Tag Archives: philosophy of science

How does science progress?

We had an interesting discussion in Ecosystems Ecology today (ECOL 610) on how science progresses.  We listed the following processes by which science makes incremental changes.  These include:

  • Testing hypotheses.  Sometimes these results can weaken existing paradigms.
  • Development of new theories, hypotheses, paradigms or predictions.
  • Synthesis of previously disconnected sub-disciplines or of existing data
  • New observations
  • Acceptance of a new view (almost a social dynamic)
  • Emergence of “rogue” personalities who press a new agenda
  • Communication of ideas
  • New technologies for: observing nature, analyzing data, reducing the cost/difficulty of doing science, increased accuracy/precision in observation, conducting new experiments.

I had not previously considered the social factors.