Science as a belief system

Mind Map by Gabzay, updated more than 1 year ago


A-Levels Sociology (Beliefs in Society) Mind Map on Science as a belief system, created by Gabzay on 10/01/2013.

Resource summary

Science as a belief system
1 Open Belief System
1.1 Popper
1.1.1 Every scientists' theories are open to scrutiny, criticism and testing by others
1.1.2 Science is governed by the principle of falsification
1.1.3 Scientific knowledge is not sacred or absolute truth
1.1.4 Scientific knowledge is cumulative - builds on the achievements of previous scientists to develop greater understanding of the world
1.2 Merton
1.2.1 Science needs an 'ethos' or set of norms that make scientists act in ways that serve the goal of increasing scientific knowledge
1.2.2 CUDOS
1.2.3 Communism - knowledge must be shared with the scientific community
1.2.4 Universalism - knowledge is judged by a universal, objective testing criteria
1.2.5 Disinterestedness - seeking knowledge for its own sake
1.2.6 Organised Scepticism - every theory is open to criticism and testing
1.3 Where knowledge claims are open to questioning
2 Closed Belief System
2.1 Kuhn
2.1.1 E.g. Dr Velikovsky challenged the fundamental assumptions of the paradigm and was ridiculed and hounded out of the profession
2.1.2 Science is based on a set of shared assumptions - a paradigm
2.1.3 The paradigm tells scientists what methods and equipment to use
2.2 Knorr-Cetina
2.2.1 What scientists study in the laboratory is highly 'constructed' and far removed from the natural world that they are supposedly studying
2.2.2 E.g. water is specially purified, animals are specially bred and so on
2.3 Polanyi
2.3.1 Closed belief systems sustain themselves using three devices
2.3.2 Circularity - each idea in the system is explained in terms of another
2.3.3 Subsidiary explanations -
2.3.4 Denial of legitimacy to rivals - belief systems reject alternative worldviews by refusing to grant any legitimacy to their basic assumptions
2.4 Where knowledge claims cannot be challenged and overturned
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