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What Makes Science Scientific?

This lecture forms the first in a series of lectures hosted in collaboration with the Department of History and Philosophy of Science.

Speaker: Prof. Hasok Chang

Abstract: We all think it is good to be scientific. But what does that mean, exactly? Is there such a thing as “the scientific method”? This lecture will introduce the ideas of leading philosophers of science on this age-old question, and examine them critically with reference to some key episodes from the history of physics and other sciences. The inductivist ideal of science holds that scientific knowledge is founded on unbiased observational facts, but we also know that observations are “theory-laden” and scientific facts incorporate theoretical interpretations. Karl Popper regarded unrestricted criticism as the essence of the scientific attitude, but Thomas Kuhn argued that “normal science" only works when scientists uncritically accept the prevailing paradigm in their field.

Location: Small Lecture Theatre, Bragg Building

Open to everyone!