Notices
Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Theory

  1. #1 Theory 
    jjg
    jjg is offline
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    33
    On page 9, 2nd paragraph of of A Brief History in Time, Hawking says that theory only exists in the mind and has no other reality (whatever that may mean.)

    I would like to discuss the implications of this and how it might affect the objectivity of science.


    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2  
    Time Lord Paleoichneum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Washington State, USA
    Posts
    5,295
    I say it doesn't affect it at all to be honest. Just because Hawking says it does not mean it has actual real world implications.


    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    17,036
    Quote Originally Posted by jjg View Post
    On page 9, 2nd paragraph of of A Brief History in Time, Hawking says that theory only exists in the mind and has no other reality (whatever that may mean.)
    That seems reasonable to me. A theory is a concept, an idea. It can only exist in the mind (or on paper waiting to be transferred to another mind).

    I would like to discuss the implications of this and how it might affect the objectivity of science.
    Well, it means we can't do science by putting two theories on the scales and seeing which one weighs more. But apart from that...
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    grail search
    Posts
    811
    If I may, it could have been his ambition.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5  
    jjg
    jjg is offline
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    33
    I don't know it just smells like Kant's noumenon/phenomenon. The part that bothers me is "it has not other reality (whatever that may mean." Is Hawking saying that what we subjectively conceive does not compliment objective reality?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #6  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    17,036
    Quote Originally Posted by jjg View Post
    I don't know it just smells like Kant's noumenon/phenomenon. The part that bothers me is "it has not other reality (whatever that may mean." Is Hawking saying that what we subjectively conceive does not compliment objective reality?
    Not at all. Just that a theory is a description of the reality we perceive. (What relationship that has to any external reality or whether such a reality exists is another question - and one I am not terribly interested in).

    If I were to give you a description of the room I am in, that description does not have any physical reality outside of our minds. From that description you will have an idea of the room I am in, but you won't have the room.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #7  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    grail search
    Posts
    811
    I'm just thinking he was taking a go at being the mind of Everything in the event he found the theory of all things.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #8  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    4,840
    A theory in science is a model. It bears the same relationship to the thing it purports to explain as a set of plans do to a finished building. Theories may be strong or weak depending on the weight of evidence to support them. A very strong theory can be said (in unscientific terms) to explain what it sets out to explain in a way that is very probably correct.

    For example : The theory of biological evolution is a model of how life changes over time. It is a very strong model, since there is a vast amount of evidence to support it. A scientist would not say it is very probably correct, but that is what 'very strong model' means to a non scientist.

    The theory, however, is not the reality. It merely represents the reality, and so it exists, as Hawking said, only in the mind.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #9  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    17,036
    Yep. Evolution (the "thing") happens. The theory of evolution describes how it happens (at our current best level of understanding).
    Reply With Quote  
     

  11. #10  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    39
    A theory is a mental construct.

    In logic and maths, a theory is a set of sentences (statements), with well-defined logical relations defined on that set.

    A scientific theory is a theory which claims to describe in some way a part of reality (the physical world).

    In maths and logic the terms 'theory' and 'model' have distinct meanings.

    In science they may well have the same meaning.
    Example: 'The Copernican theory of the solar system', 'The Copernican model of the solar system'.

    The important features/properties which a theory should/may possess are these:
    1. Consistency
    2. Soundness
    3. Completeness
    4. Utility (e.g. explanation, prediction).

    In logic and maths these can be precisely defined.

    In science, a theory should/may also have empirical support, confirmability, testability, falsifiability.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  12. #11  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    4,840
    Elterish

    Hope you are not getting confused between hypothesis and theory.

    In science, a theory has to have empirical backing. An idea without such backing is a mere hypothesis. The hypothesis has to generate testable predictions, and be so tested many times, without falsification happening, before it can be called a theory.

    Of course, the word 'theory' has a much looser definition in everyday, non scientific use.

    Mind you, such words can be misused by scientists, also. Like the phrase "string theory". It should be "string hypothesis" since these ideas have not yet been empirically tested.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  13. #12  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    17,036
    I would go further and say that even a hypothesis should have some evidence. Otherwise it just speculation (which may lead to a hypothesis).
    Reply With Quote  
     

  14. #13  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    39
    A hypothesis is a statement whose logical form is hypothetical (also called conditional or implicational).

    Sometimes this form is not immediately apparent.

    Example the well known saying: 'Red sky at night, shepherds delight' is a hypothesis for it can be
    re-expressed to exhibit its logical form as: 'If there is a red sky at night, then the shepherds will be delighted'

    A hypothesis is a much simpler concept than the concept of theory.

    A large part of what scientists do is 'hypothetical' (supposition, conjecture) as it's a 'hypothetico-deductive' process.
    They start with the hypothesis (hypotheses), then perform deductions from those statements.

    Example: Let us suppose that the velocity of light is a constant, then (with the principle of relativity), I can prove that E = mc2 .
    Reply With Quote  
     

Similar Threads

  1. Zero Space-Time Theory-Grand Unified Theory of the Universe
    By tianman32 in forum Personal Theories & Alternative Ideas
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: September 27th, 2013, 01:31 AM
  2. When folk theory meets scientific theory?
    By coberst in forum Philosophy
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: September 27th, 2009, 07:26 AM
  3. Dark matter theory resolved or just a new theory?
    By tbraun in forum Astronomy & Cosmology
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: August 31st, 2009, 01:23 PM
  4. Valence Bond theory? Molecular Orbital theory?
    By oceanwave in forum Chemistry
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: October 10th, 2008, 08:36 PM
  5. String Theory and M-theory Study Material
    By sachinastro in forum Astronomy & Cosmology
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: November 20th, 2005, 01:04 AM
Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •