"An experiment is an orderly procedure carried out with the goal of verifying, refuting, or establishing the validity of a hypothesis." -Wiki
Whatever the precise nature of 'experimentation' turns out to be, it seems clear that many various methods of experimentation have become an integral part of what we call 'science'. This week we will examine the nature of experimentation itself in differing guises.
Is Wikipedia right that all experiments are always and only hypothesis driven? If so, what does that entail for our scientific enterprises and institutions? Can you ever 'prove' something through the experimental method? What is does it mean to falsify some hypothesis?
What are some different types of 'experiments' in different 'sciences'? How well do each function? Are there qualitative differences between experiments in social psychology in particle physics and in medicine?
Is there a significant degree to which we ought to be concerned with the artificiality of the laboratory? Might tightening the alliance between 'science' and 'experiment' be, in some areas, misleading?
What are some developments we have made or could we make in the future to improve experimental design? and/or the interface between experiment and theory?
Hope to see you this week for a spirited discussion of the foundations and methods of science.
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