How does science work?

by Neil Rickert

As I mention in my post on the not-yet-published book “Mathematics and Scientific Representation”, the author Christopher Pincock says “The success of science is undeniable, but the nature of that success remains opaque.”  That’s an admission that philosophy of science does not fully understand how science works.  In this post, I give my own opinion on the reason for the success of science.

As I see it, science works mainly because it is systematic.  When we are not sufficiently systematic, when we represent the world in a willy nilly manner, it is hard to keep track of a lot of information.  You can see this in the example of the first builder in “The parable of the three builders.”  By being more systematic, science reduces the cognitive cost and that allows us to keep track of far more information about the world.

Because it is systematic, science make available a vastly increased amount of information about the world.  More and better information leads to better predictions.

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