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Chapter 1 philosophy of science


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Chapter 1 philosophy of science

  1. 1. Chapter 1 Philosophy of Science: An Introduction
  2. 2. Introduction • Philosophy of science is the perspective the nurse utilizes in every patient, family, or group encounter. • Each individual has his or her own philosophy that determines the ideas he or she is or is not open to. • It is important for nurses to examine their philosophy and question the assumptions they make.
  3. 3. What Is Science? • Science is from the Latin word scientia, which means “knowledge.” • It refers to both processes and outcomes of processes, such as general laws and observations. • Laws are utilized in systematic ways to create a body of knowledge about a topic.
  4. 4. Natural Hard Sciences • Physics, mathematics, and chemistry are examples of natural sciences. • Considered “pure,” or stand alone, unique bodies of knowledge. • Based on the assumption that reality is objective and, therefore, reproducible and reliable. • Explanations are reasonable, constant and consistent, accurate, objective, discoverable, and understandable • In medicine, they assume a disease focus rather than a person focus.
  5. 5. Soft Applied Sciences • Sociology, psychology, and anthropology are examples of applied sciences. • Focus is on the application of bodies of knowledge to meet human needs. • Rely on inherent assumptions of natural sciences but do not assume that reality is objective. • In medicine, soft applied sciences are found in social work, psychotherapy and examination of healthcare disparities.
  6. 6. Human Science • Emphasizes the importance of individual scientists on the scientific process. • Posits that the nature of science and role of the scientist are different when a subject is viewed as human science rather than natural or applied science. • The scientist and the subject cannot be separated from each other • In medicine, human science is the nurse’s recognition of himself or herself as a scientist involved in providing care.
  7. 7. Scientific Method: Physical Science • Natural science relies on a linear problem solving process, or the scientific method. • Method is base on the assumption that observation is universal. • The goal is accurate, reproducible events that do not take researcher individuality or consciousness into account (control through prediction). • Decisions scientists make impact results, which introduces a subjective element.
  8. 8. The Aim of Science • Natural sciences aim to develop knowledge for the sake of developing knowledge and search for truth. • Applied sciences aim to utilize knowledge by applying it to a specific purpose. • Human science aims to improve quality of life and highlight individual importance by understanding what helps people maximize their functional abilities.
  9. 9. Scientific Method: Human Science • Due to its concrete rather than abstract nature, human science utilizes different methods than natural sciences. • Scientists and subjects are treated as parts of the same whole and methods are dynamic while still being rigorous. • Contextual consistency, purposive sampling, question validity, and message validation are emphasized.
  10. 10. Criteria for Science (1 of 2) • Science must differentiate itself from non- science or pseudoscience; this is particularly true of natural sciences and relies on five criteria: – Intersubjective testing: Two people observing the same entity the same way should obtain the same results – Reliability: The same result is achieved time and again under the same conditions
  11. 11. Criteria for Science (2 of 2) – Definiteness and precision: Creating identical circumstances for repeat experiments leads to the same results. – Coherence: A focus on the connectedness of the parts of an experiment and their relation to one another. – Comprehensiveness and scope: The ability of an outcome to be used for something other than its intended purpose.
  12. 12. Questions for the Practitioner • Is nursing pure or applied science? • Is care provided for the purpose of prediction and control? • Are there universals in patient care provision? • Does an external world independent of human consciousness color patient care? • Does nursing satisfy the five science criteria? • Is nursing practice objective?
  13. 13. Philosophy • Philosophy comes from the Greek philosophia which means “love of wisdom.” • Involves the search for meaning and represents a perspective and its set of beliefs. • Is both a process and an outcome. • It is the application of a belief to situations known and unknown. • Relies on epistemology and ontology in the application of a belief to situations.
  14. 14. Philosophy of Science • Philosophy of science is where the two disciplines meet to examine a body of knowledge and the approaches used to study it. • In nursing, it is an examination of concepts, theories, and laws as they relate to practice, understanding, deliberate thought, and evolution of praxis. • Requires mindfulness of objective and individual perspectives and comfort with the assumptions and underpinnings of the various philosophical perspectives.
