Science as a Methodology

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Science as a Methodology

Post  laraschembrisant on Sun Dec 01, 2013 8:09 pm

One of the major accomplishments of the scientific revolution was the formalization of science as a methodology. In the formalization of science as a methodology, Sir Francis Bacon and René Descartes clearly stand out. Although Bacon is generally referred to as being the "father" of the scientific method, these two men both played important roles in the history of scientific method. Bacon was a gifted English philosopher. As a dedicated statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist and author, he played an important role in the advancement of learning. He believed that scientists should not rely on the ideas of ancient authorities. Instead, they should learn about nature by using inductive reasoning. Bacon found the setback of science; the lack of a uniform method for acquiring knowledge. Bacon was highly in favor of the practices of observation and experimentation that had rose to prominence during the renaissance. He was not however, very fond of Aristotle's method of deduction as he viewed it as a mere manipulation of words. What Bacon proposed was a method that called for induction. This is a process that involves carrying out repeated experiments. In so doing, Bacon thought that general statements could be made or accurate conclusions could be drawn and scientific knowledge could be advanced in a relatively short amount of time. This resulted in the creation of the scientific method, which is a systematic procedure for collecting and analyzing evidence. The scientific method is defined as a method of research in which a problem is identified, relevant data is gathered, a hypothesis is formulated from this data, and the hypothesis is empirically tested. If the experiments bear out the hypothesis it may come to be regarded as a theory or law of nature. If the experiments do not bear out the hypothesis, it must be rejected or modified. What is key in the description of the scientific method just given is the predictive power of the hypothesis or theory, as tested by experiment. It is often said in science that theories can never be proved, only disproved. There is always the possibility that a new observation or a new experiment will conflict with a long-standing theory. The scientific method is intricately associated with science, the process of human inquiry that spreads through the modern era on many levels. While the method appears simple and logical in description, there is perhaps no more complex question than that of knowing how we come to know things.


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