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Euclid geometry model of reasoning developed by Euclid is known as a formal system, and it has three key elements: axioms

() deductive reasoning theorem () 4 traditional requirement of axioms: 1. consistent 2. independence 3. simple 4. fruitful Deductive reasoning If premises are true, the conclusion is necessarily true; in mathematics, axioms are like premises and theorems are like conclusions. TEOREM simple theorems can be used to construct more complex proofs. proofs and conjectures in a proof a theorem is shown to follow logically from the relevant axioms. A conjecture, by contrast, is a hypothesis that seems to work, but has not been shown to be necessarily true. BEAUTY, ELEGANCE AND INTUITION mathematicians generally seek proofs that are clear, economical and elegant. a particular elegant proof might even be described as beautify. though creative imagination and intuition play a key role in mathematics, no matter how good a persons mathematical intuitions are, such intuitions will not be accepted by the mathematical community until they have been proved. MATHEMATICS AND CERTAINTY an analytic proposition is one that is true by definition (independent from fact or experience). We now add that a synthetic proposition is any proposition that is not analytic (Determined by observation or fact). So we can say that every proposition is either analytic or synthetic. a proposition is said to be knowable a priori if it can be known to be true independent of experience, and its said to be knowable a posterior if it cannot be known to be true independent of experience. every true proposition can be known either a priori or a posterior. option 1: mathematics as empirical (Driven from observation rather than theory) according to Mill, mathematical truth are empirical generalisations based on a vast number of experience that are not different in kind from scientific statements such as all metals expend when heated. While the childs knowledge undoubtly begins with experience, it ends up going beyond experience. option 2: mathematics as analytic its not empirical option 3: mathematics as synthetic a priori mathematics is neither empirical nor analytic, but synthetic a priori knowledge. Thus suggestion now is that mathematics gives us non-trivial, substantial knowledge about the most general features of reality, and that this knowledge can be known to be true independent of experience, if its true, then it means that on the basis of reason alone, human beings are able to discover truths about nature of reality. 3 opinons: 1. God created a pre-established harmony between the human mind and universe. 2. Natural selections ensured that we evolved in such a way that our minds are in harmony with the environment. 3. Mathematical ability is a by-product of other abilities which do not have survival value. discovered or invented Platonism : mathematical entities are discovered and exist out there. formalism: they are invented and exist only in mind. however, we cant find perfect circle in reality by its definition, etc. such mathematical entities are idealisations, thus we may get closer to the ideal, but will never be able to coincide with them. it leads us to dilemma: mathematical object dont exist in the real world-must be mental fictions we are capable of making discoveries about themcannot be mental fictions platos solution: they have their own unique way of existing and although they cannot be perceived, they are more real as physical objects. platos argument for the superior reality of mathematical over physical objects can be reduced to two key claims: 1. mathematics is more certain than perception 2. mathematics is timeless true(e.g Pythagoras theorem is forever true) formalism: mathematics consists of nothing but man-made definitions

non-Euclidean: geometry and the problems of consistency (see the handout) applied maths: this is used to model and solve problems in the real world. a particularly mysterious features of the relationship between mathematics and the world is that mathematical ideas that are developed as a purely intellectual exercise sometimes turn out to be applicable to the real world, and there are many unexpected connections in mathematics that are difficult to explain. e.g., the the geometry of ellipses was not useful until the seventeenth-century astronomers Johannes was studying planetary motion===the orbits of the planets round the sun are in fact elliptical. after being of merely academic interest for nearly two thousand years, Apollonius work turned out to be of practical value! Einstein thinks that mathematical systems are invented, as we can invent any formal systems we like and prove theorems from axioms with complete certainty, but its a matter of discovery which of the various system apply to reality.

The field of Science has made some crucial discoveries over the years. The Discovery Channel has classified the Top 100 most important discoveries in eight different categories: Astronomy Biology Chemistry Earth Science Evolution Genetics Medicine Physics
While Science does attempt to provide us with many answers, its claims should still be treated with caution. The Scientific Method has its advantages and disadvantages, which we should be acutely aware of. Science perhaps does not give us the same degree of certainty that mathematical reasoning does. As science has evolved over time, scientific beliefs have changed and others have proposed alternative methods of making sense of the world. Interestingly there are claims that scientists are playing god, a contentious issue, by interfering with nature or others things that they do not yet fully understand. Some examples include genetic engineering and the development of nuclear weapons. The words science or scientific are often used when products are sold, as mark of their authenticity to attract the consumer. Many advertisements for products use scientific jargon


Usually when we refer to the natural sciences it encompasses the traditional subjects of biology, chemistry and physics. However, there are numerous fields that exist that claim to be scientific but are hotly debated. As a result arguments persist as to what is science and what is pseudo science (fake science). The table below briefly contrasts science with pseudoscience:

Their findings are expressed primarily through scientific journals that are peer-reviewed and maintain rigorous standards for honesty and accuracy.

