On Philosophy of Science and RPG

JiiTuomas refered on argument about philosophy of science at Rule7, which started as something else. Got interested what kind of RPG forum Rule7 is and started to read. Some arguments in thread made me write this comment. Especially view expressed by ChessyPig (which few seem to agree) raises multiple problems in terms of what is science:

the English definition of science (which involves things like falsifiable hypothesis and controlled experiments […]). (ChessyPig)

Although there are multiple ways of interpreting comment, I take that he made strong claims: science requires falsifiable hypothesis AND controlled experiments. (Just linking science alone with Popper’s philosophy by making falsifiable hypothesis a criteria of science is problematic as, e.g, Kuhn [1962] has argued in detail.)

One obvious question that relates to falsifiability and controlled test as criteria of science is: is mathematics a science? How you use controlled test with mathematics? Are mathematical theories falsifiable?

Then how about physics? Would these above-mentioned criteria lead to that physics is not a science? Physics do not use controlled experiments, I think (I take that controlled experiments means tests with control groups like in medicine). Moreover, does formulating hypothesis that are currently not testable make that part of theory formulation unscientific (and it might turn to be science when someone invent a way to tests the hypothesis)? I think not.

The question is not so straight forward as some writes at Rule7 propose. John Dewey (1929) have criticized very premises of science as seeking certainty and something unchanging (e.g., Popper’s philosophy and falsifiable hypothesis).

Dewey (1929). The quest for certainty: A study of the relation of knowledge and action.
Kuhn (1962). The structure of scientific revolutions. University of Chicago Press

Published by lankoski

Petri Lankoski, D.Arts, is a Associate Professor in Game Studies at the school of Communication, Media and IT at the Södertörn University, Sweden. His research focuses on game design, game characters, role-playing, and playing experience. Petri has been concentrating on single-player video games but researched also (multi-player) pnp and live-action role-playing games. This blog focuses on his research on games and related things.

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