Unformatted text preview: What is Science?
Induction and Deduction The Inductivist View of Science The view that science is founded mainly upon observation is sometimes referred to as the inductivist view of science (Chalmers). What is Induction? Induction is the form of reasoning whereby we generalize from singular observations to universal laws. Example of an Inductive Inference Singular1: Copper expands when heated under a variety of conditions Singular2: Silver expands when heated under a variety of conditions Singularn : Xn expands when heated under a variety of conditions Universal Law: All metals expand when heated Common Inductive inferences We induce that the sun will rise to the East every day We induce that gravity acts downwards We induce that a badly stubbed toe will turn blue Induction can be contrasted with Deduction Deductive inference P1 P2 Rock Groups Make Music Men at Work are a Rock Group Conclusion: Men at Work Make Music Notice what happens with False Premise P1 P2 All Pop Stars Make Good Music Britney Spears is a Pop Star Conclusion: Britney Spears Makes Good Music This is a false conclusion from a perfectly valid process of deduction Examples of Deduction If 5 is greater than 4, and if 4 is greater than 3, then 5 is greater then 3 The earth is a spherical body, a sphere by definition has equal radius in all directions, and therefore the radius of the earth is equal in all directions. If gravity acts downwards on objects, and my pen is an object, gravity will act downwards on my pen Problem of Induction Inductive Inference can go wrong. Example Russel's Turkey Russell's Turkey
`` The turkey found that, on his first morning at the turkey farm, that he was fed at 9 a.m. Being a good inductivist turkey he did not jump to conclusions. He waited until he collected a large number of observations that he was fed at 9 a.m. and made these observations under a wide range of circumstances, on Wednesdays, on Thursdays, on cold days, on warm days. Each day he added another observation statement to his list. Finally he was satisfied that he had collected a number of observation statements to inductively infer that ``I am always fed at 9 a.m.''. However on the morning of Thanksgiving he was not fed but instead had his throat cut.'' Deductive reasoning is seen as our best form of reasoning by philosophers yet science clearly involves induction. So how do we justify using induction ion science? Return to this issue later in course on section on Popper. David Hume said we can't justify induction because it works (or has always worked) this is circular reasoning because "it works" assumes induction to justify induction. Approaches to Induction David Hume's psychological approach we have a psychological propensity to induce and trust induction, things will go on as they have in the past. Induction cannot be further justified Harry Collins' sociological approach - we induce as a matter of our social "form of life". Inductive inferences are part of the social fabric of science. Karl Popper's philosophical approach we'll return to it later, but it is that science is about falsification (the attempt to falsify a hypothesis) and induction plays no part of scientific justification ...
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This note was uploaded on 11/06/2007 for the course S&TS 2011 taught by Professor Pinch,t. during the Spring '06 term at Cornell.
- Spring '06