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Find a copy in the library Finding libraries that hold this item This book provides a clear, intuitive, accurate model of scientific method, articulating the fundamental tenets in an accessible, informative style. Defines and explains basic scientific principles including hypotheses, theories, testing, evidence and more.
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As noted earlier, it is neither the object nor the topic under study but rather the methodology with which a study is carried out and the standards that are used to judge the obtained results. Scientific activity entails the use of certain scientific methods to conclusively confirm or conclusively falsify various theories. Theories are derived from observations which have been experimented. The goal of science is to obtain knowledge of the natural world. This popular or rather commonsensical view of modern science takes its origin from the revolutionary efforts of scientists such as Galileo.
Prior to the seventeenth century, the foundation or basis of science was not taken to be observable facts, rather, science was founded on authority6. However, with the challenge of scientists like Galileo, who rather than appealing to authority appealed to the testimony of sense experience, there was a paradigm shift in the template of science. This somewhat rebellious attitude fortunately gave birth to a somewhat revised version of modern science, science and the scientific method generally which whence forth took the bases of science to be facts of experience.
Chalmers, What is this Thing called Science? Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. Common sense analyzes the information we receive through our senses sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste, proprioception and vestibular orientation as being real and independent from the observer. Without thinking consciously about the steps taken, our common sense is based on a sequence of observation, evidence and verification; scientific thinking follows the same logic, but the scientific train and terrain of thought is slowed down for the purpose of increasing transparency and control during the various steps.
Transparency is important because it enables both peers and colleagues to repeat experiments, verify results and construct more advanced theories based upon them. To answer this question, it is essential that we first ask another question: what do we mean by science? But science is more than just knowing by analysis. Science is a process of learning to know the nature of everything in the material world, from atoms to the most complex of living organisms and inanimate objects. Nonmaterial things, like gods, whose existence can be neither confirmed nor disproved by science are excluded, for science deals only with those elements of the universe that can be shown, at least potentially, to exist.
Science, therefore, is never-ending and always changing. Although its goal is knowledge, it is more than and different from knowledge itself, for knowledge is its product not its essence. Science is the offspring of philosophy, and differs from it mainly in the methods used in learning to know.
A Summary of Scientific Method | Peter Kosso | Springer
Science is an enormously successful human enterprise. The scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry is commonly based on empirical or measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. The scientific method has characterized natural science since the 17th century and among the activities often identified as characteristic of science are systematic observation and experimentation, inductive and deductive reasoning, and the formation and testing of hypotheses and theories.
Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands; , pp. Zalta ed. However, the overall process of the scientific method involves making conjectures hypotheses , deriving predictions from them as logical consequences, and then carrying out experiments based on those predictions. For them, hypotheses are not to be regarded in experimental philosophy. And although the arguing from Experiments and Observations by Induction be no Demonstration of general conclusions; yet it is the best way of arguing which the Nature of Things admits of, and may be looked upon as so much the stronger, by how much the Induction is more general.
This is the method of Analysis: And the Synthesis consists in assuming the Causes discovered and established as Principles, and by them explaining the Phenomena proceeding from them, and providing the Explanations. Observers may have the good 10 Cf. Barnes ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press, , pp. In either case, observation sentences describe perceptions or things perceived.
Similarly, amplification devices are used to hear faint sounds. But if to observe something is to perceive it, not every use of instruments to augment the senses qualifies as observational. But minimalist empiricists like Bas Van Fraassen, deny that one can observe things that can be visualized only by using electron and perhaps even light microscopes.
Their intuitions come from the plausible assumption that one can observe only what one can see by looking, hear by listening, feel by touching, and so on. Investigators can neither look at direct their gazes toward and attend to nor visually experience charge particles moving through a bubble chamber. Instead, they can look at and see tracks in the chamber, or in bubble chamber photographs.
It is clear however that, observation belongs majorly and primarily to the realm of seeing, because sight is the sense mostly used to observe the world. The functioning of the eye is analogous to that of a camera only that a big difference is in the way the final image is recorded.
The eye has lens and the retina which correspond to the lens and screen of the camera. There are two points in this account of observation through the sense of sight. The first is that a human observer has more or less direct access to knowledge of some facts about the world insofar as they are recorded by the brain in the act of seeing. To explain this, an identical combination of light rays will strike the eyes of each observer, and will be focused on their normal retinas by their normal eye lenses and give rise to similar images.
Similar information will then travel to the brain of each observer via their normal optic nerves, resulting in the two observers seeing the same thing.
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We shall see that this kind of picture may seriously lead to some misleading information. Then, what is seen will be determined by the nature of what is looked at, so that observers always have the same visual experience given the same scene. However, this is not simply the case as evidence has shown. Hanson would speak of it. Therefore, what an observer sees is not determined solely by the images on their retinas but depends also on the experience past and present , knowledge and expectations of the observer.
Therefore, one has to learn to be a competent observer in science.
A common objection to the observational claim is that observers viewing the same scene from the same place, see the same thing but interpret what they see differently. This is quite similar to what Hempel called the phenomenalist account. Observation reports describe the observer's subjective perceptual experiences. Thus, such experiential data might be conceived of as being sensations, perceptions, and similar phenomena of immediate experience.
This is a grave limitation to the observational scientific method. To recap this argument we note that first, we agree that the physical causes of the images in our retina has something to do with what we see, so that we cannot see just what we like. Second, we admit that what we see in various situations remains fairly stable and third, in all the examples above, there is a sense in which all the observers see the same thing, but it does not follow that they have identical perceptual experiences.
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Neurath, R. Carnap, C. Morris eds. Chalmers, What is this thing called science? The correction of these mistakes is made possible by improved knowledge and technology. It provides us with knowledge of the physical world, and it is experiment that provides the evidence that grounds this knowledge. Experiment plays many roles in science. One of its important roles is to test theories and to provide the basis for scientific knowledge. Experiment can provide hints toward the structure or mathematical form of a theory and it can provide evidence for the existence of the entities involved in our theories.
Finally, it may also have a life of its own, independent of theory. Scientists may investigate a phenomenon just because it looks interesting. Such experiments may provide evidence for a future theory to explain. A single experiment may play several of these roles at once.
If experiment is to play these important roles in science then we must have good reasons to believe experimental results, for science is a fallible enterprise. Theoretical calculations, experimental results, or the comparison between experiment and theory may all be wrong. Theories often need to be articulated and clarified. It also may not be clear how Nature is disposing.
Experiments may not always give clear-cut results, and may even disagree for a time. With this, scientific knowledge can then be reasonably based on these experimental results.go
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This includes induction, a form of logic that identifies similarities within a group of particulars, and deduction, a form of logic that identifies a particular by its resemblance to a set of accepted facts. In an essay entitled Is the Scientific Paper a Fraud? In The Logic of Scientific Discovery, Popper rejected induction as a legitimate form of logic in the practice of science.
Three main points remain inevitable in the scientific enterprise, the first is that induction is an integral part of the practice of science and Popper and Medewar, therefore, in spite of their membership in the class of intellectual giants, are not only talking nonsense about induction having no place in science, but are committing a logical heresy by doing so. Medewar, Is the scientific paper a fraud? Cambridge: Oxford U.
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