Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Gladly Getting a PHD in a False Scientific Theory

Welcome to abductive logic ... in theoretical astrophysics.


  1. It's the abduced hypothesis's incomplexity on steroids.

    From The Collected Peirce v. 7, pagraphs 220 & 221, also somewhere in The Essential Peirce v. 2, pp. 107-110, in "The Logic of Drawing History from Ancient Documents" (usually dated 1901):

    "The qualities which these considerations induce us to value in a hypothesis are three, which I may entitle Caution, Breadth, and Incomplexity."

    Peirce discusses caution and breadth, then goes on to say:

    "There still remains one more economic consideration in reference to a hypothesis; namely, that it may give a good 'leave,' as the billiard-players say. If it does not suit the facts, still the comparison with the facts may be instructive with reference to the next hypothesis.

  2. Yes, a friend of mine who specializes in the philosophy of cosmology/astrophysics just rolled his eyes at this.

  3. Actually, I didn't mean the "on steroids" phrase as a roll of the eyes. Supersymmetry, string theory, etc., are so far above my pay grade that I tend to tread very carefully around them. I just meant that it (N=4 super Yang-Mills) was a "souped up" case of that which Peirce called value by incomplexity of a hypothesis.

  4. I didn't take it that way, and I wasn't referring to you with my comment. I just find these amusing when I think of the classroom context of trying to explain scientific logic to my students. It just blows their mind, and I can understand that as it would have done the same to me all those years ago, bu I quickly got over it, while my own students treat me as if I just proclaimed myself a magician when explain how science as a hypothesis works....