Science as a Belief System 1

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  • Created by: Anjalee
  • Created on: 05-01-13 16:19
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  • Science as a Belief System
    • The Impact of Science
      • Science and technology has improved our standard of living, leading to a widespread ‘faith in science.’ Although science may cause problems as well as solve them, it enables us to explain and predict in a way that non-scientific belief systems cannot do.
    • Open Belief Systems
      •   Popper claims that science is an open belief system where theories are open to scrutiny. Scientific knowledge is cumulative, building on the achievements of previous scientists’ developments.
    • The CUDOS Norms
      •   Merton argues that science can only thrive if it receives support from other institutions. The Puritans believed that studying nature was admiring God’s creation, encouraging them to experiment. They were attracted as science could produce inventions which improved the conditions of life.
      • Popper: Communism: Scientists must share scientific knowledge Universalism: Science knowledge is tested by  objective criteria. Disinterestedness: Scientists must be committed to discovering knowledge for its own sake. Organised Scepticism: Every idea is open to criticism.
    • Closed Belief Systems
      • Horton claims that a closed belief system has devices which reinforce the system and prevent it from being disapproved.
        • Witchcraft among the Azande
          • The Azande explains misfortune using witchcraft. The belief system encourages neighbours to behave considerately.
          • The 'test' reinforces the belief system. Because they accept the system's basic assumptions (witchcraft), they cannot challenge it.
    • Self-sustaining Beliefs
      • Polanyi: Circularity: Each idea joins consecutively. Subsidiary Explanations Denial of Legitimacy to Rivals: Reject alternative views.


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