Overview and organizing themes This entry could have been given the title Scientific Methods and gone on to fill volumes, or it could have been extremely short, consisting of a brief summary rejection of the idea that there is any such thing as a unique Scientific Method at all. Both unhappy prospects are due to the fact that scientific activity varies so much across disciplines, times, places, and scientists that any account which manages to unify it all will either consist of overwhelming descriptive detail, or trivial generalizations.
Science and Non-Science Pamela Irvin Lazorko briefly introduces what demarks science from non-science. The modern world has seen technological wonders multiply rapidly, made possible through an accumulation of scientific discoveries about the natural world applied in practical ways.
Yet there remain conflicts, competing visions of truth, between those ideas fielded by the practitioners of science and, for example, its theological competitors. A question to be answered then is, What is science?
Scientific Methods In earlier eras, the human desire to explain natural phenomena linked what was observed with preconceived notions of the world taken from mythology, religion, and philosophy.
Modern science developed as an alternative way to explain those phenomena, through systematically observing them, and testing ideas about them. The scientific method proceeds from data collected by observing phenomena. Based on the observations, the inquirer crafts a hypothesis — an idea that hopes to explain the observations.
Analysis of experimental results might then show the original hypothesis to be mistaken, in which case it is discarded, and an alternative hypothesis developed and tested. In the event that a hypothesis is not disproved by experimental results, it might form the basis for a theory explaining the phenomenon.
Science also places importance on the publication of experiments, that they might be recreated by other researchers, demonstrating the consistency of claimed observations, and so that they may possibly further refine the process. Early in the rift between scientists and say theologians, an empiricist view emerged in philosophy cf, for example, John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, On this view, only that which can be observed or measured in some way is a reliable source of truth.
Religious authoritarianism, mysticism, and metaphysics were ruled out by this process. Indeed, evidence is essential in the scientific process.
However, observations can be influenced by a bias towards the hypothesis the experimenter seeks to test, or by the paradigm the scientist is working within see below.
Although in practice the ideal of having a purely objective or disinterested approach to the collection of data is rarely if ever achieved, science could not advance without some adherence to the empirical principle.
Few examples exist of scientific theories not formed primarily from directly reacting to empirical data: Einstein developed this theory from thought experiments and mathematics, although observations of natural phenomena later confirmed his concepts.
The justification of the system rests in the verification of the derived propositions by sense experiences. To be scientific, the observations upon which a theory is based must be repeatable. Originally it was thought by philosophers of science that theories must be verifiable.
This approach, known as verificationism, was inverted by Karl Popper in his book Conjectures and Refutationswhere he pointed out that no amount of observation agreeing with a hypothesis will ever prove that hypothesis, whereas a single contrary observation will disprove it.
He therefore proposed that falsifiability provided the demarcation between scientific and non-scientific hypotheses. So, rather than by demonstrably being proven correct by empirical means, to be scientific, propositions should be capable of being disproved, either by observation or in theoretical principle.
Generally, whether through verification or falsification, testability is essential to an idea being a scientific hypothesis. Observations may in fact support several competing theories, and may not of themselves be neutral arbitrators between opposing claims.
Thomas Kuhn suggested in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions that scientific observations are made in an established theoretical context called a paradigm, and that for any given discipline an accepted paradigm of scientific thought suggests the course for continued experimentation.Ultimately, the question raised by Shanker's essay - appropriately, since it is the central question of 20th-century philosophy - is whether philosophy is, as Russell, Quine and others have insisted, continuous with empirical science, or whether, as Wittgenstein passionately believed, it is .
In these areas, the philosophical attempts at identifying a set of methods characteristic for scientific endeavors are closely related to the philosophy of science’s classical problem of demarcation (see the entry on science and pseudo-science) and to the philosophical analysis of the social dimension of scientific knowledge and the role of science in democratic society.
- Research Question 2 Philosophy The positivist approach will be used for the second research question. Such an approach is viewed to be a scientific method that aims to gain information with the objective of discovering laws that may be generalised within similar conditions.
So philosophy might have better chances of passing the test of being scientific or at least closer to science than positivists «The Boundary between scientific and non-scientific knowledge», by Lorenzo Peña 5 were bent on saying.
Non-scientific Methods. This course will cover the fundamental principles of science, some history and philosophy of science, research designs, measurement, sampling and ethics. Science is all about gaining knowledge, coming up with the best possible explanations of the world around us.
So how do we decide which explanation is the. Science, pseudo-science and non-science do have there own characteristics. Sciences’ goal is to discover what our universe beholds and define why it is and how it is (Curd and Cover, ).
One of science’s most substantial characteristics is the formation of theories.