In the Way of Inquiry • Justification Trap

There is a particular type of “justification trap” a person can fall into, of trying to prove the scientific method by solely deductive means, that is, of trying to show the scientific method is a good method by starting from the simplest possible axioms, principles everyone would accept, about what is good.

Often this happens, in spite of the fact one really knows better, simply in the process of arranging one’s thoughts in a rational order, say, from the most elementary and independent to the most complex and derivative, as if for the sake of a logical and summary exposition.  But when does that rearrangement cease to be a rational reconstruction and start to become a destructive rationalization, a distortion of the genuine article, and a falsification of the authentic inquiry it attempts to recount?

Sometimes people express their recognition of this trap and their appreciation of the factor it takes to escape it by saying there is really no such thing as the scientific method, that the very term “scientific method” is a misnomer and does not refer to any kind of method at all, in short, the development of knowledge cannot be reduced to any fixed method because it involves in an essential way such a large component of non-methodical activities.  If one’s idea of what counts as method is fixed on the ideal of a deductive procedure then it’s no surprise one draws that conclusion.

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This entry was posted in Animata, C.S. Peirce, Inquiry, Inquiry Driven Systems, Inquiry Into Inquiry, Intelligent Systems, Semiotics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to In the Way of Inquiry • Justification Trap

  1. Tom says:

    This sounds like a problem of using an explanatory hypothesis as an argument for believing something is true. An explanation is question begging, that is assuming the conclusion is true, with regard to functioning as an argument.

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