Scientific Method in Practice

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Cambridge University Press, 2003 - Science - 435 pages
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As the gateway to scientific thinking, an understanding of the scientific method is essential for success and productivity in science. This book is the first synthesis of the practice and the philosophy of the scientific method. It will enable scientists to be better scientists by offering them a deeper understanding of the underpinnings of the scientific method, thereby leading to more productive research and experimentation. It will also give scientists a more accurate perspective on the rationality of the scientific approach and its role in society. Beginning with a discussion of today's 'science wars' and science's presuppositions, the book then explores deductive and inductive logic, probability, statistics, and parsimony, and concludes with an examination of science's powers and limits, and a look at science education. Topics relevant to a variety of disciplines are treated, and clarifying figures, case studies, and chapter summaries enhance the pedagogy. This adeptly executed, comprehensive, yet pragmatic work yields a new synergy suitable for scientists and instructors, and graduate students and advanced undergraduates.
  

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
A Controversial Idea
3
The AAAS Vision of Science
5
Primary and Secondary Benefits
7
Beyond the Basics
10
A Timely Opportunity
13
Personal Experience
15
Summary
19
INDUCTIVE LOGIC AND STATISTICS
217
Induction and Deduction
218
Historical Perspective on Induction
219
Presupposition of Induction
225
Bayesian Example
226
Bayesian Inference
232
Bayesian Decision
240
The Frequentist Paradigm
245

SCIENCE IN PERSPECTIVE
21
Four Bold Claims
27
A Brief History of Truth
40
Summary
72
SCIENCE WARS
74
Four Deadly Woes
78
Reactions from Scientists
89
Two Rules of Engagement
105
Summary
110
SCIENCES PRESUPPOSITIONS
112
Historical Perspective on Presuppositions
113
The PEL Model of Full Disclosure
124
What Are Presuppositions?
131
Disclosure of Presuppositions
134
Sensible Questions
143
Sciences Credibility and Audience
147
Sciences Realism and Faith
150
A Reflective Overview
153
Summary
154
DEDUCTIVE LOGIC
156
Deduction and Induction
157
Historical Perspective on Deduction
160
Elementary Propositional Logic
165
Formal Propositional Logic
171
Predicate Logic
173
Arithmetic
175
Common Fallacies
178
Material Logic Summary
187
Summary
189
PROBABILITY
191
Probability Concepts
192
Two Fundamental Requirements
197
Eight General Rules
198
Probability Axioms and Rules
199
Probability Theorems
204
Bayes Theorem
207
Permutations and Combinations
210
Common Blunders
211
Summary
215
Paradigms and Questions
257
Induction Lost
264
Induction Regained
266
Summary
268
PARSIMONY AND EFFICIENCY
269
Historical Perspective on Parsimony
270
Preview of Basic Principles
277
Mendels Peas
288
Cubic Equation
291
Equivalent
296
Crop Yields
303
Explanation of Accuracy Gain
312
Efficiency and Economics
316
Philosophical Perspective on Parsimony
318
Summary
325
CASE STUDIES
327
Parsimony and Physics
334
Molecule Shape and Drug Design
345
Electronics Testing
353
Statistics in Medicine
355
Discussion
365
SCIENCES POWERS AND LIMITS
367
Obvious Limitations
368
Science and Its Preconditions
369
Science and Worldviews
370
Personal Rewards from Science
373
Summary
376
SCIENCE EDUCATION
377
Six Benefits
378
The Good the Bad and the Ugly
387
Constructivism in the Third World
396
A Modest Experiment
399
Future Pros
401
Summary
405
CONCLUSIONS
406
References
410
Index
431
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