The literature is aimed at the general public. There is no review, no standards, no pre-publication verification, no demand for accuracy and precision.

Reproducible results are demanded; experiments must be Results cannot be reproduced or verified. Studies, if any, are always so precisely described so that they can be duplicated exactly vaguely described that one can't figure out what was done or how it or improved upon. was done. Failures are searched for and studied closely, because incorrect theories can often make correct predictions by accident, but no correct theory will make incorrect predictions. As time goes on, more and more is learned about the physical processes under study. Convinces by appeal to the evidence, by arguments Failures are ignored, excused, hidden, lied about, discounted, explained away, rationalized, forgotten, avoided at all costs.

No physical phenomena or processes are ever found or studied. No progress is made; nothing concrete is learned. Convinces by appeal to faith and belief. Pseudoscience has a strong

based upon logical and/or mathematical reasoning, by making the best case the data permit. When new evidence contradicts old ideas, they are abandoned. Does not advocate or market unproven practices or products.

quasi-religious element: it tries to convert, not to convince. You are to believe in spite of the facts, not because of them. The original idea is never abandoned, whatever the evidence. Generally earns some or all of his living by selling questionable products (such as books, courses, and dietary supplements) and/or pseudoscientific services (such as horoscopes, character readings, spirit messages, and predictions).

The crucial difference between science and pseudoscience is that scientific hypotheses are testable. Therefore, pseudoscience claims are somewhat vague, preventing them from being tested and measured. Pseudoscience claims also use Ad hoc exceptions i.e. an exceptions that is brought to light each time a counter-claim is made in order to defend their claim / stance.

Acupuncture Astrology Creationism Crystology Feng shui Graphology Homeopathy Phrenology


What differentiates science form non-science or pseudo science is that it has a distinct method that it supports and adheres to in making it knowledge claims. The scientific method is a process of inductivism whereby observations are made of the world around us, a hypothesis is formed based on these observations, an experiment is created to test the hypothesis, based on the results of the experiment conclusions are drawn from which laws are formed, theories can then be established by relating the specific laws to wider contexts. The importance of the experiment is paramount in the scientific method in that a good experiment must, firstly, have a level of controllability to limit what can adversely influence the accuracy of the results. Secondly, there has to be a quantifiable measure (measurability) to the experiment so that there is a level of accuracy and objectivity to the results. Finally, the experiment must have repeatability in that the experiment could be repeat over and over again to confirm the results of the initial experiment.


As knowers it is important to understand that the scientific method is not without its flaws. As a consequence, we can be skeptical about scientific knowledge claims and be critical of the method used to arrive at such claims. As pointed out already, experiments can be faulty in that there is a lack of controllability, measurability and repeatability making it difficult to verify results and, hence, claims. There are also problems in other areas of the scientific method.


As science is based on observation our senses can deceive in only looking certain things that we perceive to be part of the problem. As a consequence, we often ignore other factors that later turn out to be relevant. Hence, relevance, is key limiter of scientific observation. When we undertake an experiment we may well have expectations of what we will find. This can often trick us in wanting to see such results from our experiements to prove ourselves correct. As a result, we may well ignore and dismiss anomalies as they prevent us from achieving the expected results. We do so at our peril, as later experiments surrounding similar problems often prove the results of earlier experiments to be inaccurate. Expert Seeing is unique to specialist fields under observations. Uneducated people may view a particular object in a different way to someone with more expert knowledge and understanding. Without that expert seeing we can make inaccurate observations and hasty generalisations. We also need to take into account the actions of the observer, known as the observer effect, in our results. This is particularly pertinent to quantum physics. When undertaking scientific observation a degree of self-correction may be needed to take on board the effect of the observer.


