28 October 2011 at 09:27 #15886
I reckon an understanding of philosopies of science is important cheifly because:
science teachers often think it’s all done by induction This leads to students thinking science is not a creative subject, and perhaps even boring.
research scientists often don’t even recognise that they have a philosophy of science. They just think their way is right, which is almost as bad as some other groups I could mention. For instance, they often think they are searching for the ‘true’ answer. The fastest way I’ve found of puncturing this one is to ask them if evolution will ever produce the one ‘best’ rabbit.
funders of science often don’t recognise the significance of the scientific method. If we understand we have a point of view, it becomes easier to work on them…
So, here it is, an incomplete set of ways of viewing the curriculum map with different philosophies
Title proponent key idea curriculum map viewpoint Induction what has happened before will happen again ? Falsifiability Popper we test ideas that might be wrong the one in use [everyday –> complex stacks] Revolutions Kuhn
every so often there is a wild swing in viewpoints
every so often, all the connectors to the statements change.
some ideas are held more seriously than others
by the scientific community
(eg conservation of energy)
some of the stacks of statements are less likely to be altered than others No method Feyerabend
Science just happens as it happens.
There is no one true method
while there may be stacks of statements in some places, in others it will not be possible
“Shut up and calculate.”
The models/theories used in science do not reflect anything actually happenning in reality.
Please do advise, correct, etc if I have got any of that wrong or if you wish to just fill in some gaps.
I should probably point out I am not suggesting any sort of change to the Popperian approach (everyday –> highly specific and falsifiable) that seemed to be working so nicely with the statements in the October half term workshop, I’m just trying to think about how it would look to others and therefore how they might set about using it.
31 October 2011 at 21:16 #15888
I’m intrigued that you think induction is not a creative process – I always thought that deduction made science look dull and unimaginative. To make a leap of inductive reasoning requires a degree of imagination and thought, to classify in the right way, to see links surely?
31 October 2011 at 21:55 #15889
Yup. I may have missed a few steps of logic out there. I’m prone to doing that from time to time… .
The idea is that the concept of induction can conjour images of people sitting there laboriously trying out every single possibilty to see if it’s right or not (“How can I know the sun is going to rise tomorrow?” kind of stuff). Perhaps it’s the mathematical ‘proof by induction’ concept that is the true leap of imagination?
I suppose that the claim of “lack of creativity” could better be lodged against deduction, which I didn’t include in my little list (which looks terribly badly formatted, btw. Sorry about that, it looked fine when I posted it.) But then no one would ever dream of accusing Sherlock Holmes of being boring, would they?
1 November 2011 at 09:02 #15890
Yes, induction is a highly creative process (and very difficult, too). But students don’t necessarily see science like that. They don’t have time to induce (induct?) the whole of science for themselves, so we tell them the accepted version and expect them to accept it. A good teacher will encourage students to think about the changing concepts they are being asked to take on board, but for many it must seem like an imposition compared to the creativity of, say, art.
(But, from talking to art teachers, it seems as though much of the creativity has been taken out of art as students follow a standard procedure to generate a portfolio. How else would prince harry have passed A-level art?)
4 November 2011 at 20:16 #15891
OK, I think I’ve got it.
It’s not about the process of induction itself. This can indeed be a highly creative process, subject to Eureka moments and all the rest of it.
No. It’s that teaching that science is all about induction is lazy. And all too easy.
It conjours images of renaissance ‘computers’ slaving away over their log tables and their observations, doing interminable practicals of the same type that we subject our students to currently and somehow coming to some undoubted truth.
Teaching that science is constructed through induction leads students to believe that long hard slog with no spark of creativity, or no argument between hotheaded protagonists, leads them to feel that science is dull textbook stuff that just isn’t for them.
(Mind you, when I made my top set Year 11s sit down and plot a graph with just shy of 30 points on it the other day they thought that was dull and tedious, so heaven help the next generation of PhD supervisors… .)
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.