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Unformatted text preview: NATS MIDTERM #3 PHYSICAL SCIENCES Aims of Physical Science 1. Assumptions Realism : There is a real world out there that is independent of our ideas about it. Empiricism : We can learn about that world by making observations and by performing experiments 2. Reduction o Physics addresses the principles underlying all phenomena in the observable world. o Chemistry and biology are ultimately reducible to physics – all matter/energy is subject to the same physical laws and made up of the same basic components 3. Simplification (Idealization) o Physicists idealize situations to get at core processes – that is, they take away complexity to understand phenomena, then add it back later eg . “a point-like object”, “case of no friction,” “consider a spherical cow” 4. Universality The laws of physics apply equally everywhere in the universe (even places we cannot observe)eg . Newton’s Law of Gravitation 5. Unification – by the end of the 19th century: Dynamics – laws of motion Atomic Hypothesis: Thermodynamics – temperature Waves Electromagnetic Fields: Optics Electricity Magnetism Experiment and Theory • Experimental observations revise theory eg. Galileo’s observations of the nature of motion revised Aristotelian physics • Theory leads to predictions to be tested empirically eg. –Einstein’s thought experiments lead to relativity theory and it’s tests – ex. relatively slower particle decay for particles travelling close to the speed of light Models of Scientific Change Conflict in science • Scientists have their own unique “thought styles” • Scientific knowledge is based on consensus • There can be conflict between a thought style of an individual and the community • There can be conflict between communities Falsifiability (Features of science that shows it is a product of “consensus” of many individual scientists) o (Karl Popper)Induction – arrive at a general theory through a number of independent specific observations o Verification – establishing the truth value of scientific claims o Problem with verification through induction o-example, “all swans are white” o Verify with falsification – test a claim’s truth value through experiments designed to prove the theory wrong. o If a claim cannot be falsified, it is not scientific Scientific Revolutions • Thomas Kuhn disagrees that scientists work through accumulating truthful statements – theories in science rarely change, even when there are negative experimental results • Bases his model on his study of historical periods in science Scientific Revolutions, cont’d • Scientists are “puzzle-solvers” who work in “paradigms” until there are problems • Problems cause “crises” and “revolutions”- a relatively brief time during which there may be falsification Paradigms “Every group is characterized by certain accepted attitudes regarding the way in which the activities of the groups should be carried out – for example, how students are to be...
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