Subject of the methodology of scienceThe methodology of science is an integral part of the philosophy of science, which studies methods and methods of cognition.
Scientific knowledge can be studied from two perspectives:
1) in terms of process research activities; in this case, the subject of analysis is scientific research and its methods;
2) in terms of result of this process; here the subject of analysis is existing knowledge and the methods of its justification.
In the first case we are talking about the methodology of scientific research, in the second - about the methodology for analyzing existing scientific knowledge .
The formation of the methodology of science
A correct interpretation of the role of the method in science did not happen immediately. In the Ancient Age the task of researching the methods of science was solved by philosophers, because at that time the science itself, with the exception of mathematics and astronomy, developed within the framework of philosophy.
Ancient Greek word method means the way to achieve any goal, and for the first time the problems of the scientific method began to be studied precisely within the framework of ancient Greek philosophy. Ancient science did not know the experimental natural sciences, so it was only a matter of theoretical methods of investigation. A vivid example of the formation of such methods is the syllogism of Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC) as the basis of classical deductive logic and the axiomatic method.
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In the era of modern times, the study of methods of cognition was also primarily concerned with philosophers. At the same time, the greatest contribution to the study of scientific methodology was made by those who were both outstanding scientists in specific sciences (G. Galilei, R. Descartes, G. V. Leibniz). Formation of experimental natural science in the XVII century. required the development of methods and tools for the experimental study of nature. That is why the problem of the scientific method, and in this case of the method of experimental natural science, is put at the center of the philosophical systems of the prominent philosophers of the time F. Bacon and R. Descartes.
F. Bacon compared the method with the lamp, which illuminates the traveler's way in the dark. The scientist aspired to create such a method, which could be an organon (instrument) of cognition, to provide man with dominion over nature. In New Organon As such a method is presented induction (as opposed to the "Organon" of Aristotle, in which the essence of the deductive method was revealed). Aristotelian deduction Bacon considered fundamentally unsuitable for the development of the sciences of nature. In turn, induction requires science to be based on an experimental basis, proceed from empirical analysis, observation and experiment. Only on this basis, according to Bacon, can you learn the causes and laws.
The French philosopher R. Descartes also sharply raised the problem of the scientific method: "It is better not to think about finding any truths whatsoever, than to do it without any method, for it is absolutely certain that indiscriminate occupations and dark philosophies darken the natural light and dazzle the mind. " The basic philosophical works of R. Descartes, above all the "Discourse on the Method", are devoted to the problems of the method. Rules for the guidance of the mind - this is actually decomposed into shelves algorithm of using the scientific method in the process of research.
The definition of the method, according to R. Descartes, not only reveals its structure, but also shows, following F. Bacon, the role of the method in the system of scientific knowledge: "By the method I mean exact and simple rules, strict observance of which always hinders acceptance of the false for true and, without unnecessary expenditure of mental forces, but gradually and continuously increasing knowledge, contributes to the fact that the mind reaches the true knowledge of everything that is available to it. "
In this regard, R. Descartes puts forward three rules of the method:
1) start with a simple and obvious;
2) from it by deduction receive more complex statements;
3) acting in this way so that not a single link is missing, i.e. preserving the continuity of the chain of inferences.
To implement these rules, as R. Descartes believed, two mental faculties are necessary: intuition, with which the simplest and obvious beginnings are seen, and deduction, with which all other truths are derived from these beginnings. Thus, the philosopher "rehabilitates" the role of deduction in cognition. However, as GI Ruzavin rightly noted, "this characteristic of the method is most suitable for mathematical cognition, in which theorems are logically deduced from axioms if we consider the latter to be self-evident truths."
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Indeed, developing the ideas of R. Descartes on a broader basis, GV Leibniz sought to reduce the reasoning to calculations, in connection with which the latter is considered the forerunner of the modern symbolic (mathematical ) of logic.
In the field of empirical sciences, as already noted, F. Bacon considered the most important method of investigation induction. Moreover, he absolutized the role of the inductive method, considering it an unerring method of discovering new truths in science. Later his ideas were continued by J. St. Mill (1806-1873), who developed the methodological tool elimination induction in the form of methods of similarity, differences, concomitant changes and remnants.
Subsequent studies have shown that it is pointless to look for one unmistakable method of cognition. Each of the methods is limited in cognitive abilities, and only a reasonable and expedient application of the system of scientific methods brings the researcher closer to the truth.
Since the second half of the XIX century. a complete knowledge of science (first of all, a philosophical one) is actively differentiated, the methodology of science appears. Actually, its formation coincides with the emergence of systematic scientific knowledge. Gradually, she understands her cognitive purpose. "The main purpose of the methodology of science is to study those methods, means and techniques by which new knowledge in science is acquired and justified."
