Ideology and science - beliefs in society

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  • Created by: maxward
  • Created on: 04-04-16 16:04

Science as a belief system

The key feature of science is its cognitive power: science enables us to explain, predict and control the world. 

Science as an open belief system 

Popper (1959) claims science is an 'open' belief system, open to criticism and testing.

- Science is based on the principle of of falsificationism. If evidence contradicts a theory, the theory is discarded and a beter one sought.

- However, scientific knowledge is not absolute truth. It can always be tested and potentially falsified.        

The CUDOS norms Merton (1973) argues that science as an organised social activity has a set of norms that promote the growth of knowledge by encouraging openness:

Communism knowledge must be shared with the scientific community. 

Universalism scientific knowledge is judged by universal, objective criteria (testing). 

Disinterestedness - seeking knowledge for its own sake. 

- Organised Sceptism - every theory is open to criticism and testing.

Evaluation - Some argue that science is a self-sustaining. closed belief systems reject fundamental challenges to their knowledge claims science is no different.                   

Closed belief systems 

Horton (1970) distinguishes between open and closed belief systems. However, religion is a closed belief system: it makes knowledge-claims that cannot be overturned.

- A closed belief system has 'get-out clauses' that prevent it from being disproved in the eyes of its believers. 

- Polanyi (1958) argues that belief systems…


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