intelligent design


HU3700: Study Questions for Final Exam

I. Terms: Define/Explain/Describe

Fall, 2004 argument

Bacon, Francis auxiliary hypothesis background knowledge causal realism causation confirmation conjecture constant conjunction of events constructive empiricism context of discovery context of justification creation science Darwin, Charles deductive argument crisis deductive-nomological


Dembski’s filter descent with

modification empiricism falsificationism

Hume, David idealism inductive argument direct realism epistemology fossil record hypothesis

Duhem problem explanation

Gestalt switch ideaism incommensurability induction inductive statistical inductivism

model inference to the best


Kuhn, Thomas macroevolution intelligent design logic materialism methodological microevolution

naturalism naïve inductivism natural selection

“New Riddle of Induction” normal science paradigm paradigm shift irreducible complexity logical positivism metaphysics mutation naturalism observable

Popper, Karl pre-science problem of induction scientific realism synthetic statement theory valid argument

Principle of Induction

Principle of the Uniformity of

Nature scientific antirealism scientific naturalism/materialism sophisticated

inductivism theoretical entity theory-laden sound argument theoretical term underdetermination verifiability principle verification principle

Discussion Questions:


What exactly is the problem of induction? In what way does the problem constitute an objection to inductivism? Be specific.


State and explain the objection to inductivism having to do with the role of background knowledge in scientific inquiry.


Give an example of a valid argument with clearly false premises and a clearly true conclusion. Give an example of an argument with clearly true premises and a clearly true conclusion that is invalid.


What is the Principle of the Uniformity of Nature? Why does Hume believe that it cannot be rationally justified? Be specific.


One argument against inductivism is that it does not adequately account for the role of background knowledge in designing experiments and gathering data.

What is the basis for this allegation? Give some examples of the kinds of background knowledge that inductivism allegedly leaves out of the picture. Be specific.


Explain Popper's distinction between the context of discovery and the context of justification . Why is this distinction crucial for Popper's falsificationist views about the scientific method?


How do falsificationists distinguish between scientific hypotheses and unscientific/pseudoscientific hypotheses? Explain how a scientific hypothesis can be both true and falsifiable. Be specific.


According to falsificationists, how do scientists come up with their hypotheses?

How does their view about the discovery of hypotheses differ from that of naïve inductivism? Be specific.


What exactly is the Duhem problem ? What exactly is the objection to falsificationism that is based on the Duhem problem? Be specific


One argument against falsificationism is that it is inconsistent with the fact that we often rely on the truth of scientific statements in significant practical ways.

Explain this objection. How would our practical reliance on the truth of scientific statements conflict with falsificationism? What aspects of falsificationism allegedly conflict with our reliance on scientific claims? Be specific.


Briefly summarize Thomas Kuhn’s views on scientific method. Compare and contrast his views with inductivism and falsificationism.


What is meant by “explanation” in science? What is the difference between explanation and prediction?


What exactly is the deductive-nomological model of explanation? State and explain one of the main objections to the DN model?


What is Inference to the Best Explanation? Give one of van Fraassen’s arguments against IBE?


Explain how IBE is used to argue for scientific realism?


Summarize Thomas Kuhn’s model of scientific change? Explain the important concepts that he employs in his model—pre-science, normal science, crisis, scientific revolution, paradigm, anomaly. How does Kuhn’s model of scientific change differ from the standard cumulative model?


Explain why Kuhn believes that science does not operate in a completely rational manner. What does he mean by “incommensurability”? What role does the notion of incommensurability play in Kuhn’s philosophy of science? What are the nonrational aspects of scientific change, according to Kuhn?