More Fuller

Some people, after seeing the recent Dover documentary (now available online), have been wondering who the heck this Steve Fuller wanker is, and why he’s defending Intelligent Design. Here’s a philosopher to explain Fuller to you. You’ll wish you hadn’t asked.


  1. #1 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 17, 2007

    Group solipsism!?! You made me curious! I’ll read it! (Philosoraptor being well known from the Dinosaur Mailing List and all.)

    Like it or not, knowledge is socially constructed. It may be based on actual facts, but the facts that get accepted in any science are the ones that the gatekeepers in science are willing to recognize as fact.

    You forget one thing: Science is not about truth, it’s about reality — and reality is that in which argumenta ad lapidem work. That’s right: the argumentum ad lapidem is not a logical fallacy in science, even though it is in philosophy.

    This makes it very easy to determine what is and is not a fact. That is the gatekeeper.

    History of science is replete with theories and explanations that were rejected when first proposed and only later recognized as valid.

    Yes, and?

    “Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.”
    – Thomas Henry Huxley

    The point is that a less complete dataset can lead to a different abyss than a more complete one. As our datasets grow, so change our hypotheses.

    rejecting his arguments out of hand because he’s not a scientist

    You have it backwards: “scientist” is defined as “someone who does science”, not the other way around.

    I think comment 18 is spot-on.

    Incidentally, I had two hours per week of philosophy in the last year of the non-equivalent of highschool.

  2. #2 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 17, 2007

    There is an objective reality only to the degree that we can recognize it, and there are obvious physical AND social limits on that recognition.

    Those parts we can consistently recognize — repeatability, falsifiability — are, by definition, objective reality. That’s the distinction I like to make between truth and reality; science is not about truth, it’s about reality; in science, unlike in philosophy, the argumentum ad lapidem is not a logical fallacy.

    Note that my silent assumption that there is anything we can consistently recognize is itself a falsifiable hypothesis.

    Scientists or, and the older term is the better one here, natural philosophers

    No, it is never better. Philosophers don’t do experiments.

    Dawkins suggested somewhere

    In his book Unweaving the Rainbow.

    First, I have no idea why some of you are blaming philosophy for this. The guy is a sociologist, not a philosopher.

    Sociology is the science that investigates society, isn’t it? Pomo isn’t science. It does seem to be philosophy — bad philosophy, but still.

  3. #3 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 17, 2007

    Sorry, but the guy is trained as a sociologist, holds himself out as being a sociologist, and is employed as a sociologist.

    Yes, I would say that all this is irrelevant. “Sociologist” is defined as “someone who does sociology”, not the other way around, right?

    (“True Scotsman” does not have a definition. That’s the difference.)

    He does things that sociologists commonly do. He espouses a theory that is popular among sociologists.

    Then sociology is not a science, and its name is misleading like that of astrology is.

    I want to be wrong about this point…

  4. #4 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 18, 2007

    David M has now determined what is science and what is not by looking at a dictionary (many, many factors less ridiculous than a bible, I must admit), so he wins!

    No. Azkyroth, not me, posted the dictionary entry. A few days ago I posted “Never, I repeat, never look up a technical term in a general dictionary”…

    I think it is more accurate to say that “sociology” is whatever those people who can get away with calling themselves “sociologists” actually do.

    In that case, sociology is not a science.