Plato1 - Plato's Homework Problem Plato taught that since...

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Plato's Homework Problem Plato taught that since an infinite number of theories can be constructed to account for the observations, we can never empirically answer what the universe is really like. He said that we should adopt an instrumentalist view: scientific theories are just tools or calculation devices and are not to be interpreted as real. Any generalizations we make may be shown to be false in the future and, also, some of our false generalizations can actually ``work''--an incorrect theory can explain the observations (see the scientific method page for background material on this). Aristotle (lived 384--322 B.C.E.) was a student of Plato and had probably the most significant influence on many fields of studies (science, theology, philosophy, etc.) of any single person in history. He thought that Plato had gone too far with his instrumentalist view of theories. Aristotle taught a realist view: scientific, mathematical tools are not merely tools---they characterize the way the universe actually is. At most
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This note was uploaded on 12/15/2011 for the course AST AST1002 taught by Professor Emilyhoward during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

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