In reaction time. Using a fixed method of quantifying

            In the philosophy of science, there is a continuous debate about the
nature of objectivity and the degree of objectivity needed to be used in
science. Although the traditional idea of
objectivity is used to test theories against universal standards; however, objectivity limits insights into other
scientific possibilities. Thus, a pluralistic methodology informed by
non-epistemic values must be implemented in scientific investigation to avoid
excluding potential outcomes, which ultimately leads to the progression of
science.

            The methodology observed in science focuses
primarily on inductive argumentation.  The
inductive method can be used through a process of verification or falsification;
however, both methods lead to rejecting
hypotheses and narrow in focus of the search for truth. For example, Popper
suggested that genuine tests need to be conducted to falsify a theory which
helps scientists to search for other theories to explain a specific phenomenon.1 However, once a theory is
falsified, it is no longer discussed and therefore scientists disregard the
facts obtained from the falsified theory which could lead to other truths. In
addition, all methodologies have their limitations and impose restrictions.2 For example, I conducted
an experiment where I observed how background noise affected reaction time.
Using a fixed method of quantifying reaction time with a software, I did not consider
the subjective susceptibility to the distraction
of each of my participants. Additionally, Feyerabend states that “a fixed method or a fixed theory of
rationality rests on too naïve a view of man, and his surroundings,”3 since a fixed theory limits us to the western outlook of science and prevents us from seeking other new
perspectives. Thus, the method of induction is not as objective as it seems. This
is why science should adopt the principles of pluralistic methodology and counter-induction
to further the discussion on theories.

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Counter-induction
is the process of introducing hypotheses which are inconsistent with
established theories and facts, hence, the idea that “anything goes.”4 Through counter-induction,
we have a competition of ideas that allow us to gain insight into new ideas and,
by respecting the variety of ideas, science will achieve objectivity.5 For example, the
creationist teleological explanation of the existence of the world and humans
dominated during Darwin’s time; however, he sought evidence that supported
another cause for our existence through evolution. If Darwin had not challenged
creationism with alternate hypotheses, we would not have gained insight into a
competitive theory. In addition, this example demonstrates that biases
and other limitations can only be detected through the use of contrast, not
through analysis.6
This suggests that counter-induction is a better methodology to adopt than
others that seem to promote “objectivity.”

            The argument against
counter-induction states that hypotheses should be consistent with accepted
theories and current knowledge. Of course, novel theories that are proposed have
to be consistent with other theories but the focus of counter-induction is not in theory, but in facts.7 Only through discussing
incompatible facts will lead to progress. Without looking at any alternatives,
new facts cannot be found, since a theory
and its facts are intrinsically connected.8 This idea can be seen again
in the Darwin example; the scientist’s willingness to suggest alternative
theories of evolution allowed him to refute accepted knowledge about
creationism. Thus, we need an alternative
to induction to give rise to new facts that scientists can use to refute theories
and create new knowledge.

            Consequently, counter-induction
claims that non-epistemic values are needed in science. When formulating
hypotheses, it is important to consider the seriousness of consequences if the
hypothesis may be wrong by using degrees of probabilities that indicate the
evidence is strong enough to accept the hypothesis.9 For example, when testing
the efficacy of drugs, the potential effects of the drug’s toxicity on a
subject must be considered.10 However, Isaac Levi
objects that even when degrees of probabilities are used, non-epistemic values
are still not needed.11 Even if value judgments seem unnecessary, Levi must note that
a theory’s application in the real-world yields consequences which a scientist
must consider before proceeding. For example, each brand of science has brought
forth the principle of green science where each experiment and consequently its
theory should limit harm to the environment. This is an example of a value judgment made and is the forefront of every modern
science. Thus, values do play an integral role in science and must be taken into consideration when discussing theories.

            A
pluralistic methodology that encompasses non-epistemic values should be
integrated into science in order to
further our understanding and to reflect contemporary ethics. Counter-induction
and values can help avoid fruitless discussion over differing theories and consider
alternatives which may lead to scientific truth. Therefore, science will only progress
when it starts incorporating different perspectives and values in its
methodology.

Works Cited

Feyerabend,
Paul K. Against method: outline of
an anarchistic theory of knowledge. Verso,  

1979.

Levi,
Isaac. “Must the scientist make value judgements?” Journal of Philosophy, vol. 57, no. 11,

1970,
pp. 345–357.

 

Popper, Karl. Conjectures
and Refutations, London: Routledge and Keagan Paul, 1963, pp. 33-39;

from Theodore
Schick, ed., Readings in the Philosophy
of Science, Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing Company, 2000, pp. 9-13.

Reiss, Julian, and Jan Sprenger. “Scientific
Objectivity.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford University, 25 Aug. 2014,
plato.stanford.edu/entries/scientific-objectivity/.

 

Rudner,
Richard. “The Scientist Qua Scientist Makes Value Judgments.” Philosophy
of Science,    

vol. 20, no. 1, 1953, pp. 1–6.

 

1 Karl Popper, Conjectures and Refutations, London: Routledge
and Keagan Paul, 1963, pp. 33-39; from Theodore

Schick, ed., Readings in the
Philosophy of Science, Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing Company,
2000, pg.

11

2 Feyerabend, Paul K. Against method: outline of an anarchistic
theory of knowledge. Verso, 1979. pg. 23

3 Ibid. pg 18

4  Ibid.
pg 19-20

5 Reiss,
Julian, and Jan Sprenger. “Scientific Objectivity.” Stanford
Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford
University, 25 Aug. 2014, plato.stanford.edu/entries/scientific-objectivity/.

6
Feyerabend,
Paul K. Against method: outline of
an anarchistic theory of knowledge. Verso, 1979. pg. 22

7 Ibid. pg 26

8 Ibid. pg 27

9
Rudner,
Richard. “The Scientist Qua Scientist Makes Value Judgments.” Philosophy
of Science, vol. 20, no. 1, 1953, pg 3

10 Ibid

11
Levi,
Isaac. “Must the scientist make value judgements?” Journal of Philosophy, vol. 57, no. 11, 1970, pp. 35

x

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