Scientific Reasoning
Scientific Reasoning

Scientific Reasoning

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A question pack on the philosophy of science by Saylor academy.

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Scientific Reasoning Q1

If there are 52 cards in a deck, four of which are Jacks and twelve of which are face cards, then what is the probability that a random card drawn from the deck will be a Jack given that it is a face card?

A

1/13

B

1/12

C

1/4

D

1/3

Scientific Reasoning Q2

Suppose that a piece of evidence, E, raises the probability that some hypothesis, H, is true (that is, suppose that Pr(H|E) > Pr(H)). Then, according to Bayesianism,

A

E falsifies H.

B

E confirms H.

C

E proves H.

D

E neither falsifies, confirms, nor refutes H.

Scientific Reasoning Q3

Suppose there were a supreme being, such as God, with complete knowledge of the laws of nature and the causal history of the world, as well as an expert ability to construct arguments. Which account of explanation implies that this being could never EXPLAIN anything?

A

Nomological account

B

Causal account

C

Unification account

D

Pragmatic account

Scientific Reasoning Q4

Suppose you and your parents go out for a buffet dinner, but everyone starts feeling sick and having stomach aches when you all get home. If your mom ate oysters, beef, and salad; if your dad ate oysters but neither beef nor salad; and if you ate oysters and salad but no beef, applying Mill’s Method of Agreement should lead you to infer which of the following?

A

The oysters made you all sick.

B

The beef made you all sick.

C

The salad made you all sick.

D

Some combination of oysters, beef, and salad made you all sick.

Scientific Reasoning Q5

Suppose you and your parents go out for a buffet dinner, but everyone except you starts feeling sick and having stomach aches when you all get home. If both your mom and your dad ate oysters, beef, and salad; and if you ate oysters and beef but no salad, applying Mill’s Method of Difference should lead you to infer which of the following?

A

The oysters made your parents sick.

B

The beef made your parents sick.

C

The salad made your parents sick.

D

The oysters and beef made your parents sick.

Scientific Reasoning Q6

The astronomer Johannes Kepler recorded a series of observations for the position of Mars in the sky and the distance of Mars from the sun at various times. Which of the following claims contains a conception that colligates (in William Whewell’s sense of “colligate”) Kepler’s observations of the position of Mars relative to the sun at various times?

A

At time t1, Mars is at position x1.

B

At time t1, Mars lies on ellipse b.

C

The position of Mars at time t1 is not the same as the position of Mars at time t2.

D

At time t1, Mars is at a distance d1 from the sun.

Scientific Reasoning Q7

What is David Hume’s solution to the normative problem of induction?

A

Since we cannot prove that the conclusions of inductive inferences are justified, and we cannot prove that they are unjustified, we are free to believe that they are justified.

B

Since induction comes to us as naturally and inevitably as breathing, we are rationally justified in performing inductions.

C

Although the conclusions of inductive inferences cannot be justified deductively, they can be justified inductively.

D

No inductions are justified.

Scientific Reasoning Q8

What is Karl Popper’s solution to the normative problem of induction?

A

Since we cannot prove that the conclusions of inductive inferences are justified, and we cannot prove that they are unjustified, we are free to believe that they are justified.

B

Since induction comes to us as naturally and inevitably as breathing, we are rationally justified in performing inductions.

C

Although the conclusions of inductive inferences cannot be justified deductively, they can be justified inductively.

D

No inductions are justified.

Scientific Reasoning Q9

Which of the following accounts of explanation is NOT able to account for cases in which scientists use some laws of nature to explain other laws of nature?

A

Nomological account

B

Causal account

C

Unification account

D

Pragmatic account

Scientific Reasoning Q10

Which of the following arguments is an example of enumerative induction?

A

The mice in the laboratory died after taking the experimental drug; therefore, humans will die if they take the experimental drug.

B

The mice in the laboratory died after taking the experimental drug; therefore, all mice will die if they take the experimental drug.

C

The mice in the laboratory died after taking the experimental drug; mice who received a placebo rather than the experimental drug did not die; therefore, the experimental drug caused the mice in the laboratory to die.

D

The mice in the laboratory died after taking the experimental drug; the guinea pigs in the laboratory also died after taking the experimental drug; therefore, the experimental drug caused the mice in the laboratory to die.

Scientific Reasoning Q11

Which of the following cases is an instance of the Problem of Irrelevance for the nomological (or inferential) account of scientific explanation?

A

It is possible to use the laws of nature and information about the current position of planets to predict where the planets were in the past, but such an argument does not explain those past locations of the planets.

B

It is possible to use the laws of trigonometry and the law that light travels in a straight line to predict the height of a flagpole by measuring the flagpole’s shadow, but the length of the flagpole’s shadow does not explain the height of the flagpole.

C

Since the vast majority of smokers (99%) will never contract lung cancer, John’s smoking would not explain why John gets lung cancer.

D

Even if it is a law of nature that anyone who takes birth control pills does not get pregnant, John’s taking birth control pills does not explain why John does not get pregnant.

