Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [scientific-method]

The Scientific Method is meant to answer questions based on observation and experimentation.

44
votes
14answers
17k views

Is there an alternative to the scientific method?

Intro The scientific method is a key process of how we acquire knowledge and may shape our understanding of the world. If I am not mistaken, this method has been defined several times during our ...
16
votes
1answer
539 views

How does Quine answer the metaphysician's charge that scientism is self-refuting?

General scientism seems to hold that due to the predictive powers of our scientific methods, such methods are preferred to other methods of knowledge, such as metaphysics (radical scientism claiming ...
16
votes
3answers
407 views

What is the relation between proof in mathematics and observation in physics?

Recently in his 2015 Hirzebruch Lecture in Bonn, Arthur Jaffe re-amplified his famous perspective that finding proof in mathematics is analogous to making experimental observation in physics. In ...
13
votes
6answers
490 views

Can one speak unambiguously of “The” Scientific Method?

When people in general discuss science, they talk about the scientific method as if it was a fixed and universally agreed upon principle. In a show I saw recently by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, he explicitly ...
12
votes
3answers
416 views

Is Feyerabend confusing discovery and justification when he criticizes the scientific method?

I am reading Feyerabend's "Against Method", where he uses Copernicus's (and Galileo's confirmation) discovery of the fact that the Earth orbits around the Sun and other examples to show that ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

What makes a good question?

Most philosophy begins with a question. I'm wondering why certain questions provoke more profound thoughts than others. What characteristics do good questions share with each other? How can we go ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Did Descartes really doubt the existence of God?

I've learned about Descartes' universal doubt and as I understood it, he says mind that is supposed to interact with God isn't part of res extensa and therefore isn't part of the senses we can doubt. ...
9
votes
3answers
923 views

Does the Scientific Method of research apply to philosophy?

The Scientific Method is essentially the effort to discover causation in perceived correlations of collected data. In other words it hunts for 'recipes' that can be applied to consistently achieve a ...
9
votes
6answers
859 views

How to demonstrate causation if correlation isn't sufficient?

It is widely known that correlation does not necessarily imply causation. However, after recognizing that the correlation alone doesn't prove causation, what needs to happen in order to evaluate ...
9
votes
1answer
322 views

Should modern empiricists embrace string theory?

Conventional wisdom says "no", lack of new predictions being the main criticism. Johansson and Matsubara review string theory from various empiricist perspectives, and the best they can say (for ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

How is Bayesian reasoning related to the scientific method?

Back in September 2006, Scott Aaronson wrote a famous blog post giving 10 Reasons to believe that N!=NP. In March 2014, he wrote a more ambitious post about The scientific case for N!=NP. He claims: "...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

How can probability statements be falsified?

Have studied recently some about philosophical views of probability and ran into an interesting problem put forward by Popper: According to Popper, probability statements are not strictly ...
8
votes
9answers
1k views

How to argue for science against religion (ft. IASIP)?

(I previously asked posted this in Skeptics SE but was told that this might be a better SE for my specific question.) I was watching this scene from "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" where Mac (a ...
8
votes
3answers
359 views

Do theories come from observations or do they determine what is observed?

While re-reading Shimon Malin’s “Nature Loves to Hide” I was trying to get a better grasp of the distinction between Ernst Mach’s philosophy that theory comes from observable magnitudes alone and what ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the underdetermination of theories by evidence, and how does it square with scientific realism?

What is the underdetermination of theories in philosophy of science? Is it the lack of ability to choose between alternative scientific theories? If so, how can it be that more than one theory ...
8
votes
2answers
446 views

Stronger evidence for Feyerabend's critique of self-consistency

Background Many physicists use 'reality cannot have a true paradox, only apparent ones in our theory' as a very common maximum and guide to theory checking. As with all universal rules, Paul ...
8
votes
1answer
261 views

What is Feyerabend advocating when he says that science should be separate from the state just as the church is?

In the closing chapter of "Against Method", Feyerabend states that: "Science is neither a single tradition, nor the best tradition there is, except for people who have become accustomed to its ...
7
votes
6answers
1k views

What is the Null Hypothesis for a negative claim?

If my claim is: There are no purple swans. How should this look like in a null/alternative hypothesis form? Like this? Null: There are purple swans Alternative: There are no purple swans Or like ...
7
votes
1answer
585 views

Is physicalism a current scientific consensus?

I was reading Wikipedia through materialism and physicalism article and was unable to find, whether modern scientists largely subscribe to physicalism in natural sciences. What is the scientific ...
6
votes
6answers
6k views

Can our sense of touch deceive us?

Descartes says that the senses deceive us. I agree for all senses, except for the tactile sense (i.e., when you touch something). It's clear there are optical illusions, but there appear to be no ...
6
votes
2answers
284 views

What role do values have in science according to Popper?

I have read a lot about Popper but I still can not answer. What is the role of values in Popper's philosophy? What role do they have in science according to Popper?
6
votes
1answer
328 views

Feynman and scientific method

In Richard Feynman's classic Cargo Cult Science speech. He talks about a type of scientific error made, where a person takes a previous experimental result for granted when designing an experiment. ...
6
votes
3answers
530 views

How did quantum mechanics shape the scientific method?

Quantum mechanics has certainly changed scientific concepts (deterministic <-> probabilistic). But to which extent did it change the scientific method? Since I perceive the scientific method more ...
6
votes
4answers
182 views

Is it possible to construct falsifiable evolutionary hypotheses about behaviour?

My question is very much contained in the title. Most human behaviours are the object of many hypotheses based in the theory of evolution. Usually an hypothesis will arise as a model that explains a ...
5
votes
2answers
128 views

What is this technique to gain proof called?

