What is Science?

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What is Science? by Mind Map: What is Science?

1. Thomas Kuhn

1.1. Science is characterised by incommensurable, revolutionary theories

1.2. Background

1.2.1. Kuhn find that falsificationism and Inductivism are both historically inconsistent

1.2.2. Therefore, he strives for an explanatory theory, one which can be used to contextually interpret science

1.2.3. Therefore, he strives for an explanatory theory, one which can be used to contextually interpret science

1.3. Scientific Revolutions

1.3.1. Stages of a revolution Pre-Paradigm Science No clear consensus, we have competing schools of thought, and focus on foundational questions Paradigm Work One prescientific idea dominates due to explanatory power It sets the standard to which paradigm science must adhere to Normal Science The stage of science which assumes the foundational theories of the dominant paradgim Puzzle solving Duhem Quine Consensus Crisis Anomalies Persistence The Revolution

1.3.2. Reasons for a revolution Kuhn's "Five Ways" Revolutions occur like a "gestalt switch" There cannot be logical reasons, as different paradigms have different standards

1.4. Incommensurability

1.4.1. Types No Shared Experience Observational evidence depends on the background theory Therefore, observational evidence is not always transferrable between paradigms, and thus cannot be used to say one paradigm is "better" E.g. Lavoisier saw Oxygen where Priestley saw dephlogisticated air No Shared Reasons Different Paradigms will disagree about the problems to be solved - no cross-paradigms goals No Shared Meanings The idea that scientific terms only derive meaning in context. i.e. 'Mass' means something fundamentally different in Newton's theory to Einstein's. No Shared World "The proponents of competing paradigms practice their trades in different worlds" E.g Lavoisier & Oxygen Should this be taken literally? What implications does it have for realism?

1.4.2. Implications for scientific Progress No Progress in science? It seems Science cannot "progress" in a traditional sense, since each paradigm can only be evaluated against itself Value Judgement To solve the issue of incommensurability, Kuhn suggests "Value Judgement" - Science has progressed if it better adheres to his 5 values

1.5. Benefits of Kuhnianism

1.5.1. Demarcation His criterion (puzzle-solving) is more historically consistent, and less subject to the numerous failures of falsification - it's an improvement

1.5.2. Realism Kuhn also contributes to the realism debate - by capturing how scientists' paradigms influence how they "see" the world

1.6. Problems

1.6.1. Subjectivity Kuhn's account has subjectivity at its core, a feature which many would want to eliminate from science

1.6.2. Incommensurability How does communication between paradigms occur, if they have backgrounds? How do we explain cases where incommensurable paradigms coexist? e.g (General relativity and QM)

2. Feyerabend

2.1. Anything Goes

2.2. Anarchism

2.2.1. Individualism He believes scientists need to adopt an attitude to life which increases liberty Scientists need to be free to choose their knowledge Science is subjective - "anything goes"

2.2.2. Galileo Uses this example to justify lack of rules in science Argues that Galileo's acceptance came from latin prose and social status As well, he argues that the telescope's mechanics were not verified at the time - they therefore should not have been accepted

2.2.3. For Feyerabend, there does not exist a unified theory of science - it is no more superior to any other form of knowledge

2.2.4. Science is a dogma - repressing some views

2.3. Arguments against other schools

2.3.1. Emipricists Galileo did not accept "facts from the senses" which would have suggested the earth is stationary - so empiricism fails

2.3.2. Positivists Galileo did not just use observation - he also extensively used "thought experiments" involving, for example, frictionless slopes to justify laws of motion

2.3.3. Lakatos He argues that Galileo's example can actually be accommodated by Lakatos But Lakatos' theory is too open - as it is retrospective

2.3.4. Kuhn Kuhn's social factors are his flaw The fact that paradigm acceptance depends on consensus means that illegitimate means of consensus (e.g fraud) are acceptable Therefore Kuhn must accommodate for theology as a science

2.4. Problems with indivdualism

2.4.1. Pre-existence of society The society a person is born into is pre-determined Their freedom is determined by its characteristics Limitations on Science Funding Politics Other sociological factors The limitations on individuals and scientists means an ideology-free state is unlinkely - it is a bad prescriptive theory

