Question Guide on Natural and Human Sciences:                           Theory of Knowledge (van de Lagemaat)p. 220 Quotes...
Scientific hypotheses are testable.Look over the statements in the gray box on p. 225 and see which statements you thinkmi...
o    explain why an apple falls from a tree, why people have weight, movement of the                tides, orbit of the pl...
fail and at once; for I had found by experience that much facts and thoughts were far        more apt to escape from the m...
o    making generalization from things we have observed to things we have not                observedWhat process is invol...
it put itself at riskConjectures and refutationswhat is a conjecture here?        An imaginative hypothesis and there is n...
o     Chemistry                      Dmitri Mendeleyev: periodic table by arranging element according to their           ...
best known for having introduced the concept of a paradigm to the philosophy of science        paradigm: overarching theor...
Training and encouragement in critical thinking. He has learned a technique- dogmatic        spirit which can be applied w...
You may be able to make an educated guess about that they are thinking, but you can        never be entirely sure that you...
Human scientist are often trying to make sense of complex real=world situations in which        is its simple impossible t...
Some of the predictions made by social scientist are valuable they give us an incentive to       change it.Look over the „...
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Question guide on natural and human sciences

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Question guide on natural and human sciences

  1. 1. Question Guide on Natural and Human Sciences: Theory of Knowledge (van de Lagemaat)p. 220 Quotes (The Natural Sciences)Buckminster Fuller makes an interesting claim with his quote. How do you interpret it? “Everything you‟ve learned...as “obvious” become less or less obvious as you begin tostudy the universe”And Jacob Bronowski’s claim?“Science is a way of describing reality; it is therefore limited by the limits of observation and itasserts nothing which is outside observationKarl Popper? Or another that interests you? “Science may be described as the art of systematic oversimplification”pp. 221-222 Introductionwhat are some examples of what we’ve discovered over the last three centuries? Galileo Galilee (1564 - 1642), Isaac Newton (1642-1727) and Robert Boyle (1627-91). Fundamental laws of physics 92 elements that make up the periodic table secrets of life that are written into our DNA spilt the atom, clone a sheep, put men on the moon, cars, telephones and computerWhy do we wonder about the sciences ‘giving us certainty’? There are weaknesses and limitation. Science has a history and scientific beliefs changeover time, there are some about if cscience really do give us certainty?Why are critics concerned about science? Some critics of science have drawn attention to the dangers as well as the benefits ofscientific knowledge, and the backlash against “science worship”.” There is a feeling that scienceis “out of control: and that scientist are “playing god” and meddling with thing they do not fullyunderstand. Alarming predictions about nuclear war or the harmful effect of cloning may lead usto question whether in the long-term that benefits of science outweigh the costScience and pseudo-science (pp. 222-225)What are the „natural sciences‟? Branches of science that seek to elucidate the rules that govern the natural world by usingempirical and scientific methods. Human science is the study of human nature of „why‟ we arethe „way‟ we are and the laws/theories we have created. The main method of experimentation isthe use of psychology, economics, anthropology and sociology; in which all of these have a maintrait where the subject is being „observed‟.Do you think any of the „sciences‟ listed on p. 222 should be called „science‟? What is „pseudo-science, and what distinguishes pseudo-science from regular science? Pseudo-science claims the status of science while lacking its substance. The scientifichypotheses are testable difference between science and pseudo-science is: Vagueness: impossible to verify or falsify it. Ad hoc exception: “all sans are white expect that mutation”The difference between…What are the two ways to test the reliability of scientific hypotheses?‟ It is clearly stated and makes precise rather than vague predictions It does not keep making ad hoc exceptions when it comes across counter examplesWhat should also be true in order for the scientific statement to be genuine?
