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Quinn, H. (2009). What is science ? Physics Today, 8–9. 
Added by: Dominique Meeùs (2010-11-04 20:27:06)   
Resource type: Journal Article
Peer reviewed
BibTeX citation key: Quinn2009
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Categories: Philosophie, Sciences
Creators: Quinn
Collection: Physics Today
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Views index: 46%
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p.8   Much of science seeks to explain observations of the current state of the natural world by developing an evidence-based history of how that situation arose, much as a detective reconstructs a crime. Computer programs that can simulate the progression of the system—or some aspects of it—over time are important tools in such science and can be powerful means to predict outcomes. The developed history must be consistent not only with all that is known about the system in question but also with all that is understood about processes that occur within the system. Geoscience, climate science, astrophysics, cosmology, and evolutionary biology all use that important history-building approach to develop major parts of their theories.   Added by: Dominique Meeùs
Keywords:   science observation caractère historique processus
p.8   Theories and models develop over time. Based on data, they undergo a long-term process of testing and refinement before becoming accepted scientific explanations or tools in a given domain. […]
     Scientific theories, even when generally accepted after much testing and refinement, are still never complete. Each can be safely applied in some limited domain, some range of situations or conditions for which it has been well tested. Each might also apply in some extended regime where it has yet to be tested, and may have little or nothing to offer in still more distant domains. That is the sense in which no theory can be proven to be true; truth is too complete a notion. We need to emphasize that the incompleteness of theory in no way compromises the stability over time of well-established understanding in science—an important notion that is seldom made explicit.   Added by: Dominique Meeùs
Keywords:   théorie modèle relativité de la connaissance caractère historique
pp.8-9   One key to progress in science is an eye for contradictions and an insistence that they be resolved. That can make scientists seem overly dogmatic or argumentative in the eyes of a nonscientist because it diverges strongly from usual human behavior. Of necessity, we all live lives full of contradictory elements, and we must often act without sufficient knowledge to draw logical conclusions or else become incapable of action.   Added by: Dominique Meeùs
Keywords:   contradiction dialectique science
p.9   In everyday usage the question “ Why ? ” can be either about the mechanism by which something occurred or about the reasons for or purposes behind an action. Thus the distinction between reason and mechanism, or between effect and purpose, is often blurred. Religion and philosophy are interested in reasons and purposes, but science cares only about mechanisms. That apparent reduction of the goal is a powerful step that separates modern science from its ancestor, natural philosophy. Modern science focuses our attention on just those questions that can have definitive answers based on observations. Where science does find a path to compare theory with observations, the theories so developed provide a powerful way to understand the world and even to make some predictions about the future. Science offers us new options that may be applied—for example, in technology and medicine—to change the way we live and extend our capabilities. However, scientists tend to forget that issues of reason and purpose are central to many people’s questioning, so the answers they get from science seem inadequate.   Added by: Dominique Meeùs
Keywords:   pourquoi cause explication intention mécanisme philosophie naturelle prédiction science
p.9   Science requires absolute honesty about acquired data and the intellectual honesty that insists on resolving logical contradictions. Scientists must be open to new ideas and ready to modify their opinions if and when contradictory evidence emerges. The key values of honesty and openness are essential for science to progress. Scientists are human: They jump to conclusions, they make mistakes in recording or analyzing data. Sometimes a scientist fakes data and commits scientific fraud. The principle of verification by independent replication of experimental results is an important part of science, because it can unmask such errors or fraud.   Added by: Dominique Meeùs
Keywords:   honnêteté intellectuelle contradiction vérification expérimentation science
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