How inconsistent theories were (logically) dealt with in the history of science, and how we can use that knowledge for today?s scientific methodology
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13th Principia International Symposium
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I am going to argue that in the history of science there were cases Looking into this will enable the development of a non-classical logical tool which can be used in science today.
Two assumptions: 1. classical logic cannot accept a contradiction; 2. the?scientific method requires an underlying logic which governs scientific reasoning.
In the history of science, some scientific theories were inconsistent. Theories were either internally inconsistent, inconsistent with other theories, or inconsistent with observation. Scientists were sometimes not?aware of these. I will show that this, however, did not always force them to immediately abandon them. Sometimes they did not even stop using them, and occasionally successfully so. Some were conscious of the inconsistency but ignored it and proceeded with working with the theory, and some were not and kept using the theory.
After establishing that scientists sometimes reasoned based on inconsistent theories, I will explain how we can accommodate for the preservation of validity in such cases under a suitable logical framework.
I will argue that the underlying logic behind scientific reasoning was not classical. In fact, scientists, whether aware or not, reasoned non-classically. To further support this, I will explicate the basic tenets of a non-classical logic, which is inconsistency-tolerant and not explosive.?A second question is ?If science follows logic (assumption 2), and if science purports to provide a picture of the empirical world, does the use of an inconsistency-toleration logic entail that the world involves inconsistent empirical phenomena??. I respond by arguing that using a (paraconsistent) logical tool does not necessarily commit them in believing in the existence of a contradictory empirical world.?
In the final part, I want to focus on the potential outcomes of such research.