Science and empiricism

Much - most - of science is a matter of inference, conjecture, model-making, "as if". We do not - cannot! - observe quarks. We only observe changes in our instruments and postulate some mathematical or verbal or graphic mechanism that mimics those observed changes.

Logic is not empirical. It is not the result of observation. It is a model of a cross-section of mental processes (themselves not observed, but inferred from our use of language).

The past and future (and really the present as well) are not empirical. The idea that the future will resemble the past (i.e. follow the "rules" science has revealed) is more a matter of faith than science.

Matter is not empirical. No one has ever seen matter. It is just a convenient category for certain phenomena, like resistance to touch.

Metaphysics undergirds science, yet metaphysics is not itself empirical.

The monism science assumes is actually logically impossible. For the variety of things that exist to exist, one must have at very least two "ultimates", a figure and a ground.

Pragmatism won't help you: The idea that we follow science because it is practical, provides results, or has "cash value", is itself a value and therefore subjective, and science is supposed to be silent on values.

Science is done by scientists, who are human and have the same failings that any human might have. It is easy to convince oneself that one has adhered to the rules of science when, in fact, one barely understands those rules to begin with.

© C. George Boeree 2015