Загрузил Алекс Лих

SCIENCE AND SCIENTIFIC THINKING

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TOPIC 1. SCIENCE, SCIENTIFIC THINKING, SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH
Lecture: SCIENCE AND SCIENTIFIC THINKING
INTRODUCTION
The purpose of this lecture is to give a general idea of science and scientific thinking, to
awaken interest in these phenomena of human life, to show that scientific thinking is not
at all divorced from everyday thinking and some of its elements are familiar to all of us
from childhood, but something will be useful in professional activity. We will also show
that social sciences have interesting specifics and that any scientific discipline is a very
dynamic phenomenon, going through its stages of development, experiencing crises
and even revolutions. Thus, in this lecture we will not dive into the details of the
organization of scientific research, as well as the main issues of philosophy and history
of science.
Our task is to answer the following questions: What is scientific thinking, and what are
its origins? What is Science? What functions does science perform? How do experts
classify sciences, and why is this done? How is science developing?
Key concepts in this chapter are: scientific thinking, abstract thinking, science, social
sciences, development, paradigm, "normal" science.
THEORETICAL MATERIAL
Scientific thinking is the key to understanding the essence of science and the most
important attribute of scientific activity. Therefore, we will begin our conversation about
science by considering the specific properties of scientific thinking in comparison with
ordinary thinking.
1. Scientific thinking and its origins
Throughout his life, a person learns the world around him. Colors, sounds, smells - they
become available to us thanks to the five senses. This level of knowledge is called
sensory. However, not all knowledge about the world can be obtained at the sensory
level of cognition. There is no such specialized organ of senses that would catch
patterns in the same way, for example, as the aroma of barbecue. There is no sense
organ that would allow one to "grope" the causes and consequences of events. The
sensual way of knowing does not allow you to penetrate the essence of things. Laws,
patterns, cause-and-effect relationships cannot be reflected in our consciousness
directly, like taste or color. A person displays significant connections between
phenomena indirectly - by comparing various facts. This is how the thinking process is
carried out.
Thinking is one of the cognitive processes of a person (along with sensation,
perception, memory and imagination), which is a reflection in the human mind of the
essence of objects and processes of the objective world, their essential properties and
relations between them. Thinking allows you to gain knowledge about such objects,
properties and relationships that cannot be directly perceived at the sensory level of
cognition.
Thinking is classified into ordinary (everyday) and scientific.
Ordinary thinking is thinking based on common sense, on the so-called everyday
experience, generalized with the help of primitive logical analysis.
Scientific thinking is thinking aimed at understanding the deep essence of the real
world and meeting the criteria of evidence, objectivity, consistency (Fig. 1).
"All science is nothing more than an
improvement in everyday thinking."
Albert Einstein
 focus on understanding the deep
ESSENCE of the world
 rigorous PROOF
 OBJECTIVITY (exclusion of everything
subjective related to the personality of the
scientist)
 SYSTEMITY of knowledge
 wide use of the ABSTRACT method
minimal use of NORMATIVE thinking
Scientific
thinking
Figure: 1. Basic properties of scientific thinking
Researchers of the processes of thinking gradually began to incline to the conclusion
that ordinary thinking is not so "unscientific", and scientific thinking is not so divorced
from everyday life. Both types of thinking are based on the same mechanisms of
cognition. Both types of thinking are prone to the same mistakes (for example, the error
"after this means because of this"). Both types of thinking make extensive use of the
abstraction technique.
Abstraction is a distraction from a number of specific properties of an object in order to
highlight its essential properties.
The use of abstraction in everyday thinking allows a person to carry out the simplest
analysis of life situations - to compare, generalize, and classify. Any adult is engaged in
comparing objects and phenomena, sorting them. Why is he doing this? In order to
know how to behave with these objects and phenomena. After all, we behave differently
with bosses and subordinates, men and women, old and young. Therefore, our every
action is based on the conscious or unconscious construction of classification
boundaries. We divide food into tasty and tasteless, and we refuse to tasteless. We
divide people into pleasant and unsympathetic to us, and we are friends with the first.
