Free Essay Sample - How Science Progresses

Published: 2023-08-22
Free Essay Sample - How Science Progresses
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Knowledge Science Intelligence Development
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1658 words
14 min read

Science is deliberated as a societal necessity because of one reason that it creates new knowledge. Through theory and empirical data, scientists develop a knowledge base, which helps them to understand enterprises, participate intellectually in politics and science-related decision-making and conclusions as well as make desirable goals for educational systems. Science is rising for the reason that it plays a vital role in career and professional development daily. It comprises advanced skills such as fast learning, effective production of knowledge, and creative thinking, which scientists tend to work with. In this paper, the focus is to demonstrate how science progresses using the ideas of Empiricists, Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos, and Feyerabend.

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Hossain, F. A. (2014) avowed that empiricist ideas emphasize aspects of scientific knowledge, which is closely related to observations, experiments, experience, or sense of data. He regarded positivism as a form of empiricism for the fact that it is interpretive and it is based on experience. Ideas of empiricism explain how specific studies are done based on theoretical clarification, thereby explaining how science progresses. In the realm of psychology, empiricism rises through theoretical experiences in a world of knowledge that occupies a very important place. Philosophically, empiricism takes both the possibility of nature and knowledge. A critical analysis of empiricism is well explained through the works of Kant and Hume, which is based on the logical culmination of the existence of objective reality (Hossain, 2014). In the past, empiricism asserted that experience is the guide to the understanding of the world and it is the only method for the creation of truth and knowledge. However, today, that experience is treated as uncertain and false for the fact that its ideas can be traced through a sense of experience; in fact, the kind of knowledge is reducible to perceptions and sensations.

The other aspect of empiricism is the idea that the earth goes around the sun (B-Roll, 2015). Essentially philosophers had made observations that the sun, moon, and stars all look like they are rotating around the sky and it is easy to imagine that they all move around the earth. The whole idea that the earth orbits the sun was not accepted until a few hundred years ago. From the geocentric model, the sun is the center of everything including the earth, moon, and stars. In the same parallel, for a long time, scientists came to agree that everything revolves around the earth even though it was hard to explain sometimes. For example, Nicolaus Copernicus who was a well-known science thinker 1473-1543 developed a heliocentric model, where he argued that the sun is the center of the universe (B-Roll, 2015). All other scientists did not agree with the idea, but for Copernicus, it was a little simpler for the fact that all planes in his model moved throughout their orbits with the same speed, which was easy to prove that they all revolved around the sun. In the 1600s, Johannes developed another model in which he highlighted that the orbits did not have to be circles; he assumed that the orbits are ellipses. During the same period, Galileo Galilei's telescope was a bit more convincing in the study of planet Jupiter and Venus. Through his observations, it was clear that not everything in the sky orbits the earth. Among other scientists, science is always rising through proof, data, experience, and systematic knowledge.

Moreover, Popper was of the idea of falsification meaning that any future theories or predictions might be revealed to be false (Warburton, 2015). When theories are revealed through falsification, scientists respond by revising or rejecting them in favor of maintaining the theory but changing the auxiliary hypothesis. To answer the question of how science progresses, scientists in a continued effort test theories against experience and make revisions based on the outcomes of the tests. Falsification allows a solution to problems that are experienced through inductive reasoning in the account of the theories of choice. An example where Popper proves his concepts is in the field of quantum mechanics. He uses theory to provide an interpretation of different cases concerning social sciences and the universal laws that cover human history.

Karl Popper argues that scientists first need to look for evidence before they develop their hypothesis. However, he suggests that scientists do begin with hypotheses that can be falsified by evidence but rather than looking for facts to support them, they go their way to refute the evidence; they test them to destruction. As scripted by Warburton (2015), scientists go out searching for black swans and not white swans. Usually, science is about falsification, not confirmation, it contains a series of conjectures and refutations. Also, Marxists argued that scientific progress is through scientific analysis. Everything that happens is determined by class struggle. Also, a workers' revolution is inevitable, however, when workers revolt they are said to be the victims of false consciousness. They find it difficult to see the situation as it truly was; Popper counter-argued by claiming the Marxist hypothesis as immunized turning them into pseudo-science. There was no imaginable observation that could prove that the Marxist hypothesis was wrong or right, for both scientists, it was a win-win, therefore, proving that science progresses.

