RE: Post-Empiricism Science: A little surprised

From: Brian Harper (
Date: Thu Sep 18 2003 - 12:30:46 EDT

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    At 08:38 AM 9/17/2003 -0400, Alexanian, Moorad wrote:

    Ancients used to explain eclipses and why the sun rises but could not make predictions. The essence of a scientific theory is the ability to make predictions and not merely give explanations, which is pure phenomenology.



    Surely a statement such as this is just a personal preference. In my reading of the philosophy of science (limited) I have not really seen too much agreement with this. It seems to me in physics that beauty and elegance have often provided more of a motivation for new theories than predictive capability. Ptolemy predicted as well as Copernicus.

    The behavior of a simple double pendulum cannot be predicted. But we accept nonlinear dynamics because it presents a framework for understanding the phenomena even though it cannot be predicted. Cosmology is normally considered to be physics, what are its predictions?

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