I just found out that I always missused the term deduction. I always thought that deduction meant gaining a proof by showing that all the other possible answers are wrong. But deduction is actually ...
5
votes
5answers
4k views

What is the opposite of the reductionist approach?

I am searching for two opposite words in philosophy of science to describe two opposite approaches in physics. To illustrate what I am searching for I will use statistical physics and particle physics ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Origin of the idea that something can't be proved, only disproved

Does anyone know if the idea that something can't be proved, only disproved has a specific origin? I often hear it and would like to make a reference to it in a term paper I'm writing. Is it from the ...
5
votes
3answers
381 views

Do all sciences use the same fundamental approach - the scientific method?

Even so I admit that the statement "All sciences use the same fundamental approach - the scientific method" may be true or false, it is not obvious to me whether it is actually true or false. I ...
5
votes
5answers
210 views

Is it scientific or a logical error to claim something is true because I can't think of another explanation

The situation Let's say, someone is wrong on the internet. She says The forums on that newspaper article is closed. Apparently the newspaper want to suppress public debate. I reply: That's ...
5
votes
2answers
600 views

Verification of scientific knowledge other than peer review?

Peer review has been used for regulation of scientific knowledge for almost 350 years. Were there any common mechanisms for verification and regulation of scientific knowledge before peer review ...
5
votes
3answers
574 views

Is the anthropic principle in physics falsifiable?

The Anthropic Principle states that the fundamental physics of the universe must allow the possibility of conscious life in the universe - as that is an observable fact. It's often qualified as ...
5
votes
2answers
142 views

Discovering inter-atomic forces or taking Newtons law seriously

I've already asked this question on Physics.SE, but it got no response; its not a conventional physics question, but really on how to interpret physical equations and physics. Newtons law of gravity ...
5
votes
3answers
135 views

How can the credibility of dietary recommendations of medical sciences and EBM be upheld in light of a history of radical changes of its claims?

I know the typical argument is that science is a work in progress and is constantly self-improving. However, self-improvement demands some continuity in claims. For example, relativistic physics was ...
5
votes
4answers
119 views

In order for politics to be “scientific”, what does it require? Are there existing scientific political ideologues (measurement et al)?

In order for politics to be "scientific", what does it require? Are there existing scientific political ideologues (measurement et al)? Particularly, because I still feel that a lot around politics ...
5
votes
2answers
292 views

How would you describe the relationship of science and philosophy of science?

How would you describe the relationship of science and philosophy of science? Is it a worldview that sets a tone to scientific jargon? I mean that statements of eg. physics are under submission of the ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Does quantum mechanics suggest that our scientific method is flawed?

Some quantum mechanics experiments seem to suggest that our current understanding of reality is flawed. Entanglement experiments show us that particles separated in space, can still somehow ...
4
votes
6answers
2k views

Is any aspect of the supernatural testable? What level of proof is possible for the supernatural?

Assume the supernatural does exist, and consists of beings/forces that can interact with our natural universe in ways that are contrary to the natural laws of this universe (at least as we know them). ...
4
votes
4answers
215 views

What makes epistemology unscientific?

Epistemology is called a branch of philosophy and not science. There are several epistemic theories some of which actually were mainstream sometimes. But it appears that, for example, some of them ...
4
votes
7answers
385 views

What is the logical fallacy in assuming scientific method?

When I assume that whatever some authority figure says is the truth, it becomes a logical fallacy called "appeal to authority". But then how do I assume that the scientific method is (most likely) ...
4
votes
1answer
476 views

What is the relation between interpretation and explanation in social sciences? [closed]

I am interested in understanding the interaction between interpretation and explanation in social sciences in general and in economics particularly. It is argued that interpretation is pervasive in ...
4
votes
3answers
185 views

Could a scientific unification theory and scientific method itself be misleading?

I aspire to one day be a scientist (specifically an astrophysicist) and I have been reading up on many novels (like those of Asimov) which look into the development of humanity. I know that our ...
4
votes
4answers
6k views

What differentiates the scientific method from other methods

From the controversy in this question, I would like to know what differentiates "the scientific method" from other method. I'm asking for differentiation, rather than a definition, because ...
4
votes
3answers
191 views

Is holism likely incompatible with scientific method?

I've been reading on the holism-reductionism continuum. Reductionism strikes me as compliant with general principles of the scientific approach and method because it seeks to explain complex phenomena ...
4
votes
2answers
508 views

If consciousness was an illusion, would it be less real?

Even though qualia are generally considered to be unexplainable, there are philosophers like Daniel Dennett attempting to get to the core of consciousness with scientific methods. In his view, ...
4
votes
1answer
223 views

How should science approach non-empirical phenomena?

I am not talking about miracles, religious revelation, or artistic expression, but something more mundane. There is a lot of "empirical" evidence that the Riemann hypothesis is true, the scare quotes ...
4
votes
3answers
529 views

Does Probability come before Scientific Method?

I am interested in the following epistemological problem. Usually, Probability is seen as a mathematical theory that we use to describe the physical world. Precisely, following the Scientific Method ...
4
votes
1answer
408 views

Feyerabend's criticism against the fetishes of rationalism

Why does Fayerabend see observation terms, scientific method and fixed standards as fetishes of rationalism?
4
votes
3answers
123 views

Name of approaches of physics in terms of laws vs in terms of correlations?

I am not an expert in epistemology and I am currently searching for the name of a particular approach in physics (an historical one). Since Galileo, the role of the physicist is to simplify the ...
4
votes
1answer
42k views

What does Einstein's quote “If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts” mean? [closed]

What did Einstein really mean by saying: If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts.
3
votes
3answers
97 views

Does criminal law have different rules for “evidence” than general science?

It looks to me like (at least here in USA) the court of law does not always require empirical evidence to sentence someone to death. Rather it seems that the person can be sentenced as long as there ...