Does Natural Science Encourage a Narrow Mind?

coberst
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Does Natural Science Encourage a Narrow Mind?

Post by coberst »

Does Natural Science Encourage a Narrow Mind?

Paradigm directed science encourages the scientist to steadfastly adhere to carefully crafted narrow minded thinking. Because “normal science” has been so successful in achieving its narrow goals I claim that our whole society has become dangerously enchanted into viewing all domains of knowledge in restricted narrow constraints.

Normal science is a puzzle-solving enterprise. Normal science is a slow accumulation of knowledge by a methodical step-by-step process undertaken by a group of scientists.

‘Paradigm’ is a word that was given great meaning and clarity by Thomas Kuhn in his book “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”.

“One of the things a scientific community acquires with a paradigm is a criterion for choosing problems that, while the paradigm is taken for granted, can be assumed to have solutions…A paradigm can, for that matter, even insulate the community from those socially important problems that are not reducible to the puzzle form, because they cannot be stated in terms of the conceptual and instrumental tools the paradigm supplies.”

The author notes that all “real science is normally a habit-governed, puzzle-solving activity” and not a Critical Thinking activity. Paradigm and not hypothesis is the active meaning for the ‘new image of science’. Paradigm is neither a theory nor a metaphysical viewpoint.

Kuhn’s new image of science—the paradigm—is an artifact, a way of seeing, and is a set of scientific problem solving habits. Normal science means research based upon one or more past achievements ‘that some particular community acknowledges for a time as supplying the foundation for its further practice…and these achievements are sufficiently unprecedented to attract an enduring group pf adherents away from competing modes of scientific activity’ furthermore they are sufficiently open-ended to leave all sorts of problems for the redefined group of practitioners to solve’. Such achievements Kuhn defines as paradigm.

“A puzzle-solving paradigm, unlike a puzzle-solving hypothetico-deductive system, has also got to be a concrete ‘way of seeing’.”

Kuhn constantly refers to the ‘gestalt switch’ when discussing the switch in reference from one paradigm to another as ‘re-seeing’ action. Each paradigm has been constructed to be a ‘way-of-seeing’. Here Kuhn is speaking not about what the paradigm is but how the paradigm is used. He is defining a paradigm as a newly developed puzzle-solving artifact that is used analogically to understand another artifact; for example, using wire and beads strung together to facilitate understanding the protein molecule.

I think that we place “Science” (meaning normal science) on too high a pedestal and thereby distort our comprehension of political and social problems. We cannot solve social and political problems like we solve the questions formed by the normal sciences.

Do you think that the techniques of normal science are directly applicable for solving the social and political problems of society?
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TruthBringer
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Does Natural Science Encourage a Narrow Mind?

Post by TruthBringer »

coberst;1316817 wrote: Does Natural Science Encourage a Narrow Mind?

Paradigm directed science encourages the scientist to steadfastly adhere to carefully crafted narrow minded thinking. Because “normal science” has been so successful in achieving its narrow goals I claim that our whole society has become dangerously enchanted into viewing all domains of knowledge in restricted narrow constraints.

Normal science is a puzzle-solving enterprise. Normal science is a slow accumulation of knowledge by a methodical step-by-step process undertaken by a group of scientists.

‘Paradigm’ is a word that was given great meaning and clarity by Thomas Kuhn in his book “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”.

“One of the things a scientific community acquires with a paradigm is a criterion for choosing problems that, while the paradigm is taken for granted, can be assumed to have solutions…A paradigm can, for that matter, even insulate the community from those socially important problems that are not reducible to the puzzle form, because they cannot be stated in terms of the conceptual and instrumental tools the paradigm supplies.”

The author notes that all “real science is normally a habit-governed, puzzle-solving activity” and not a Critical Thinking activity. Paradigm and not hypothesis is the active meaning for the ‘new image of science’. Paradigm is neither a theory nor a metaphysical viewpoint.

Kuhn’s new image of science—the paradigm—is an artifact, a way of seeing, and is a set of scientific problem solving habits. Normal science means research based upon one or more past achievements ‘that some particular community acknowledges for a time as supplying the foundation for its further practice…and these achievements are sufficiently unprecedented to attract an enduring group pf adherents away from competing modes of scientific activity’ furthermore they are sufficiently open-ended to leave all sorts of problems for the redefined group of practitioners to solve’. Such achievements Kuhn defines as paradigm.

“A puzzle-solving paradigm, unlike a puzzle-solving hypothetico-deductive system, has also got to be a concrete ‘way of seeing’.”

