Educating The Public About Science
DvorakH at starbase1.caltech.edu
Thu May 25 18:20:32 EST 1995
> What does 'truth-functional' mean. I am using it in the sense that any
> first order logical statement is truth-functional. That is, the ANDs,
> ORs, NOTs, IF-THENs, EQUIVALENTS and quantifiers are used in such a
> way that the statements are TRUE or FALSE, not ambiguous, and free
> from Intensional terms which lead to ambiguity. That is the sort of
> language which scientists use when writing papers or constructing
> theories, ie statements which are testable.
gee, and I always thought the language most scientists wrote papers in was
English, which is a natural language, last time I checked. :)
> Natural language on the
> other hand is full of idioms which are non truth-functional, and the
> notion of truth and falsehood are (technically) impossible to define,
> hence all the rhetoric. For an elaboration, see Quine (1992) 'The
> Pursuit of Truth', or Quine (1966) 'The Scope and Language of Science'
> in 'The Ways of Paradox and Other Essays'.
Seriously, though, I'm afraid I still don't see the problem. I don't see
why it should be difficult to explain to the average person the importance
of rigour, clarity of definitions, etc. in formulating a research
problem. (Maybe I just don't know any average people.) All the more
reason for good science education at the elementary and high school
levels, before people are old enough to vote and thus affect science
- Hannah Dvorak
Hannah Dvorak |
DvorakH at starbase1.caltech.edu |
Division of Biology 156-29 | Ceci n'est pas un .sig.
California Institute of Technology |
Pasadena, CA 91125 |
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