefit of SRS is that the investigator is guaranteed to choose a sample that represents the population that ensures statistically valid conclusions.[55
This system of generalisation from observed samples is the backbone of modern science. When all observed heavenly bodies have been found spherical, we generalise that, all heavenly bodies must be spherical. But we know, generalisation has its limitations and weaknesses. Science, if she claims to be open, should admit it.
An additional foundational presumptions of science also can be added and discussed here:
8. Sense organs of man and smart observations using them are the whole and sole source of primary human knowledge. Nothing in the mind is inherent,(?) but whatever man does are learned behavioural traits.
This is the moment this author would like to introduce man’s faculty of Reason in its ‘sense organ’ role that science always, in each of her inference, was using since her inception!
What exactly are our sense organs? This is a very serious subject directly linked to epistemology, the question of how do man knows.
Epistemology, and the base question it handles, that is, ‘why is knowledge’ is mired in utter confusion and controversies. There are scores of different schools, studies and theories that it will be impossible to arrive at a final answer at the end. A good picture of these various theories, schools and studies is available at link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemology
If a true seeker of knowledge, with a genuine desire to know who he is, and why he is here in life seeking knowledge can leave all the hundreds of these ‘true, justified beliefs’ (an old, accepted definition of knowledge) and attempt to find answer to his above base questions will find our ‘sense organs’ the primary source of all knowledge.
If we go on analysing ‘true, justified believes non-stop, he will reach nowhere as John. I. Pollock has rightly said:
‘... to justify a belief one must appeal to a further justified belief. This means that one of two things can be the case. Either there are some beliefs that we can be justified for holding, without being able to justify them on the basis of any other belief, or else for each justified belief there is an infinite regress of (potential) justification [the nebula theory]. On this theory there is no rock bottom of justification. Justification just meanders in and out through our network of beliefs, stopping nowhere’.
It is easy to find that, above issue is basically an issue between categories of ‘subjective’ and ‘objective’ knowledge. ‘Justified true belief’ of a person when brought to the public realm for analysing it as a theme of ‘objective’ study, the very subject of study transforms into a different ‘category’, altering the nature of the original subject itself! Quantum mechanics has distinctly and clearly taught mankind, that man and mankind are not equipped by Nature for any objective knowledge. Man is basically and fundamentally a subject and he can have only subjective knowledge, the unique synergies between he and what he observe. A link above referred was a very specific study on this subject:
Next, If open minds look at ‘a priori’ and ‘posteriori’ classical distinctions of knowledge, they will find that there is no sensible base to that distinction. Raw sense data when perceived by newborn babies, or first human beings in history, makes no sense at all as he/she will be like a passive mirror! When he becomes an aggregate of different sense data, and after his gaining a ‘sense of self’, he becomes able to make sense of the ‘sense’ perceptions. Besides the objects in external world, there are certain very real objects directly that of the mind, as described in following post of Abraham J.Palakudy at Google blogger.com: http://unrecognizedobjectsofthemind.blogspot.com/2012/09/certain-unrecognized-objects-of-mind.html
If he lives in a community with a language, then his sense data gains sense and meaning. His gaining a ‘sense of self’ is his first ever, real ‘experience’ in life! It is this ‘self’ who go on gaining more experiences. So, ‘a priori’ distinction for knowledge was conceived on very wrong footing!
There was no serious study yet on how man gains his sense of self. Science always believed, sense of self is the product of human brain. She kept this belief because, she believed in the physical foundation of everything. A sensible explanation as to how Nature might have schemed the origin of the ‘sense of self’ of man is attempted in the following paper, by the already referred author, Abraham J.Palakudy: http://unrecognizedobjectsofthemind.blogspot.com/2018/09/self-and-identity-we-can-not-understand.html
Here the crux of the hurdle that clouds philosophy of science as well as science her self is, these great disciplines represent a mythical perceiving subject, man, in a synthetic, non existing identity! It is the problem of a constituent component of a ‘whole’ perceiving itself as the ‘whole’ it self! Or a boy tries to identify himself as an adult. A boy has to wait for more physical and emotional maturity to understand the ways of an adult! A component in a ‘whole’ has its own localised functions only. It can never adopt the role of the whole.
