Understanding the Language of Science by Steven Darian

By Steven Darian

"To my wisdom, there hasn't ever [before] been a quantity that analyzes, in a single position, the particular language of science--those parts of pondering which are stated to be the root of medical notion. . . . [Thus] it is a extremely important publication, contributing to numerous fields: technological know-how, schooling, rhetoric, medication, and maybe even philosophy. . . . Darian's erudition is really astonishing." --Celest A. Martin, affiliate Professor, university Writing application, collage of Rhode Island From astronomy to zoology, the perform of technology proceeds from medical methods of pondering. those styles of concept, corresponding to defining and classifying, hypothesizing and experimenting, shape the development blocks of all medical exercise. knowing how they paintings is accordingly an important beginning for everybody desirous about clinical learn or educating, from trouble-free college scholars to school room academics scientists. during this ebook, Steven Darian examines the language of technology as a way to research the styles of pondering that underlie medical pastime. He attracts examples from collage technology textbooks in quite a few disciplines, on account that those supply a standard, even canonical, language for medical expression. Darian identifies and focuses intensive on 9 patterns--defining, classifying, utilizing figurative language, settling on reason and impact, hypothesizing, experimenting, visualizing, quantifying, and comparing--and indicates how they have interaction in perform. He additionally strains how those idea modes constructed traditionally from Pythagoras via Newton.

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Even though one may formulate theories from observation or mathematical analysis, those theories “can be legitimately established by experimental evidence only, and then can be overthrown only (1) by showing the insufficiency of the evidence adduced in their favor, or (2) by producing adverse experimental evidence” (Blake 1960, 128). While the first test of Newton’s Laws came from astronomical observation, these Laws were later elaborated in laboratory experiments. True experimental method was established in different sciences at different times.

In Bacon’s view, the first aim of experimental science is to verify the results of mathematical reasoning (in this he anticipates Galileo and Newton). The second is to complement deductive inquiry by adding knowledge that it could not determine by itself, a sentiment later emphasized by Descartes. The third is to discover realms of learning not yet known (Crombie 1952, 227). Bacon seems to regard “experimental science” as something different from the other natural sciences, its purpose being directed toward practical ends.

It can be a question, an anomaly, an inconsistency. Beyond this, there is a variety of paths one may follow to solve the problem, answer the question, or resolve the anomaly. Approaches may differ between sciences—between scientists in the same or different fields. Approaches may differ for different problems or branches in the same discipline—for example, evolutionary and cell biology. We can think in terms of inductive and deductive sciences, though presumably the distinction is more a matter of degree than of kind.

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