  2. 2. Scientific hypotheses are testable.Look over the statements in the gray box on p. 225 and see which statements you thinkmight be testable ones. It always rains on Tuesday Unlike magnetic poles attract each other Acids turn limos paper redThe scientific method (pp. 225-228)what is another thing that distinguishes science from non-science? Distinctive methodWhat are the five keys steps of ‘inductivism’? observation hypothesis experiment law theoryWhat three features should a good experiment have? What is an example? Controllability- Vary only one factor at a time so that you can determine its effect. o Ex: vary the temperature of a gas while keeping its volume constant. Measurability: You can measure the relevant variable. o Adds precision and objective to your experiment repeatability: can be repeated by other people who will be able to confirm your result o ensures that your result have some kind of objectiveWhat does a good theory explain? A good theory explains why the laws are the way they are and provides a focus forfurther researchan example: the Copernican revolutionhow does Ptolemy‟s model lead other scientists to make their discoveries, which in turn led toNewton‟s theory of gravity? Ptolemy‟s model: model of the universe with the earth at the center of things and the sunand the planets going round it Observation o as people made new and better observation, Ptolemys model become increasingly complicated in order to accommodate them, “disorderly monster” Hypothesis o Nicolas Copernicus: put the sun at the center of the solar system and has the platens revolve around it Prediction o Venus orbit the sun, size should be vary as its distance from the earth change, Gaileo look at the telescope and discovered that its size dose indeed vary as has been predicted by Copernicus Law o On the basic of the above observations and discoveries, Johannes Kepler developed the laws of planetary motion Theory: Isaac Newton: Theory of gravity, there is a force of attraction between objects whose strength is directly proportionally to their masses and inversely proportionally to the square of the distance between them.
  3. 3. o explain why an apple falls from a tree, why people have weight, movement of the tides, orbit of the planet o make accurate prediction that lead to the discovery of new planets such as Uranus and NeptuneWhat is the value of each of these: anomalies, technology, imagination, mathematics, counterintuitiveness? Scientific progress need a background of careful observation technology can extend our power of observation, thereby making it easier to test new ideas imagination plays an important role of the development of new scientific idea Mathematics also plays a central role in the development of scientific ideas. many scientific discoveries are counter-intuitive and go against untutored common senseProblems with observation (pp. 228-229)how does perception affect relevancy? We always begin with some idea of what is and what is not relevant to the problem. If we dont, we would drown in a flood of observations. the selective nature for perception = possible that we have overlooked a factor that later turns out to be relevantHow can „expectations‟ be problematic? Our expectations can influence what we see. o Ex. anomaly cause by an undiscovered planet called Vulcan. several astronomers claimed they have had observed Vulcan: turned out that Vulcan does not existHow does Galileo illustrate the problem of „expert seeing‟? the use of scientific equipment such as microscopes and telescopes to make observation further complicates things o Galileo used telescope to discover the phases of Venus and the moons of Jupiter was a fairly crude instrument. Some of Galileos drawing of the moon are quite inaccurate and include some craters and mountains that do not in facts exist.How do the „hot tea‟ and „quantum physics‟ examples illustrate the problem of the „observereffect‟? The act of observation can sometimes affect what we observe Hot tea: put a thermometer in the tea and read off the temperature. o Instead of measuring the temperature of the tea, you are now measuring the temperature of the tea-with-the- thermometer-in -it. Quantum physics o sick ,the doctor comes and tells you that you have a temperature of 102 F- taken the temperature of you + the thermometerTesting Hypotheses (pp. 230-233)Confirmation biaswhat is confirmation bias, and what do we need to do to combat it? Confirmation bias: people tend to look for evidence that confirms their beliefs and overlook evidence that goes against them. need to look for evidence that might falsify your statement Aware of the danger of confirmation bias and actively seek to combat it.How did Charles Darwin combat it? ““I followed a golden rules, namely that whenever a new observation or thought come across me, which was opposed to my general results, I make a memorandum of it without
