Psychology, Science, and Pseudoscience: Class #03 (Nature of Science)

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In short: As the world has figured out ways of sorting reliable information from unreliable information, so philosophy has had to figure out ways of demarcating science from 'pseudo-'science.

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Psychology, Science, and Pseudoscience: Class #03 (Nature of Science)

  1. 1. PS409 Psychology, Science, & Pseudoscience Dr Brian Hughes School of Psychologybrian.hughes@nuigalway.ie @b_m_hughes
  2. 2. “Science” (blah, blah, blah) “any system of knowledge that is concerned with the physical world and its phenomena and that entails unbiased observations and systematic experimentation” (Encyclopaedia Britannica) “1. the systematic observation of natural events and conditions in order to discover facts about them and to formulate laws and principles based on these facts. 2. the organized body of knowledge that is derived from such observations and that can be verified or tested by further investigation” (Academic Press Dictionary of Science & Technology) “The real purpose of the scientific method is to make sure Nature hasnt misled you into thinking you know something you dont actually know.” (Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)
  3. 3. (Very) Brief History of Science Up to middle ages: science = philosophy 16th/17th century: questioning of religious explanations (e.g., Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo) 17th century: separation of scientific and religious subject matter (e.g., Bacon, Descartes) 18th/19th century: radicalisation of mechanistic worldview (e.g., Newton, Nietsche) 19th century: focus on distinction between science and non-science (e.g., Darwinian vs. religious accounts of evolution)
  4. 4. Demarcation of Science andNonscience1920s: “Logical Positivism”(The Vienna Circle) – emphasis onverification1930s: Empirical falsifiability(Karl Popper) – emphasis onfalsification
  5. 5. Demarcation of Science andNonscience1920s: “Logical Positivism”(The Vienna Circle) – emphasis onverification1930s: Empirical falsifiability(Karl Popper) – emphasis onfalsification1960s: Scientific revolutionism(Thomas Kuhn) – normal science,extraordinary science, andparadigm shifts1970s: Anarchism(e.g., Paul Feyerabend) – radicalsubjectivity, postmodernismapplied to science
  6. 6. Science: As much ‘how’ as ‘what’ SCIENCE PROCESS PRODUCT
  7. 7. “Products” of science Leydesdorff & Rafols (2009). Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 60, 348-362.
  8. 8. “Products” of science http://users.fmg.uva.nl/lleydesdorff/map06/index.htm
  9. 9. “Products” of science http://users.fmg.uva.nl/lleydesdorff/map06/index.htm
  10. 10. “Products” of science http://users.fmg.uva.nl/lleydesdorff/map06/index.htm
  11. 11. “Products” of science http://users.fmg.uva.nl/lleydesdorff/map06/index.htm
  12. 12. “Processes” of scienceSome philosophical assumptions Determinism Empiricism SkepticismSome methodological principles Observation Measurement ExperimentationSome reasoning principles Parsimony Falsification Objectivity
  13. 13. Pseudoscience A practice or body of knowledge that purports to be scientific but which diverges from the quality- standards conventionally applied to science and scientists (Click forward for videos)
  14. 14. PS409 Psychology, Science, & Pseudoscience Dr Brian Hughes School of Psychologybrian.hughes@nuigalway.ie @b_m_hughes

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