Read this Carnap section on the value of scientific theories and answer the
following questions in 600 words.
1. Carnap writes that the original divisions of physics were based upon
our different sensory systems. To extend this, consider four categories
of phenomena which are possible: (1) phenomena which are sensed directly
(2) phenomena which are not sensed directly but have effects which are
sensed directly (3) phenomena which have not been sensed directly, nor
have their effects, but might someday be sensed directly or through their
effects (4) phenomena which will never be sensed directly nor will ever
have any effects which could be sensed directly.
Provide an example from each category. Is the fourth category possible?
If it is, should we care? Are questions about the fourth category even
2. Carnap writes that one goal of physics is to unify the various
subdisciplines of the subject. This has not yet been accomplished.
Is it possible that physics is ultimately ununifiable? Does it matter if
it is or isn't?
3. Carnap writes that for an idea to be scientific, it must be capable
of being tested empirically. In the term of Karl Popper, it must be
falsifiable. (a) Why is this such an important principle? (b) Are ideas
which are forever untestable and unfalsifiable meaningful? Are they useful?
(c) Can you think of ideas in science, history, art, politics, ethics, or
religion which are ultimately untestable and unfalsifiable? What should
our opinion of these be and why?