The described level of abstraction is the simplest level inherent in everyday thinking. For
advanced scientific thinking, higher levels of abstraction are characteristic. Generally
speaking, the entire process of the formation of science can be represented as a
process of the development of abstract thinking. This process stretched over millennia
and went through 3 stages, corresponding to three levels of abstraction.
The 1st level of abstraction is the level of quality, classifying science. At this level,
abstraction consists in identifying the essential properties of objects, forming object
classes on this basis and assigning names to these classes. The class name is a level 1
abstraction (Fig. 2).
2nd level of abstraction: number. This is a much stronger abstraction than a name: if
the name “represents” a specific group of objects (eg bears), then the number refers to
any group of a given number of objects (for example, the number “seven” describes
both bears and the rhinoceros, and seven piglets). If the name forms a class by
abstraction from all the individual properties of individual objects, then the number forms
a "class of classes" by abstraction from all the properties of the group, except for the
number of objects included in it. With the advent of numbers, people were able to
measure objects in the surrounding world.
3rd level of abstraction: algebra, which is based on the concept of a variable. A
variable is an even stronger abstraction than a number: if the number represents any
group of objects, then the variable represents any number. Just as the number "seven"
can refer to any seven objects, the variable "x" can refer to any number in the specified
range. That is, the variable forms a class of classes of classes. With the advent of
algebra, man was able to find abstract relationships between phenomena - that is, to
discover the laws and patterns of our world. Ultimately, the goal of fundamental science
is precisely in the search for universal, that is, the most abstract, laws that describe the
processes taking place in various points of the Universe. These laws include, for
example, the law of conservation of energy and mass: E = mc2, where E is energy, m is
the rest mass of a body, c is the speed of light in a vacuum.
These are alive with long necks,
and those animals are maned.
The first group will be called
"giraffes", the second group "lions", and the third group ...
According to biblical legend, one of Adam's first tasks was to name animals and plants.
For this he had to work hard. First, it was necessary to identify the similarities and
differences between objects of nature, and then group everything that is similar and
learn to distinguish it from everything that is dissimilar. In these actions of Adam we see
the manifestation of the 1st level of abstraction: by abstraction from the individual
properties of animals and plants, Adam passed to the classes of natural objects.
Figure: 2. First level of abstraction: name and class
The historical process of the formation of abstract thinking in science has led to the fact
that modern scientific thinking involves constant switching between different levels of
abstraction (Fig. 3).
LEVEL 3
transition to algebraic
formulas describing
relations between
dimensions
VARIABLE
LEVEL 2
transition from
objects to their
quantitative
measurements
NUMBER
NUMBER
LEVEL 1
transition from
individual objects to a
class by highlighting
the general essential
properties of objects
CLASS
CLASS
CLASS
WHOLE WORLD
Figure: 3. Three levels of abstraction in science
CLASS
2. The concept of science. Basic functions of science
Science is:
1. The system of knowledge of the objective laws of nature, society and thinking.
2. Subsystem of knowledge, teaching (for example, management is the science of
management).
3. The scope of human activity to gain knowledge.
4. A tool for acquiring knowledge.
5. Social institution.
The purpose of science is to understand the objective world by identifying the essential
sides and interconnections of natural phenomena, society and thinking. This goal
dictates the main tasks of science, presented in Fig. 4. As can be seen from the above
list of tasks, the main functions of science are explanatory, predictive and ideological
functions. The explanatory function allows you to understand how the world works, why
certain phenomena occur. The predictive function allows you to answer questions like
"What will happen if ...?".
THE TASKS OF SCIENCE
description of phenomena
systematization of phenomena
explanation of phenomena
WHAT,
HOW, WHY
HAPPENING?
WHAT
HAPPENS
prediction of phenomena
applying knowledge in practice
IF...?
WHAT
SHOULD BE?
formation of people's worldview
Figure: 4. The tasks of science
3. Classification of sciences
Any classification of sciences is very conditional. However, there is a generally
accepted classification that you need to know, if only in order not to get confused in the
library catalog (Fig. 5.).