A leaf if attempts to grasp how the tree (a leaf is one of the constituent components of the whole, the tree) lives with its wholesome needs, will she succeed? Perhaps No. Similarly, if a boy, how hard he tries to grasp the emotional and physical needs of an adult, will he succeed? The boy is not physically and emotionally an adult yet. So, he may have to wait for many years to turn an adult and grasp his adult ways and needs! These are simple examples cited to understand man’s hurdles in grasping epistemology wholesomely. He is a constituent component, or a particular component like one of the millions of cells in the human body. A person is a unique knowing unit in existence. His self might be under unique relation with the whole, like each cell in the body is uniquely related first to the particular organ it constitute, and then the whole human body. So, if science believes herself representing the whole humankind, it is factually wrong and fallacious as distinctly and clearly explained in the above- referred paper on ‘self and identity’. When science speaks as if she represents mankind, factually she represents only the community of scientists. This was a central item in Thomas Kuhn’s views on Science.
Of course when Hitler asserted that he represents the whole German-people, it included all those had fallen for his powerful rhetoric, perhaps a good percentage of them! Similar is the story about present day America under Trump, or India under Modi! These leaders were able to mesmerise their majority population with their powerful rhetoric, and taking help of advanced mind-manipulation and propaganda techniques! People are very susceptible to powerful suggestions, as the discipline of Hypnosis vouch. No doubt, reason behind the similar influence of Science among majority of educated world population is not different; her glory and prestige is not less than that of above leaders. She has a ‘tribal’, dangerous influence over modern human minds!
Sense organs and their unique role in epistemology
Science perhaps is under the impression, that man’s sense organs are capable of grasping wholesome objective reality about the entire universe, what ever it might be. But look closely at our sense organs and that of other animals and plants and we will realize, they are there to keep each species in a unique kind of life experience. The category of ‘sight’ that eyes revels to us or that of smell ‘nose’ revels, can be seen as very carefully and particularly chosen experiences that Nature provided. Observe their range. If eyes could see world of microbes or distant stars, would normal life been possible? Or if ears picked up ultra sound signals and sounds from distances, similarly normal life wouldn’t have been possible.
Evolution theorists might argue, it was all work of the forces of survival. Answers to these arguments have already been shared above from the very specific paper of Abraham J.Palakudy.
Our sense organs seem giving us only such chosen categories of existence, that gives us our particular experience of life. She ( Nature) might have various other dimensions and categories too, that she has not thought fit to share with man.
Now coming to the role of a very important, not yet identified and recognised sense organ. Eyes, ears, tongue, skin and nose gives us signals from the external world. These sense signals have no inherent ‘sense’, as they are unrelated to each other. Man was able to make languages out of these signals, linking them with certain specific sounds and scripts. Still the much-required ‘sense’ factor, the unity between different sense signals, was absent.
We know the reality of life we experience is the result of certain relation, certain unity between what these different sense organs gives us. The sound of a lion was linked with the sight of this particular animal. The word lion also was linked to the object. Our languages are the result of this smart unification of sense signals.
We have a special write up on these exclusive role of sense organs in giving man his experience world by Google blogger Abraham J.Palakudy: http://thesparkleofhumanreason.blogspot.com/2016/07/sense-organs-of-man-are-they-natures.html
Now take up the much acclaimed role of intuition in epistemology. The way hypotheses reach mind, the way we grasp mathematical relations ( 2 two times makes 4, hence 2 million plus 2 million will make 4 millions etc) are attributed to man’s intuitive faculty.
Wikipedia article quoted above on epistemology has following reference on intuition: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemology)
“The idea of a priori knowledge is that it is based on ‘intuition’ or rational insights. Laurence Bon Jour says in his article "The Structure of Empirical Knowledge", that a "rational insight is an immediate, non-inferential grasp, apprehension or 'seeing' that some proposition is necessarily true."
