Re: Comte and philosophers of science

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Sat Dec 31 2005 - 05:09:46 EST

Yes, thank you for the clarification. I'm glad you weren't trying to pick on sociologists. Though perhaps A. Comte does need to be picked on from time to time (e.g. stage theory that discounts theology and metaphysics).
  Between professor of physics and physicist can be a big difference, if one simply teaches theory or has actually applied it and who tries to innovate. Your distinction is what I meant, there are a range of positions. Some universities are more research-based and some are more teaching-based. But most/all physics professors had to do research at some point in time and may still do it after gaining tenure.

  George Murphy <> wrote:
          My point was simply that philosophers shouldn't try to tell scientists how to do science - & that if they do scientists are unlike to pay much attention to them. That's the case whether or not those philosophers are specialists in the philosophy of science - a modern category as you note. I wasn't trying to pick on sociologists.
  Comte said that asking about the chemical composition of the stars was an example of a meaningless question because (in line with his positivistic principles) there was no observational way of answering it. Within 30 years spectroscopy was being used to determine the elements in stellar atmospheres.
  I'm not sure what difference you see between a "professor of physics" and a "physicist." I assume you mean that the latter are active in some kind of research in physics as distinguished from simply teaching the subject, but people don't get to be professors of physics unless they've done some research in the area, & often they're continuing to do it.

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Received on Sat Dec 31 05:10:44 2005

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