Procedures of Empirical Science

Procedures of Empirical Science

Procedures of Empirical Science

Procedures of Empirical Science

Excerpt

The problem of empirical science is the acquisition and systematization of knowledge concerning the things and phenomena experienced in observation.

The basic procedures of empirical science occur in daily life. Prior to his cultivation of science an individual perceives relatively stable things in space and time, describes them with the aid of symbols which record and communicate the results of observation, and explains perceptible phenomena in terms of causes. Simple experimental techniques are also used in the ordinary conduct of life. The child learns the operations of counting, of measuring length and time, of weighing with a balance. The builder uses tools, the housewife applies heat to produce the chemical reactions of cookery, the farmer cultivates crops. Such procedures are based upon prehistoric discoveries and inventions which have been the heritage of the race. In our historic era empirical science criticizes, augments, and systematizes practical experience. The science of one generation becomes incorporated in the technology of the succeeding one. Science and practice co-operate in the adjustment of man to his environment.

The preceding description of the interdependence of science and practice may be illustrated by a sketch of the origin of science in ancient Greece. It is traditional that the Greeks created European science, but their achievement was founded on knowledge and procedures which had been inherited from earlier Babylonian and Egyptian civilizations. The observations of correlations between the apparent positions of the heavenly . . .

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