Essays about technology and science

Links "This book is so much more than the title would suggest.

Essays about technology and science

This was the conclusion reached a number of decades ago by Karl Popper, one of the most influential philosophers of science.

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He thought long and hard about it and proposed a simple criterion: For a notion to be considered scientific it would have to be shown that, at the least in principle, it could be demonstrated to be false, if it were, in fact false.

Here is how in Conjectures and Refutations he differentiated among Einstein on one side, and Freud, Adler and Marx on the other: Even if our measuring instruments at the time did not allow us to pronounce on the results of the tests with complete assurance, there was clearly a possibility of refuting the theory.

The Marxist theory of history, in spite of the serious efforts of some of its founders and followers, ultimately adopted [a] soothsaying practice. In some of its earlier formulations … their predictions were testable, and in fact falsified. Yet instead of accepting the refutations the followers of Marx re-interpreted both the theory and the evidence in order to make them agree.

The two psycho-analytic theories were in a different class. They were simply non-testable, irrefutable. There was no conceivable human behaviour which could contradict them … I personally do not doubt that much of what they say is of considerable importance, and may well play its part one day in a psychological science which is testable.

And if the theory had been tested in as was originally plannedit would have been apparently falsified. Life, and science, are complicated. This is all good and well, but why should something written near the beginning of last century by a philosopher — however prominent — be of interest today?

Well, you might have heard of string theory.

Essays about technology and science

In fact, string theory is better described as a general framework — the most mathematically sophisticated one available at the moment — to resolve a fundamental problem in modern physics: Physicists agree that this means that either theory, or both, are therefore wrong or incomplete.

String theory is one attempt at reconciling the two by subsuming both into a broader theoretical framework. There is only one problem: Surprisingly, the ongoing, increasingly public and acerbic diatribe often centres on the ideas of one Karl Popper.

What, exactly, is going on? The organiser, Richard Dawid, of the University of Stockholm, is a philosopher of science with a strong background in theoretical physics.

He is also a proponent of a highly speculative, if innovative, type of epistemology that supports the efforts of string theorists and aims at shielding them from the accusation of engaging in flights of mathematical fancy decoupled from any real science.

My role there was to make sure that participants — an eclectic mix of scientists and philosophers, with a Nobel winner thrown in the mix — were clear on something I teach in my introductory course in philosophy of science: In the months preceding the workshop, a number of high profile players in the field had been using all sorts of means — from manifesto-type articles in the prestigious Nature magazine to Twitter — to pursue a no-holds-barred public relations campaign to wrestle, or retain, control of the soul of contemporary fundamental physics.

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Let me give you a taste of the exchange, to set the mood: This surprisingly blunt — and very public — talk from prestigious academics is what happens when scientists help themselves to, or conversely categorically reject, philosophical notions that they plainly have not given sufficient thought to.

Loud debates on social media and in the popular science outlets define how much of the public perceives physics This is a rather novel, and by no means universal, attitude among physicists.

Compare the above contemptuousness with what Einstein himself wrote to his friend Robert Thorton in on the same subject: A knowledge of the historic and philosophical background gives that kind of independence from prejudices of his generation from which most scientists are suffering."This book is so much more than the title would suggest." Book Review .pdf), reproduced with permission of Food New Zealand, journal of the NZ Institute of Food Science & Technology (NZIFST).

"This book is so much more than the title would suggest." Book Review .pdf), reproduced with permission of Food New Zealand, journal of the NZ Institute of Food Science & Technology (NZIFST).

I’m an expert on how technology hijacks our psychological vulnerabilities.

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That’s why I spent the last three years as Google’s Design Ethicist caring about how to design things in a way that defends a billion people’s minds from getting hijacked. A comprehensive, coeducational Catholic High school Diocese of Wollongong - Albion Park Act Justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with your God Micah Purpose.

The Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology (DFBSST) is an endowment fund which provides scholarships to African-American undergraduate students enrolled in scientific or technical fields of study at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

One in every four schools in China is quietly testing a powerful machine that uses artificial intelligence to mark pupils’ work, according to scientists involved in the government programme.

A Guide to Isaac Asimov's Essays