The Scientific Account of Inductivism vs. Falsificationism: Is Science Objective?

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The following essay aims to discuss whether science is objective or subjective in light of two competing theories: inductivism and falsificationism. Addressing the main quote, I will state how Popper would respond to two of Chalmers’ core ideas, before providing my own opinions and justification on the matter.

Chalmers account of science is from an inductivist’s perspective. He believes that science is achieved through justifying universal statements from singular statements. (Chalmers, 1976) Thus, leading to believe that these statements can be proven. Falsificationists disagree with the view that scientific knowledge is proven knowledge. They reason that no number of observations will sufficiently prove a claim. On the contrary, it only requires one observation to sufficiently disprove a claim. Popper would respond that it is greater than probable that a claim will be false. He would conclude that scientific knowledge is not proven knowledge but rather the best justification of our understanding of the world at any given time.

I further this opinion of Popper; nothing in science can be seen as an unquestionable truth. It is illogical for any singular statement to be considered a universal statement. By analogy, it is illogical to presume all dogs are brown because, through observation, you’ve only ever seen brown dogs. This logic predisposes science for failure. An excellent example of such is the paradigm shift away from Newtonian physics in light of Einstein’s discoveries. Einstein presented a new context for motion that was otherwise not considered by Newton. The fact is that almost every scientific ‘truth’ to be presented throughout history has been falsified, which is an inherent flaw within the notion of induction.

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...r the charge of an electron was later shown to be within one-half of a percent of the currently accepted value. It can be concluded that observation cannot solely be relied upon, but rather science requires a certain amount of ingenuity in making further deductions.

In conclusion, investigating Chalmers core ideas, falsificationism was found to be far superior to induction. First, scientific knowledge is not proven knowledge. Second, science is not objective. Investigations into the place of speculative imaginings in science found that both Chalmers and Popper were conditionally correct. Investigating the question of whether science was objective or subjective found that due to limitations of observations by human kind, science is at best, subjective.

Works Cited

Chalmers, A. (1976). What is this thing called science? St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press.

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