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Author Topic:   Abductive Reasoning In Science
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 46 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 76 of 120 (672542)
09-09-2012 10:13 AM
Reply to: Message 74 by Dr Adequate
09-09-2012 7:28 AM


Re: Before Abductive, Inductive, or Deductive reasoning ...
Hi, Dr A.

Dr Adequate writes:

Science is not inductive, it's hypothetico-deductive. At best, induction is a description of a psychological phenomenon: if we see the sun rising in the east often enough, we may formulate a general law that that's what it does. But how we get the law is not really part of the scientific method, it's just a fact about how our brains tend to work.

That doesn't sound right to me. Is there a way to arrive at a general law without inductive reasoning?


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 74 by Dr Adequate, posted 09-09-2012 7:28 AM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
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nwr
Member
Posts: 5504
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 5.8


(1)
Message 77 of 120 (672573)
09-09-2012 3:49 PM
Reply to: Message 72 by bluegenes
09-09-2012 2:46 AM


Re: Before Abductive, Inductive, or Deductive reasoning ...
When you say philosophers, do you mean "all philosophers"?

"All philosophers" would pretty much mean "all humans". So, no, I am mainly talking about academic philosophers, those who are members of university philosophy departments.

When a philosopher or a scientist claims that science uses those forms of reasoning, they do so based on observation.

That would require that the philosophers of science sit in the scientists labs, take notes, and ask the scientists questions about their reasoning. As best I can tell, there isn't much of that observation being done.

There are some people who have tried sitting in the scientists labs. They are usually known as sociologists of science. An example of this is the work of Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar. The sociologists of science come up with a rather different picture of science than the one that comes from academic philosophers.

I see observation as what connects a scientific theory to reality.

[sarcasm]
Observation is a system whereby propositions magically pop into one's head.
[/sarcasm]

If you have a reference to a good philosophical analysis of observation, I would appreciate that. I have not been able to find one. The closest that I have seen is Quine: From Stimulus to Science. As I recall, he says that observation begins as surface irritations, and from those observation categoricals are derived by induction. That seems to fit my sarcastic note above.

You can't hypothesise anything about anything if you are a brain in a void and have never observed anything.

You would not come up with an Adam and Eve story, if you were a brain in a void and had not observed anything. That gives us no basis for assuming that the Adam and Eve story is other than an origins myth, nor for assuming that induction and abduction are other than origins myths.

Jesus was a liberal hippie

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 Message 72 by bluegenes, posted 09-09-2012 2:46 AM bluegenes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 79 by Straggler, posted 09-09-2012 4:50 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply
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nwr
Member
Posts: 5504
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 5.8


Message 78 of 120 (672574)
09-09-2012 3:54 PM
Reply to: Message 73 by PaulK
09-09-2012 4:37 AM


Re: Before Abductive, Inductive, or Deductive reasoning ...
Please bow out of this thread.

Ok, I shall follow that advice, and leave you all to your totally evidence free ruminations.

Jesus was a liberal hippie

This message is a reply to:
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Straggler
Member (Idle past 96 days)
Posts: 10188
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 79 of 120 (672578)
09-09-2012 4:50 PM
Reply to: Message 77 by nwr
09-09-2012 3:49 PM


Re: Before Abductive, Inductive, or Deductive reasoning ...
Nwr writes:

There are some people who have tried sitting in the scientists labs. They are usually known as sociologists of science. An example of this is the work of Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar. The sociologists of science come up with a rather different picture of science than the one that comes from academic philosophers.

I read your link. Interestingly it seems the studies you cite take specific observed cases of science in action and then generalise these findings to conclude that this is how science works......

It seems that inductive and abductive reasoning is alive and kicking in the sociology of science. How ironic.


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 Message 77 by nwr, posted 09-09-2012 3:49 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 96 days)
Posts: 10188
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 80 of 120 (672580)
09-09-2012 5:05 PM
Reply to: Message 67 by RAZD
09-08-2012 1:50 PM


Re: theory acceptance and as a good working model
RAZD writes:

Deductive: the conclusion is true if the premises are true.

But do you understand, and accept, that a conclusion incorporating abductive reasoning can be entirely evidentially and scientifically valid whilst also being fallacious in strict deductive terms? Do you understand that pointing out that a scientific theory is deductively fallacious is not in and of itself enough to invalidate the theory in question?

(**BOOM**) - That was the sound of RAZ's head exploding.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 67 by RAZD, posted 09-08-2012 1:50 PM RAZD has responded

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RAZD
Member
Posts: 18241
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 81 of 120 (672588)
09-09-2012 7:34 PM
Reply to: Message 80 by Straggler
09-09-2012 5:05 PM


Re: theory acceptance and as a good working model
Hi Straggler,

Sorry no **BOOM** today (as has always happened to your previous attempts).

