The new battery was a "lemon" and this came to light only after other alternatives were explored. In attempting to answer what is the scientific method? Related to astronomy, botany, one observes with the senses and draws conclusions or relationships. Edison's search for filament for the light bulb involved over different "tries" until he was successful. Physics has expanded its body of knowledge through controlled circumstances in which many factors of investigation can be manipulated.
The collection of "sample" opinion, or sample "data" is used for making inferences that serve as the basis of making general conclusions. One may develop more detailed procedures within the four categories above. But each of them is designated as a scientific method by some authors. The sciences have grown in volume of information related to the fruitfulness of the scientific method. Life today is better because of this growth. There is no question about the benefits of science. We must pause, however, to focus on the problems as they relate to science and its method.
In the presidential address before the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in , herbert Feigel said that "once we have decided what we ought to do, science may be able to tell us what means will be the most effective and with the least interference with other morally authenticated purposes enable us to do it. How could science demonstrate that mankind ought to perpetuate its existence rather than terminate it?
That wars of defense are justifiable, that parents ought to feel responsible for their infants? Putting all of this together, an a-moral method of research and discovery has produced a system so efficient that it demands a certain uniformity of the society for the efficiency of the "system" to continue. This efficiency cannot tolerate deviation, and all of life appears oriented to continuing this efficiency. Education is geared to passing on scientific knowledge and culture so that in turn more scientific knowledge may be gained. Can man survive in freedom and individuality amidst the surge for conformity?
For him, what people are doing is what they want. Welfare, impersonal factory work, ghettos, and many other things are what people do. Following Lundberg's reasoning we can conclude that this is what they want. Acquiescing in what people do holds little promise for reforming society. If we lose sight of a meaningful existence for man, we have lost all but the hollow machinery. We abolish man as man. In many instances, it has succumbed.
Reductionism is the tendency to interpret complex data from the vantage point of a single item, or idea. A reductionistic view of the world is eventually applied to man's existence and nature. We can say that matter is atomic in nature. But is man only a conglomerate of atoms? Reductionism plays loose and easy with man's existential life in considering man as a total being.
A chemical view of man's nature leaves man's personhood without meaning. It is man's personhood that is the most significant part of his existence. Less use of "it has been proven" and more of "it appears to be" statement should be made in journals and newspapers. Science offers probable evidence. Each generation comes to see that some of the things it regarded as "proven" are rejected in light of better evidence.
One grows weary of all the "provenness" in science as it is given to the public media. Dated in l. This is not only misleading to the general public but it is also careless scholarship. You do not transcend your instruments. When Gregorian, the Russian Cosmonaut declared that he didn't see God out in space he was only propagandizing, not acting as a responsible scientist within the bounds of his method.
It had no relation to scientific technique. He did not have the method nor the instruments to see if God were out there. Our methods and instruments are frequently limited. We can measure the heartbeat, but there is no device for measuring love. We can measure bodies, but not persons. We can measure intelligence, but no instruments have been devised for measuring God, the essence of love, and other intangibles. We should not conclude that because they cannot be measured, they do not exist. We can admit that the scientific method is limited and affirm the existence of love, persons, God, and other intangibles on some other basis.
One of the implications of the problem expressed here in this context is that much bullying has been associated with the scientific methods. People have been brow-beaten toward atheism because science cannot prove the existence of God. It may be possible that eventually some technique may be originated for answering the question in a scientific fashion on whether God exists or not. It may also be that nothing will ever appear to solve the question scientifically. These problems are evident when the scientific methods are misused, or when the claims for the methods are too extreme.
The scientific methods have a valuable role in knowledge and will continue to play a significant role. Scientific verification means l that a theory can be proven by some means, and 2 that this means can be repeated by other scientists. The last point is related to objectivity. Verification is vital to science and has kept science on a fairly down-to-earth basis. This discussion is not intended to bring a new definition of verification or to discard it.
