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    John Ziman argues that to “understand the nature of science, we must look at the way in which scientists behave toward one another, how they are organized, and how information passes between them” (page 5). He continues, “science stands in the region where the intellectual, the psychological, and sociological coordinate axes intersect. It is knowledge, therefore intellectual, conceptual, and abstract. It is inevitably created by individual men and women, and therefore has a strong psychological aspect. It is public, and therefore molded and determined by the social relations between the individuals” (page 6).
    Considering the movie Particle Fever, analyze how the psychological aspects of the search for the Higgs Boson differ between the experimentalists and theorists. What are the psychological aspects? Give specific examples from the movie, making sure to identify the theorists or experimentalists by name. How do the differences in the psychological aspects of the search affect the social relations among the scientists? Finally, how does looking at the search for the Higgs Boson in this way — in terms of Ziman’s ideas — enrich our understanding of science? That is, what does it help us see that we might otherwise overlook?
    Purpose of the assignment: To analyze a concrete example of science in terms of Ziman’s ideas about the nature of science being a social activity.
    Citations: Particle Fever can be found on YouTube. When quoting or paraphrasing, please give an approximate time-stamp, e.g., At minute 32, Nima claims that the multiverse hypothesis…





Subject Psychology Pages 5 Style APA


Ziman’s Ideas about the Nature of Science

Science has been viewed variedly by scholars. In a technical language, science refers to information; it does not act on a human body directly but speaks to the mind of an individual (Ziman, n.d).Various people have written and talked about science and its nature. It may be informative to explore how John Ziman came to develop his individual conception regarding the nature of and changes in science; the reflections and observations that he made during his career, the types of arguments that he presented, the lines of arguments that he followed during the four decades. Taking into consideration the Particle fever by Ziman, this paper analyzes the psychological facets of search for the Higgs Boson differ between theorist and experimentalists. To achieve this, the paper analyzes a conceret example of science in accordance with Ziman’s ideas regarding the nature of science being a social activity.

Ziman (n.d) asserts that scientific investigation is a practical art that is not being learnt out of books but be experience and imitation. Research workers have been shown to learn through apprenticeship by working under the supervision of their Ph.D.’s supervision of extra experienced and informed scholars, not necessarily by attending courses in physics. For instance, one may be assigned the task of “examining the effect of pressure on the band structure of the III-IV compounds.” With considerable assistance, criticism and encouragement, the individual may set up their apparatuses, make their measurements and perform their calculations, among other things, an in due course write their thesis and is considered a qualified professional. However, it is worth noticing that the individual here has not at any time in their life been made to learn some formal logics, nor will they be expected to defend their thesis in a systematic deductive procedure. Their examiners may ask them why they had made certain particular arguments during the course of their arguments, or they may ask about the reliability of some measurements. They may as well be asked to assess the worth of the “contribution” they have made to the whole subject. However, they will not ask them to provide any view/idea as to whether physics or science is eventually true or whether they are justified in believing in an external world. The examiners will be led to assume that the individual shares with then the same principles and language of their discipline. Evidently, no scientist, according to (Ziman, n.d), really doubt that theories and concepts are verified through observation. Thus, scientific arguments is not logically precise or very complex.

According Ziman, science is a public knowledge. He reasons that science does not necessarily refer to published information or knowledge. Any person has the opportunity to make observation, or even conceive a concept/hypothesis and get them printed and distributed to other people to read (Ziman, n.d). However, scientific knowledge goes beyond this in the sense that its theories and facts must survive a span of time of critical study/research and testing by other disinterred and competent people, and should have been found so convincing that they are nearly globally accepted (Ziman, n.d). The goal of science is not only to acquire information neither it is about uttering all non-conflicting views; its objective is a consensus of rational view over the widest probable field. A scientist is perceived as a person pursuing a one-sided conversation with reticent nature. He sees phenomena, see regularities, arrive at possible generalizations and deduces implications, among other things, before coming up with a law of nature. Every scientist see via their individual eyes.

From the foregoing, scientific research is a social activity. According to Ziman, to better understand the nature of science, there is a need to understand how scientists behave towards themselves. In the aforementioned example, the young scientist has no background understanding of formal logic. However, through experience and intimation, he acquires the knowledge and ultimately made themselves a public property. The philosophy of science, as asserted by Ziman (n.d), does not depend on the manner or way research is organized. According to Ziman (n.d), ‘pure’ science can only be defined sociology. Using the example provided, the scientist soon learns through the experience he had with his supervisors, implying that academic science is essentially a distinct human culture that has its own unique rules, practices, conventions and traditions (Ziman, n.d). These practices are governed by a set of undocumented social norms. By insisting upon the pooling of individual knowledge that is acquired from individual experience, the role of experiment and observation is stressed in understanding the nature of science, scientific empiricism and realism. 

In supporting the idea that the nature of science is that it is a social activity, Ziman alludes to his knowledge in Physics. According to Ziman, physics refers to a discipline that robustly links the world and mathematics, making science take the social nature. In his argument, Ziman argues that the essence of physics is that physics is a science wherein every endevour is made to connote nature in mathematical terms/terminologies.  He brings us to an understanding that physics is a nationality or rationality. In justifying the social nature of science, Ziman asserts that it is anticipated that science continue to increasingly contribute to national prosperity, yet national budgets are no longer able to support further expansion to investigate new research opportunities through larger research teams that are equipped with sophisticated apparatus.

In conclusion, referring to the example that is provided in this paper, it is evident that science has a social nature. While information and ideas can better be reshaped with information from those with a deep understanding of various concepts in science, observation and experience are instrumental in raising viable concepts. Through an interaction between an individual and one who has knowledge in a field or concept in science, one can grow to become a scientist. Thus, Ziman’s argument that science is a social activity is verifiable and has been approved in this paper.





Ziman, J. (n.d). Introductory Reading in The Philosophy Of Science: What Is


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