SYSTEM OF SCIENCES
NATURAL
(natural sciences)
PUBLIC,
HUMANITIES
(human sciences)
physics,
chemistry,
biology,
astronomy,
economy,
history,
art history
maths
logics,
psychology ...
...
...
including
EXACT
SCIENCES
including
THE SCIENCES
OF THINKING
APPLIED
sciences
Technics,
Agriculture
Medicine
...
Figure: 5. Classification of sciences
In addition to librarianship, the classification of sciences is used in the following areas:
- when forming the structure of scientific institutions;
- when developing curricula for universities;
- when determining the content of textbooks and teaching aids;
- when planning and coordinating scientific research;
- when establishing links between science and practice.
- when writing encyclopedic works.
4. Stages of science formation
Economic science, like any other specific scientific discipline, is not a frozen alloy of
knowledge, but a dynamic system that has its own life cycle and goes through its stages
of development from inception to maturity. The process of the formation of any specific
science in historical terms includes the following periods (Fig. 6):
1. The pre-scientific period. During this period, in the subject area where the "building
of science" will later be erected, everyday practical human activity is carried out. This is
how, for example, the management of factories and plants was carried out in the days
preceding the emergence of the scientific discipline of management. At the same time,
during the pre-scientific period, methods of practical activity are formed spontaneously
and are not transmitted from person to person. Since there is no accumulation of
knowledge, there is no science either. But the art of the corresponding subject area is
being formed. The essence of this phenomenon is that some people perform certain
types of activities significantly better than others (that is, they are more "skilled" in this
area). Relatively recently, such a state was observed in the advertising business: goods
were advertised, masters and leaders in advertising existed, but their experience was
not generalized and systematized, as a result, there was no formal scheme of actions
and typical methods of behavior in the advertising business.
2. The empirical level of development of science. During this period, there is an
exchange of experience. Knowledge is transferred from person to person, generalized
and accumulated. As a result, science is invading the area where art once reigned
supreme. However, the art of the subject area does not disappear: it turns into the
ability of a specialist to adapt to specific conditions the formalized scheme of actions
that science offers for a typical situation.
If you have an apple and I have an apple, then during the exchange you and I will have
one apple each. And if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange them,
then each of us will have two ideas. Bernand Shaw
The main task of young science in this period is the accumulation, description and
prediction of facts. As a consequence, in this period, science is characterized by the use
of empirical research methods, that is, those methods that allow you to obtain primary
information in the form of a set of experimental data. At the initial stage of the empirical
period, only qualitative descriptions and judgments are used (for example,
recommendations “in such and such a situation it is advisable to do this and that”). Then
they begin to use statistical data (the values of quantitative indicators obtained in the
practice of the subject area), then they introduce empirical formulas (relations
connecting the values of statistical data taken as input variables with the values of
statistical.
3. Theoretical (methodological) level of science development. In this period, the
main task of science is to explain the phenomena of the subject area. As a
consequence, in this period, science is characterized by the use of methods of
theoretical research, that is, methods such as hypothesis, modeling, idealization,
abstraction, generalization, thought experiment.
4. Methodological level of development of science. This is the highest period in the
development of science, in which science itself becomes the object of research. The
name of this period comes from the term "methodology", denoting the doctrine of
methods and theories, the structure and logical organization of research activities.
BEFORE SCIENTIFIC PERIOD
accumulation of knowledge is excluded
EMPIRICAL LEVEL
empirical
knowledge is
passed from
person to
person
comparison, measurement,
induction, deduction, analysis
qualitative judgments, quality
indicators,
then:
statistical data, empirical
formulas
THEORETICAL LEVEL
hypothesis,
operating
modeling,
with
idealization,
theoretical
abstraction,
level
generalization,
objects
thought experiment
THEORETICAL LEVEL
identification of the object of
scientific research (SR),
setting the task of SR,
science
statement of a scientific
about
problem,
science
construction of a SR method,
validation of conclusions,
assessment of the
significance of results
Figure: 6. Stages of science formation
5. Cyclic development of science
In addition to the fact that scientific disciplines undergo linear development from the prescientific period to the methodological one, any mature science is characterized by
cyclical development. According to the concept of the American philosopher and
historian of science, Thomas Kuhn, any particular science develops cyclically through
the constant change of two qualitatively different periods:
- the period of "normal science",
- crisis and revolutionary period (Fig. 7).