However, there are misleading claims about verification. In his attempt to downgrade popular fallacies on why people believe as they do, Norman Campbell wrote concerning scientists:. If they are really men of science, intimately acquainted with their study by the actual practice of it, they cannot have failed to learn how dangerous it is to believe any statement, however, firmly asserted by a high authority, unless they have tested it for themselves. However, as a matter of experience scientists everywhere accept all kinds of information and data that they never test for themselves.
They do not have the time, resources, or the desire to test everything for themselves. In many matters scientists must trust the honesty, integrity, and correctness of the journals they read. The scientists holds his theories, tentatively, always prepared to abandon them if facts do not bear out the predictions. If a series of observations, designed to verify certain predictions, force us to abandon our theory, then we look for a new or improved theory.
Kemeny states it as it ought to be. But in actuality theories are not abandoned when a few stubborn facts do not fit. Rather, a theory may be held in faith that the contrary facts will be cleared up, be irrelevant, or eventually go away and be ignored. There may be good justification for this stubbornness and it may be vindicated. But it is contrary to the easy abandonment suggested by Kemeny. Michael Polanyi wrote that "Quantum theory of light was first proposed by Einstein--and that upheld subsequently for twenty years--in spite of its being in sharp conflict with the evidence of optical defraction.
An implication arising out of this discussion is that verification is not as simple as it sounds on the surface. Put together the powerful criteria of verification, reproducibility of results, agreement reached by independent methods of determination, and yet there are instances of things appearing to be verified, but later turn up to be false. Verification as a criteria of science is yet limited by Kemeny when he noted: "the key to the verification of theories is that you never verify them. What you do verify are logical consequences of the theory.
Other people have raised questions about the requirement of verification. Bertrand Russell rejected the positivistic form which asserted that "what cannot be verified or falsified is meaningless. In sum, science that is bent on rejecting unverified truths accepts one as the basic ingredient of its position. The requirement of verification in science may be inapplicable to certain areas.
Scientists speak of electrons in a meaningful way, but it is questionable whether one can ever really know what an electron will do because an electron is so small that even light cannot illuminate it. It is smaller than the smallest wave length. One last question concerning verification relates to the subjective response of the scientists. This is like asking: when is something verified? In whose eyes is it verified? Why have Marxist scientists usually rejected the theory of relativity while western scientists have usually accepted it?
What would it take to convince a Marxist of his error? When would verification be? Verification has had a large role in science and will continue to do so, but it must be understood as more subjective than the fiction about it suggests. Empirical and rational supports are objective in the sense that they are in principle susceptible of being weighted and controlled in accordance with definite and statable standards. A fundamental feature of science is its ideal of objectivity, an ideal that subjects all scientific statements to the test of independent and impartial criteria, recognizing no authority of persons in the realm of cognition.
It the standard view understands science to be a systematic public enterprise, controlled by logic and by empirical fact, whose purpose it is to formulate the truth about the natural world. The truth primarily sought is general, expressed in laws of nature, which tell us what is always and everywhere the case. Observation, however, supplies the particular empirical facts, the hard phenomenal data which our lawlike hypotheses strive to encompass, and for which it is the ultimate purpose of such hypotheses to account.
These comments lend support to the popular notion that science is concerned with the "facts" out there, those facts which are seen by everyone and held in common agreement. Scientific facts are said to be known by minds, but not shaped by minds. Hence, science is objective. This view of science, here labeled as a fiction, has come under increasing criticism in the last two decades.
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Two of the leading critics are Michael Polanyi and T. Kuhn's work will serve as the model of criticism of this view labeled "scientific fiction. Kuhn sees science as beginning when a paradigm comes into being. A paradigm is a model or pattern. A paradigm means also an understanding of a particular set of events, facts, or problems. Before a paradigm begins or is completed, only a set of unrelated problems or questions are in existence. Gradually an understanding of these problems emerges around a particular viewpoint and a paradigm is born.
The paradigm gains its status because it is successful in solving problems that the researchers are regarding as acute. It may not solve all the problems, but a paradigm does at least three things: l it dictates what the real facts of the problems are, 2 it dictates what future research will be carried out within the parameters of the discipline, and 3 it brings into being new instruments for testing the research based on the paradigm. Many instruments of science would not exist if a different paradigm had been held. Once a paradigm comes into being, people are recognized by their adherence to it.
