The Scientific Method

By Henry M. Cowles,

Book cover of The Scientific Method: An Evolution of Thinking from Darwin to Dewey

Book description

The surprising history of the scientific method-from an evolutionary account of thinking to a simple set of steps-and the rise of psychology in the nineteenth century.

The idea of a single scientific method, shared across specialties and teachable to ten-year-olds, is just over a hundred years old. For centuries prior,…


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Where and why did the modern idea of “the scientific method” show up? The somewhat disturbing answer is that it emerged from highly rhetorical attempts—mainly in one U.S. pop sci magazine in the early twentieth century—to distance wonderful “science” (in its modern sense, which was invented in the 1870s) from anything merely humanistic. The details of this hidden history leave you with the vertiginous sense that the very words we use in this areascience, rational, evidence, know—constitute a kind of fog of evidence-free non-rational assumptions.

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