Scientific Thinking And The Scientific Method Philosophy Essay

The scientific method is a way that allows us to justify scientific knowledge and decide whether the information we are given is reliable or not. So, what is reliable knowledge? In Scientific Thinking and the Scientific Method, Steven D. Schaferman mentions “Reliable Knowledge is knowledge that has a high probability of being true because its veracity has been justified by a reliable method.” For example, people have their own knowledge and beliefs; however, not all people’s knowledge and beliefs are reliably true. Therefore, scientific thinking aids people to determine if their knowledge is reliable and justified. To demonstrate, scientists practice scientific thinking in order to discover the globe and nature; nevertheless, scientific thinking is not only for scientists. As a matter of fact, when one practices the methods of scientific thinking, one is practicing critical thinking. Schaferman says” Critical thinking is thinking correctly for oneself that successfully leads to the most reliable answers to questions and solutions to problems.” Obviously, knowledge is not limited to the study of nature, but to all aspects of life and society. As a matter of fact, the scientific method proved to be the most successful and reliable method of thinking in human history. As a result, scientific thinking and critical thinking are being taught at schools. Indeed, if you master their skills, you will reach to reliable conclusions and think successfully Schafersman says. The scientific method is composed of three things: empiricism, rationalism, and skepticism. These components are considered focal to scientific and critical thinking.

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Empiricism is the use of empirical evidence which is evidence that is susceptible to one’s senses such as seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling. The importance of empirical evidence is that it is testable by others. Therefore, your claims are tested by others and yourself. However, there is a lot of evidence that are not considered as empirical evidence due to their unreliability. Testimonial evidence, revelatory evidence, and spectral evidence, evidence manifested by supernatural entitles, are examples of unreliable evidence. On the contrary, authoritarian evidence is reliable only if the authority is reliable. Therefore, one must check if the authority is trustworthy; moreover, empirical evidence, critical thinking, and logical reasoning should be validated before considering the authority reliable. However, Schafersman says “you must be your own authority and rely on your powers of critical thinking.” But, we can’t receive a proper education without depending on authoritative evidence. To demonstrate, we learned from our parents to listen and obey authorities; peoples that relied on authorities decisions had a higher percentage of survival and it is the most accurate and quickest in passing information. Naturalism, on the other hand, is empirical evidence. Schafersman quotes “‘the universe exists as science says it does.’” Indeed, there is a strong bond between science and natural evidence. To sum up, empirical evidence is crucial because not only does it make people observe what you claim in order to be reliable, but also it makes you practice the scientific method.

Rationalism, on the other hand, is another method of practicing the scientific method. Rationalism is defined as the practice of logical reasoning. In fact, logic allows the person to reason correctly. For instance, critical thinkers and scientists use logical reasoning. However, logical reasoning is not easily learned. To elaborate, scientists and critical thinkers spent years learning and practicing logical reasoning because it requires you to struggle with your will. The fact is logical reasoning forces the person to deny his feelings which is painful. Unfortunately, people link logical reasoning with wishful, emotional, and hopeful thinking. As a result, people must learn how to think logically and the best way to it is by studying educational courses that forces you to use logic. As a matter of fact “Practice makes perfect.”

Last but not least, skepticism is the final key of practicing the scientific method. The questioning of your claims and conclusions in imperative Schafersman says. He also elaborates that good scientists their arguments, and evidence. One must question the reliability of knowledge. For instance, one can test his beliefs against objective reality by prediction the outcome. If your assumptions are correct, your beliefs are reliable knowledge. The fact is that many people claim that skeptics are closed minded, but they are not. Skeptics decline to change their beliefs except if there is reliable evidence to what people claim. However, if there are reliable evidence to claims against their beliefs, they change their opinion. Definitely, one must decide what to believe and what not to believe.

Empiricism, rationalism, and skepticism are the keys of using the scientific method; however, observations, data, and theories are important, but are not parts of the scientific method. Indeed, practicing the scientific method is integral. First, one should ask a question in which it can have an answer. Then, one should gather information in order to answer his question. Afterwards, he proposes solutions which is called hypothesis. Consequently, he examines these hypotheses. If it is correct, then his information is reliable. If it fails, he must modify or change his hypothesis. Finally, one must construct support to his theory. Indeed, the scientific method helps us in distinguishing reliable knowledge unlike any other method.