Scientific Reasoning Q12

Which of the following claims best expresses the “Quine-Duhem thesis”?

A

No hypothesis can be tested in isolation from auxiliary assumptions.

B

No hypothesis can be tested with observations that are not theory-laden.

C

No hypothesis can be tested by induction.

D

Scientific hypotheses are not testable.

Scientific Reasoning Q13

Which of the following claims best expresses the Uniformity of Nature premise at the heart of inductive inferences?

A

Nature is uniform.

B

For the most part, if a regularity holds in my experience, then it holds in nature more generally.

C

Nature exhibits regularities.

D

For the most part, nature exhibits regularities.

Scientific Reasoning Q14

Which of the following claims expresses an instance of Carl Hempel’s Ravens Paradox?

A

Observing a black raven confirms the hypothesis that all ravens are black.

B

Observing a white raven disconfirms the hypothesis that all ravens are black.

C

Observing a white horse confirms the hypothesis that all ravens are black.

D

Even one million observations of black ravens cannot confirm the hypothesis that all ravens are black.

Scientific Reasoning Q15

Which of the following claims is, in David Hume’s terminology, a matter of fact?

A

All triangles have three sides.

B

All triangles have four sides.

C

Some triangles are blue.

D

Some triangles have three internal angles.

Scientific Reasoning Q16

Which of the following claims might be the result of an inference based upon a colligation of facts (in William Whewell’s sense of “colligation of facts”)?

A

All oaks are trees.

B

All oak trees in the neighborhood were struck by strong winds.

C

All the oak trees in the neighborhood that were struck by strong winds fell down.

D

Strong winds caused the oak trees in the neighborhood to fall down.

Scientific Reasoning Q17

Which of the following inference patterns does the problem of induction call into question?

A

Experience shows that all Fs are Gs; therefore, all Fs are Gs.

B

Experience shows that all Fs are Gs; therefore, all Fs are probably Gs.

C

Experience shows that all Fs are Gs; therefore, being F is a cause of being G.

D

Experience shows that all Fs are Gs; therefore, being G is a cause of being F.

Scientific Reasoning Q18

Which of the following is NOT a condition of adequacy for a nomological explanation?

A

The explanans must contain general laws.

B

The explanans must have empirical content.

C

The explanans must be true.

D

The explanans must be falsifiable.

Scientific Reasoning Q19

Which of the following is NOT a condition of adequacy for a pragmatic explanation?

A

The explanans must contain general laws.

B

The explanans must be explanatorily relevant.

C

The explanans must be felt to be true.

D

The explanans must be more relevant than its rivals.

Scientific Reasoning Q20

Which of the following is NOT an objection to Carl Hempel’s deductive-nomological account of explanation?

A

Explanation and prediction are not always symmetric.

B

Some explanations use laws of nature to explain other laws of nature.

C

Some explanations explain events that occur with low probability.

D

Some predictions derived using laws of nature contain information that is explanatorily irrelevant.

Scientific Reasoning Q21

Which of the following is NOT one of the reasons a falsificationist (like Karl Popper) would give for concluding that astrology is not scientific?

A

Astrological predictions are too vague to be capable of refutation.

B

Astrologers do not abandon their theories when confronted with unfavorable evidence.

C

Astrology does not make testable predictions.

D

There is no evidence available to confirm any astrological theory.

Scientific Reasoning Q22

Which of the following is NOT one of the reasons Karl Popper gives for supposing that the criterion for whether a theory is scientific is whether the theory is falsifiable?

A

It is easy to obtain confirmations for theories.

B

Every genuine test of a theory is an attempt to falsify it.

C

Most theories in the history of science turn out to be false.

D

Upholding a theory after the theory is found to be false diminishes the scientific status of the theory.

Scientific Reasoning Q23

Why is the “Quine-Duhem thesis” a challenge to Falsificationism?

A

If the thesis is true, then no hypothesis is scientific.

B

If the thesis is true, then no hypothesis is objective.

C

If the thesis is true, then no hypothesis can be refuted.

D

If the thesis is true, then every hypothesis is theory-laden.

Scientific Reasoning Q24

“An empirical inquiry is scientific by virtue of allowing for learning from normal tests and reliably accomplishing one or more tasks of normal testing.” This paraphrase of an idea from Deborah Mayo best expresses the underlying idea for which of the following accounts of confirmation?

A

Bayesianism

B

Bootstrapping

C

Error statistics

D

Falsificationism

Scientific Reasoning Q25

“Science advances our understanding of nature by showing us how to derive descriptions of many phenomena, using the same pattern of derivation again and again, and in demonstrating this, it teaches us how to reduce the number of facts we have to accept as ultimate” (Philip Kitcher, “Explanatory Unification and the Causal Structure of the World,” in Scientific Explanation, P. Kitcher and W. Salmon [Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989], 423). This quotation best expresses the underlying idea for which of the following accounts of explanation?

A

Nomological account

B

Causal account

C

Unification account

D

Pragmatic account