RSC201H Notes - 1. STRATEGIES OF DISCOVERY 1.1 INTRODUCTION...

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Unformatted text preview: 1. STRATEGIES OF DISCOVERY 1.1 INTRODUCTION Inquiry ~ Process whereby we gain knowledge by observing how things are and thinking logically about what we observed. Social World ~ The part of our existence dealing with how people interact Science = A process of inquiry using logic, observation & theory Logical (makes sense) Has a reference ( observed evidence) Gives a theory (explanation for what was observed) Scientific research = Systematically examine & think about a question. 1.2 SOURCES OF GENERAL KNOWLEDGE 1.2.1 Tradition We inherit a culture containing generally accepted knowledge ~ Knowledge is cumulative & we can learn from previous generations BUT Can be led into falsehood: Thinking traditionally dont find out how the knowledge was obtained in the first place Source of knowledge is not questioned Every scientific discipline is based on a tradition of thought 1.2.2 Authority Accepting something as true because of the status of the person who discovered the truth. Can help ~ The expert probably has experience & knows what he is talking about Can hinder ~ Can overestimate the persons expertise Experts can be wrong. 1.2.3 Mysticism and religion Religious knowledge is based on the authority of sacred texts Religion can offer meaning, but is not a reliable guide to the literal state of the world 1.2.4 Common sense Ordinary reasoning Relates to what people know intuitively/instinctively Helpful In everyday life, making decisions & solving problems. Covers topics everyone knows about & so helps communication BUT ~contains illogical reasoning ~ Doesnt - systematically consider how ideas are related to each other - collect information systematically ~ Common sense often originates in tradition 1.2.5 Media myths Mass media ~ Powerful influence on knowledge ~ Most people develop their knowledge from what they see, hear & read in the media ~ BUT its chief purpose is entertainment, not to accurately present reality This leads to distorted information & errors 1.3 Errors in human inquiry and how scientists try to avoid them 1.3.1 Inaccurate observation We need to know what before we can explain why People tend to carelessness when observing everyday events Scientific Observation ~ Contrasts with this in that it is a conscious activity ~ Deliberate ~ Both simple & complex measurement devices help prevent us from making inaccurate observations. 1.3.2 Over-generalization Arriving at a general conclusion about a thing when we have only observed a few cases of that thing. Arriving at a general conclusion about a thing when we have only observed a few cases of that thing....
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This note was uploaded on 10/12/2011 for the course RSC 201 taught by Professor Rsc during the Spring '11 term at University of South Africa.

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RSC201H Notes - 1. STRATEGIES OF DISCOVERY 1.1 INTRODUCTION...

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