Monday, May 19, 2014

Western Culture and the Scientific Method

    For the first paper I ask my students in Environmental Studies to write about the connection between the Scientific Method (SM) and Western Culture (WC). The main idea that I am seeking in this paper is the understanding that we know the world we live in through a logical process based on experiential information, what one can label as "experimental observation."
    Leading my students to first recognize the historical importance of the Greek philosophers as the founding minds behind reason and logic I set a context based on values center on the idea of truth. Then in class we have a conversation about objectivity and subjectivity and why technology emerges from the need to parametrize information. Thus units of measurement come to exist and methodologies are developed not only to measure but to produce goods.
     Later we see how after the middle ages with the renaissance Descartes and Galileo among others established a system that we now call SM in order to contextualize and create a frame of reference for the ability to predict phenomena based on observation more than on the calendar. Just to clarify, many predictions before the scientific method were based on calendars created on past experiences. Such a predictability was based on the assumption that natural phenomena was unchangeable but at the same time there were some natural phenomena like the weather that seemed unpredictable.
    In this day and age being able to predict has become even more important, though much of the research done today is still on the phase of understanding how things work. What I want to teach my students is the intrinsic value of knowing the truth about something, and to understand that there are levels of knowledge about everything we see around in the world.
    What would be of the world if we were not interested on the truth?

No comments:

Post a Comment