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Teaching Foundations of Science.


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What are the foundations of Science?


Scientific method

I came across a so called scientific method today.


Here it went:

1- Observe a new phenomena.


2- Develop as many hypotheses as possible. [Also, known as brainstorming. A creative process to generate alternatives in the interest of "hedging" one's bets. Used frequently and liberally in iterative methodologies.]


3- Consider each hypothesis separately to get any predictions the hypothesis makes.


4- Experimentally test the hypotheses.


5- Get down to the most likely seeming hypothesis.


6- Develop an appropriate theory.


Any opinions?


Peer Review

In the modern implementation of the scientific method, peer review is also central. At stage 1 the observations need to be confirmed by others, or to be gathered by techniques that have been well validated.


At stage 2 and 3 the hypotheses must be reviewed and informally assessed by colleagues. The experimentation in stage 4 needs to be validated by colleagues.


The report on the initial hypotheses and experimental results must be reviewed by the editorial bodies of the journal publishing the results.


The published research must be assessed by others working in the field.


The work must be further reviewed, assessed, modified and validated or rejected by other parties, some of whom must necessarily repeat the experiments.


Occam's Razor

When multiple competing hypotheses are equal in other respects, the principle recommends selecting the hypothesis that introduces the fewest assumptions and postulates the fewest entities.


Critical Rationalism

Popper coined the term critical rationalism to describe his philosophy. The term indicates his rejection of classical empiricism, and of the observationalist-inductivist account of science that had grown out of it. Popper argued strongly against the latter, holding that scientific theories are abstract in nature, and can be tested only indirectly, by reference to their implications. He also held that scientific theory, and human knowledge generally, is irreducibly conjectural or hypothetical, and is generated by the creative imagination in order to solve problems that have arisen in specific historico-cultural settings.


Logically, no number of positive outcomes at the level of experimental testing can confirm a scientific theory, but a single counterexample is logically decisive: it shows the theory, from which the implication is derived, to be false. Popper's account of the logical asymmetry between verification and falsifiability lies at the heart of his philosophy of science. It also inspired him to take falsifiability as his criterion of demarcation between what is and is not genuinely scientific: a theory should be considered scientific if and only if it is falsifiable. This led him to attack the claims of both psychoanalysis and contemporary Marxism to scientific status, on the basis that the theories enshrined by them are not falsifiable. Popper also wrote extensively against the famous Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. He strongly disagreed with Niels Bohr's instrumentalism and supported Albert Einstein's realist approach to scientific theories about the universe.


Popper's falsifiability resembles Charles Peirce's fallibilism. In Of Clocks and Clouds (1966), Popper remarked that he wished he had known of Peirce's work earlier.


These are the things I could think of or found. What pieces of the puzzle do you have?

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