  4. 4. fail and at once; for I had found by experience that much facts and thoughts were far more apt to escape from the memory than favorable ones” o Dismiss results they don‟t expect as “experimental error” o want to show their result in their best possible light → o strong expectation about the way an experiment should turn outHow did modern geneticists feel about G. Mendel‟s work? Gregory Mendel: work on the hereditary traits of peas laid the foundation for modern genetics o his results are just too good to be believable, and he has been accused of only reporting results that favored his caseBackground assumptionswhat is the Copernicus example here/ whenever we test a hypothesis, we make various background assumption, any one of which could turn out to be false o Ex. Copernicus: fixed stars are relatively close to three earths. It follows that if the earth is orbiting the sun the position of nearby stars relative to more distance stars ought to change as the earth moves round the sun.  parallax: change of relative position  The assumption that the fixed stars are relatively close to the earth was wrong.Many different hypotheses…Why is it „impossible to prove that any particular hypothesis is true‟?? There are an endless number of different hypotheses consistent with a given set of observation. o ex: Galileo and the relative size of Venus changes- observation is inconsistent with Ptolemy‟s model and it is consistent with another modelHow does the temperature-pressure example on pp. 232-233 illustrate that „there will always beother hypotheses that are… consistent with the data‟ There will always be other hypotheses that are also consistent with the data.The principle of simplicitywhat is this? Given two competing theories which make exactly the same prediction the simpler theoryis to be preferredHow does this principle „reflect a deep belief in the orderliness and comprehensibility of nature‟? no further justification can be given for it simplicity also related to concepts such as “beauty” and “elegance”, we can say that in practice aesthetic consideration are likely to play a role in a scientific choice of hypothesisProblem with induction (pp. 233-235)how does inductive reasoning work? What is the „metal‟ example here? goes from the particular to the general, and its plays a central role in the way that scientist think ] o ex. all metals expand when heated: come up with this belief through o problem: when we reason inductively we are moving from the observed to the unobserved
  5. 5. o making generalization from things we have observed to things we have not observedWhat process is involved in reasoning inductively? when we reason inductively we are moving from the observed to the unobserved making generalization from things we have observed to things we have not observedPractical problemsto what extent can we trust the generalizations we make in science? have tendency to jump to conclusions on the basis of insufficient evidence, and we looked at various criteria for distinguishing reasonable generalization from unreasonable ones more observation → more confidentHow do Newton and Einstein illustrate this problem? Einstein showed that there is a deep sense in which Newton‟s laws are not the best description of physical reality. [Newtonian physics o even very well confirmed hypotheses can sometime turn out to be wrongWhat do physicists really believe? most physicists believe that they really are discovering the fundamental laws in accordance with which the universe operatesTheoretical problemswhat is the dilemma here? Science is supposed to be an empirical discipline which makes no claims beyond what has been observed. on the one hand, we could take the alleged empiricism of science seriously, and refuse to make any claims that go beyond what has actually been observed o have to abandon any talk of discovering laws of nature that apply in all time and all places → could defend the right of scientists to reason from the particular to the general and abandon the claim that science is a strictly empirical discipline.What are problems associated with observation, hypothesis and law? Observation o Selectivity o Expectations o Expert seeing o The observer effect Hypothesis o Confirmation bias o Background assumption o Under-determination Law o Problem of inductionFalsification (pp. 235-240)what conclusion did Karl Popper come to regarding the „strength of the theory‟? Karl Popper: what looked like strength of the theory- its ability to explain everything - was in fact a weakness.What‟s wrong with the „theory that explains everything‟? theory that explains everything explain nothing believed that human beings are dominated by feelings of inferiority
