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Is Scientific Progress Inevitable? Essay Example for Free
Turning to the philosophy of science, it was clear by the end ofthe 1980s that the centreground was now occupied by a new realism, onethat took on board lessons from general philosophy of language andepistemology, in particular referentialist semantics and a belief inthe possibility of objective knowledge and justification. There issome irony therefore in the fact that it was the demise of logicalpositivism/empiricism that led to the rebirth of scientific realismalong with causal and externalist semantics and epistemology,positions that Kuhn rejected.
Laudan requires that a rational goal for science should be accessibleand effectively recognizable (Laudan 1977, 1984a). This requirement,which he uses to rule out truth as a goal of science, is verystrong. The demands of rationality cannot dictate that a goal has tobe given up, if there are reasonable indicators of progress towardsit.
The Disadvantages Of Scientific Progress Free Essays
Realist theories of scientific progress take truth to be an importantgoal of inquiry. This view is built into the classical definition ofknowledge as justified true belief: if science is a knowledge-seekingactivity, then it is also a truth-seeking activity. However, truthcannot be the only relevant epistemic utility of inquiry. This isshown in a clear way by the cognitive decision theory (Levi 1967;Niiniluoto 1987).
Christian, including Joachimite, prophecy also played its part inthe Puritan Revolution of the seventeenth century. In 1615, JamesMaxwell, with his Admirable and Notable Prophecies, declared Joachim to have been "extraordinarily inspired." Ernest Lee Tuveson, in his profoundly important Millennium and Utopia,shows how easily secular progress conceived of as the rule of reasonand of the sciences could be derived from religious progress conceivedof as divine fulfillment. Thus he quotes a passage from Sheltoo aGeveren in which we are told that God shows his affection for mankindby raising up "some Valla, Agricola, Erasmus, Melancthon and others" inorder to bring "all sciences and knowledge of the tongues to theirpurity" . . . and to attain "the perfect knowledge of them all by whichalmost all Europe is set free from barbarousness." Tuveson's book wasone of the very first to point out the crucial importance of religiousideas of man's progress on earth—of his destined existence in anearthly paradise for a long period before Judgment Day comes, and ofthe liberation of men from all want, superstition, ignorance, andtyranny—as the forerunners of those secular ideas of progresswhich flourished in the eighteenth century. The great weakness of somany studies of the idea of progress in the eighteenth and nineteenthcenturies is their serene conviction that between Christian prophecyand the kind of idea of progress we find in, say, Condorcet at the endof the eighteenth century, there is no affinity (in the sense ofhistorical lineage) whatever, only conflict. Not, this erroneousargument goes, until Christianity with its idea of Providence had beenrouted, was it possible for a perspective of human progress to make itsappearance.
Essay:Scientific progress - Conservapedia
Kuhn's work met with a largely critical reception amongphilosophers. Some of this criticism became muted as Kuhn's workbecame better understood and as his own thinking underwenttransformation. At the same time other developments in philosophyopened up new avenues for criticism. That criticism has largelyfocussed on two areas. First, it has been argued that Kuhn's accountof the development of science is not entirely accurate. Secondly,critics have attacked Kuhn's notion of incommensurability, arguingthat either it does not exist or, if it does exist, it is not asignificant problem. Despite this criticism, Kuhn's work has beenhugely influential, both within philosophy and outside it. TheStructure of Scientific Revolutions was an important stimulus towhat has since become known as 'Science Studies', in particular theSociology of Scientific Knowledge (SSK).
Science is a multi-layered complex system involving a community ofscientists engaged in research using scientific methods in order toproduce new knowledge. Thus, the notion of science may refer to asocial institution, the researchers, the research process, the methodof inquiry, and scientific knowledge. The concept of progress can bedefined relative to each of these aspects of science. Hence,different types of progress can be distinguished relative to science:economical (the increased funding of scientific research),professional (the rising status of the scientists and theiracademic institutions in the society), educational (theincreased skill and expertise of the scientists), methodical(the invention of new methods of research, the refinement ofscientific instruments), and cognitive (increase oradvancement of scientific knowledge). These types of progress have tobe conceptually distinguished from advances in other humanactivities, even though it may turn out that scientific progress hasat least some factual connections with technologicalprogress (increased effectiveness of tools and techniques) andsocial progress (economic prosperity, quality of life,justice in society).
