Science and Leibniz

How does science answer Leibniz' famous question: "Why is there not nothing?"
Comments:

Does it have to? Thanks to the likes of Stephen Hawking we're a lot closer to being able to answer questions like that than we were even ten years ago, let alone a hundred! Science - unlike religion - doesn't have to pretend to have the answers to everything! It's no failure to admit that it's still a work in progress.

Posted by Ian on September 23, 2007 at 08:06 PM PDT #

Perhaps, the question should be whether science can \*ever\* make sense of or answer a question like Leibniz'.

Responses such as (1) "this question doesn't make sense" or (2) "it is not important to answer this question" are problematic. Response (1) demonstrates that science doesn't have the facility to make sense of it, showing an inherent limitation of science. Response (2) is even worse because it is dismissive of questions for which (1) might be the case.

Responses such as "we don't know whether we can answer it but we know we're making progress and getting close to it" seem strange, too. If one doesn't know whether one can ever answer it, how does one know one is getting close or progressing towards and answer.

Posted by M. Mortazavi on September 23, 2007 at 11:17 PM PDT #

The reason why science will never be able to answer the question is because of the fact that scientific knowledge will always be a subset of human understanding which by itself is very limited. I belive Biran's response in the following posting points to limitations of scientific methods:

<a href="http://blogs.sun.com/Maddy/entry/g%C3%B6del_s_incompleteness_theorem_and">Godel' s Theorem</a>

Posted by Madhan Kumar on September 24, 2007 at 08:18 PM PDT #

What's more odd than "Existence"!
By the way, questions like this incline us to admit that science cannot answer all questions , however there are still other questions that should be thought on: Can we have something more trustable than science?, How can we know if science can answer a question or not?
Thanks

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P.S: Wish you great times in Ramazan

Posted by pasparto on September 24, 2007 at 11:50 PM PDT #

Madhan - I cannot follow the link you've provided but I think Godel's incompleteness question actually has some very deep philosophical applications. For one thing, it states that no matter where science is in its development, there are always more questions to be settled than it has already settled. Furthermore, it also suggests to us that any particular account is only one account for some possible model of reality, and that there are infinitely more accounts for infinitely more distinct models of reality -- all this, with a very broad definition of what "reality" is.

Pasparto - You make a good point. Ramadan mubarak.

Posted by M. Mortazavi on September 25, 2007 at 01:55 AM PDT #

Oops ... I should have said "it suggests" instead of "it states" ... What it suggests needs some work to be revealed.

Posted by M. Mortazavi on September 25, 2007 at 01:58 AM PDT #

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