Improving the Theory
Theory gives additional support to its statements. The clearer and more reliable the theory itself, the more such support is. Because of this, the improvement of the theory, the strengthening of its empirical base and the clarification of its general, including philosophical and methodological prerequisites, are also an essential contribution to the substantiation of its claims.
Among the ways of clarifying the theory, a special role is played:
• Identify the logical relationships of its assertions;
• minimization of its initial assumptions;
• its construction in the form of an axiomatic system;
• its formalization, if possible.
If the theory is axiomatized, some of its positions are selected as initial ones, and all other provisions are derived from them purely logically. The assumptions adopted without proof are called axioms (postulates); The propositions proved on their basis are theorems.
The axiomatic method of systematization and clarification of knowledge was born in antiquity and gained great popularity due to the "Beginnings" Euclid - the first axiomatic interpretation of geometry. Now axiomatization is used in mathematics, logic, and also in separate sections of physics, biology, etc. The axiomatic method requires a high level of development of the axiomatizable content theory, clear logical connections of its statements. This is due to its rather narrow applicability and naivety of attempts to rebuild all science according to the Euclidean geometry.
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In addition, as shown by the Austrian logician and mathematician K. Gödel, sufficiently rich scientific theories (for example, arithmetic of natural numbers) do not allow complete axiomatization. This speaks of the limitations of the axiomatic method and the impossibility of a complete formalization of scientific knowledge.
The construction of a scientific theory in the form of an axiomatized deductive system can not serve as an ideal and that ultimate goal, the achievement of which means the limit of the improvement of the theory.
The asserted assertion requires that it be in agreement with the factual material on the basis of which and for the explanation of which it was put forward. The compatibility condition must also be met - the statement to be justified must correspond to the laws, principles, theories, etc. in the field under consideration.
For example, if someone offers a detailed project of a perpetual motion machine, then first of all we will be interested not in the fineness of the design and its originality, but whether its author knows the law of conservation of energy. As is well known, energy does not arise from nothing and does not disappear without a trace, it only passes from one form to another. This means that the creation of a perpetual motion engine is incompatible with one of the fundamental laws of nature, therefore, such an engine is impossible in principle, regardless of its design.
As I said back in the XIX century. one of the French romantics, if a person claims that his theory and discoveries abolish all previous ones, then this theory is certainly insane and groundless, and the discoveries are false.
The compatibility condition, being fundamentally important, does not mean, of course, that every new provision should be required to fully adapt to what is now considered law. Like the correspondence to facts, the correspondence of an affirmation to theoretical truths should not be interpreted too straightforwardly. It may happen that the new knowledge will cause a different look at what was taken earlier, clarify, or even discard something from the old knowledge. Harmonization with accepted theories is reasonable up to the norm, as long as it is aimed at finding the truth, and not to preserve the authority of the old theory.
If the compatibility requirement is understood absolutely, the possibility of intensive development of science is excluded. In this case, science is given the opportunity to develop by spreading the already discovered laws to new phenomena, but it is deprived of the right to review the already formulated provisions. In fact, this is a denial of the development of science.
Of course, the discovery of a new phenomenon or the promotion of a new scientific theory does not always contradict the old ideas. The new theory can, firstly, concern only those phenomena that were not previously known, or, secondly, be a higher-level theory linking a group of lower-level theories.
For example, the law of conservation of energy provides just such a link between dynamics, chemistry, electricity, optics, heat theory, etc. Other connections are possible between old and new theories that do not lead to their incompatibility. But if all the connections between the theories were such, the development of science would be truly cumulative: new phenomena would simply reveal order in some area of nature, previously unseen, and in the evolution of science, new knowledge would replace ignorance, and not another knowledge incompatible with the old.
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At the very beginning of his article on the planetary model of the atom, the English physicist E. Rutherford, who put forward this model, wrote: "The question of the stability of the proposed atom at this stage should not be questioned ...". Indeed, according to classical laws, an atom could not be arranged like a solar system: rotation would force electrons to continuously emit energy, and the loss of energy would lead them, in agreement with I. Newton, to an imminent fall on the core. From the standpoint of the preceding ideas, Rutherford's model was theoretically illegitimate.
The history of science clearly shows that the new theory, radically breaking with tradition, is at first literally immersed in the "ocean of anomalies".
The Heliocentric doctrine of N. Copernicus in the days of G. Galileo was so clearly and obviously incompatible with the facts that N. Galilei called it clearly false. "There is no limit to my amazement," he wrote, "how could the mind of Aristarchus (the ancient predecessor of this doctrine, AI.) and Copernicus produce such violence over their feelings, in order to prevail against the latter and persuade. "
The model of the atom, created in the early XX century. N. Borom, was introduced and maintained despite clear and precise evidence that is inconsistent with it.
The theory of optical colors by I. Newton claimed that light consists of rays of different refractivity that can be separated, reunited, refracted, but never change their internal structure and possess an extremely small spatial glow. I. Newton himself admitted that his theory of rays is incompatible with the existence of mirror images. Since the surface of the mirror is much coarser than the cross section of the rays, the mirror should not reflect light. Newton saved his theory by introducing a special hypothesis according to which the reflection of the ray is produced not by a single point of the reflecting body, but by some "force of the body", evenly scattered throughout its surface. What this "power" is, was completely unclear.
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