What is Science? (2)
Francis Bacon’s scientific method consists of a procedure to compile scientific results in a set of rules or principals which will try to describe all the identical phenomena to the ones under experiment. The step between experimental results and theories involves what we call reason; in order to decide on future events we use reason to study the past events and create a rule that will guide us to the future. So for example, since the sun is rising every day, for the past thousand of years, therefore it is going to rise tomorrow. It’s easy to understand that this is a “tricky” point in the scientific procedure, it involves a little “guessing”.
We either have to assume that nature is really using a set of rules and laws , or even -more extreme- that laws and rules are more important parts of nature than the phenomena and experiences themselves. And if we want to take the second view to a more extreme we can also assume (or believe) that we can trust our own thought and reach these secret ways of nature without experience.
“Humans have knowledge only of things they directly experience”
David Hume (7 May 1711 – 25 August 1776), Scottish philosopher considered as one of the most important figures of Western philosophy. Hume attacked the views that ideas can exist outside of human experience and he tried to show that the root of all ideas is experience. His main “weapon” was the so-called “problem of induction” which can be (rather poorly) described with the above example of the sun. He suggested that something else other than reason suggests us to suppose that nature is uniform (i.e. since the sun is rising every day it is going to rise tomorrow, that the pattern will continue) and this something else is natural instinct. Since knowledge is based on experience, knowledge is subjective. In that view science can only be if there is collective experience that has structure, stability and repeatability. These regularities are the true subject of Science according to Hume.
“As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.” Albert Einstein