Combining Philosophers

Ideas for Barry Smith, E.J. Lowe and Rosalind Hursthouse

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3 ideas

14. Science / A. Basis of Science / 6. Falsification
Unfalsifiability may be a failure in an empirical theory, but it is a virtue in metaphysics [Lowe]
     Full Idea: Although unfalsifiability is probably a defect in scientific hypothesis, because it is deprived of empirical content, it seems rather to be a virtue in a metaphysical hypothesis.
     From: E.J. Lowe (A Survey of Metaphysics [2002], p.241)
     A reaction: Presumably nothing could ever be found to count against a necessary truth. A nice point. 'Find me an instance where 2+2 is not 4'.
14. Science / D. Explanation / 1. Explanation / c. Direction of explanation
If the flagpole causally explains the shadow, the shadow cannot explain the flagpole [Lowe]
     Full Idea: Two distinct entities cannot explain each other, in the same sense of 'explain'. If the height of the flagpole causally explains the length of the shadow, the shadow cannot explain the flagpole, though it may predict the latter.
     From: E.J. Lowe (Individuation [2003], 12)
     A reaction: This seems related to the question of the direction of time/causation. Some explanations can be benignly circular, as when a married couple have a passion for chinese food. [S.Bromberger 1966 invented the flagpole case].
14. Science / D. Explanation / 1. Explanation / d. Explaining people
The behaviour of persons and social groups seems to need rational rather than causal explanation [Lowe]
     Full Idea: There are some entities which exist in time and space (such as persons or social groups) of which the behaviour seems to be subject to rational rather than merely causal explanation.
     From: E.J. Lowe (A Survey of Metaphysics [2002], p.2)
     A reaction: This begs of the question of whether 'rational' can be reduced to causal. We can't manage causal explanations of the very complex, so we use broad-brush second-best explanations?