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PHIL 385 Paper 1

PHIL 385 Paper 1 - Trang Ho PHIL 385 Prof Kenny Eswaran...

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Trang Ho PHIL 385 Prof. Kenny Eswaran Paper 1 February 10, 2011 The Origin of the Universe is a Scientific Question This paper will argue that we ought to consider the question “What is the origin of the Universe?” to be a scientific question. Two arguments regarding the scientific nature of the question will be given, under two different demarcations of what is scientific: Popper’s falsificationalism, and Kuhn’s Normal Science. These will be followed by objections and refutations of those objections. Ultimately this paper cannot, and will not attempt to argue that it is not scientific; rather it will show that if we consider these two theories we must conclude that it is scientific, but takes for granted that there is no hard sense in which that can be established. The only accomplishment this paper seeks is to satisfy the reader that “What is the origin of the universe?” counts as science under the two leading demarcation theories in the philosophy of science, and that this is reason to consider it scientific. Popper’s theory of science holds as its golden rule that a hypothesis should be falsifiable. Popper additionally thought that a scientific hypotheses ought to be bold, as that would make it more easily, and clearly falsifiable. There are two stages in Popper’s theory as to how we do science. First we begin with a question, in the 1
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Conjecture Phase, which leads us to a bold hypothesis that can be falsified. Then we enter the Falsification Phase, and try to falsify the hypothesis. We can never truly confirm the truth of a hypothesis, but only come to accept it as time goes by without any falsification of the hypothesis in order for the hypothesis to fit the Popperian definition of science . The question “what is the origin of the universe?” leads us, in the conjecture phase, to a hypothesis that can be falsified: “the Big Bang is the origin of the universe”. This is only an example, although it is actually the most prominent example we have of what is currently studied as science today. This hypothesis is falsifiable in terms of various elements, such as if the universe were not expanding, hence no red shift being observed. In fact, Halton Arp, Hubble’s assistant has published a book showing that red shift results in themselves may be incorrect, and may actually falsify the Big Bang Theory, showing it to be a falsifiable theory. However, this is beside the point, for the mere fact that we can generate a falsifiable
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PHIL 385 Paper 1 - Trang Ho PHIL 385 Prof Kenny Eswaran...

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