Kuhn constantly refers to the ‘gestalt switch’ when discussing the switch in reference from one paradigm to another as ‘re-seeing’ action. Each paradigm has been constructed to be a ‘way-of-seeing’. Here Kuhn is speaking not about what the paradigm is but how the paradigm is used. He is defining a paradigm as a newly developed puzzle-solving artifact that is used analogically to understand another artifact; for example, using wire and beads strung together to facilitate understanding the protein molecule.

I think that we place “Science” (meaning normal science) on too high a pedestal and thereby distort our comprehension of political and social problems. We cannot solve social and political problems like we solve the questions formed by the normal sciences.

Do you think that the techniques of normal science are directly applicable for solving the social and political problems of society?


Good points.
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Royd Fissure
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Does Natural Science Encourage a Narrow Mind?

Post by Royd Fissure »

Do you think that the techniques of normal science are directly applicable for solving the social and political problems of society?


Partly. Science is lots of things, a method (or methods) of interpretation of observed phenomena, a method of analysis which allows hypothetical predictions. But for me the most important thing about science is that it's grounded in the practical. But being a human invention it's fallible.

In terms of it social application or its morality I think it's neutral. Oppenheimer might have gone all awe-struck about nuclear fission but it took a politician to decide to use it in a bomb.

Another thing I know, it sure beats superstition when it comes to explaining things.
coberst
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Does Natural Science Encourage a Narrow Mind?

Post by coberst »

A person can walk the corridors of any big city hospital and observe the effectiveness of human rationality in action. One can also visit the UN building in NYC or read the morning papers and observe just how ineffective, frustrating and disappointing human rationality can be. Why does human reason perform so well in some matters and so poorly in others?

We live in two very different worlds; a world of technical and technological order and clarity, and a world of personal and social disorder and confusion. We are increasingly able to solve problems in one domain and increasingly endangered by our inability to solve problems in the other.

Normal science is successful primarily because it is a domain of knowledge controlled by paradigms. The paradigm defines the standards, principles and methods of the discipline. It is not apparent to the laity but science moves forward in small incremental steps. Science seldom seeks and almost never produces major novelties.

Science solves puzzles. The logic of the paradigm insulates the professional group from problems that are unsolvable by that paradigm. One reason that science progresses so rapidly and with such assurance is because the logic of that paradigm allows the practitioners to work on problems that only their lack of ingenuity will keep them from solving.

Science uses instrumental rationality to solve puzzles. Instrumental rationality is a systematic process for reflecting upon the best action to take to reach an established end. The obvious question becomes ‘what mode of rationality is available for determining ends?’ Instrumental rationality appears to be of little use in determining such matters as “good” and “right”.

There is a striking difference between the logic of technical problems and that of dialectical problems. The principles, methods and standards for dealing with technical problems and problems of “real life” are as different as night and day. Real life problems cannot be solved only using deductive and inductive reasoning.

Dialectical reasoning methods require the ability to slip quickly between contradictory lines of reasoning. One needs skill to develop a synthesis of one point of view with another. Where technical matters are generally confined to only one well understood frame of reference real life problems become multi-dimensional totalities.

When we think dialectically we are guided by principles not by procedures. Real life problems span multiple categories and academic disciplines. We need point-counter-point argumentation; we need emancipatory reasoning to resolve dialectical problems. We need critical thinking skills and attitudes to resolve real life problems.
Royd Fissure
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Does Natural Science Encourage a Narrow Mind?

Post by Royd Fissure »

Have you read Vygotsky or his interpreters on dialectical learning? Vera John-Steiner has written some really interesting stuff on it. I'm still trying to come to grips with it myself but it's fascinating.

http://webpages.charter.net/schmolze1/v ... einer.html
coberst
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Does Natural Science Encourage a Narrow Mind?

Post by coberst »

Royd Fissure;1317055 wrote: Have you read Vygotsky or his interpreters on dialectical learning? Vera John-Steiner has written some really interesting stuff on it. I'm still trying to come to grips with it myself but it's fascinating.

Sociocultural Approaches to Learning and Development


I examined the reference and found it to be very tuff going. It sounds a bit like Habermas and communicative action. Instrumental rationality is useful for determining the best means for reaching a goal and communicative rationality is supposed to be the means to reach a commonly agreed upon goal.
Royd Fissure
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Does Natural Science Encourage a Narrow Mind?

