|Potential Oversights in the Basic Model
The above model, some would argue, ignores key
elements in the way scientists actually practice science. In particular,
it seems to imply that hypotheses and experiments simply suggest
themselves as due course from the inductive natural phenomena. This
overlooks some of the following:
- "Theory Laden" Factors:
Formulating a new hypothesis is often dependent upon revisiting an old
theory, revising a current one, or adopting a reigning meta-model
(paradigm) as a
guide for further speculation and questioning. Sometimes reigning
models resist falsification because of their wide acceptance.
- Retroduction: Also a theory-laden
activity, retroduction involves formulating a hypothesis to account
for current known observations and ideas.
- Socio-Cultural & Psychological Factors:
These include the values of cooperation, competition, information
sharing, assumed ethics of research, departmental politics, etcetera that are part of the social
world of scientific research, as well as psychological factors such as
favored thought patterns, personal approaches, prejudices, aesthetics, vices,
and so on.
- Scientific Intuition: Michel Polanyi
observed that much scientific research is more intuitive in nature
than is often admitted, and it is often passed along in non-verbalized
involves communication of true knowledge on the inarticulate level.
Such knowledge involves a fair level of trust between teacher and
student, and is therefore, essentially a-critical in nature.
2) tacit knowing: "true knowledge
involves personal involvement in knowing, the link between knowing and
responsibility. At the bottom of all human activity are things
that are known, but cannot be put into words."
3) focal and subsidiary knowledge:
"an awareness from and awareness to." Focal knowledge
represents the activity that we focus on; subsidiary knowledge
represents the latent knowledge that we must have to perform the task,
i.e. bikeracing requires a great deal of subsidiary knowledge that the
racer cannot focus on in the midst of a race but must nonetheless have
Factors in Demarcation
I. Factors involving the shape of the hypothesis:
- Simplicity or Parsimony (Occam's Razor):
The hypothesis makes as few assumptions as possible, eliminating
those that make no difference in the observable predictions of the
- Qualified: It must
not claim too much.
- Consistency: Its
parts must be coherent and compatible.
II. Factors involving provability:
- Contingency: It must
allow for phenomena that need not happen within the hypothesis.
- Defeasibility: It
must be capable of being shown as invalid.
- Corrigibility: It is
open to future disconfirmation.
- Falsifiable: It must
define the conditions under what it can be declared invalid by showing
what the hypothesis will not allow.
- Testable: Counter-examples can be given and
III. Factors involving pertainability:
- Pertinent: It
describes and explains observed
- Correspondence: Its
elements must reflect observable phenomena.
- Feasibility: One can actually conduct the
- Reproducible: It
makes predictions that can be
tested by any observer, with trials extending indefinitely into the
IV. Factors involving explanatory power:
- Adaptable: It can
correct itself as new developments happen.
It has the ability to clear up a number of questions.
- Subsumptive: Either
it can become a premise within another theory or it can subsume
current theories to itself.
- How much trust should one afford modern science
and the modern scientific method?
- How effective is the basic model? Explain.
- How cogent are the critiques of the basic model?
- If you were to revise the basic model what would
you do differently?
- What aspects of reality, ways of knowing, or
sources of truth does the typical scientific model avoid?