The common view of science presented by Alan Chalmers which states that scientific knowledge is proven knowledge. Scientific theories are obtained from facts, experiments and observation and that science is objective. Science is based on particular observations. One of the popular view of scientific method is inductive reasoning which is defined as, one can use scientific observation by using specific preposition to arrive at general principles. An example of induction can be the sun rose on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday hence therefore the sun will rise every day. Inductive reasoning can be justified using two methods one is by a priori and the other is a posteriori, a priori justifies induction by mathematics and logic and a posteriori justifies it scientifically and by experiment. While on the other hand the hypothetico-deductivist method (falsificationism) refers to validation theories in scientific practice by making hypotheses and testing and obtaining conclusions. The essays aims to argue that some of the Popper’s objectives could be wrong and misguided and prove this by discussing the issues and problems arising from the Popperian hypothetico-deductivist. The essay will be arguing on inductive inference and issues with it with regards to Alan Chalmers common view of science and the problems in Popperian objections and Falsification.
The common view of science presented by Chalmers is indicative of an inductive inference. According to this view (Common view of science) scientific reasoning is inductive and scientific method give reliable knowledge by applications of inductive reasoning from facts of experience. However, there are some problems. Firstly, it says that scientific knowledge is proven knowledge can mislead us to think that it is certain while it is not. Secondly, it can be misguiding when it tells that science is objective and personal preferences or opinions don’t have place in science. There is a big difference between discovering a theory and justifying it. This idea was first drawn by Joh Herschel in the 1830s. In addition according to Popper induction is unjustifiable. For example if someone comes up with the idea that there could be dark matter, it doesn’t matter if the dark matter really is or not what is relevant is that if this can be justified. As result of this it is not important to consider discovering scientific theories or taking account of the processes that are rationale or reliable but it is important to consider that scientific laws are justified by induction. Thus personal preferences or opinions and speculative imaginings have an essential role in science as a result science according to this perspective is subjective. For example, people who use their subjective imaginations that are smart and creative, who produced theories and justified it. The justification of this can be by use of inductive inference.
The Austrian-British philosopher, Karl Popper claims that science proceeds by hypothesis and deductive inferences that says hypothesis to be false. Considering the example that all metals expand when heated if all metals expanded when heating this claim would be unfalsifiable but if only a single metal does not expand when heating it would be enough falsify this claim. One of the issues that is in Popper’s objectives is the logic of falsification its own. For example if 25 frogs are put in the freezer for one week and all of them die hence conclusion can be made that all frogs will die in the freezer if remained for one week. According to Popper this claim can be falsified if one those frogs survives in the freezer after it is kept for one week. However, there could be problem in the logic of falsification in here for example, an individual might take that frog which survived out of the freezer and put it back right before the scientist come and collect all the frogs. It can also be that the freezer broke down during that one week and hence it did not work or it is possible that they put the (one) wrong animal in the freezer hence it would respond differently to that particular temperature and might be able to survive it. Thus this can lead to problem for idea of Falsificationism. If all the above conditions were correct which meant that the frog was not taken out of the freezer, the freezer worked during the whole week and it was really a frog hence it can be concluded that this frog should also be dead. In order to falsify a theory there should be assumptions made. This assumption can be made on the basis of induction hence falsification cannot done without a background theory. As a result Popper’s claims are not an alternative to standard story about induction because we cannot do science without induction.
Another issue with Popper’s hypothetico-deductivist is that Popper believes that a theory is tested in contrary to the experimental data, opposing to this hypothesis are tested in groups. When a theory is tested a lot of other theories are assumed in the background. Thus if an anomaly is found in the results instead of rejecting the hypothesis we can use the other hypothesis (that have been successful) in the background. For example according to Duhem’s Thesis, an empirical hypothesis (H) cannot be used to obtain empirical predictions unless it is joined with another auxiliary hypothesis (B). Thus if for an experiment H (hypothesis) is tested, where H and B is utilized to predict the outcome of the experiment C (outcome). If the outcome (C) is not obtained it then falsifies H and B. As a result of this and isolated experiment cannot tell that if B (background hypothesis) is false, H (hypothesis) is false or if both of them are false. Hence no experiment can falsify hypothesis (H) by itself. Concisely, since not all hypotheses can ever be true or false so it can be based on other background theories. The present theory is a result of the presupposing of other theories in the background. Unless it is assumed that background theories are correct, the present theory cannot be falsified.
In conclusion, Alan Chalmers presentation of science that states that scientific knowledge is proven knowledge and science is objective. This is indicative of inductive inference and there were certain problems on inductive reasoning. There were some issues also with the Popperian idea of Falsificationism. One of the issue of Falsificationism is the logic of Falsificationism itself and other problem with the hypothetico-deductivist is Popper’s believe of testing one theory against the experimental data. It can be concluded that the Popperian objections and responses (i.e. falsification) could be wrong and misguided and inductive reasoning can also be sometimes misguiding.