Essay about Scientific Knowledge Is Proven Knowledge

1102 Words Apr 29th, 2016 null Page
It is a general consensus that science provides rational and justified theories about the world it is studying. This is aligned with the dogma Alan Chalmers put forward: “Scientific knowledge is proven knowledge. Scientific theories are derived in some rigorous way from the facts of experience […] Scientific knowledge is reliable knowledge because it is objectively proven knowledge.” (Chalmers, 1976). This claim, although seemingly indisputable, has a very key flaw. That is, it is based upon induction, which is well documented to be irrational; which is where a Popperian hypothetico-deductivist will dispute the claim. The main problems a Popperian hypothetico-deductivist will have is, 1. The rationality of induction cannot be explained unless you use induction; 2. Inductive inference can never be proven to be true, due to its A-posteriori knowledge requirements; and 3. It is based on a finite set of data in an infinite universe, thus extrapolation is rife within induction (Hyde, 2016). Accordingly, only through deduction can knowledge be ‘proven knowledge’.
To someone outside of science, or an inductivist such as Chalmers, the rationality of induction is intuitive, and can be easily demonstrated. For example, if you were to justify or rationalise induction using an analogy such as: ‘You pick 999 red marbles out of a bag, so, a general theory about all marbles in the bag being red can be made’ (Hyde, 2016). However, Popperian hypothetico-deductivists have rightfully pointed…

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