The fundamental principles of the scientific method are essential for enhancing perspective, increasing productivity, and stimulating innovation. These principles include deductive and inductive logic, probability, parsimony and hypothesis testing, as well as science's presuppositions, limitations, ethics and bold claims of rationality and truth. The examples and case studies drawn upon in this book span the physical, biological and social sciences; include applications in agriculture, engineering and medicine; and also explore science's interrelationships with disciplines in the humanities such as philosophy and law. Informed by position papers on science from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, National Academy of Sciences and National Science Foundation, this book aligns with a distinctively mainstream vision of science. It is an ideal resource for anyone undertaking a systematic study of scientific method for the first time, from undergraduates to professionals in both the sciences and the humanities.
Hugh G. Gauch, Jr is a Senior Research Specialist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, New York. He teaches Cornell's course on scientific method and for the last four decades his research has focused on the statistical analysis of ecological and agricultural data. He is author of Scientific Method in Practice (Cambridge University Press, 2002), which is the basis for this more concise and student-focused text.
Foreword James R. Miller; Preface; 1. Introduction; 2. Four bold claims; 3. A brief history of truth; 4. Science's contested rationality; 5. Science's presuppositions; 6. Science's powers and limits; 7. Deductive logic; 8. Probability; 9. Inductive logic and statistics; 10. Parsimony and efficiency; 11. Case studies; 12. Ethics and responsibilities; 13. Science education; 14. Conclusions; References; Index.