3. Karl Popper

3.1. Background

3.1.1. Aiming to solve the Problem of demarcation - differentiating between science and pseudo-science

3.1.2. Does not agree with the verificationist view - the idea (held by Bacon) that science seeks confirmatory evidence, and gives explanatory theories Uses the example of Einstein's GR - overcame Newtonian physics, despite the latter having lots of evidence Marxism and Freudianism also appear to have evidence

3.2. The Theory of Falsificationism

3.2.1. Falsifiability What makes Einstein > Marx is that his theory is more falsifiable. E.g. it could have been disproved if Eddington's gravitational lensing expt had failed. Therefore a scientiic theory is one that is falsifiable

3.2.2. Rejectability Scientific inquiry is also rejectable - there must be 'possible evidence' that would lead to rejecting your belief

3.2.3. Anti-Inductivism It must also reason deductively, not inductively

3.2.4. Dogmatism Popper concedes the need for some degree of dogmatism - lest all theories be rejected This weakens demarcation critertion

3.3. Problems

3.3.1. Anti-inductivism Statistical Theories Suppose we are testing if a coin is fair, and it lands H 1 mllion times

3.3.2. Duhem-Quine Scientific theories depend on a web of auxillary assumptions (e.g. working instruments and measurements) If we have falsifying evidence, then it could falsify any one of the supporting hypotheses Thus, no one hypothesis is falsifiable, as we can always shift blame Popper's Response Refers to the Rejectability component - If no possible evidence can lead you to reject your theory, then adding ad-hoc hypotheses to save it is unscientific Ad-hoc modifications need to be independently testable Putnam's Response Science has developed through ad-hoc modifications E.g. The suggestion of the existence of Neptune was to save Newton's Theory of Gravitation from falsification - thus Falsification is innacurate

3.3.3. Survival of falsified theory E.g. Galileo built on Copernicus' supposedly 'falsified' theory Newton built on Galileo's supposedly falsified theories too

4. Lakatos

4.1. A revolution occurs when a degenerating program is replaced by a progressive one.

4.2. Components of Research Programs

4.2.1. Hard Core The indisputable laws of a program One cannot opt out of these, e.g. refuting the inverse square law is not allowed in the Newtonian program

4.2.2. Protective Belt Supplementary assumptions - these are malleable to some degree e.g. Copernician Epicycles were needed to explain retrograde motion Any falsifying data is taken to be due to faults in the belt

4.2.3. Heuristics Sets of rules to aid discovery Positive Heuristics Negative Heuristics They offer a program of research, by mapping out challenges

4.3. Observation

4.3.1. Clear Heuristics A good program has clear heuristics, delaying the need for observation Early work takes place in spite of falsification

4.3.2. Good programs lead to novel and confirmed predictions Prediction of novel phenomena e.g. Einstein's gravitational waves Novel prediction of phenomena e.g. Copernicus' locations of the planets

4.4. What makes a progressive program?

4.4.1. Progressive research programs retain coherency and lead to novel predictions

4.4.2. Degenerating programs lose coherency and produce few, if any, novel predictions

4.5. Benefits of Lakatos

4.5.1. Historical Evidence Fresner: Received lots of credit for wave theory of light, but Young was falsified early on Fresner's program had better heuristics (e.g. mathematical equations) Fresner's experiments and conclusions were qualitatively simpler Fresner's theory is therefore a more progressive research program, which is why it survived after Young's theory was falsified Fresner example deals with initial failures in a program - falsificationism doesn't

4.6. Problems with Lakatos

4.6.1. Hard Core Scientists have often modified their hard core Copernicus moved the sun's position Einstein's Cosmological Constant Historical consistency is exactly the goal Lakatos wants, but he fails Its unfalsifiability Says the HC is rendered unfalsifiable by “methodological decisions of … protagonists”

4.6.2. Demarcation He argues with the Fresner example that a degenerating program can be saved - but doesn't give criteria Copernician program took 100yrs to bear fruit Why shouldn't we continue to pursue marxism (which Lak. calls pseudoscience)? It may be saved?

4.6.3. Physico-centrism Assumes the theories of all sciences can be broken down into a hard core like physics for example, economic theory is affected by economic activity - therefore the hard core can change (e.g. market and policy strategies) Physics is independent of the physicist, however

4.6.4. His account of progress Lakatos (1976) claims Newtonian program was a clear example of progressive science With respect to what criteria?

5. Debby Mayo