This author had worked on how science fixes certainty to her theories and found at the end of a three decade research and contemplation, that faculty of Reason indeed acts in a ‘sense organ’ role not only in every scientific inference and acts of arriving at theories, but also it is the mystery seat of human intuition. In fact, every sense organ of man is a particular door of nature, sharing her mystery categories. We don’t know what all are her full range of categories. We don’t know what existence is in real terms. We are passive carriers of her given categories, whether they are sight, sound etc, and perhaps an all controlling another sense organ, giving us the much essential category of plain ‘sense’. It is this plain ‘sense’ that we earlier called ‘consistency’/unity/order between evidence/arguments and the scientific theory.
In every event of an inference including a scientific inference, evidences and arguments are presented to prove the theory. Or an analogy is presented. But will the logical connection between the presented evidence/arguments and the theory be proved naturally? If a man is blind, taking him near a horse will help him grasp the object? The need of a ‘sense organ’ to detect the logical connection, or the logical consistency/unity/order here is essential! For a blind person, it is difficult to grasp the idea of horse fully. Or, without tongue, it is difficult to differentiate between sweet taste and bitter taste.
The logic here can be like this; if someone perceives a tree, it proves the existence of the eyes. Here the need is to identify logical connection or consistency/unity/order as a distinct category in existence, similar to that of sight, smell or taste. Without the existence of this mystery ‘sense organ’, man wouldn’t have been able to detect or experience ‘sense’ of what he see, hear, smell, taste and touch. In short, it is the category of plain ‘sense’ that faculty of Reason detects and provides to man!
We can claim, man has mind, intelligence or understanding etc to grasp the said the logical connection in inference needs. But they are vague claims. The sense organ role of Reason is not any claim on supernatural! It is only an improvement on knowledge of man’s inherent faculties!
Yes, we fix the veracity of our scientific theories taking help from one of our inherent faculties, the ‘sense organ’ faculty of our Reason, that always senses the ‘consistency/unity/ or order’ factor that exists between presented evidence, argument or analogy! We are very late in recognizing this vital role of the faculty of reason, but it is natural in our very slow process towards intellectual maturity!.
If we understand the role of our faculty of reason at close angles, it will solve not only what is the intuition issue, but also how science fixes certainty of her theories.
This sense organ role of our faculty of reason has following links for its complete explanation: https://isreasonasenseorgan.blogspot.com/2013/09/is-reason-internal-sense-organ-super.html
The theme has a book also to offer full explanation at Amazone.com, both digital and printed versions:
E.Book version: : http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008NOEE9I
This insight into the way science fixes certainty to her theories could and should alter the way philosophy of science works. She should consider it as an inadvertently ignored ‘variable’ in the process of scientific method, now accepted!
She can order physical probes also if she so desires to prove the ‘sense organ’ role of the faculty of Reason, by modern brain radiography methods.
Faculty of Reason perhaps has TWO distinct properties;
1) Reason’s faculty that we have just identified and discussed, ie, its role of detecting the ‘sense factor’ in all logical ‘induction’ and ‘deduction’ acts. It does the same function in ‘analogies’ too.
2) Second is its ‘prismatic’ function. We must have noticed, whenever a new ray of thought disturbs us, whether a scientific issue or personal, when our intention is to find a solution, we get a ‘spectrum’ of all options, possibilities and sub-ideas instantly, or gradually when we sleep over the issue. We often feel that, it is our analysing prowess that has given us the results. But if we humble enough to see through the process, we will find that the analysed picture has simply dropped into our mind from nowhere! Our part was simply being persistent. For scientists, this function of Reason often breaks their old conclusions into their further sub-ideas and possibilities. This often destroys old theories, by the arrival of new evidence and insights! Scientists will be here pressurised to conduct new tests and form new theories. If he goes ahead with live persistence, all his old view-points and theories will go on bursting one after other!
This was what exactly happened when Church had fallen and minds of Western man suddenly were able to fly its own. But sadly, this ever- open process of the ‘spectrum’ function of Reason often gets stopped when man sits over any one of his theories thinking, he has found the truth. This is how science turns dogmatic and stagnant. Mind is capable of arriving at the ultimate truth about existence provided he goes on searching non-stop.
It requires only a little open contemplation for the scientific discipline to detect this special faculty of reason. But as said earlier, individual scientists often unfortunately consider his achievements a result of his own intellectual prowess!.
