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    Discuss how well Popper’s model of Conjectures and Refutations applies to Fleming's Work on Penicillin

    Number of Pages: 8


    Summary of the research paper:

    A paper which considers the differences between Popper's methodology and that of the inductionists, and applies the theories to Fleming's discovery of penicillin. Bibliography lists 4 sources

    Name of Research Paper File: JL5_JLpoper.rtf

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    famous discoveries, such as Flemings work with penicillin and the well-known account of the discovery of the dirty Petri dish. The theory of induction, for example, states that scientific laws  can be derived from observation; however, as Champion (2005) states, this is only of value if the observations relate to a specific problem. In practical terms, inductivism can result in  a great deal of data being accumulated without any significant results. He also asserts that the inductive method tends to be limiting, in that it does not allow for the  "imaginative search for new ideas": the observer is confined to the parameters of what is being observed and cannot go outside them. Inductivism does not "assign any role . .  to criticism . . it encourages over-specialisation . . it provides no incentive to explore the wider . . implications of problems" (Champion, 2005, PG).  An alternative approach, which we can consider shortly in specific reference to Flemings work, is that of Karl Popper, whose theory of conjectures and refutations aligns well with Kuhns widely  accepted concept of paradigm shift as the foundation of advancing scientific knowledge. Kuhn asserts that progress is made as one paradigm after another is challenged and eventually overturned by superior  knowledge; from this perspective, we would say that Newtonian physics was the paradigm which was overturned by Einstein, and Einsteinian theories might well be overturned in the future as more  information about the universe is obtained. As Bala (2004) states, Poppers theories originated in his desire to separate scientific theories from pseudoscientific, something which  became of pressing interest after Einsteins theory of relativity overturned basic tenets of Newtonian physics. As Bala points out, this created a "crisis in the theory of knowledge . . 

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