• Beliefs and the Scientific Enterprise: a Framework Model Based on Kuhn's Paradigms, Polanyi's Commitment Framework, and Radnitzky's Internal Steering Fields

      Hart, Hendrik; Joldersma, Clarence W.; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 1983)
      In this thesis I attempt to develop an alternative to the logical positivist's image of science, which attempts to exclude beliefs from scientific investigations. First I set the problem up by describing what the positivists mean by belief and how they attempt to exclude belief through the use of the scientific method. I begin to develop an alternative by examining the views of three philosophers of science: Thomas S. Kuhn, Michael Polanyi, and Gerard Radnitzky. Each of them provides an alternative to the positivistic conception of science by suggesting that scientific research is surrounded by a framework of tacit beliefs. I present each view in the following way. First I describe the background and context for the framework hypothesis; then I explain the framework itself, including discussions on the nature of the framework, how it is acquired, its role in visible scientific activity, and how switches from one framework to another occur; finally I assess each person's insights, including each's relevance for my thesis. The examination of these views sets the stage for my last chapter. Here I briefly compare the three thinkers, noting similarities and differences. Then I highlight each thinker's unique insights. Finally, I present a brief description of what I believe is a viable alternative to the positivistic image of science, based on the work of the three philosophers.