While it may seem straightforward that hypotheses are either accepted or rejected based on a given set of data, there are indeed flaws when testing hypotheses. 1. Often when we draw up hypotheses we have preconceived ideas of what the results will show. As a consequence we may rush to prove the hypotheses true, in a sense making hasty generalisations. We may also shy away from looking at anomalies in the results or overlook the evidence that is contrary to what we are trying to prove. This type of bias in the results is known commonly as confirmation bias, as one is acting in a biased way to confirm a hypothesis. Likewise confirmation bias may act in a way where a scientist may look to for anything to rejct the hypothesis in spite of the obvious truths in the results presented. In order to overcome this problem a good scientist should be aware of the subjectivity they may show during the interpretation of results from an experiment and look at ways of being more objective. 2. When hypotheses are formed they are made with certain background assumptions. If the background assumptions are wrong but not questioned there is a strong chance that the hypotheses cannot be tested with any real validity. 3. It is very difficult, if possible at all, to prove a hypothesis. It could look as though a set of data are consistent enough with a hypothesis in order to accept it but the question remains of whether there is enough data to draw the conclusion. Secondly, How do we know that the data is consistent with the hypothesis that we are testing and not consistent perhaps with another? While we can always undertake further observations to provide more data, there is always the chance that next observed instance will not prove the hypothesis. 4. Scientists have to be acutely aware of "the principle of simplicity" when accepting or rejecting hypotheses. Often the simpler theory seems easier to accept than the more complex one, as a result of not wishing to deal with the complexities, we accept the simpler one. While not the same, simplicity could be likened to 'beauty'. In this sense, do we accept the uglier theory that is more difficult to understand but could be more valid, or the beautiful theory, so easy to communicate and understand, but may not be as good as the former?


When we draw conclusions from data in accepting hypotheses, we are involved in the process of induction based on observed data. The question is, how many observations do we need to make before we draw the conclusion that the sun rises everyday? Now let's consider that the above observation was made by a person living in Northern Australia they would probably accept this proposition. However, we are only drawing a conclusion from what we have observed. There are things about the sun rising that the person living in Northern Australia may not have observed. For example, if that person was to live at the South Pole, they may well observe that the sun doesn't rise at all for at least one day of the year. On another day, the sun does even set, so it does not have to rise again. Perhaps then the conclusion needs to be changed? It is amazing how much confidence we place in science but our total observations from which we have drawn conclusions, laws and theories are a tiny fraction of the observable data that lies out there in the universe. On the other hand, what is scientists did not generalise? What sort of place would the world be?

Karl Popper (1902-94), an Austrian philosopher, look at the notion that it is far easier to falsify a scientific law or theory than to prove it. Logically, no number of positive outcomes at the level of experimental testing can confirm a scientific theory, but a single counterexample is logically decisive: it shows the theory, from which the implication is derived, to be false. Popper's account of the logical asymmetry between verification and falsifiability lies at the heart of his philosophy of science. He concluded that our knowledge grows by falsifying hypotheses for our understanding of the universe to improve over time. Popper claimed, theories that better survive the process of refutation are not more true, but rather, more "fit"in other words, more applicable to the problem situation at hand. Using the previous example of the rising sun; while there is no way to prove that the sun will rise, we can formulate a theory that every day the sun will riseif it does not rise on some particular day, our theory will be disproved, but at present it is confirmed. Since it is a very well-tested theory, we have every right to believe that it accurately represents reality, so far as we know. Popper took falsifiability as his criterion of choosing between what is and is not genuinely scientific: a theory should be considered scientific if and only if it is falsifiable. This has been applied this to the work Alfred Adler, Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud. The best

example of this can be found in "Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma" by Richard van de Lagematt (2005), who uses Alfred Adler's belief that human beings are dominated by feelings of inferiority. Popper believed that Adler's theory explains everything and nothing at the same time. Taking the example of a man who sees his son drowing in a river will jump in to save his son regardless to overcome his feelings of inferiority. On the other hand the man not jump in because he is suffering from an inferiority complex. So both results prove Alder's theory but at the same time proves nothing.


Popper's claims are very much based on conjectures and refutations: A conjecture is an opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information A refutation is proof of (a statement or theory) to be wrong or false Because of the conjectures involved in testing hypotheses any confirmative should be somewhat hesitant and tentative as we cannot prove with any certainty that a law is true. However, a hypothesis may be refuted with just one counter-example. Because of the decisive nature of refutation in science, Popper argued that scientists should spend their time trying to prove their hypotheses are false.

Critics of Popper would argue, is one counter-example enough to disprove a hypothesis? Many would argue that there has been a problem with the experiment and the observations made, so the experiment can be re-done and any method or observation inaccuracy accounted for. It is worth thinking as to what may have happened should Newton and Darwin have abandoned their theories at the first sign of contradictory evidence.

