This week I watched the interview with philosopher Ned Hall and found the conversation between him and Professor Goodman absolutely amazing--I am very astonished by philosophy and glad to see in what ways it relates to what we have been discussing in class. What partially shocked me during the interview was first the whole conversation about how non-science things sometimes heavily affect the outcome of scientific theories, but secondly, Hall's explanation of how our current model for science is flawed. He says this is due to science being fundamentally rooted in explanation and that every principle we have learned can be explained via other principles. Where this intrigues me, however, is when Hall states that if we take this back far enough, we arrive at things we cannot explain through other principles or even explain really concretely at all--the fundamental laws of science. I found this extremely interesting because I always have wondered about this---what if our current knowledge today is flawed because of a small misunderstanding within the fundamentals of science? It does not even have to be all of science that is flawed but maybe instead only a small topic within the realm that remains flawed because of inaccuracies. One fundamental misunderstanding can lead to a sort of butterfly effect of flaws and eventually lead to a complete misunderstanding of a topic. Modern scientists work around the fundamentals given to them and continue to advance knowledge in their fields but the question becomes---is this knowledge actually advancing our understanding or instead just useless because of it being built on a flawed foundation? I know it is very bold to doubt all of science but my main question revolves around how mistakes can build up even within "concrete" science and cause modern flaws in thinking. Hall explains that given how the scientific community revolves around explanation, it is strange that they make an exception for the fundamentals and that this route has often led to controversy and misconceptions throughout our history(as seen by early astronomers).
One question I may have asked Hall is how do you think this concept plays out in other aspects of our general lives? For example: when a student accepts a concept from a teacher as being true without understanding why, leading them to not understand another fundamental concept down the road because they do not see the connections. Relations like these in our everyday lives can be a fundamental lens from which to view the error in our psychology and can serve as a way to understand the flaw in our logic when it comes to science.
Terrific post, thanks!