  15. 15. How Do We Know? • Key Question in philosophy of science • Tradition • Authorities (institution, police, professor, church) • Doctrine • Reason • Common sense • Science – Knowledge derived from methods that may be linear or complex (chaotic) depending on the view and approach
  16. 16. Analytic Philosophy (1 of 3) • Focuses more on the use of the process of logic and rational discourse than on the subject itself. • Focuses on the search for a single truth through scientific process. • Closely associated with logical positivism, rigid adherence to the scientific method, and the belief in external world structure. • Based on the belief that a statement is meaningful only if it is proven true or false through experimentation.
  17. 17. Analytic Philosophy: Logical Positivism (2 of 3) • Four rules of logical positivism – Phenomenalism – Nominalism, – The denial of cognitive value in value judgments and normative statements – The essential unity of the scientific method • Requires a rigid adherence to the scientific method, a belief in cause and effect, replicability, and an unwavering belief in an external world structure that remains independent of self. • Belief in verifiability principle.
  18. 18. Analytic Philosophy (2 of 3) • Criticized as too rigid, too deductive, and lacking recognition of the human experience. • Logical positivism segued into empiricism. • The scientific method is paramount, but truths must be generated by experience • Both logical positivism and empiricism were incorporated into the received view (realism). • Theories are either right or wrong and must be formalized and axiomized • Based on the search for a single truth
  19. 19. Continental Philosophy (1 of 3) • Focuses on the connection of an idea to the world and historical context around that idea. • About the relationships among people, ideas, meaning, and historical connectedness rather than theories or truths. • Human science is dominated by continental philosophy and is based on connectedness, not cause and effect. • It examines lived experiences in the past as well as the present and historical context.
  20. 20. • Phenomenology: There is value in universal experience. – Focus on examining phenomena that appear in the consciousness of the subjects – From an examination of personal experience, the essences of the phenomena are drawn • Hermeneutics: deals with the interpretation of a message that is being delivered. – Meaning and understanding are the aims of philosophical inquiry – Assumes that people are social and dialogical beings; that culture, language, skills, and experiences create shared understandings; that there is a continual circle of connectedness and understanding; that understanding precedes interpretation; and that the interpreter and the interpreted are seen as one Continental Philosophy (2 of 3)
  21. 21. Continental Philosophy(3 of 3) • Post-structuralism: The message’s meaning is determined by the recipient’s perception and the vehicle for delivery is not significant to the message. – The study of structures is a cultural phenomenon open to interpretations/ misinterpretations – Equalizes the imbalance of power between providers and patients • All varieties evolve around context, meaning, and the knowing of the subject. • Collectively, continental philosophies may also be called the perceived view, antirealism, or idealism.
  22. 22. Perceived View • A continental philosophy suggesting that theories are neither right nor wrong and that observation leads to value-laden theories. • Observation involves utilization of the senses and the mind and is subjective due to the physical and mental components involved. • Many different methods and kinds of theories must be used to obtain either truth or understanding. • Use methods appropriate to the question which may be either quantitative, qualitative, or both.
  23. 23. Chaos and Complexity • Contemporary philosophers synthesize analytic and continental philosophy into a new and emerging philosophy of science. • This philosophy incorporates chaos and complexity science to bring together truth and understanding in a dynamic way. • Posits that the universe is a whole made of interrelated parts. – Complex adaptive, dynamic systems are connected to the environment and influenced both by what comes before and what comes after • Assumptions include embeddedness, distributed control, multi-directionality, coexistence of order and disorder, and unpredictable outcomes.
  24. 24. Question the Assumptions • Philosophy of science is complex and many schools of thought exist. • When reflecting on your philosophy, it is important to consider several questions: – What are the assumptions of each philosophy? – Do you aim to control or understand? – Is there only one way to resolve a problem? – What is your praxis wedded to? – How can you be the best practitioner possible? – What do patients, families, and communities need? – Are you the nurse you want to be?
  25. 25. Conclusion • Science and philosophy require examination of both knowledge and understanding. • It is important to understand the ideological differences of different scientific and philosophical schools and incorporate portions of each in your individual philosophy. • Utilizing a philosophy that constantly questions assumptions will help you evolve as a nurse.