Those who cling to older or different paradigms are "simply read out of the profession, which thereafter ignores their work. Those unwilling or unable to accommodate their work to it must proceed in isolation or attach themselves to some other group. Once a paradigm is accepted, scientific work goes on within the paradigm's definition. Normal science is resolving problems within the paradigm, not creating new paradigms. New paradigms only arise when increasing dissatisfaction arises over the old paradigm's inability to solve certain problems. Science is puzzle-solving within the paradigm.
Kuhn notes, "Once a first paradigm through which to view nature has been found, there is no such thing as research in the absence of any paradigm.
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To reject one paradigm without simultaneously substituting another is to reject science itself. Since a paradigm is a certain way of looking at the world, a paradigm will enable one to see things he would not otherwise see. A layman looks at a chair without the paradigm of science and sees a hard piece of metal or wood.
A physicist may look at the chair and through the help of the paradigm "see" the atomic structure of the chair involving a lot of empty space of the atomic nature of the chair. Without the paradigm the physicists could not reach that viewpoint. The crucial implications of this change of paradigm, or no paradigm, is seen in Kuhn's statement:.
As a result, the reception of a new paradigm often necessitates a redefinition of the corresponding science. Some old problems may be relegated to another science, or declared entirely unscientific. Others that were previously non-existent or trivial may, with a new paradigm become the very archetypes of significant scientific achievement.
And as the problems change, so, often, does the standard that distinguishes a real scientific solution from a mere metaphysical speculation, word games, or mathematical play. Kuhn's interpretation of science may be seen to stress the priority of the rational over the empirical. The empirical becomes important within the paradigm, and in establishing the paradigm once the rationality of the paradigm is conceived.
One other charge of Kuhn is that science known for its insistence on the facts, actually goes out of its way to twist the facts. This is noted on the use of textbooks as a method of teaching the profession of science. Kuhn noted. The depreciation of historical fact is deeply, and probably functionally, ingrained in the ideology of the scientific profession, the same profession that places the highest of all values upon factual details of others sorts.
The reason for the re-writing and twisting of the history of science in textbooks used by students is to give the impression that scientists of the present are working on the same problems as scientists of the past. This creates the impression that science is a cumulative effort, rather than one related to revolutionary changes in paradigms, which is the actual historical fact.
The cumulative appearance is wrong, argues Kuhn, for many of the "puzzles of contemporary normal science did not exist until after the most recent scientific revolution.
Very few of them can be traced back to the historic beginning of the science within which they now occur. Changing paradigms, therefore, make for changing ways of viewing the same events, facts, and things. Hence there is a problem of objectivity. A better substitute term is probably inter-subjectivity in which one person follows another person's thinking, agreeing or disagreeing because their views make more sense in interpreting the present problems, puzzles, and questions about the world.
But a new paradigm may be in the making to bring about a different and presumably better understanding. Science has maintained for itself the image that it has no presuppositions, that it begins with work on the raw materials of nature and the universe. In contrast to other studies, particularly religion, science has viewed itself as asking no sacred beginning points.
This is a fiction, or a myth. It is false and misleading. Instead, science requires--as does all disciplines--presuppositions. What is a presupposition? There are different words used by different thinkers. Some speak of presuppositions, others of assumptions, still others of principles or premises. We draw no lines of distinction between these terms for our purpose here. There are different kinds of suppositions and some of them are more debated than others.
It is important to know that if presuppositions are changed, the interpretation of the data studied will also be changed.
We assume the existence of other persons. We assume we can communicate with other persons. We assume a three dimensional existence of objects. We assume the existence of objects independent of the knower. We assume the uniformity of nature. We assume the reproducibility of phenomena. In many works on the philosophy of science not much is said about any of the above assumptions except for number five. The assumption of the uniformity of nature is debated in contemporary literature. Many others argue against the premise of the uniformity of nature. But even when it is rejected something else is put in its place.
