Using Science to Predict the Future: An Interactive Discussion of Induction and Scientific Reasoning
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In the 17th Century, there was a profound scientific revolution, as first Galileo and then Isaac Newton overturned the commonly-accepted Aristotelian principles and replaced them with what we now call the laws of “Classical Physics.” The success of Newton’s Laws was so overwhelming that it led to an explosion of scientific research and engineering that changed society in a fundamental way. But why is it that Newton’s results were so successful? What can we learn from classical laws of physics, or from any scientific law? What can scientific principles tell us about the future? And how is it that we really know anything about the universe around us? In this talk, we will briefly review the history of scientific thought and then – through an interactive, audience-participation challenge – discuss the philosophy of David Hume, a skeptic from the early 18th Century whose philosophical theories cast doubt on the rational basis for all of scientific inquiry.