In Our Time

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Society & Culture, History

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Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of ideas


The Scientific Method

January 26th, 2012

Episode 180 of 517 episodes

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the evolution of the Scientific Method, the systematic and analytical approach to scientific thought. In 1620 the great philosopher and scientist Francis Bacon published the Novum Organum, a work outlining a new system of thought which he believed should inform all enquiry into the laws of nature. Philosophers before him had given their attention to the reasoning that underlies scientific enquiry; but Bacon's emphasis on observation and experience is often seen today as giving rise to a new phenomenon: the scientific method.The scientific method, and the logical processes on which it is based, became a topic of intense debate in the seventeenth century, and thinkers including Isaac Newton, Thomas Huxley and Karl Popper all made important contributions. Some of the greatest discoveries of the modern age were informed by their work, although even today the term 'scientific method' remains difficult to define.With: Simon SchafferProfessor of the History of Science at the University of CambridgeJohn WorrallProfessor of the Philosophy of Science at the London School of Economics and Political ScienceMichela MassimiSenior Lecturer in the Philosophy of Science at University College London.Producer: Thomas Morris.

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