  6. 6. it put itself at riskConjectures and refutationswhat is a conjecture here? An imaginative hypothesis and there is no mechanical way of coming up with good hypotheses on the basic of the observationally data.How is intuition involved? Scientists often have their best ideas in a flash of intuition.What is „the most important thing about genuinely scientific conjectures‟? the most important thing about genuinely scientific conjectures is that they are testableHow is „refutation‟ defined? While confirmation is tentative and cannot prove that a law is true, refutation is decisive: we need only one counter-example to prove that a law is falseHow does the „asymmetry between confirmation and falsification‟ work? How does the metalexample illustrate this? we cannot be sure that the law is true no matter how many confirming observations we have made; for it is always possible that the next metal we test will not expand when heated o only need to find one metal which does not expand when heated → sure that it is false that all mental expand when heatedWhy is refutation „decisive‟? we only need one counter-example to prove that a law is false scientist should not wise their time trying to prove that their hypotheses are true, they should spend their time trying to prove that their hypotheses are falseHow does the example of boiling water illustrate the strategy of looking „closely at well-confirmed hypotheses‟? The scientific law: water boils at 100 C. o look for situation in which water does not boil at 10 C o at high altitudes, water boils at less than 100 CCriticisms of Popperhow is Popper‟s falsification problematic, and how does the Newton law example illustrate this? Falsification is conclusive in theory but not in practice. o although confirmation is provisional; falsification is deceive practice falsification is no more conclusive than verification If we do an experiment in the physics laboratory that contradicts one of Newton‟s law of motion, the most reasonable conclusion is that you have messed up the experimentWhat choice do we have when there‟s a conflict? What‟s one example in physics, chemistry orbiology where scientists ignored the contradictions? When there is a conflict between hypothesis and observation: reject the hypothesis or reject the observation. Refuse to abandon their theories in the face of observational evidence thigh appeared to contradict them. o Physics  Newton‟s theory of gravity implied that , given the attractive force between the stars, the universe should collapse in a gigantic cosmic crush- concluded that God must be counteracting gravity and keeping the stars in their places
  7. 7. o Chemistry  Dmitri Mendeleyev: periodic table by arranging element according to their atomic weight, the weight of some element did not quiet fir his model. conclude that the anomalous weights must be due to experimental error o biology  Charles Darwin‟s theory of evolution required that the earth be hundreds of millions of years of to allow enough time for species to evolve Kelvin calculate earth was no more than 100 million years old.Auxiliary hypotheses…What could be wrong with the „counter-evidence‟? Counter-evidence may turn out to be experimental error, or our background assumption may turn out to be wrongWhy is there „no such thing as a perfect theory‟? fi a theory is well-established and generally successful, then practitioners in the field tend to assume that, with time, outstanding problems will be revolveWhat is an „auxiliary hypothesis‟ and how does the Uranus example illustrate this? Discovered that the planet Uranus was not behaving as predicted by Newton‟s law, scientist did not abandon Newtonian physics but argued that there must be some unknown planet affecting it. rejected neither the observation nor the theory but make an auxiliary hypothesis: the existence of an unknown planet- to explain their observationThe rationalists strand in scientific thinkingwhat the three options are when a conflict arises „between observation and hypotheses? reject the hypothesis reject the observation accept both the hypothesis and the observation and make an auxiliary hypothesisWhat is a „rationalist‟? An „empiricist‟? What will each do when coming across a conflict? rationalist: someone who sees reason as the main source of knowledge o more likely to stick with a beautiful theory empiricist: someone who sees experience as the main source of knowledge o is more likely to stick with the observational evidenceWhat is the „power of science‟? derives from the facts that it combines reason in ate form of mathematics with experience in the form of observational data What is the rationalist part? The empiricist part? The rationalist part of science is the belief that there is order “out there”. and that this order can be captured in scientific theories The empiricist part is that if a theory is to survive and flourish then it must be consistent with the observational facts How is it that „scientific theories cannot be conclusively verified or falsified‟? They cannot be conclusively verified because of the problem of induction, and they cannot be conclusively falsified because when an observation contracts a theory, it is always open to you to reject the observation rather than the theory. o proof is only relevant to math and logicScience and society (pp. 240-245)what is Thomas Kuhn responsible for introducing?