Stephen Toulmin rejected the principle and declared, "So it is not Nature that is Uniform, but scientific procedure; and it is uniform only in this, that it is methodical and self-correcting. Presuppositions vary in different world views, or one may say that world views vary and change as time moves on. During Galileo's time it was assumed that the universe could be understood in mass-in-motion terms "governed by laws of mathematical dynamics.
No one knows what the future may bring in new world-view presuppositions. Having talked about the importance and place of presuppositions let us turn to examine some types of presuppositions. Discourse depends upon forms of logic. Type II. Additudinal presuppositions necessary for continuing development of science.
The desire to observe, organize, measure, and experiment is vital to science. The activities described in II. In the pursuit of discovery, men must make choices and the choices determine the knowledge he may or may not derive. The scientific endeavor depends upon the integrity and honesty of the scientist. Nature is real, not an illusion. There are orderliness and regularity in nature. Nature is understandable, and knowable. Nature can be expressed in mathematical terms. Measuring something gives us knowledge of that item. Natural laws are not affected by time. Space is infinite or finite.
The four types of presuppositions listed above bear some comment. Types I-III can be accepted without much difficulty though one may find people who have questioned and rejected some of them. Type IV relates to the theoretical dimensions of science. The I-Believe statements relate to views that are not established firmly in science. As an example, George Gamow advocated a "big bang" theory of the origin of the universe. Fred Hoyle advocates a "steady-state" view. Each bases his views on data, reasoning, and each has his supporters.
Their conclusions are not irrational, although they oppose one another. Their conclusions are probability conclusions. But their views are categorized as an I-believe position because they are not firm as an accepted law in science. A fifth category might be listed in terms of generally accepted laws of science. The first three types of presuppositions seldom receive much consideration from men of science. Philosophers of science are often interested in category III.
The fourth type relates to that dimension of science that is yet up for grabs, as it were, or always open to question. It is an area that lacks finality. There are two basic conclusions to be drawn from the list of presuppositions. First, the myth or fiction that science has no presuppositions is false. Science, as well as any other study, has many presuppositions. Second, changing presuppositions makes a change in the treatment of data.
The change of presuppositions affects the conclusions drawn from the same data. There is a small controversy that will illustrate the significance of presuppositions. Critics of evolution argue that present biological theory is based on slow, small, almost imperceptible views of change. If life changes so slowly in its development it requires up to 2 billion years to explain. These critics of evolution suggest that another model be used, a paradigm of catastrophism, or great cataclysmic changes that require little time to explain.
One paradigm makes the world billions of years old, the other paradigm makes it quite young. Each paradigm attempts to use the same data as the other, but the presupposition, or model, or paradigm used to interpret the data leads to different consequences. Consequently, presuppositions are important to know. Different kinds of history are written on different types of presuppositions. Different kinds of psychology arise out of different presuppositions.
Presuppositions are important and should not be avoided. Man must order his life another presupposition and make sense out of the universe. Life becomes easier if we are aware of the presuppositions from which we and other people operate. The real clashes in disagreement in many disciplines are clashes based on presuppositions that differ.
Then some presuppositions are better than others. Some are too reductionistic.
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Others ignore part of men's existence as a total being. Resolution of differences have to take place in the larger setting of man's rationality. In summary, we have looked at the methods of science, some fictions associated with science, and presuppositions needed for the progress of science, as well as criticisms related to these topics. We are now turning to the second heading of our chapter, Philosophy. The second part of our chapter title, Philosophy, may appear to be short-treated. The brief treatment may give the impression that philosophy is not important.
The reader must keep in mind that the total book is related to philosophy, its problems, issues, and answers. With this in mind we can turn to the two relationships. The early philosophers were the first scientists. Thales seems to have been one of the first to combine an interest in science and philosophy. Other philosophers, Anaximander, Anaximens, and others, followed in their attempt to understand the world.
Eventually philosophy was baptized into the Christian tradition and one of the earliest to synthesize these studies was Clement of Alexander, and later Origen. Yet later a close relationship existed in which theology was regarded as the "queen" of the sciences and philosophy as a subordinate step-child. With the coming of the enlightenment, philosophy separated itself from its close relationship with theology and eventually committed itself to the new science that was emerging from its domain. So today we can say that philosophy secures much of its intellectual building material from the sciences.
