Nature of Science
(NOS)
What is NOS about?
What is science?
How do scientists do their work?
What is the nature of scientific knowledge?
How does scientific knowledge develop?
Is science objective? (What is objectivity?)
How does science differ from other ways
of knowing?
Study of NOS
The study of NOS informed by:
Philosophy of Science
History of Science
Sociology of Science
Science Education
What do we know about
NOS?
Science cannot be singularly (and definitively)
defined because it is interpreted in different
ways by different people.
Methods such as the NOS card sort and surveys
encourage students to think specifically about
their views on science.
Scientists, science educators & philosophers of
science have proposed some consensus views
on NOS.
Consensus Views on NOS
Empirically-based
Scientific knowledge is based on evidence.
Testable
Scientific ideas can be theoretically falsified
through evidentiary tests or predicted
observations.
Tentative, yet Reliable
Scientific ideas can change given new data or
new interpretations
Consensus NOS Views
Culturally-embedded
Scientists & scientific ideas are influenced
by the society from they arise.
Creative
Scientists employ creativity in posing
questions, collecting data, and interpreting
data. (What does this suggest about “The
Scientific Method?)
Consensus NOS Views
Theory/Law Distinction
Scientific theories are robust, empirically
supported explanations of natural
phenomena. Scientific laws are perceived
regularities regarding the natural world.
Therefore, theories never become laws.
Laws are typically more narrow in focus
than theories.
Provide examples from the
history of science to support…
Empirically-based
Testable
Tentative
Culturally-embedded
Creative
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Nature of Science (NOS)