  8. 8. best known for having introduced the concept of a paradigm to the philosophy of science paradigm: overarching theory shared by a community shared by scientist which is used to make sense of some aspect of realityNormal sciencehow can scientists „get anything done‟? Example here? you cannot endlessly question your assumption o ex. irregularity in the orbit of Uranus did not lead scientist to seriously question Newtonian mechanics, rather they tried to solve the problem within the framework of Newtonian mechanicsScientific revolutionswhat is a „scientific revolution‟? And what is an example of this [paradigm] shift? scientist become dissatisfied with the prevailing paradigm and put forward a completely new way of looking at thing o ex. shift from the geocentric to the heliocentric model of the universeWhat happens then when too many people come to question the existing paradigm? If a new paradigm provides a better explanation of things a scientific revolution is likely to occur.How rational is science?What can be considered „irrational‟ in science? dismiss observation that seem to falsify the old paradigm as experimental error or explain them away by making auxiliary hypothesisWhat else can be involved in scientists‟ motives besides the „love of truth‟? ambition vanity envy social status and public recognitionHow have the military and big business influenced science? military‟s desire for power big business‟ desire for profit ambitious scientist may be attract to areas in which plentiful supply of money to fund research, and shy away from politically sensitive areas,Assessment of Kuhn’s positionExplain these relative to Kuhn‟s theory: questioning paradigms, history of science, periods ofscientific crisis? During periods of normal science, most scientists do not question the paradigm in which they are operating and focus instead of solving problems the history of science suggest that rather than progressing smoothly, science goes through a series of revolutionary jumps during periods of scientific crisis, there is no purely rational way of deciding between rival p[paradigmsNormal sciencewhy do scientists have to „work within the dominant paradigm‟? If scientist are to make any progress they cannot be endlessly questioning their assumptions, but if they never do this, their beliefs may end up freezing into dogmatismWhat does Popper think should be taught at university?
  9. 9. Training and encouragement in critical thinking. He has learned a technique- dogmatic spirit which can be applied without asking for the reason why.Answer the Q in the box on p. 243.Scientific revolutionwhat does it mean that „scientific knowledge is broadly cumulative‟? How do the Newtonian/Einstein theories illustrate this? The spice is punctuated by periods of intellectual upheaval does not necessarily mean that when one paradigm preplaces another the old one vanishes without trace. over time scientific knowledge id getting closer to the truth Newtonian mechanics was replaced by Einstein‟s theory of relativity the former is still valid.Choosing between rival paradigmswhat is „all that matters‟? The belief should be testable. If it is confirmed by experiment, then we provisionally accept it; if it fails then we reject it.What is the value of judgment in science? Judgment: decide o which factor should be observed and which can be safely ignored o hypotheses make good sense of the data and which are too outlandish to be useful o which anomalies to take seriously and which to dismiss as experimental errorWhat is„strength of science‟? Example? in the long run its tends to be self-=correcting Scientists work in communities may put pressure on them to conform to the prevailing orthodoxy; natural competitiveness will ensure that they will check up on one another‟s result.What „comes out of our discussion‟? although there is no straightforward criterion for choosing between rival paradigms, some theories begin to look increasingly plausible and other increasingly implausible as evidence accumulates over timeScience and truth (p. 245)Why is there „no absolute truth‟ in science? there can be no absolute proof in science and that we can night conclusively verify nor falsify a hypothesisWhen can we accept „a scientific theory? Why? What should we be willing to do? If a scientific theory accounts for the known evidence, is internally consistent, and works, in practice, then we should accept it as true. This is because it seem reasonable to think that as one theory follows another we can at least get closer to the truth we should be willing to maintain a critical attitude to our scientific beliefs and be willing to question our assumptionp. 256 Quotes (The Human Sciences—Psychology & Economics)Comment on Sir Isaac Newton‟s quote. “All science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike.”Observation (pp. 258-261)what is the implication of not being able to observe the mind?
