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What is a theory - Essay Example

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A theory may have one statements or a number of statements. Most scientific theories are enthymemes. This means they contain hidden premises called auxiliary hypotheses which help us understand the implications of a theory. …
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Download file to see previous pages In this scientific stage, experiments and accumulation of empirical data played a major role in arriving at general statements. It was a down-up approach of knowledge acquisitions where a wider base of empirical data was used to precisely make predictions and explain phenomena.

On the other hand, theoretical stage is characterized by use of abstract statements that not only explain observed phenomenal in a unified manner, but also yield predictions far beyond the reach of inductive methods. Theories according to Hung are produced by mind just the way empirical data are a product of our common senses. The scientists who create such theories are called theoreticians and the field of science is full of them such as Newton, Dalton, and Franklin just to mention a few1. Contrastingly, the use of theories in search of knowledge is a top-down approach2.

Scientists believe that an empirical generalization of a phenomenal no matter how many instances of confirmations is not enough to warrant scientific conclusions. The generalizations are not trustworthy unless they are supported by a theory. Otherwise the generalization statements may look like a mare fantasy of our senses and ad hoc conclusions. Theories occupy a central place in advancement and development of science without which scientific discovery may be seen as brute irrational facts. Hung argues that, theories make science rational and aesthetically pleasing3.
Nature of Scientific Theories
In science, it means an explanation or model that covers a substantial group of occurrences in nature and has been confirmed by a substantial number of experiments and observations.
A theory may have one statements or a number of statements. Most scientific theories are enthymemes. This means they contain hidden premises called auxiliary hypotheses which help us understand the implications of a theory. For instance, the statement "Earth is round", if a ship should sail away over the horizon, the hull disappear before the masthead does, is invalid unless supported by an extra premises such as "light travel in a straight line". Normally this extra premise is omitted in many theories as scientists take them as too obvious to warrant any explanation4.
A theory is more general and better verified than a hypothesis. Thus can be referred to as a theoretical hypothesis. Unlike empirical generalizations, theories are free inventions of mind. For instance Newton devised theory of gravity to explain why things fall down; Dalton invented a theory of atoms to explain why certain things can combine with others.
In all the above theories, none had access to these new phenomena such as gravitation force or the micro particles of atoms world. However, through their imaginations they were able to come up with this wonderful discovery of the invisible world. Consequently, one may ask; why then should scientists accept this imaginative creativity of scientists and refute the imaginations of a lay person It should be noted that scientists imaginations is different from a lay person dreams of unreal world since scientific theories had passed the acid test of logical feature that affirm a good theory.
Not all theories are good per se, therefore, there is need to investigate the logical features of a good theory.
According to Hung, a good theory must explain ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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