Post by Royd Fissure »

I hadn't even thought of Habermas, will have to re-read with that in mind. I really only focused on the issue of dialectic because when I was scanning the uni library online I was looking for material to help me understand a particular interpretation of one of Vygotsky's ideas. As these things do it was like falling down the rabbit hole and I found myself all over the place trying to understand what I was reading. If Habermas was mentioned I probably fled screaming from the virual library :wah:
coberst
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Does Natural Science Encourage a Narrow Mind?

Post by coberst »

Royd Fissure;1317223 wrote: I hadn't even thought of Habermas, will have to re-read with that in mind. I really only focused on the issue of dialectic because when I was scanning the uni library online I was looking for material to help me understand a particular interpretation of one of Vygotsky's ideas. As these things do it was like falling down the rabbit hole and I found myself all over the place trying to understand what I was reading. If Habermas was mentioned I probably fled screaming from the virual library :wah:


The following is a post I made about such matters and also a reference that might be of some value in your search.

Dialogue+Dialectic=Dialogic

I think that our first step is for a significant percentage of our population to become sufficiently intellectually sophisticated as to make many citizens capable of engaging in dialogical reasoning. To do this I think that many citizens must become self-actualizing self-learners when their school daze are over.

Under our normal cultural situation communication means to discourse, to exchange opinions with one another. It seems to me that there are opinions, considered opinions, and judgments. Opinions are a dime-a-dozen. Considered opinions, however, are opinions that have received a considerable degree of thought but have not received special study. A considered opinion starts out perhaps as tacit knowledge but receives sufficient intellectual attention to have become consciously organized in some fashion. Judgments are made within a process of study.

In dialogue, person ‘A’ may state a thesis and in return person ‘B’ does not respond with exactly the same meaning as does ‘A’. The meanings are generally similar but not identical; thus ‘A’ listening to ‘B’ perceives a disconnect between what she said and what ‘B’ replies. ‘A’ then has the opportunity to respond with this disconnect in mind, thereby creating a response that takes these matters into consideration; ‘A’ performs an operation known as a dialectic (a juxtaposition of opposed or contradictory ideas). And so the dialogical process proceeds.

A dialogical process is not one wherein individuals reason together in an attempt to make common ideas that are already known to each individual. ”Rather, it may be said that the two people are making something in common, i.e., creating something new together.” Dialogical reasoning together is an act of creation, of mutual understanding, of meaning.

Dialogic can happen only if both individuals wish to reason together in truth, in coherence, without prejudice, and without trying to influence each other. Each must be prepared to “drop his old ideas and intentions. And be ready to go on to something different, when this is called for…Thus, if people are to cooperate (i.e., literally to ‘work together’) they have to be able to create something in common, something that takes shape in their mutual discussions and actions, rather than something that is conveyed from one person who acts as an authority to the others, who act as passive instruments of this authority.”

“On Dialogue” written by “The late David Bohm, one of the greatest physicists and foremost thinkers this century, was Fellow of the Royal Society and Emeritus Professor of Physics at Birkbeck College, University of London.

Bohm is convinced that communication is breaking down as a result of the crude and insensitive manner in which it is transpiring. Communication is a concept with a common meaning that does not fit well with the concepts of dialogue, dialectic, and dialogic.

I claim that if we citizens do not learn to dialogue we cannot learn to live together in harmony sufficient to save the species.



Dialectical Reasoning

A process approach

Dialectical Reasoning

Overview of the process

Dialectical reasoning refers to critical thinking about problems and evaluating conflicting viewpoints. Dialectical reasoning is best applied in resolving controversial issues and assessing opposing positions. Often times, there are several possible ways of resolving questions and understanding issues, rather than one single right answer. We may have situations where information is incomplete, where many approaches may compete, and we have to decide which one is most reasonable based on what is known, even though there is no clear-cut solution.

Dialectical reasoning consists of moving back and forth between contrary lines of reasoning, using each to cross-examine the other. This is what juries are supposed to do in arriving at a verdict: consider arguments and evidence for and against a case, point and counterpoint. It is a process in which opposing facts and ideas are weighed and compared for the purposes of determining the best solution, resolving differences, and coming to the most reasonable conclusion based on the evidence and logic.

This approach to understanding and implementing dialectical reasoning in the social sciences classroom outlines a five stage process:
Royd Fissure
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Does Natural Science Encourage a Narrow Mind?

Post by Royd Fissure »

Thank you for those references, they are indeed extremely helpful and I can assure you I wouldn't have found them without your help. The item from Saskatchewan is particularly useful.

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