  10. 10. You may be able to make an educated guess about that they are thinking, but you can never be entirely sure that you are right.What does the US high school study tell us about honesty on questionnaires, opinion polls and interviews? Survey of a million US high schools senior, all of them rankled themselves as above average in term of their ability to get on with other people. Since people care about what others think about them, they may also be unwilling to admit holding unpopular opinion.Loaded questionsexplain how one of the questions in the chart at the bottom of p. 259 is a loaded question. Howmight this affect our response if we were asked these questions? Loaded question: which contains a hidden assumption, may encourage people to answer one way rather than another. the second question added “the life of the unborn child” while the first question only said “prohibiting abortion” which is a hidden assumption that enough people to be in favor with the constitutionWhy would someone want to ask you a loaded question on a questionnaire, etc.? They want people to answer one way rather than anotherHow does a „hypothetical situation‟ v. „reality‟ come into play here? there is often a difference between what people say they would do in a hypothetical situation and what they actually do in realityThe observer affectswhat is the „observer effect,‟ and what‟s an example that you‟ve personally experienced? observer effect: if a psychologist is observing people they may become nervous or embarassed by his attention and this may lead them to change their behaviorHow can scientists solve the „observer effect‟ problem? habituation: go native and live with the tribe for an extend period of time hope that the people will eventually get used to them and behave normally in their presence hidden camera- don‟t know that you are being observe, won‟t affect your behaviorIf you‟re familiar with Sophocles,‟ Oedipus Rex, how does this tragedy exemplify the observereffect? The way in which a prediction can affect what is predicted.Psychlogy/ EconomicsAnswer # 2 & #4 in the first gray box on p. 263 to see how expectations affect behaviors. Child labeled “bright” made greater academic progress than student labeled “less bright?” If you understand/ study economics, how do expectations affect the market? People‟s expectation can affect share prices. o In a bull market, people expect prices to rise; a rational investor will buy stocks now. demand for stock increase → price rise o Bear market: most people except prices to fall, sell stocks: increased supply of stocks --< prices downMeasurement (pp. 264-267)how does the Centennial Olympics example illustrate the problems of measurement? Considerthe role of interpretation of results here. Run into problem when trying to measure different things- gold, silver and bronze medal n a common scale.Experiments (pp. 268-269)what are the three reasons human science experiments are problematic?
  11. 11. Human scientist are often trying to make sense of complex real=world situations in which is its simple impossible to run controlled experiment The artificiality of some of the experiments that can be conducted may distort the behavior of the participants There are ethical reasons for not conducting experiments that have a negative effect on the people who participate in them.The Mailgram experimentwhy is the Mailgram experiment disturbing? The rustle of the experiment: ⅔ of the volunteers continue to give electric shocks up to 450 Volts. raise disturbing questions about human natureLaws (pp. 270-271)to what extent is human behavior predictable, and can we safely generalize about humanbehavior? human behaviors does in fact seem to be fairly predictable o people lack food → unhappy make generalization about human beings every day, if they were completely unpredictable no one would ever get in to a car and venture onto the roadWhat does the „the law of large numbers enable us to predict‟? Does this also apply to thenatural sciences? In a large population random variations tend to cancel out. laws governing the behavior of atoms and genes are also of a probabilistic kind, can no more predict the bahaviour of an individual gas molecule than a mean spinet can predict the savior of a man in the crowdThe relationship between natural and human sciences (p. 278-280)the problem of biasWhy is prejudice more a part of human sciences rather than of natural sciences? we are more likely to begin with prejudices about the nature of individual and societies that we are about the nature of atoms and molecules look for evidence that confirms our pre=-existing prejudices while overlooking evidence that contradicts themWhat is a „good antidote‟ to bias? How does the sibling example illustrate this? Make it a matter of principle to actively look for evidence that would count against your hypothesis. o ex. younger sibling are more rebellious than older ones, you should not only trawl for evidence that confirms your hypothesis, but also look for rebellious older siblings and conformist younger onesWhat is one of the „greatest strengths of science‟? in the long run it tends to be self-=-correcting and there is no reason to think that this is any less true of the human science and the natural sciencePredictionsWhy is it safe to say that controlled experiments are „impossible to run‟ in the human sciences? Human science deal with extremely complex situation in which it is not possible to run controlled experiment. difficult to make accurate prediction in the real worldBesides predicting the future, why else are predictions in the human sciences valuable?
  12. 12. Some of the predictions made by social scientist are valuable they give us an incentive to change it.Look over the „Human sciences: summary of problems‟ chart on p. 280 for a quick overview ofthe problems in this area of knowledge. Observation o we cannot directly observe other people‟s minds o questionaries‟ may be misleading or biased o observing people may affect the way they behave Measurement o Social phenomena are difficult to measure Hypothesis o the act of prediction ma affect the behavior predicted Experiment o Human sciences study complex social situations in which it is difficult to run controlled experiments o various moral consideration limit our willingness to experiment laws o human science are not every good at predicting things o human sciences usually uncover treated rather than laws o science laws are probabilistic in nature

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