Values And Values Of Science

1449 Words 6 Pages
Science is a collaborative effort founded upon the curiosity innate in all humans. This curiosity drove us to create systems of inquiry to satisfy our need to explain things. Adopting the tools and values of science would benefit society as a whole. The tools of science are not the focus of my discussion here, as I believe that, while vital to science, they are not as universally useful within society as the values they were built upon. The values of science are not merely a prerequisite to implementing these tools, but do themselves foster curiosity and the drive to seek answers to one 's problems. Kuhn and Thagard each provide some shared values or practices of a scientific community that they view as vital components of science. Science …show more content…
The tools of science are not the apparati with which science is executed, such as scales and telescopes, nor the theories science generates to explain things, though both are useful instruments in their own right. I refer instead to the habitual processes which science relies upon. The most prominent tool is the scientific method which serves to direct one 's inquiry. Other useful tools include gathering data, controlling for variables, and repeating experiments. When I talk about the values of science, I believe that they are the result of scientific communities attempting to define how to reach their goals, which I will argue further when discussing Kuhn’s values. Science is a process through which a community generates knowledge, not a collection of facts. I distinguish between the conclusions of science, and the process by which they were arrived …show more content…
The values Kuhn lists as “characteristics of a good scientific theory” (Kuhn 95) that the scientific community uses to judge which theories can become part of their shared knowledge base illuminate the reasons that the practice of science is persistent. The characteristics he lists by which to judge a theory (accurate, consistent, broad scope, simple, and fruitful of new research) point to underlying values of science. The first two point to assumptions that science is based upon: that the universe can in fact be described with accuracy, and that such descriptions will be true and consistent regardless of circumstance. I feel that the last three characteristics that Kuhn lists say more about human nature, and hint at why we do science. The desire for broad scope, that “a theory’s consequences should extend far beyond the particular observations, laws, or sub theories it was initially designed to explain” (95), and for simplicity, where we seek to order disparate phenomena into logical groups, point to a desire for completeness, for some theory that is broad enough to explain the entire universe. When explaining his fifth value, fruitfulness, Kuhn states that a theory should generate new research by “disclos[ing] new phenomena or previously united relationships among those already known” (95). This final value is somewhat self-serving, valuing theories that will lead to the

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