For better or worse, some philosophers will not speak on certain issues until science has spoken. Others will not speak unless there is a precedent for verifying their remarks by means of some scientific method. But the influence of science on philosophy has not brought unanimity by any means to philosophy or science. Some may argue whether psychology is a science, but it serves as an example of a discipline appealing to the methods of science.
However, psychology has within its fold a number of competing schools. In the more traditional sciences, the "hard sciences," there are sufficient "I-believe" statements that affect world-views. Examples of this would be accepting or rejecting the indeterminacy principle, or the second law of thermodynamics.
Here a philosopher can pick and choose according to his mind set. Just as there are myths or fictions in science and religion, it is true in philosophy. Most philosophers would like to be thought of as even-minded, open, tolerant people.
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Unfortunately, there are no completely objective philosophers, who arrive at the ungarnished truth without biased beginnings. The philosopher is a bundle of attitudes, rebellions, sensitivities, biases, moral failures, and criticism by the time he arrives at philosophy and begins to formulate his own views. Rather than starting from "scratch" in discussing the limitations of philosophy, its lack of method, the problems with the scientific methods, or alternative world views, he may seek material to support his own intellectual idiosyncracies.
In many cases he may regard his view as the "objective" one while opposing views are nothing more than sentimental nonsense. There may appear a strong urge on the part of a philosopher to appeal to scientific beliefs as a basis of undergirding his own philosophical viewpoint. An example of this is Corliss Lamont who appeals uncritically to evolutionary theory and writes that science has proven that God did not create the world. Because evolution is proven by science, therefore, humanism--Lamont's philosophy, is a proven philosophy.
Philosophy may appeal to science both for facts and a "snow-job. While philosophy draws upon scientific data, the scope of philosophy is, by definition, broader than science. Academic disciplines are often narrow with such divisions as biology, physics, chemistry, psychology, and others. It is only in recent times that cross-disciplines research has been stressed. We can now speak of a bio-chemist, or an astro-physicist. Philosophy is interested in all of these areas at those points which information relates to a comprehensive view of reality.
Unless philosophy is geared to a rejection of metaphysics, or the study of reality, philosophy seeks information from the sciences to be the building blocks of its world-view. Philosophy and science differ in another regard. We have seen that science, as science, is a-moral. As a scientific endeavor, a scientist is only interested in building a better hydrogen bomb. His role as a scientist cannot dictate how this product is to be used. He may violently oppose war as a private citizen, but he does it on other than scientific grounds.
Thus many types of philosophies take up where science has to stop, namely the area of people and values. Philosophy is concerned, in many ways, with values, and values are not generally related to scientific methods. Philosophy and science also part company regarding a method. Science prides itself on its method of investigation. Philosophy has no method of its own. Some philosophers have smarted under this lack and have renounced the traditional interest of philosophy and metaphysics for the advocacy of a method for philosophy, namely, language analysis. Not only does this limit philosophy greatly, but the interest attached to the traditional philosophical questions is transferred to other disciplines, religion, psychology, or psychiatry.
As for science, it pays little attention to philosophy. Since the days of Hume, "the fashionable scientific philosophy has been such as to deny the rationality of science. Whitehead quotes Hume:. In a word, then, every effect is a distinct event from its cause. Whitehead concludes that if the cause is the invention which is entirely arbitrary, then,. Some variant of Hume's philosophy has generally prevailed among men of science.
But scientific faith has risen to the occasion, and has tacitly removed the philosophic mountain. What reasoning it has wanted, has been borrowed from mathematics which is a surviving relic of Greek rationalism, following the deductive method. Science repudiates philosophy. In other words it has never cared to justify its faith or to explain its meaning; and has remained blandly indifferent to its refutation by Hume. Strangely enough, while philosophy is ignored by science, Whitehead maintains that science has arisen in western Europe as opposed to Asia or India where long histories of civilization have flourished, because in Europe there has been the medieval insistence on the rationality of God, "conceived as with the personal energy of Jehovah, and with the rationality of a Greek philosopher.
