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Lecture 6: Philosophy of science & ethics Aims & objectives –Give a working definition of science Also examine science as a social process Examine hypotheses.

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Presentation on theme: "Lecture 6: Philosophy of science & ethics Aims & objectives –Give a working definition of science Also examine science as a social process Examine hypotheses."— Presentation transcript:

1 Lecture 6: Philosophy of science & ethics Aims & objectives –Give a working definition of science Also examine science as a social process Examine hypotheses and tests of these –Examine what we mean by causality –Examine fraud in science –Explore issues of ethics in human research

2 What is science? ‘Science seeks to understand the factors responsible for the stable relationships between events’ (Jones & Gerrard, 1967) ‘…general laws through systematic observation’ (Gergen, 1973) ‘Science is an agreed upon set of procedures, not construct or theories’ (Scarr,1985) ‘Knowledge acquired by study’ & ‘trained skill’ (OED)

3 Indication-deduction Logical deductive methods –From theory to observations Indication –From observations to theory Realists vs anti-realists

4 History & scientific knowledge Kuhn (1970) – scientific revolutions Gergen – social psychology as history –Hard science has temporal stability –Social phenomena do not has such stability –Values and culture

5 Measurement & Psychology as pathological science Joel Michell –Science requires interval or ratio measurement –At best ordinal –Steven’s - measurement is the assignment of number according to a rule Psychology (especially psychometrics) in ‘denial’ that it is not quantitative Probabilities, rt, time, etc.

6 Mill YNot-Y XAB Not-XCD

7 Correlation & causation ‘correlation does not imply causation, causation does not necessarily imply correlation’ (r =.34) Pregnant: YES Pregnant: NO Intercourse: YES Intercourse: No

8 Causality Hume –Temporal order –Meet in time and space –Cause produces single effect –Many causes produce the same effect these have something in common –Cause and effect relationships not always linear Manicas & Secord –Causal agency –Explanation and prediction are not equivalent –Multi-disciplinary approach

9 Theories Principles –Symbolise the world –Map general principle and logical rules –Have properties of organisation –Permit predictions (explanation) Qualities –Correspond to reality –Parsimony –Falsifiable –Precision –Operational/testable

10 Falsifiability & the Duhem- Quine thesis Theory cannot be proven, just dis-proven Positive incidences of a phenomenon are not helpful Duhem-Quine thesis – falsification means that a theory needs to be adjusted not thrown out Social psychology is just near tautology

11 Values, morals & fraud Burt The painted mice Piltdown man Mendel Newton Ptolemy Galileo Dalton Psychology Medicine Archaeology Genetics Physics Astronomy Physics

12 Ethics and morals Personal morals and ethical codes may be in conflict –Animal righst vs animal experimentation –Genetic research vs religion –GM food vs ecology

13 Nuremberg code Consenting volunteers Fully informed volunteers Risks of experiments reduced where possible Protect the subject against the remotes harm Subjects can leave at any time Experiments conducted by a qualified person Stop if adverse effects emerge Results should be for the good of society Experiments, where possible should be based on previous work No experiment where death is expected

14 Issues Confidentiality Good of society Deception Privacy Informed consent

15 Confidentiality Law of the land Information useful to the police Glasgow street gangs Is confidentiality sacrosanct? Inform participants under what circumstance confidentiality would be broken

16 Good of society Can you justify anything for the greater good of society? Milgram GM food De-briefing Milgram, all subjects were followed up 1 year later. 80% were glad to have been part of the study, 15% were ambivalent and only 1% had regrets. What of the other 4%?

17 Deception Milgram Real shocks = no deception Trend towards multiple deceptions Consequentialists Deontologicalists

18 Privacy – Humphery’s ‘tea room trade’ This involved deception & invasion of privacy Played the ‘watch queen’ Took car numbers Abused a position of authority Pretended to be a health official

19 Informed consent Reported in only 8% of studies (1985) Right to withdraw in 5% Who does it protect? Informed consent leads to Reduced response rates Loss of experimental effects Participants have a sense of control

20 Philosophical questions Can professions police themselves? Intentions and consequences? Are ethics committees useful and who do they protect? (Popper’s view) Language of ethical codes is indicative ‘Psychologists do not…’ rather than should not Ethical codes are not Theological


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