Unreal Nature

March 28, 2015

The Kind Needed

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:57 am

… The kind of laws needed for prediction will depend on the kind or prediction that is being asked for …

Continuing through Causality and Modern Science: Third Revised Edition by Mario Bunge (1959; 1979):

… The trend of recent science points neither to the decausation preached by positivism in favor of purely descriptive statements of uniformity, nor to a return to traditional pancausalism. Present trends show, rather, a diversification of the types of scientific law, alongside of an increasing realization that several categories of determination contribute to the production of every real event.

… Scientific laws, or law statements, being approximate ideal reconstructions of the immanent forms of structure and process, not only enable us to answer what-, where-, ,when-, and whence-questions, but also provide perfectible answers to whys; they are the chief tools of the scientific explanation of nature, thought, and society.

[ … ]

… A pragmatic criterion, like predictability, cannot decide about the meaning of laws, or about the nature of laws. Predictability and artificial reproducibility are empirical criteria for testing the truth of law statements; the attempt to derive all the meaning of law statements from their use and from the procedures of their verification amounts to confusing truth with one of its criteria, semantics with pragmatics. Only a philosophical analysis of scientific laws can decide upon their meaning.

The kind of laws needed for prediction will depend on the kind or prediction that is being asked for; conversely, the kind of prediction that can be obtained will depend on the available laws (and specific information). Any kind of scientific law will, if true enough, allow us to perform scientific predictions of some sort; in contrast to divination, scientific forecast is just foresight grounded on an insight including a knowledge of the objective patterns of being and becoming. In brief, there is no necessary relation between causality and prediction, any more than there is between causality and explanation.

To be continued.

My most recent previous post from Bunge’s book is here.




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