Here, this author would like to share with readers, answer to a lingering question science always raise; is there any inherent energies or ‘drives’ that directs human behaviour? It is an important question because it even explains why man seeks truth, sense and reality always. Answer to the question is integral to ‘why he acquires his ‘sense of self’? Abraham J.Palakudy, Google blogger, seems giving an answer at link: http://unrecognizedobjectsofthemind.blogspot.com/2013/07/existential-drives-of-man.html
Additional evidence to prove, faculty of Reason indeed has a sense organ role
Following are additional explanations, why this mystery faculty indeed is a sense organ, and it is perhaps a direct door towards not yet known secrets of existence! There is no logic in believing that existence has kept her doors closed towards man, and he is unable to understand her ever. Can we only go on making speculative theories ever? I specially invite readers’ keen attention towards the answers to the ‘why’ question referred above in the paper of Abraham J.Palakudy.
Once we are ready to accept this sense organ role of our faculty of Reason, its other roles and potentials also will naturally surface.
Now let us observe other similarities of our known sense organs with reason.
Like our eyes and ears exhibit certain ‘like’ preferences or ‘predilections’, Reason also exhibit similar vital predilections, like Kant had hinted. Eyes’ preference for ‘aesthetic’ ambience is popular, as the similar predilection of ears for melodies as opposed to nagging, disturbing sounds. Tongue’s almost universal predilection for sweet taste is also famous. It’s dislikes are also universal, too bitter and too sour tastes!
Similarly, man universally experience an inherent ‘compulsion’ (or urge) for justice, order, knowledge and truth. Science and religions originated in the world due to this inherent ‘compulsion’ or predilections born out of some inner force that now we recognize as from our ‘inner-sense organ’ of Reason!
These predilections are similar to the predilections of our external sense organs. So they are offered here as a proof, that Reason is a sense organ.
Why the current pluralistic tradition kills the urge for a singular, wholesome truth, whether science or philosophy?
We all know, today the trend is showcasing every stream of thought and idea, in the pluralistic tradition. We have a general conviction that something called ultimate truth is absent, or it is un-accessible by man and his intelligence. So, the only practical way is to live peacefully with the tradition of plurality or multiculturalism, ie, giving opportunity to all viewpoints to sustain equally, with same relevance.
We have a specific contemporary paper on the subject from the same thinker, Abraham J.Palakudy, at link:http://dangersofpluralisticworldview.blogspot.com/2012/07/intellectual-dangers-of-pluralistic.html
But can philosophy of science too adopt the same trend? Looking at the current scenario, it seems she too follows the same trend. We have today many different theories about the ultimate physical reality proposed by many specialist men of physics, such as given in the following link: (a paper by Rudolf Haag)
Structure and substance paradigm:
We have discussed above that our sense organs seems to be specially devised openings to external world, meant to give us a ‘predetermined’ experience realm. They are not devises to provide us ultimate objective reality about the phenomenon of existence.
But what gives us some hope is only our yet to be fully understood ‘sense organ’ of Reason! It may not be meant for giving us knowledge of ultimate physical reality as knowledge of physical reality might NOT at all required by man. Perhaps what is central to existence is not the physical reality. ‘Physical’ element could perhaps only its ‘structural’ or architectural realm. The ‘substance’ of existence might be something much beyond and independent of its structure.
A close, open look at the preliminary working of atoms etcetera will give us necessary clue of this fact. Besides its physical functioning, it certainly carries certain ‘software’ commands, that controls the former. The issue with our science of physics is that she ignores this software element! She doesn’t want to recognize such a realm, perhaps because it might land her and her discipline into alien, unfamiliar fields! She appears reluctant for such a ground breaking ‘paradigm shift’!
What she can do is to discard the fear of entertaining any ‘faith’ realm that she had discarded with the rejection of Church hegemony centuries ago. Here, it might be a realm even beyond that of religions and their almighty God! Existence could be very well a realm not alien to science if she agrees to discard her obstinacy that ultimate reality of world should not be anything other than ‘physical’ or inorganic! It is quite possible that the ultimate reality of life and existence could be inclusive of an emotional content also! Means, existence need not be a worship and virtue seeking, almighty God’s realm, but a realm that perhaps our ‘sense organ faculty’ of Reason could easily be connected with in its range of understanding!
