SCIE1000 Philosophy essay
Accorded to philosopher Alan Chalmers, he claimed that “scientific knowledge is proven knowledge” (SCIE1000 Lectures Notes, 2018) which was considered to be the scientific method of induction. In contrast, Philosopher Karl Popper’s claim seems to be against Chalmers’ suggestion and dismiss this method of induction, and claim that his ‘hypothetico- deductive method’ was more ‘reliable’ (SCIE1000 Lectures Notes, 2018). The focus of this essay was to evaluate on both philosopher’s theories and their scientific method, from then, I will construct an argument on the rationality of induction from a falsification method, along with my personal’s criticism on Popper’s theory.
Chalmers’s claims referred to the method of induction – a process that generalises universal laws, and that general rule was conducted from a finite number of observation and experiment, occurs at all events and conditions of a phenomenon (SCIE1000 Lectures Notes, 2018). Observational statement – a basic inductivist account claims of all science begin with observations can only advance the universal statement under certain circumstances: the number of observation statement forming the basics of generalisation is large; observations are repeated under a wide variety of conditions; and no accepted observation statement conflicts with the derived universal law (SCIE1000 Lecture Notes, 2018). Chalmers’ idea of ‘scientific knowledge is proven knowledge’ could lead us to think of knowledge ascertain. However, Popper summaries that induction makes theories only “probable rather than certain” (Popper, K. 2002). Popper claimed that, in fact, there is no space for induction in science at all, since we can rationally approach science through his account of science and science method known as ‘the hypothetico- deductive method'(SCIE1000 Lectures Notes, 2018). Thus, instead of trying to prove universal laws that established scientific knowledge from observations, we are to proposing bold conjectures to stringent tests to see whether the law can endure attempts to falsify it. If claims are not falsifiable; they are not testable, and hence cannot be scientific.
Chalmers’s claim of “scientific knowledge is reliable knowledge because it is objectively proven knowledge” (SCIE1000 Lectures Notes, 2018) is hence irrational, it is inductive reasoning. Even though a phenomenon are extracted from a finite number of observation repeated under a wide variety of conditions, it is not enough to claim the hypothesis as ‘proof.’ For example, if our beginning hypothesis was ‘all bears are brown’, and a finite number of empirical observations had ‘proof’ bear to be brown. This inductive theory allows no space for a disprove evidence, is hence criticized and universal laws cannot be implied. This lead to Popper’s ‘falsificationism’ theory, since future, within belief, will be different to what we saw in the past in all respect; and if laws continue to hold, it is reasonable to believe that it will then lead us at times into trouble since it may easily prove unreliable (Popper, K. 2002). Hence, we need to look for disproving shreds of evidence aiming to falsify the theory, because it allows us to discover what our theories imply, and thus criticize them effectively (Popper, K. 2002). Criticism also claimed that ” attempt to find that weak spots in a theory” results in the “more remote logical consequences which can derive from it” (Popper, K. 2002). Moreover, knowledge divide into priori – where our understanding derives prior to the knowledge of how the world happens to see rather than experiments; and posteriori – scientific knowledge developed base on observations and experiment rather than theory (SCIE1000 Lectures Notes, 2018). Induction seems to be unable to rationalize either of these two categories. Therefore, the inductive theory of empirical observations are irrational, and by uphold laws and theory, our understanding of the universe will be limited due to the contradiction between the past and the future.
Additionally, Chalmers also claimed that “personal opinion or preferences and speculative imaginings have no place in science” since scientific knowledge is “proven knowledge” (SCIE1000 Lectures Notes, 2018). This also had been rejected by Popper, where he mentioned, “every discovery contains an irrational element or a creative intuitive” (Popper, K. 2002). This means that we required creativity and irrational speculation in our discovery of scientific hypothesis to be able to extend and develop our scientific knowledge. Whereas, the inductive method focuses on proving the original theory and rejected those phenomena where it believes to be ‘disproof’, which no further understanding and knowledge can be conducted.
I believe Popperian theory of falsification is more rational in comparison to inductive reasoning due to the differences in complexity levels of all matters in the universe. Since induction was to ‘proof’ a theory right by relying on just observations, whereas falsifying the theory allows our understanding to be unlimited as we attempt to reject the ‘original’ theory and search for a more ‘accurate’ and ‘precise’ statement. However, Popper made his assumption based on Hume’ theory – the conjecture of the uniformity of nature. Which I believe the only problem with Popper’s claim was he reached to a conclusion and prematurely state hypothesis as truth (Salmon, W. 1953). As seen in the series of events occurred in the past and the current stage, due to the hold of laws of physics, prediction of the future events will eventually be similar. Also, when anomalies are found, is it reasonable to reject the entire theory? It would be more reasonable if we retain succeed theories and proved themselves as powerful and reconcile ourselves to an anomaly.
In conclusion, even though Chalmers’ claim were reasonable when he made his point about science’s needs to be strictly imperative and free from reason. However, Popper’s falsificationism had proven to be a better way to generate and criticise hypotheses, at the same time solved the three key issues that induction cannot approach. Moreover, induction was impossible to justify neither of the priori or posteriori disciple. Hence, I believe Popper’s ideology of falsificationism had improved the way for scientific theories than induction, which therefore had increased the quality of scientific knowledge.
SCIE1000 Philosophy essay