Scientific Method and World

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Positivism/metatheory

During the period of enlightenment, for every event there must be a cause and historically this was explained in terms of the super natural or irrational terms. During this period diseases and events were explained in magical and mystical terms e.g. If a child had an aching stomach it would be because he misbehaved the previous evening instead of a logical deduction such as eating too many sweets. The move from irrational to a rational way of thinking was named the empirical method or a scientific method of knowledge. This is also known as the positivist method. The main features of positivism is based on a scientific approach to the human and natural world where things are explained in terms of cause and effect e.g. only if something can be proven and tested can it be seen as a fact, therefore to understand an event is to know the circumstance that produced it and this method of thinking led to the progress of the world, especially in science.

Positivist educational theory is an empirical method which state that only real knowledge is true knowledge and if it can’t be proven it is not real knowledge. In addition only true knowledge is something you can prove and control. In essence the positivists are promoting a science based educational system with its objective nature which is supported by scientific mechanisms such as:

1) SAM moral of meaning
2) The D-N explanation moral
3) The criteria to decide what scientific knowledge is.

According to the SAM model of meaning which is important in the evaluation process by positive education. Facts are out there in the world and we have to uncover them. The synthetic statements are when we are thinking about those facts e.g. “this is a ruler”. This description is a synthetic statement so no matter where you go in the world, in any language or culture that ruler will always be a ruler. Metaphysical statements are statements that have no facts to support them. This means that they are meaningless utterances which clutter our cognitive development and undermines our rational thinking. E.g. “She is beautiful” This is not logical and can not be proven. What is beautiful to one person may not be beautiful to the next. The opinion varies from person to person.

Synthetic statements and metaphysical statements should not be mixed because science is objective and lacks value judgements, prejudice and ideological bias. Analytical statements are statements which are considered factual, rational and objective. This objectivity, according to positivists, is when you can explain things according to facts and make consistent links between these facts e.g. tautology. Another example would be the sum: 5+4=9. Every time you add 5 and 4 you will always get 9 as an answer. There is repetition and no matter where you go in the world the same answer will be derived. In short, objectivity refers to a value-free ideal with all matter being subjected to the field of science which would exclude the bias and metaphysical nature of man.

In the SAM model synthetic and analytical statements are considered a natural science while the metaphysical statements are value based, subjective, and irrational. In this model the S and A statements can be seen, checked and verified and the analytical statements are true by definition. The metaphysical statements are linked to morals, values and opinions which can not be measured by universal or scientific means. Positive education sees the need to control education by means of a scientific module which will focus on Maths, astrology, chemistry, science etc. which is considered as true knowledge.

According to positivists social sciences are of little value as it is usually in mans position. Science can be seen to manipulate and prevent dilemmas such as starvation and malnutrition and how this type of methodology has influenced medicine. This type of approach in education gives a more advanced, structured, well balanced and...
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