By now we know that empirical research can be more effective than scientific research when studying the social sciences, but what can we do when the problem we are trying to address is too large and complex, and how can we make sure that our assumptions always map to physical reality?
In an earlier article, I wrote about physical reality as the reification of an abstract concept. I did not mean that physical reality itself is abstract. I was giving an illustration of physical reality as a concept that would be assumed in science in order to avoid ontological discourses and make progress (hidden complexity on the firm grounds of generally accepted human beliefs).
Science requires the assumption of basic premises, in order to conduct rational inquiry. In propositional logic, we can think of these premises as facts, truth statements, or axioms that can be inserted into a rulebase, to then have a reproducible, axiomatic set of truths for reasoning. The elements in this axiomatic set depend on the inquiry being undertaken.
Scientific theories are necessarily incomplete if we accept imperfect cognition as a premise. We must assume that human cognition is imperfect; otherwise, the underlying truths that make up the entirety of our knowledge would be intolerably paradoxical and subject to reasoning dilemmas, such as infinite regress.Therefore, by modus ponendo ponens, scientific theories are incomplete.
Via Philippe Vallat