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Kristen Powered By Docstoc
					Philip Kitcher


Successful Science
What’s Going On? (Outline)
   Naïve falsification is not adequate in
    proving “good science”
   Example:Newtonian Celestial Mechanics
   Good Science
    – Auxiliary Hypotheses are Independently
      Testable
    – Unified
    – Fertile
   Bad Science
Good Science


 An Example
Newtonian Celestial Mechanics

   Solar system is subject
    to gravitational
    interactions only
   Laws of motion are
    used to calculate the
    orbits of the known
    planets with great
    success.
Except
 For...
Uranus
   The orbit of Uranus
    could not be
    calculated using
    Newton’s Theory
   Naïve
    falsificationists may
    recommend that
    Newtonian
    mechanics be
    dismissed
TO SAVE NEWTON’S THEORY

   John Adams and Urbain Leverrier
    independently propose an Alternative
    Hypothesis
   “An unknown planet is affecting the orbit
    of Uranus”
   So, calculations are made.
    Astronomers are notified.
     Morals of the story


   Auxiliary hypotheses are ok
    Good theories are unified
Incompleteness fosters fecundity
Auxiliary Hypotheses

   Auxiliary hypotheses (other forces are
    acting on Uranus) must be used
    responsibly
   Should be independently testable
    – Independent of the problem
    – Independent of the theory
   May be used when the theory has been
    successful in the past
Good Theories are Unified
   Unified problem solving strategies
    – Newton’s laws work for solving any
      problems of motion. The motion of
      planets, projectiles, pendulums etc.
    – No matter what problem needs to be
      answered the same format is followed:
       • Find forces acting; use forces and laws of
         dynamics to work out equations of motion;
         solve equations of motion
    – Bad theories need many untestable
      auxiliary hypotheses to answer questions
Good Theories are Unified
   Great Unity
    – Newton hoped his work would lead others
      to find “a truer philosophy” which would
      answer questions of heat, optics,
      electricity, magnetism etc.
    – This “Grand Equation” has yet to be
      discovered
Good Science Displays Fecundity

   Scientific discovery will raise more
    questions and lead to more discovery
    – Newton’s theories lead to the development
      of whole new sciences and the discovery
      of a new planet
   Incompleteness is not a vice
    – Flourishing science is incomplete
    – “Incompleteness is the mother of fecundity”
Summary

   Good Science
    – Independently testable, unified, productive
   Bad Science
    – Untestable, needs many alternative
      hypotheses, unrelated strategies,
      questions lead to dead ends, problems
      dismissed as “exceptions”
   Any of the above? Not Science at all!
Evolutionists vs. Creationists

   Predictive Success
    – Good, but not the only test of science
    – Predictions only answer “what” questions
      not “why”
    – Science seeks to explain phenomena
   Science Requires Proof
    – No! Theories are in a process of
      development, nothing is ever proven

				
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posted:5/13/2011
language:English
pages:15