Friday, February 20, 2009

trying to figure out evolution...leads to Bacon

In searching for the meaning of macro evolution, I found this really cool site. I'm reading Bacon now in the Story of Philosophy. All this shit relates! here is an excerpt from the above link: The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle first laid out a systematic analysis of deductive argumentation in the Organon. As noted above, Francis Bacon elucidated the formal theory of inductive logic, which he proposed as the logic of scientific discovery. Both processes, however, are used constantly in scientific research. By observation of events (i.e. induction) and from principles already known (i.e. deduction), new hypotheses are formulated; the hypotheses are tested by applications; as the results of the tests satisfy the conditions of the hypotheses, laws are arrived at (i.e. by induction again); from these laws future results may be determined by deduction. end excerpt. My mental block about inductive/deductive...causes me to go over it again: Deductive starts from the general and predicts the details. Inductive starts with the details and predicts the general. Aristotle likes inductive whereas Plato liked deductive? But Bacon honed the rules of inductive further than where Aristotle had taken it? Do I have that right? I want to save the below because I want to also know about this idea about natural selection may not be the whole answer to the development of complexity. All very fascinating. excerpt from below link: Perhaps more speculatively, but also most interestingly, some of us are pursuing research that for the first time since Darwin looks seriously at the possibility that natural selection may not be the only natural mechanism generating complexity. Intriguing mathematical models borrowed from complexity theory suggest that intricate forms and behaviors may be generated ‘for free’ as an emergent property of certain types of non-linear systems,20of which living organisms are but one example.

1 comment:

  1. Ah yes, the age old discussion of logic: induction vs. deduction. Or to put it in another way, the debate between "empiricism" (which heralded sensory experience) and "rationalism" (that believed sensation was an inferior kind of cognition).

    Let me relate these two systems in this way. Inductive reasoning, or matters of fact, takes specific observations or sensory input to create a theory or output. The classic example uses swans: "This swan is black. Therefore, all swans are black."

    Deduction, or relations of ideas, begins with a generally known principle to try and explain a specific occurrence: "All swans are black. This bird is swan. Therefore, this bird is black."

    While both of these examples use "sound" (or irrefutable) logic, then the reasoning is correct, even though the statements may not be correct (especially since we know that swans can be white OR black). But this is not a concern of logic.

    I'd encourage you to continue reading Bacon, but to take into consideration the reading of some passages by Descartes and Hume. And your world of induction/empiricism will be turned upside down by Kant's "synthetic a priori."

    My name is Jason; my email is I look forward to being at the March 11th Meet-Up!