Tok Notes

Topics: Scientific method, Philosophy of science, Science Pages: 7 (1450 words) Published: December 16, 2012
The problem of Induction – Induction

Science is supposed to be an empirical discipline which makes no claims beyond what has been observed.

Therefore we have a dillema we could refuse to make any claims beyond what we observe and retain the idea of empirical science or we could defend the right of scientist to reason from the particulae to the genréral and accept that science is not strictly empirical.

We could defend the right of science to reason from a particular to the general and accept that science is not strictly.

In science we deduce a theory and extrapolate on that thory to redefine which is to some extent speculation.

We could also just get on with science and see where it leads us.

karl popper tried to resolve the dilemma.

He tried to distinguish “genuine science “ ( eg. Einsteins theory of relativety)from Pseudo science Marxism or pyschoanalysis. Psychoanalysis is the study of a persons conscience.
As a young man he was impresses by the “ability” of Marx (1818-1883) Freud ( 1856- 1939) or alfred Asler – inferiority complex (1870-1937) to explain everything.

A problem with a theory in which it tries to explain everything and accordinf to popper a genuninly scientific theory puts it self at risk for completely disproving anything that it is trying to prove.

Falsification - conjections and refutation

Poppers method is based on conjectures and on refutations. There is no mechanical way of coming up with agood hypothesis. We need an idea to help us interpret observes dara in a different way

at what point in the universe did steven hawking think that maybe light can be bent afterall

This is perhaps what copernicus did when he suggeserd that the earth is moving around the sun howevr wht ifthe sun was stationary then wouldnt it have the same effect.

Newtons idea of “gravity” comes from an apple dropping on his head-perhaps. It was newton who took this observation and windered why those kind of thing happen.

Mendeleydevs periodic table said that that the idea has come to him in a dream. Mendelyev made different kind of card systems in order to solve the problem , and then he presented it in a special form and this was known as the great breakthrough which was revolutionary at the time.

Falsification – conjectures and refutations

Most important thing about genuineky scientific conjectures is that they are TESTABLEBasically, he concluded that confirmation is always tentative ( the next test might disprove it the theory that all metals expand when heated) but refutation( to show that it is wrong or does not work) is decisive.

We only need onw counter example to show that the law is false

Therefore popper concluded that scientists shouls ty to show that laws do not work. ( the Problem of induction means that they can never succeed in showing thatt the is is a law because it alwys works ) not forr endless examples that they do.

He disliked above all else any form of scientific dogmatism. Which blindly accepts the prevailing orthodoxy – or paradigm.

Therefore in Poppers world – no point in biloing water endlessly to show tit boils at 100 C better to find circumstances in which this does not occur and then try to explain that! Now we know that water boils at lower than 100 C at higher altitudes – Popper's interest is in why, not whether the law is a law ! And then perhaps we have one real guess.

According ro Popper, any law which resists falsification could be provisionally accepted as the best we currently have but he argues that it can never be true in an absoulte sense becaause it might be disproves in the future even tommorw.

However when is a falsification a falsification and when is it badly done and requires further testing?

If you negate one of newtons laws in ,r goncalves classroom, do you tell the world that it is all nonsens – probably not. Better to check to see if you did everything right in the first place

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