Title 5 – KQ 1 what are the common methods for testing and accepting conclusions for production of knowledge?

KQ 1 what are the common methods for testing and accepting conclusions for production of knowledge?

The knowledge claims use one or more of the justifiers for testing and acceptance – the most common being Abductive Reasoning, Deduction , Empiricism , Induction , Occam’s Razor , Pragmatism , Probability theory , Scientific method , Logical positivism . Besides those mentioned earlier there are advocates of coherentism for the “circular” horn of the trilemma; foundationalists relying on the axiomatic argument and champions of fallibilism who point out that conjectural theories can be held as long as they have not been refuted.

More commonly , justification – to support the claim, reduce or remove doubt – uses  Empiricism (the evidence of the senses), Authoritative Testimony (the appeal to criteria and authority), or Logical Deduction. Based on the fundamental principle of empiricism , the experimental method  – widely used in Natural and Social sciences – investigates causal relationships among variables from the real world to support or negate knowledge claims. The methods that make use of basic axioms, established scientific laws, and previous experimental results to test and support knowledge claims are semi empirical in nature.

All of these methods are functional and handy for justifiying the knowledge claims when used in a particular setting or context. For instance, the view that reality is objective and consistent and that humans have the capacity to perceive reality accurately, and that rational explanations exist for elements of the real world form the base of the scientific method but these idealistic assumptions have been criticised when taken and applied on all accounts and for all areas of knowledge. Taking the case of Abductive reasoning which frequently employed in areas of diagnostic expert systems, Law , Artificial Intelligence research and medicine , is a form of logical inference which starts with an observation then seeks to find the simplest and most likely explanation and unlike deductive reasoning, the premises do not guarantee the conclusion. While Natural and Social sciences use hypotheses that are testable by observation and experiment , the hypotheses with the fewest assumptions is selected amongst the competing hypotheses applying the Law of parsimony to increase the reliability for testing the knowledge claims.