The period of "normal science" is an equilibrium state of science, when a certain
"paradigm" reigns supreme.
A paradigm (Greek paradeigma - example, sample, pattern) is a recognized scientific
theory that, over a period of time, sets a model for scientific activity. In addition, the
paradigm is the very dominant model of scientific activity, consisting of a set of
theoretical principles, methodological norms, worldviews and value criteria. In other
words, this is the dominant conceptual system, the style of thinking in science.
3
2
A CRISIS
NORMAL
SCIENCE
1
REVOLUTION
accumulation
of scientific
knowledge
Figure: 7. Cycles of development of science
During the period of "normal science" the provisions of the accepted paradigm are not
questioned. Scientists carry out research that is not focused on major discoveries, but is
intended to expand the scope and improve the accuracy of the application of the
paradigm. However, the peaceful "expansion" of the dominant paradigm is not endless.
More and more facts are gradually accumulating that contradict the prevailing theory. At
first, these facts are ignored, adjusted to the provisions of the theory, but for some time
now it becomes impossible to ignore them, which gives rise to a crisis situation.
The crisis in science marks the beginning of the "revolutionary" period of its
development. During this period, the existence of problems is realized that are not
fundamentally solved within the framework of the old paradigm. The search for
alternative ideas and paradigms based on them begins. A struggle arises between the
proposed concepts, as a result of which one of the new paradigms wins, which means
the beginning of a new period of "normal" science. Then this cycle repeats).
EXAMPLE
Employment theory paradigm
One of the paradigms that previously dominated economic theory is the classical
theory of employment, which dominated.
in science in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The main idea of this theory
is that capitalism is a self-regulating system and the market economy is able to provide
almost constant full employment of the population. This conclusion is based on Say's
law (“supply generates corresponding demand”) and on the assumption of price and
wage elasticity. It was believed that since supply creates demand, general
overproduction is impossible: any decrease in consumption spending would be offset by
a decrease in prices and wages, so that real output and employment would not
decrease. During the period of "normal science", these provisions were considered
axioms, and scientists set themselves particular tasks. For example, one of the tasks
that scientists were solving during the period of dominance of the classical theory of
employment was to study the impact of savings on the process of self-regulation of the
market. Classical economists have shown that savings do not at all lead to insufficient
demand (as it might seem at first glance), since household savings are compensated by
investments of entrepreneurs. The second question is, how is the equality of savings
and investment ensured? Classical economists have found a solution to this problem as
well. It was shown that the equality of savings and investment is ensured by changes in
the interest rate in the money market.
In the early twentieth century, the provisions of the classical theory of employment were
challenged by repeated periods of unemployment.
At first, scientists explained the short-term drops in production by wars and unfavorable
external circumstances, but in the 1930s, the Great Depression broke out in America.
This fact completely contradicted the provisions of the prevailing theory. In this regard,
many scholars began to criticize the fundamental principles of the classical theory of
employment. The "revolutionary" period in economics ended with the Keynesian
theory replacing the classical theory of employment, which states that capitalism is not
a self-regulating system and under it there is no mechanism that guarantees full
employment of the population.
CONCLUSIONS
Let's summarize what was stated in lecture number 1:
1. What is Science? Science is a system of knowledge of the objective laws of
nature, as well as the sphere of human activity to acquire this knowledge.
2. The most important attribute of research activity is scientific thinking. On the one
hand, scientific thinking is not divorced from everyday thinking. On the other
hand, it has special properties that make it possible to obtain new, reliable and
useful scientific results.
3. The main functions of science are explanatory, predictive and ideological
functions.
4. Sciences are classified into natural, social, humanities and applied sciences.
Sometimes the sciences of thinking are separated into a separate class.
5. Any scientific discipline is a dynamic system that develops, firstly, linearly (from
the pre-scientific period to the methodological one), and secondly, cyclically
(passing through the stages of normal science, crisis and revolutionary period).
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