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SCIENTIFIC PROGRESS CAN DESTRO essays
The report is to be presented as a formal poster presentation, following ACS format, with an accompanying research overview paper (details described below). The presentation must include the scientific objectives in the thesis research, an overview of the necessary background material, the theoretical and experimental techniques used, and representative results obtained to date. Students should expect to present their research in approximately 5-10 minutes, repeated 3-4 times to different small groups, during the day of the poster session and to answer questions from a wide variety of faculty members and graduate students. Attendance at the poster session portion of the progress report may be by any of the Chemistry Faculty, graduate students, or other interested members of the department or university. The purposes of the poster presentation are to expose the student to a wide range of questions in preparation for the oral exam, to develop scientific speaking skills, and to facilitate feedback from various members of the department.
Title of Essay: Is scientific progress always for the good
Perhaps the greatest description (in the sense of a systematic anddeveloped awareness) of human progress to be found in all of ancientthought is the Roman Lucretius' On the Nature of Thingswritten in the first century B.C. It is an Epicurean account ofcomplete sciences—astronomy, physics, chemistry, anthropology,psychology. In very modern fashion, Lucretius explains the beginningsof the world through atoms in the void forming clusters which thenbecome tangible matter, and the eventual development of the world withall that grows and lives on it. Book V of this general evolutionarytreatise is concerned solely with mankind's social and culturalprogress. It commences with primitive man living naked and shelterless,dependent upon his cunning and ability to join forces with other men inorder to find safety from larger and more predatory beasts, in constantfear of the elements. To assuage this fear mankind generally formedreligions for mental protection, and step by step (pedetemtim progredientes)advanced to huts, then to houses and ships, diverse languages, the artsand sciences, medicine, navigation, improvements in technology, makingfor an ever richer existence. And, Lucretius is careful to tell us,despite the grandeur of all that man has achieved on earth through hisown efforts, the human race is still in its infancy, and even greaterwonders may be expected.
Scientific progress as seen in Frankenstein
The final philosopher of progress I shall select from classicalantiquity is Seneca. A Stoic, an adviser to emperors and others, he wasalso a scientist in every sense of the word. His Quaestiones Naturalespresents a remarkable collection of observations and experiments in thenatural world and embodies virtually a Darwinian theory of evolution(as there is in Lucretius also), with more than mere hints of themechanism of natural selection. But Seneca the social scientist, theanthropologist, is best seen in his Epistulae Morales. Hereis another classical text in human progress. There is passing,uninterested reference to some aboriginal golden age when virtue wasascendant amid cultural simplicity and to a fall from this primevalstate (not different, really, from what Rousseau would write manycenturies later on the state of nature and of man's social and culturalascent from it). But what thoroughly engages Seneca's attention is themeans and the stages through which humanity has climbed to its presentvast knowledge. He grants philosophy some credit, but it is "man'singenuity, not his wisdom" that discovered all the really vital thingsin civilization—farming, metallurgy, navigation, tools and implementsof every kind, language, and so on. And, despite Senecan ruminationsfrom time to time about the age and decrepitude of the world, there areother, scintillating passages in which, like Lucretius, he foreseeslong ages ahead of increase in knowledge. "The time will come," hewrites in the Quaestiones Naturales, "when mental acumen andprolonged study will bring to light what is now hidden . . . the timewill come when our successors will wonder how we could have beenignorant of things so obvious." And in his Epistulae Senecaenjoins his contemporaries: "Much remains to do; much will remain; andno one born after thousands of centuries will be deprived of the chanceof adding something in addition."
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