Do you understand that pointing out that a scientific theory is deductively fallacious is not in and of itself enough to invalidate the theory in question?

Theories are necessarily deductive logical fallacies because they essentially ask if it may be true -- that's the tentativity and the challenge to falsify it, first by the author\proposer and then by peers.

When falsified it is a deductive logic analysis of a situation that does challenge the theory to adapt or die.

Deductive logic has yes or no, black or white, true or not true, questions with only one answer. It's the analytical logic to test new data against the original concept\conjecture, the tentative hypothesis, the marginally tested hypothesis, the peer tested theory, the generally accepted theory, and the massively accepted theory: does it invalidate them or not, yes or no. It's that simple, and it seems SO simple that it is ignored, it's everyday, it's done while looking at the data so quickly that one moves on to the next step: adjusting or discarding the concept\hypothesis\theory.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 80 by Straggler, posted 09-09-2012 5:05 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 85 by Straggler, posted 09-10-2012 8:52 AM RAZD has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 18241
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 82 of 120 (672591)
09-09-2012 7:44 PM
Reply to: Message 58 by RAZD
09-08-2012 11:06 AM


basic axioms \ first principles \ a priori assumptions?
Hi All,

Straggler: let me know if you think this is off-topic and I won't pursue here.

I'm curious how many agree or disagree that these are some basic axioms \ first principles \ a priori assumptions we see here on this forum, and that they shape the debates we have:

quote:
So we are talking about the generation of the basic axioms \ first principles \ a priori assumptions?

Examples pertinent to this forum would be:

  1. GDI: god did it (ie - ultimately meaning everything you see is illusion\deception)
  2. WYSIWYG: what you see is what you get (ie - evidence doesn't mislead\lie)
  3. COMBO: a combination of 1 and 2 (ie - evidence shows how god did it)

creationists\fundamentalists\IDologists* tend to 1
atheists tend to 2
deists\theists tend to 3
agnostics between 2 and 3

... and then see how consistent the results are?


Are these not important to consider when talking about how the various forms of logic, Abductive, Inductive, or Deductive, are then applied to form a consistent whole (and where it seems that (1)s should implode, but they keep coming back from the dead ... and possibly why?)

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 58 by RAZD, posted 09-08-2012 11:06 AM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
bluegenes
Member
Posts: 2965
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 83 of 120 (672608)
09-09-2012 9:40 PM
Reply to: Message 77 by nwr
09-09-2012 3:49 PM


Re: Before Abductive, Inductive, or Deductive reasoning ...
How does the post I'm replying to support the view that you seemed to express in the earlier post I replied to:

nwr writes:

I see a scientific theory as what connects those abstract propositions to reality. The theory is prerequisite to being able to make the observations from which the theory is allegedly induced or abduced.

Do all theories have to be something like dyitherdils explain ptoifyrogiths, because they can't initially involve anything concrete in the real world which we've observed? This must presumably be the case if they are prerequisites for observations.


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 Message 77 by nwr, posted 09-09-2012 3:49 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15470
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.9


(1)
Message 84 of 120 (672624)
09-10-2012 6:43 AM
Reply to: Message 76 by Blue Jay
09-09-2012 10:13 AM


Re: Before Abductive, Inductive, or Deductive reasoning ...
That doesn't sound right to me. Is there a way to arrive at a general law without inductive reasoning?

Well yes: you guess.

Consider Kepler, for example, formulating his laws. He could not see Brahe's data points as instances of a general law that the planets moved in ellipses until he had first guessed the law.

Now, sometimes observing something manifestly regular, such as the sun always rising in the east, will in fact inspire us to formulate a law; but it need not, one can imagine someone who never paid any attention to the position of the sun in the morning. It is still, I would say, necessary to think of the theory, or at least what sort of form the theory is going to take (i.e. "maybe the sun always rises in the same quarter") before one can see whether it's true by comparing it to the data.

After all, even in the most obvious case we need to pick out (consciously or unconsciously) something to reason inductively about from a great mass of data about the universe, none of which comes labeled: "do induction on this". Suppose that instead of choosing to do induction on "where is the sun every morning", you did induction on "what shape are all the blue things that I've seen", and tried to formulate a general rule, then that wouldn't work out so well. Now the choice is not made by induction: and yet it must be made somehow; something else is going on.

(It is, as I say, a psychological fact that in certain cases people will have a strong tendency to think of certain theories. But that's just an observation about how human beings roll.)

