[iDC] reading list // religious mediated spaces

Ellis Godard egodard at csun.edu
Sat Sep 16 20:00:07 EDT 2006

However... An empiricist ontology and scientific epistemology work both to
bound belief with an openness to falsification (addressing Feyerabend's
point) and to help recognize paradigmatic resistence to successful
challenges (permitting Kuhn's observations). 

No doubt, Feyerabend and Kuhn believed in the possibilities of observation,
description, comparison, and reduction - but those beliefs do not put
*absolute* limits on their observations, descriptions, comparisons, and

Simon is thus wrong to suggest that belief is absent - but not that a
science (as an institution, if not as a practice) depends on eternal


P.S. I highly, and frequently, recommend reading Lakatos on methodological
falsificationism, a near-perfect sliver of philosophical reasoning.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: idc-bounces at bbs.thing.net
> [mailto:idc-bounces at bbs.thing.net] On Behalf Of John Saccà
> Sent: Saturday, September 09, 2006 4:20 PM
> To: Simon Biggs
> Cc: idc at bbs.thing.net
> Subject: Re: [iDC] reading list // religious mediated spaces
> 2006/9/9, Simon Biggs <simon at littlepig.org.uk>:
> > To me it seems
> > a given that science depends on an eternally sceptical view
> of data of
> > any kind. In such a context belief must be absent.
> This view of science was refuted long ago by Thomas Kuhn and
> Paul Feyerabend, among others.  As Feyerabend pointed out (in 
> his _Philosophical Papers_), the terms in which any 
> scientific observation is expressed inevitably depend on a 
> metaphysical ontology.  For example, in order to count 
> things, you have to believe that the universe is constituted 
> in such a way that there are discrete entites that can be counted.
> Science cannot be exempt from Wittgenstein's observation that
> the use of language depends, at some point, on an 
> unjustifiable belief that the words we use have coherent meanings.
> In very practical terms, as Kuhn showed in _The Structure of
> Scientific Revolutions_, the pursuit of what he called 
> "normal science" depends on belief in a paradigm that 
> justifies the costs and risks involved in undertaking certain 
> kinds of research rather than others.  Far from being an 
> unfettered pursuit of scepticism, "normal science" (i.e. 
> almost all science) seeks mainly to extend the application of 
> an existing paradigm, whose validity is taken for granted.  
> "Revolutionary science" occurs when one paradigm is abandoned 
> in favour of another.  But the strength of belief in the old 
> paradigm, so necessary for the social cohesion of scientific 
> disciplines, often makes scientists resist revolutions with 
> all their might.
> John
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