At the first sign of contradictory evidence, rather than abandoning their theories, scientists may put forward auxillary hypotheses to help explain their observations. This idea was put forward by the philospher Imre Lakatos (1922-72) who suggested that simpleminded falsificationism suggests that theories can be known to be erroneous by a single falsifying observation. Lakatos alluded to the idea that a theory can be saved from falsification by adjusting its auxiliary hypotheses - its auxiliary belt. He said that a scientific theory does not generate observation consequences alone. It needs additional specific hypotheses to do this. These are known as auxiliary hypotheses. For example, Newton's laws of gravitation and motion. Auxillary hypotheses that could be used to continue to accept the theory are facts about the positions of all the planets, their masses and velocities at the time. As a result there are observational consequences such as predictions about the observable positions of the planets. Several auxillary hypotheses can be used to stick with the paradigm created by Newton's theory. However, once these auxillary hypotheses are disproved, then there may be a shift away form the theory and a scientific revolution as a consequence. This perhaps leads us to three possible outcomes when dealing with observations that conflict with hypotheses when using the scientific method: 1. Reject the hypothesis 2. Reject the observation 3. Accept both the observation and the hypothesis and form an auxillary hypothesis


When faced with the dilemma, as presented above, when observations conflict with a hypothesis, questions are asked of the rationality of science in terms of the decisions that are made using the scientific method. A rationalist may well stick with their theory and reject the observation whereas the empiricist is more likely to be swayed by the observational evidence. The rationalist is more likely to believe that there is order in the universe whereas empiricists are more likely to argue that a theory only holds up in the face of the evidence presented. With both arguments, we return to the point made earlier by Popper in that we can never prove a hypothesis to be true. Equally, however, through looking at the falsification of hypotheses, we cannot be certain that a hypothesis can be falsified as it is up to us, as scientists, to choose whether to reject the observation or the theory. What we do know however, is that science is somewhat less than certain. Thomas Kuhn (1922-96) speaks of paradigm shifts in scientific thought over time. Science is by no means smooth progress and undergoes a series of revloutions when scientists discover shortcomings in the current paradigm and, therefore, put forward new ways of looking at things and with it new theories. Kuhn refers to periods of normal science, when people are generally happy

with the paradigm and work with it. Popper would, perhaps, be infuriated by these periods of normal science. In a paradigm shift not everyone is converted to the new way of thinking. A paradigm shift will only occur should a critical mass of people be will to question the existing paradigm and for revolution to subsequently occur. Arguments will still continue as some people still cling to the old paradigm. It often needs the old, some say 'conservative', people to die for the opposition to the new paradigm to dwindle.

If you disagree with a paradigm shift, does this make you conservative? As paradigm shifts are very much a choice between competing theories, how do we may the choice as to which theory we go along with? While we would like to think that prime motivation of scientists is in discovering the truth, there are other motives for scientists in determining the scientific agenda. Arguments over motive in science are of termed priority disputes. The motives are somewhat questionable such as gaining a reputation, jealousy, ambition, social status and public recognition. Scientists are also influenced by the funding that is available for research and, as a result, are lured to those fields. Also for political reasons scientists may be discouraged from working in certain fields as opposed to others that receive less of a critical eye. There is also the pressure for scientific reasoning to conform with the values of both the scientific community and soceity at large. All these factors, perhaps, place rational thought in science in a different light? Kuhn goes on to say that there is no purely rational way of choosing between paradigms, that our choices are largely influence by the scoiety and culture in which we live. In this sense scientific knowledge could be viewed as being far more subjective than it is objective. Obviously decisions are made hard by the very nature of scientific knowledge, as discussed, of which there is no certainty. Though many claim that 'crackpot thoeries' are weeded out quite quickly and do not stand the test of time as science is somewhat self-regulating in that there comes a point where theories are discredited for being irrational. The problem with the scientific field is that it is so vast. We can try to generalise rules but the field that we are dealing with is so much large than a game of soccer or hockey. While scientists can use the rules / law to make theories, they will always generalise and never gain a complete understanding owing to the complexity of nature and it's web of relationships that we will constantly be surprised. The scientific method stresses the isolation of the key variables in order to gain understanding, but as we learn more we uncover more variables as there is so much connectivity between things. What is great about science is the ability to think critically and in doing so, perhaps, get closer to the truth and the status quo is always challenged.