Colloquium: Reality, Truth, and Objectivity: Reflections on Steven Weinberg’s “Against Philosophy” – Wednesday, October 10, 2018, at 4PM

Professor Gordon Brittan, Montana State University
George P. Williams, Jr. Lecture Hall, (Olin 101)
Wednesday, October 10, 2018, at 4:00 PM

There will be a reception with refreshments at 3:30 PM in the lounge. All interested persons are cordially invited to attend.


In Dreams of a Final Theory, Steven Weinberg writes that “Today’s scientists” should not expect philosophy “to provide [them] with useful guidance about how to go about their work or about what they are likely to find.” Philosophers don’t have much guidance to offer. What they do instead, indeed what Weinberg himself does in his popular books, is to offer aids to understanding. They do this by examining concepts that don’t belong, e.g., to physics, but which come into play when assessing the credibility of scientific claims. Weinberg’s three favorites in this regard are “reality,” “objectivity,” and “truth.” The first and the third are problematic. A case can, however, be made for objectivity on the basis of an Evidential (as against a Bayesian) paradigm of statistical inference.

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