In order to introduce the subject of the above said ‘structure and substance’ paradigm to truly open minded readers, would like to share the following link, once again that of the Google blogger, Abraham J.Palakudy:
It is not that such thoughts are alien to academic men of philosophy. Recently this author came across a study by Prof. John Schellenberg (Mount Saint Vincent University, Canada) that he called ‘Ultimism’. Though he tries to present the concept as an idea in between theism, atheism and skeptical religion, the end result is the introduction of an ultimate realm of reality on the lines described above, a realm unrelated to any almighty God, but a plainly sensible realm that could be entertained even by science if she truly opens up.
There are two articles of Abraham J.Palakudy on the need of a ‘science of spirituality’ sans the almighty image of God, at links:
An introduction to the ‘world’ concept we create with our all and sundry ideas, that in-turn helps us to constitute our own ‘sense of self’
Why we are very badly entangled in between all and sundry ideas we create, without a clear way out to determine what is the ultimate truth? We have seen at a paper by Abraham J. Palakudy referred above on ‘self and identity’, that it (sense of self) was the result of a smart ploy of nature. We get our ‘sense of self’ from other people around us, or its collective, the ‘world’. Whatever our public institutions like media, politics, philosophy, science etc create and fill our public realm constitutes the product of the ‘world’. Though we tend to believe that it is an objective realm, in reality, it is not! We simply draw from it ‘subjectively’, and live around with our particularly drawn concept or the bubble of the world! It is a ‘live’ conceptual third person (a spirit) living with us, giving us the much required sense of momentum and vibrancy in life. It helps us to have the much-required ‘material’ for spending our tenure of life.
Mainstream knowledge world is yet to know and accept the role of this concept of the ‘world’.
A link that explains this realm is here: http://selfandworldblogs.blogspot.com/2015/03/is-world-absolute-object-or-relative.html
Perhaps we, human beings are not existentially required to lead any ideal life, within an ideal society. Our lives are perhaps unique, personal deals with existence, with no element of ‘objectivity’ anywhere. Each of us might be expected to develop our own sense of reality for ourselves and spend our tenure. As hinted above, logic is all about having a sensible ‘mother premise’,(universal premise) and deriving our world view from it naturally, consistent with it. It means, answer to a vital ‘why’ question is much needed for all of us to work as our ‘universal premise’, ie, a universal premise for one and all human beings. In such a case, we might all develop a singular sense of reality and live with it, discarding the need for any, perhaps non-existing, physical theory of the whole.
Quantum physics has repeatedly shown, that ‘objective’ physical world is not a viable notion. Perhaps the real model of the ‘whole’ may be similar to the ‘sense or reality of self’ experienced by two genuine, romantic love partners; their new ‘sense of self’ is mutually given, not independent of the other person.
If science opens up to recognize this new paradigm of structure and substance, she might be able to lead this great ‘paradigm shift’.
Following is an attempt for a sensible answer to the vital why question: http://newphilosophyoflife.blogspot.com/2018/05/why-life-why-existence.html
Why only science can lead the world towards such a paradigm shift? http://taskofpreservingbestofheritages.blogspot.com/2017/05/note-this-paper-was-submitted-at.html
Important References :
Palakudy J. Abraham, his blog site at Google blogger.com https://www.blogger.com/profile/14249415589712707293
Whitehead .Albert North.1974..’Essays in Philosophy’. Edit.Houston Peterson.,367.New York. Pocket Books
Russell.Bertrand. 1974. ‘Essays in Philosophy’ Edit. Houston Petrseon.,297, 293.New York. Pocket Books
Capra.Fritjof. 1979, The Tao of Physics. Chaucer Press, 71,141,144,Bungay, Suffolk
Hawking. Stephen.1992, A brief history of time,12.Bantam Books. UK
Eddington. Sir Arthur( ?) Nature of the physical world. .’ Philosophers of Science’.Edit. Saxe Commins and Robert N.Linscot. Modern Pocket Library. (?)424, New York
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemology) ( Wikipedia)
https://www.edge.org/conversation/carlo_rovelli-science-is-not-about-certainty-a-philosophy-of-physics)( Carlo Rovelli)