i think it’s weird how some philosophers and other scientists sometimes dismiss the field of epistomology, like some sort of metaphysics, because it cannot produce knowledge, nor is it empirical, they think. that for sure is a misunderstanding based on not engaging enough with the field and its results.
i cherish the notion that science has to be as based in reality and adhering to scientific values, as much as possible. producing knowledge is hard a thing to accomplish after all.
some fields, let’s for example take metaphysics, do care about things that are not of physical nature, yet claim epistomological properties. but since there is no empirical proof to something it has to be ignored by “actual” science (i pressume all scientists are physicalists, or vice versa: if you are not a physicalist, you are not a scientist). so much i agree with the view i aim to criticise here.
but i have myself stumbled upon a few examples of pure thought experiments that produced actual new information – it changes nothing of physical nature in the universe, and may even have thought of someone before its written down form, but still for what it’s worth, information that has not been part of the scientific pool of dogmas and is equally true, and even physically rooted. and by those values are absolutely of importance to the rest of the sciences.
my favorite example would be Descartes’ Cogito Ergo Sum argument – in my opinion a vast addition to actual facts, with a positive truth value, and based in a complete, closed physical world with all regards to all the rules we found out about it. it single handedly excluded once and for all classic scepticism and solipcism from the real scientific discourse. this reduction of things to consider when doing future sciences is of grave importance, if only for the space of capacities it created, so scientists can more focus on their own field and, yes, empirical studies.
i would consider Cogito Ergo Sum as an empirical value, because it actually results in the knowledge of something empirical existing. I think that’s kinda important, don’t you?
after all, even though it’s based in a physical reality that is somewhat grounded in a state of matter, at least the combination of neurons firing to produce that thought are physical and reproducable.
and this goes, of course, for other epistomological insights as well.
the huge intersection of epistomology and metaphysics sure is an obstacle that is hard to overcome sometimes, but that is exactly the reason why more scientists have to engage in epistomological thought experiments. it doesn’t even need any additional tools, like experiments, polling, conducting studies, and so on – the only physical thing you need is your own brain to create actual empirical results. ain’t that neat?