What: Doing Philosophy Better (see below)
When: 1st Saturday of each month, from 2pm – 5pm
(3 hours, including a break)
Where: Justin & Tammy's house in Richardson [*BYOD&S]
How: Readings discussed in-depth amongst the group. No tests, no lecture… we help teach each other in a spirit of learning.
Readings will sometimes be available online, but at other times will require the members of the group to purchase papers or books.
Meeting Topic & Reading List For April
Most scientists believe that there are unobservable entities in the world. These entities are unobservable in the sense that they cannot be seen, touched, heard, tasted or smelled, but scientists believe they are still very real. Think of electrons or radiowaves, for example. This is also the position of scientific realists.
Scientific antirealists interpret scientific theories of the unobservable to be at best useful fictions. These fictions may help us conceptualize the data and even make predictions, but we still don't have access to (and hence the ability to know about) the unobservable world as it really is.
This month we will discuss this debate in the philosophy of science and how it has progressed in recent years. As usual, the textbook will illustrate points made in the debate using the science of Immunology. And, of course, participants from all points of view are welcome.
We will be reading from the textbook: Introduction to the Philosophy of Science by Robert Klee found here:
as well as an anthology Scientific Inquiry found here:
Readings: Textbook: Chapter 10
Anthology: Chapter 5 pp 40-44. All of Section 6 pp 313-351.
[*BYOD&S] "Bring Your Own Drink & Snack". You might get thirsty or hungry — feel free to bring whatever (non-alcoholic) drinks and snacks you'd like (preferably something shareable with the group).
— A note to those with cat-related allergies: Justin and Tammy have cats — one of whom will be rather happy to mingle with all the nice people who came to see him....
>^. . ^<
In a post on Common Sense Atheism, "How to Do Philosophy Better", Luke Muehlhauser summarizes an essay by Paul Graham. In that essay, Graham proposes the following:
Here's an intriguing possibility. Perhaps we should do what Aristotle meant to do, instead of what he did. The goal he announces in the Metaphysics seems one worth pursuing: to discover the most general truths. That sounds good. But instead of trying to discover them because they're useless, let's try to discover them because they're useful.
— Paul Graham, "How to Do Philosophy"