One can, of course, make inductive arguments in science; once one has a general law, one can say: "I always see the sun rise in the east, inductively it always will". (And then one could always reformulate that as a hypothetico-deductive argument, and it would gain in clarity what it lost in brevity.) But the inductive argument is not an account of how one came by the idea: you had to have the idea before you could produce an inductive argument to support it.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


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Straggler
Member (Idle past 96 days)
Posts: 10188
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 85 of 120 (672635)
09-10-2012 8:52 AM
Reply to: Message 81 by RAZD
09-09-2012 7:34 PM


Re: theory acceptance and as a good working model
You started out in this thread insisting that scientific theories could be arrived at by deductive logic alone. If you have changed your mind and now accept that non-deductive reasoning is a necessary component of formulating scientific theories then that is progress of sorts. But lets see

Premise: Humans paint pictures of boats
Fact: Exhibit A is a painted picture of a boat
Conclusion: Exhibit A was painted by a human

This is an example of affirming the consequent. In purely deductive terms the conclusion is logically fallacious. The theory that ALL paintings of boats, including those of unknown origin, were painted by humans is falsifiable and tentative and not able to be derived deductively. But given considerable positive evidence of humans painting pictures of boats and no objective evidence of any other source of such pictures the conclusion above would be evidentially and scientifically valid despite being deductively fallacious.

Would it not?


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RAZD
Member
Posts: 18241
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 86 of 120 (672641)
09-10-2012 9:33 AM
Reply to: Message 85 by Straggler
09-10-2012 8:52 AM


Re: theory acceptance and as a good working model
Hi Straggler,

You started out in this thread insisting that scientific theories could be arrived at by deductive logic alone. ...

Nope. That is your misinterpretation. I said it was involved in the process.

Premise: Humans paint pictures of boats
Fact: Exhibit A is a painted picture of a boat
Conclusion: Exhibit A was painted by a human

Before you get to your premise you have (conscious or unconscious) deductive analysis:

Premise: picture 1 was observed to be painted by person A
Premise: picture 2 was observed to be painted by person B
....
Premise: picture 14 was observed to be painted by person N
Conclusion: these pictures have all been painted by people (true or false deduction)

then we get to your induction element ...

Premise: Humans paint pictures of boats
Fact: Exhibit A is a painted picture of a boat
Conclusion: Exhibit A was painted by a human

... followed by abduction hypothesis (if I follow the distinctions here on this):

all pictures are painted by humans

K?

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : clrty


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 85 by Straggler, posted 09-10-2012 8:52 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
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Straggler
Member (Idle past 96 days)
Posts: 10188
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 87 of 120 (672653)
09-10-2012 12:20 PM
Reply to: Message 86 by RAZD
09-10-2012 9:33 AM


Re: theory acceptance and as a good working model
So far so good I think.

Here is a painting of a boat the origins of which are unknown: Link

Can we legitimately conclude that this picture was painted by a human?


This message is a reply to:
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 Message 88 by RAZD, posted 09-10-2012 7:21 PM Straggler has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 18241
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 88 of 120 (672714)
09-10-2012 7:21 PM
Reply to: Message 87 by Straggler
09-10-2012 12:20 PM


Re: theory acceptance and as a good working model
Hi Straggler,

So far so good I think.
Here is a painting of a boat the origins of which are unknown: Link
Can we legitimately conclude that this picture was painted by a human?

Curiously, we also have paintings by elephants
http://www.google.com/search?client=ubuntu&channel=fs&q=e...

And by apes
http://www.koko.org/world/art.html

And we also have dolphins creating things similar to art
http://www.earthtrust.org/delrings.html

And dances by bees
http://www.google.com/search?client=ubuntu&channel=fs&q=b...

Art per se could be an emergent property or just creative baggage carried by other evolutionary selection processes.

Therefore the hypothesis that all paintings are created by humans is falsified.

It would need to be modified or discarded before proceeding.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 87 by Straggler, posted 09-10-2012 12:20 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
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Straggler
Member (Idle past 96 days)
Posts: 10188
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 89 of 120 (672719)
09-10-2012 7:45 PM
Reply to: Message 88 by RAZD
09-10-2012 7:21 PM


Re: theory acceptance and as a good working model
So you don't think we can legitimately and confidently conclude that the picture I linked to, the painting of a boat which is of unknown origin, was painted by a human?

Whatever your answer please be explicit. And please explain the modes of reasoning you used to come to that answer.

But dude - Seriously - Is there any doubt that particular painting was done by a human? Really?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 88 by RAZD, posted 09-10-2012 7:21 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 90 by RAZD, posted 09-10-2012 8:09 PM Straggler has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 18241
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 90 of 120 (672723)
09-10-2012 8:09 PM
Reply to: Message 89 by Straggler
09-10-2012 7:45 PM


Re: theory acceptance and as a good working model
Hi Straggler,

There are a number of issues I could raise if I wanted to (is it a reproduction rather than the original (which could have a known author), something computer made from an old photo, etc etc etc), but that would be skating around the issue that no matter how many you choose to discuss, the hypothesis is falsified by the elephants and apes, and it needs to be discarded or modified before the discussion is worth my - and your - time.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 89 by Straggler, posted 09-10-2012 7:45 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
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