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How do we know?. James A. Van Slyke. How do we know?. Different ways of obtaining knowledge and/or Wisdom Science presents a specific methodology for obtaining knowledge Unique method, but still has roots in philosophy and other disciplines. A little philosophy …. How do we know?

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how do we know

How do we know?

James A. Van Slyke

how do we know1
How do we know?
  • Different ways of obtaining knowledge and/or Wisdom
  • Science presents a specific methodology for obtaining knowledge
  • Unique method, but still has roots in philosophy and other disciplines
a little philosophy
A little philosophy …
  • How do we know?
    • Classic terminology – epistemology
  • Epistemology
    • Justification for knowledge
    • Study of different methods for justification
    • Science > Empirical observation
      • Recording and observing different events
      • Based on experience
      • Related to logic
a little philosophy1
A little philosophy…
  • Classic Metaphysics
    • Explanations that go beyond the “physical”
      • Mythological
      • Religious
      • Supernatural
      • Example – Plato’s theory of Forms
  • Contemporary Definition
    • Metaphysics as a worldview
    • Overall explanation of purpose and meaning in the universe
hierarchy of the sciences
Hierarchy of the Sciences
  • Different areas of explanation exist in a hierarchy
  • Different branches of science explore different areas of existence
    • Each level of science is its own web of theories or research programs
slide6

Worldview; meaning and purpose

Metaphysics

Anthropology

Integrative

Disciplines

Complex Systems

Sociology

Psychology

Biology

Basic

Sciences

Building Blocks

Chemistry

Physics

slide7

Christian Theology

Anthropology

Integrative

Disciplines

Complex Systems

Sociology

Psychology

Biology

Basic

Sciences

Building Blocks

Chemistry

Physics

understanding science
Understanding Science
  • Reduction
    • Empirically investigating the parts to understand the whole
    • Reducing problem to a manageable situation
    • Looking at a particular phenomenon from one level in the hierarchy of science
understanding science1
Understanding Science
  • Science studies natural explanations rather than supernatural explanations for events
    • Cannot provide a justification (pro or con) for supernatural events
    • Science does not make determinations based on religion or faith, but on empirical observation
    • The existence of God determined by metaphysics (Theology) or Faith
psychology as a science
Psychology as a Science
  • Two contributing factors
    • Human physiology
      • Study of the nerves and tissues of the body
        • Originally assumed that ‘spirits’ move the body
        • Later demonstrated that electrical impulses move through the nerves of the body
        • Circulation occurs through blood flow throughout the body
      • Body could be studied as a ‘natural’ object
        • Neuroscience
        • Pharmacology
        • Stimulus and response
psychology as a science1
Psychology as a Science
  • Two contributing factors
    • Human Experimentation
      • Germany Mid to Late 1800s
      • Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920)
        • Helped create the first psychology laboratory
        • First to look at human psychology experimentally
the four canons of science
The Four Canons of Science
  • Determinism
  • Empiricism
  • Parsimony
  • Testability
the four canons of science1
The Four Canons of Science
  • Determinism- assumption that the universe is orderly. All events have meaningful, systematic causes.
    • Humans are very deterministic. We infer causality in almost everything.
    • Theories are statements about the causal relationship between two or more variables.
illusory correlation
Illusory Correlation
  • Illusory Correlation
    • The perception of a relationship where none exists
    • When we believe two things are related, we are likely to notice and recall instances that confirm our belief
the four canons of science2
The Four Canons of Science
  • Empiricism- The best way to figure out the orderly principles of the world is to make observations.
empiricism
Empiricism
  • Originally supported by Aristotle in the 300s B.C.
  • Really took off through the support of Descartes in the 1600s.
  • Became generally accepted in Philosophy by the mid-1800s as the best way to learn about the world and became one of the core assumptions of the scientific method.
the four canons of science3
The Four Canons of Science
  • Parsimony- Scientists need to be frugal in developing theories.
    • When two competing theories do an equally good job of explaining empirical observations, we should prefer the simpler, or more parsimonious, of the two.
    • Occam’s razor- principle of parsimony developed by William of Occam during the 14th century
    • Rube Goldberg- a comically involved, complicated invention, laboriously contrived to perform a simple operation
the four canons of science4
The Four Canons of Science
  • Testability- Assumption that all scientific theories should be testable using currently available research techniques.
    • Falsifiability- idea that scientists should go beyond putting their theories to a test by seeking out tests that could prove their theories wrong.
    • Operational Definitions- definitions of theoretical constructs that are stated in terms of concrete, observable procedures (e.g. hunger, fear, attention, etc.).
five ways of knowing about the world
Five Ways of Knowing About the World
  • Intuition
  • Logic
  • Authority
  • Revelation
  • Observation
five ways of knowing about the world1
Five Ways of Knowing About the World
  • Intuition- direct perception of truth independent of any known reasoning process
    • judgments and decisions are based on what “feels right.”
five ways of knowing about the world2
Five Ways of Knowing About the World
  • Logic- explicit reasoning that leads to sound judgement
five ways of knowing about the world3
Five Ways of Knowing About the World
  • Authority- A person who holds expertise on a particular topic or area of knowledge
five ways of knowing about the world4
Five Ways of Knowing About the World
  • Revelation- learning about something through divine intervention
five ways of knowing about the world5
Five Ways of Knowing About the World
  • Observation- learning about something through empirical testing