The strange paradox arises in the midst of science as surveyed by Whitehead--anti-rational in its technique but admitting the rational nature of nature. The religious matrix for the birth of science is especially significant in spite of the traditional warfare of science and religion. The enmity of blood brothers is often serious and deep, but the two need each other.
Some philosophers are sympathetic to the issues in religion. But the present climate is perhaps one in which religion is regarded by many philosophers as a bag of pseudo-questions and answers. Religion often looks upon philosophy as a prodigal son at best and an atheistic antagonist at worst. Nevertheless, both disciplines have much to offer each other when dialogue is taken seriously. This is particularly true in the area of metaphysics, or the nature of reality. Philosophy, building upon knowledge of reality drawn from science, is directed to the conclusion that reality is physical, atomic, chemical, or electric, etc.
While this is meaningful knowledge, it is a restricted type of knowledge. Suppose that the basic fact of reality were person or spirit. Philosophy directed by science would have no method now of coming to that knowledge. If the whole of man is more important than his components, we have to think in terms of persons rather than electrons, chemicals, etc.
If there is another dimension to reality other than the scientific, religion may offer a key to knowing about it. Our most meaningful knowledge about other persons comes through self-revelation, not empirical investigations. Our investigation on the body speaks little about the person. Likewise, if we are to know anything about God, the most meaningful knowledge will come through self-revelation.
Only God can speak for God. This is a prime idea in the Judaeo-Christian tradition. There is a quality of reality transcending the physical which is the cause of the physical. God as creator is known because of self-revelation. The idea of the Incarnation--God became man in Jesus Christ--sets forth an understanding of reality which science cannot deal with, nor philosophy achieve in its own right. Science and philosophy have neither the method or the general desire to deal with these kinds of religious issues.
But religion poses a solution for an understanding of reality that transcends both disciplines. Philosophy and religion have something in common in the matter of a method. Philosophy has no method, and religion has no method of searching out God. Philosophy professes to receive information from science, and religion professes to receive in terms of God's self-revelation.
Philosophy may reject a relationship to religion. It may accept either atheism or a rationalistic theism, or some hybrid. Yet in a positive way, philosophy and religion may be regarded as complementary. Paul Tillich wrote of this:. Philosophy is that cognitive endeavor in which the question of being is asked.
The question of being is not the question of any special being, its existence and nature, but it is the question of what it means to be. Tillich poses a correlation between philosophy and religion. Philosophy asks the questions about the meaning of being, and religion, depending on the realm of the question, gives a transcendent answer. This would appear only possible when religion is admitted as having the revelation of God.
In summary, the relationships between philosophy and science, philosophy and religion, have been changing through the centuries. There is no reason to believe that things will be different in the future. We must not be deceived by these relationships. Philosophy is not science, nor religion. Religion is not science nor philosophy.
Each has its own way of looking at the world. Philosophy is concerned with criticism, questioning, doubting, examining, and Socrates is the prime example in this area. Philosophy makes its case primarily on the ground of reason. Philosophy, unlike religion which takes its source in authority of Scripture, takes its case to the high court of reason.
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All questions, even unanswerable ones, are treated from the standpoint of reason. Religion in this context of science, philosophy, and religion is predominantly a relation of western thought. Consequently, we are thinking primarily of the Judaeo-Christian influences rather than dealing with all religions. There is no single definition of religion that will fit all religions.
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What must be undertaken is the definition of a particular religion. Even this is not without its critics. Our example in this context reflects biblical theism rather than institutional organizations, denominational biases, or rituals. What we aim for is Biblical religion without the trappings of cultural conformity or innovation through different periods of its history. Likewise, the applications of conceptual and methodological investigations to applied sciences as well as social and technological phenomena are strongly encouraged.
The contributions in the volumes are expected to be focused and structurally organized in accordance with the central theme s , and are tied together by an editorial introduction. Volumes are completed by extensive bibliographies. For inquiries and submission of proposals authors can contact the editor-in-chief Mariarosaria Taddeo via: mariarosaria. Share this. Titles in this series. Refine Search. Content Type. Release Date. Showing 7 results. In my God, l Time, and ….
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