Science versus the Scientific Method:


When we talk about the metanarrative of Science we are talking about a body of “facts” and traditions that have a very strict set of rules within a particular paradigm. Within the set of paradigms that we associate with science there is specific vocabulary associated with the scientific method.


While a history associated with science can be assigned to the Greeks and even attribute the start of philosophy with Thales as the beginnings of science this does not relate to the use we typically have for the scientific method. Instead Francis Bacon is generally thought of as the traditional first philosopher to define what would become the method. Most of the following British empiricists are not considered to have followed him in developing this method. Even Descartes, in his attempt to use mathematics to establish clear and distinct knowledge does not use what we call the scientific method.


John Stuart Mill develops methods of induction that are considered the first serious continuation of Bacon’s ideas. Mill’s methods are generally covered in Logic courses for this reason.


An essential element of the scientific method is taking the critical approach to any hypothesis and even to continue to apply the critical approach to accepted facts in the on going attempt to find even commonly accepted facts uncertain and so in need of new theory to explain the weakness of the old theory. In this light, science may be seen as an attempt to advance our knowledge by the constant attempt to find fault with what we think we already know.