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May 22, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

9 Philosophical and Ideological Assumptions of Modern Science

Fundamental Assumptions of Modern Naturalistic Science:

Here is a list of the philosophical presuppositions of science:

  • existence of a theory-independent, external world
  • the orderly nature of the external world
  • the knowability of the natural world
  • the existence of truth
  • the laws of logic and mathematics
  • the reliability of our cognitive and sensory faculties to serve as truth gatherers and as sources of justified beliefs in our intellectual environment
  • the adequacy of language to describe the world
  • the existence of values uses in science (e.g., “test theories fairly and report test results honestly”)
  • the uniformity of nature and induction
  • (Garrett J. DeWeese & JP Moreland, Philosophy Made Slightly Less Difficult: A Beginner’s Guid to Life’s Big Questions, p. 136-137)

List two of assumptions of modern science:

Science would be impossible as an enterprise, if the vast majority of scientists did not hold these assumptions:

(a) There exists an external world, which is independent of our human minds: it’s real, regardless of whether we believe in it or not;

(b) Objects in the external world have certain identifying characteristics called dispositions, which scientists are able to investigate;

(c) Objects in the external world behave in accordance with certain mathematical regularities, which we call the laws of Nature, and which tell us how those objects ought to behave;

(d) Scientific induction is reliable: scientists can safely assume that the laws of Nature hold true at all times and places;

(e) Solipsism is false: there exist other embodied agents, with minds of their own;

(f) Communication is possible: scientists are capable of talking to one another, and sharing their observations, as well as their thoughts (or interpretations) relating to those observations;

(g) The senses are reliable, under normal conditions, within their proper domain, which means that scientists are capable of making measurements on an everyday basis;

(h) There exist standard conditions, under which ordinary people (including scientists) are routinely capable of thinking logically, making rational discourse possible;

(i) Scientists are morally responsible for their own actions – in particular, they are responsible for their decision to tell the truth about what they have observed, or to lie about it; and

(j) Scientists should not lie under any circumstances, when doing science.

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One Comment

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  1. compassioninpolitics / May 22 2016 1:37 am

    I’m not sure I agree with all 10 here, but this provides the limits of science:
    http://www.logicallyfaithful.com/10-things-science-cannot-do/

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