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scientific method (generally referred to in the definite, as the scientific method)

  1. (sciences) A method of discovering knowledge about the natural world based in making falsifiable predictions (hypotheses), testing them empirically, and developing theories that match known data from repeatable physical experimentation.
    • 1858 - George Woodyatt Hastings, Andrew Edgar, Charles Wager Ryalls, Edwin Pears - Transactions of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science
      Mr. Payne's paper aimed at the introduction of a scientific method founded upon rational principles which were altogether unknown to the mass
    • 1974, Thomas S. Szasz, M.D., chapter 6, in The Myth Of Mental Illness[1], ISBN 0-06-091151-4, page 102:
      Let us sharply distinguish here between two epistemological positions. The first, extreme physicalism, asserts that only physics and its branches can be considered sciences.15 Hence, all observations must be formulated in the language of physics. The second position, a sort of liberal empiricism, recognizes a variety of legitimate methods and languages within the family of science.16 Indeed, since different types of problems are considered to require different methods of anal- ysis, a diversity of scientific methods and expressions is not merely tolerated, but is considered necessary. According to this position, the value, and hence the scientific legitimacy, of any particular method or language depends on its pragmatic utility, rather than on how closely it approximates the ideal model of theoretical physics.

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