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Showing posts from May, 2015

Science, Reason and Skepticism - from Wiley Blackwell Handbook to Humanism (just out)

(unedited draft, not final copy) Science, Reason and Skepticism [1] Stephen Law What are science and reason? Humanists expound the virtues of science and reason. But what are science and reason? And why should we think it wise to rely on them? By science, I mean that approach to finding out about reality based on the scientific method. This is a method that was fully developed only a few hundred years ago (though of course we find elements being applied even in the ancient world)). Science, as I’ll use the term here, is a comparatively recent invention [AC1]   , its development owing a great deal to 16th and 17th Century thinkers such as the philosopher Francis Bacon (1561-1626) . So what is the scientific method? Here’s a rough sketch. [2] Scientists collect data through observation and experiment. They formulate hypotheses and broader theories about the nature of reality to account for what they observe. Crucially, they also try to test their theories.