Thomas Kuhn proposes that science evolves through dramatic shifts depending on how scientists see the world. However, evolution must correspond with truth, which is consistent with the reality in the external world. The entire assemblage of values, beliefs, and techniques to mention but a few must be shared by a scientific community to a change to be effected. Most importantly, when science evolves, it forces scientists to change their belief system, which sometimes is difficult to change. Thomas (1962) further explained that there are various stages of scientific development, among them the preparadigmatic stage, paradigmatic stage, and revolutionary stage. Through a paradigm shift, a framework of accepted ideas emerges and these paradigms include truth, validity, and methodology. Scientists will thus work within the paradigm and seek evidence that supports the paradigm until anomalies are strong enough to precipitate a paradigm shift.

Also, Macat (2015), highlighted that for many years, researchers believed that the history of science was linear. They thought that science was a rational accumulation, which can be characterized by the accumulation of knowledge. However, it took scientists such as Thomas Kuhn to explain an understanding of the science progression. In his book, The Structure of Scientific Revolution, which he published in 1962, he claimed that the development of scientific discovery is not linear. Science is cyclical and it is punctuated by revolutions that signal major shifts to bring a change. Kuhn claimed that the shifts had a recognizable structure that is characterized by a period of normal and extra-standard science. Science is constantly changing because of the environmental changes that occur on the earth. There is a normal face of science (paradigm) where experiments and discoveries are made, but with time, environmental conditions where the experiment is conducted change necessitating the experiment to begin afresh. A good example that can be used to explain this concept is ice; when temperatures change it melts.

Lakatos expounded on Kuhn’s pattern of theory change and his contribution was the development of methodology concept, which was used in scientific research programs in the rational construction of science. According to Lakatos, every scientific change must be accompanied by research programs that can be evaluated through degenerating problematic and progressive shifts. Lakatos's concept offers a rational view for the reconstruction of science from which it borrows essential elements that were proposed by Popper, Fererabend, and Kuhn. According to research by Sfetcu, (2019), Lakatos arrived at his argument by using a methodology of scientific research programs to address aspects of the philosophy of science. The reconstruction presented by Lakatos explains the evolution of science, which appears to develop, mature, and degenerate to replace the old research programs. A reconstruction approach is almost similar to Kuhn’s paradigms because it tells that the evolution of science has to pass through relatively autonomous stages for the progressive and degeneration of problem shifts.

Feyerabend argued that scientists were not following any method. According to him, scientists try all sorts of creative irrational strategies to create discoveries, which make one hypothesis to win over the other (Agassi, 1976). Through epistemological anarchism, he tries to investigate what differentiates justified beliefs from opinions. Feyerabend holds that there no exceptional free-methodological rules that govern the progress and growth of scientific knowledge (Agassi, 1976). At the same time, there is no correct method in science; for this reason, theories could be compared to give meanings and facts. Therefore, the progress of science breaks the rules, leading to the premature death of theories. There is no one correct approach; pluralism, therefore, can be used because it entails the accumulation of multiple views and approaches to lead to a theory approval or rejection. An example is the concept of Galileo Galilei who ignored the concept that earth orbits the sun, thereby, proofing the fact that existing scientific data and theory must be broken for scientific progress. Also, methodological rules must be broken for scientific breakthroughs.

In conclusion, science progresses based on the discoveries of new knowledge. Scientists develop new ideas to solve problems using hypotheses and methodologies, which can be justified. Therefore, provided the importance of science in both career and profession, it does not deserve any special status because it is a project that it’s experimental results either support or falsify the hypothesis.


Agassi, J. (1976). Against method: Outline of an anarchistic theory of knowledge. Philosophia, 6(1), 165-177.

B-Roll, B. (2015). How We Figured Out That Earth Goes Around the Sun. SciShow Space., F. A. (2014). A Critical Analysis of Empiricism. Open Journal of Philosophy, 2014.

Macat. (2015). An Introduction to Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions- A Macat History Analysis.

Sfetcu, N. (2019). Imre Lakatos, The Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes-An Overview.

Thomas, K. (1962). The structure of scientific revolutions.

Warburton, N. (2015). Karl Popper’s Falsification.

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