Friday, September 17, 2010

And on that theme...

I suppose I'll begin by saying that I did a BSc. It hardly seems to matter what it was in (CogSci, if anyone's curious) but what really matters is that while my degree was very interdisciplinary, there are a few key things that seem to make "science bachelors" work. One is that there is a truth-- obtainable, reliable, measurable, repeatable. If your work can't be repeated by everyone else, its value is considered significantly reduced and limited. The second is that if your research *isn't* orderly, linear process (see Laura's post re: Luker's comments on this) ... well... it isn't research.
This strong 'hard science- there is a truth' isn't, of course, true as you get deeper into things. Obviously at a higher level, math simply does not function like this. Neither does physics. However, my experience was that some of the sciences (like psychology) worked really hard at 'being a real science'... and a real science meant being able to find truth... even if that truth was only true within itty-bitty-carefully-defined-parametres.
I did enough philosophy of science, and epistemology (IB, anyone?) that I knew to beware the hard sale of 'truth' as a reachable, definable "thing". Even so, I am not convinced about the whole relativism vs. absolutism thing (for those who'd like a decent discussion of what relativism is and that whole debate, see here. For everyone else, relativism is basically the idea that things can be true for me, my culture, my country, etc. etc., but not necessarily true for any other person/culture/country because of their own views that make their own truth). How's that for fence-sitting?

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