Unsimple Truths: How Complexity Changes our view of Nature and Science part 1


You have activated the subtitle in English, version 1.0 (ongoing). For comments and suggestions, [email protected] It is my pleasure to be here It is this peculiar constellation of interests that occupies those of you who are at the institute that intrigue me Since I am a big fan and defender of interdisciplinary works When you put different disciplines at the same space and they start to talk to each other, perhaps working together, interesting things tend to happen So what I wanna do today… I am a philosopher of science And my work has been concentrated on… trying to do the philosophy…I mean, explaining what that is .. ‘Cause I am not entirely sure all of you are… know exactly what a philosopher of science does “And in some days I am not even sure” So I will try to explain it to you what it is …a philosopher of science like myself does when engaging with something like complexity in the science of complexity, in particular. I do wanna start as a… I am at the faculty of history and philosophy of science, department, that was also where I’ve gotten my degree I am someone that always like to start with something historical So I am going do is start where much of the scientific views that still occupy, I think, the “Western world” started we could go back, philosopher would go back, everything starts with Aristotle. But we are not going quite that far. I will go back to Newton. What Newton did was in fact… did remarkable scientific work He was the one that unified what has been previously very “diversities” of natural philosophy, at that time. Studies of motion on Earth, the terrestrial laws of Galileo. And this celestial mechanics of Copernicus. What Newton did, there was these two domains, they were thought to be completely different. The rules were completely distinct. And what Newton did was in fact unify them with his development of his three laws of motion, and the law of gravitational attraction, Now, one of the things that is… important to understand is that… this is a paradigm changing a paradigm shift in the way which science was done And Newton’s laws held his discoveries in the 17th century, really were developed, of course modified, mathematics changes, things happens for a couple of hundred years until another revolution, in physics, and that is with Einstein, special and general, relativity, and quantum mechanics. I am not a philosopher of physics, I apologize for the physicists in the crowd. but, there are other revolutions in science that occurred in science that has shifted the way we think about the way science tend to think about things, the human being in general has to consider how nature is like and also that changed the ways science in which we, scientists, can investigate nature. based on the discoveries made in the past. So what I gonna do in attempting to giving you a window into what a philosopher of science does is starting with Newton. Newton did this remarkable work as a result of which all the motions, like I said, terrestrial and celestial, the attraction of the moon towards the earth is identical to attraction of a falling apple on the earth Of course we have an apocryphal story about the tree and the apple but nevertheless, it is iconic. So the apple falling from the earth, falling from a tree to the earth, follows exactly the same laws as the attraction of the moon to the earth. And Newton’s orbital cannon is described by the same laws. So what Newton is was that all motions of all bodies in the heavens of the earth were explained by the same set of relatively simple set of laws. and after that was done… when, anyone that suddenly knew Newton’s law would look at a apple and the moon, they would be look at something pretty much similar. it it were prior to that they would be completely distinct. kinds of things. So the ways in which we look at the world the kind of things we think may happen in the world how the world works are defined and structured by the science that is done to explain it, predicting in view of that world So, as scientists in those days And that is actually apocryphal… But in fact Until the later 19th century there was no distinction between science and philosophy. people like Newton… were called “natural philosophers”… and term scientist itself was coined by a British Historian and philosopher, William Whewell, in 1833 So there were no “Scientists,” since that term was not around until the 19th century and post-that, after that time, Of course “specializations” happens all over the place Science and philosophy tends to separated disciplines. and separate sides, if you’d like philosopher of science, like myself, try to build regions between those. so, what I want to suggest is that… in Newton’s time Newton was both a scientist as we know and a philosopher. so, how is “being a philosopher”? just like any practice you may engage in, say, you bake the perfect cake. you’ve been trying… you try this recipe, you try that… and suddenly you manage to do it and have to step back and ask yourself “how did I do that?” Subtitles by the Amara.org community

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