In this discipline, two aspects of the research are distinguished:
1) dynamic aspect, associated with the analysis of the genesis, origin and development of scientific knowledge and the corresponding methods of cognition;
2) static aspect, implying the study of the results of knowledge, its forms and structures, as well as the methodology for justifying the result of research - already available scientific knowledge.
The cognitive goals and tasks of science can be divided:
- on the empirical and rational;
- Fundamental and Applied.
The result of research activities is knowledge, so the methodology of science actually acts as a study of the main problems rationale of scientific knowledge, including:
- problems of substantiating objectivity, or more precisely, intersubjectivity of scientific knowledge;
- the problems of the adequacy and acceptability of scientific theories, the criteria for confirming and refuting hypotheses, etc.
The emerging methodology of scientific knowledge in its development has gone through several stages.
1. The stage of genesis and constitution (registration in a special branch of scientific knowledge) actually coincides with the emergence of an experienced natural science. Experimental natural science needed to develop adequate research methods to obtain and justify new knowledge.
2. In the future, the principles, methods and criteria that were developed in natural science began to spread to other sciences. A special place here is occupied by positivists of the XIX century. These researchers specifically raised the question of the methodology of social and humanitarian knowledge, primarily sociology (O. Comte). However, from their point of view, the only scientific methods are the natural sciences, therefore such methods should be used in social and humanitarian knowledge. It is not by chance that the first name given to the future sociology of O. Comte (1798-1857) is "social physics".
Neo-positivists of the XX century. developed these ideas, stating that the social and human sciences have not yet reached such a level of theoretical maturity when methods of exact natural science can be applied to them. In this regard, almost to the end of the XIX century. no special methodology of social and humanitarian knowledge did not exist.
3. The emergence of a special methodology of social and humanitarian knowledge is associated with the works of the German neo-Kantian school of W. Vindelband (1848-1915) and G. Rickert (1863-1936), as well as V. Dilthey (1833-1911) and other supporters of the "philosophy of life". These philosophers first talked about the fundamental difference between the methods of the sciences of nature and the methods of the sciences of culture.
So, V. Windelband proposed to distinguish between science and not by their subject, but by the method of research. On this basis, he singled out the following sciences:
- nomothetic (from Greek nomothetike - legislative art), studying the laws of nature;
- idiographic (from Greek idios - special, peculiar and grapho - write), describing individual events and phenomena of history and culture.
In his opinion, to the sciences of social life and culture, no laws are applicable, therefore such sciences can only explore single events and phenomena. But they must study these phenomena in their entirety and specificity.
Q. Dilthey for the analysis of the sciences of the spirit suggested using the method based on the understanding of the hermeneutic , which the scientist contrasted with the explanation, used in the natural sciences.
The famous German philosopher, sociologist, historian M. Weber (1864-1920) criticized the idea of the existence of objective laws of social development. He contrasted these ideas with the ideal types method based on understanding.
Methodology of science and other disciplines
The most closely related methodology of science is related to history of science. Over the past half-century, many studies have appeared that view the history of science as a development process in which evolutionary periods are replaced by revolutionary ones. First of all, this concerns the works of the American philosopher and historian of science T. Kuhn (1922-1996) and the British researcher of Hungarian descent I. Lakatos (1922-1974).
As the methodology of science should be based on the research of historians of science, so the history of science must refer to the worldview and methodological principles of the philosophy of science. This logic was figuratively expressed by I. Lakatos, noting that "the history of science without philosophy is blind, and philosophy without the history of science is empty."
The methodology of science is closely related to the logic of science, exploring the structure of scientific knowledge, methods of its formalization, ways of inference in different types of reasoning, etc. However, the logic of science is limited only to the analysis of existing knowledge and does not affect the issue of genesis, origin and the acquisition of new knowledge. The prominent Finnish logician G. H. Vritt (1916-2003) on this occasion remarked: "Formal logic has traditionally dealt with conceptual constructions of the static world."
The logic of science for the construction and analysis of scientific languages uses formal deductive methods of mathematics, in particular, the axiomatic method of constructing theories, which Euclid used to construct elementary geometry. Such methods determine how specific concepts are formed with the help of the original terms and how some statements are derived from others, including from axioms.
Thus, the immediate subject of the logic of science is precisely the language of science - a certain set of rules for constructing and deductive inference in formalized languages that have a universally significant character.
Finally, the methodology of science is in close connection with psychology. Psychological research of the processes of discovery and invention of new ideas in science enrich the notions of scientific creativity and provide an opportunity to build more adequate models scientific discoveries. This role of psychology is due to the fact that the logic of science is not identical to the logic of discovery: there is simply no rigid rational algorithm for discoveries. Since many aspects of heuristic activity are irrational, they are studied by the psychology of creativity.
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