Reality, Knowledge, & The Scientific Method

This is a past event

5 people went

Frontier Hall, University of Denver

2155 S Race St · Denver, CO

How to find us

Take elevator or stairs up to the 3rd floor

Location image of event venue

Details

Co-hosted by our friends at Consciousness Technologies at the University of Denver

Meeting will take place in the 3rd Fl lobby of Frontier Hall on the University of Denver campus

FREE PIZZA will be provided. But to ensure we have enough supplies, PLEASE RSVP via this link: https://forms.gle/ReUrLCAn4qtRVaiV8

Abstract:
It turns out it is impossible to prove that a statement about nature is true. You can’t even prove you are sitting on a chair (if indeed you think you are). Nor, it turns out, can you prove a statement about nature is false. So what can be done? To summarize my argument ever so briefly, the best means to knowledge about reality is the scientific method and the scientific way of knowing requires two conditions. Suppose we are interested in determining that hypothesis X about reality is true. Two conditions must be met to reach that determination: (a) the available evidence must be in good agreement with hypothesis X and (b) the available evidence must not be in as good agreement with alternatives to hypothesis X as with hypothesis X. But even if both conditions are satisfied, the best we can hope for is a conclusion that hypothesis X is plausible, not that it is proven, and what is plausible is a subjective judgment. What is plausible for one person might not be plausible for another. How do we decide that one person’s plausible conclusion should be accepted and another person’s plausible conclusion should be rejected? How do we distinguish science from pseudoscience? These are questions I address and on which I invite discussion.

Biographical Sketch:
Chip Reichardt is a professor of psychology at the University of Denver where he has taught for 40 years. In the past, his research focused on statistical procedures and research methods, especially with a focus on assessing cause and effect outside the laboratory. But recently his attention has been concerned with the philosophy of science. He used to offer an undergraduate course on paranormal phenomena as a means of teaching critical thinking but he got discouraged and stopped. He now teaches a course on thinking skills in general (including both critical and creative thinking). He has published a few articles in Skeptical Inquirer and Skeptic. He would have loved to have won James Randi’s million dollar prize for demonstrating paranormal abilities under controlled conditions but he has no known paranormal powers.