In 1619, Rene Descartes set down four rules for applying his method for finding truth.

  • Never accept anything for true which I do not clearly know to be such.
  • Divide each of the difficulties under examination into as many parts as possible.
  • Begin with the simplest and easiest and then work step by step to the more complex.
  • Make enumerations so complete and reviews so general that I might be assured that nothing is omitted.

In the 19th century, the method evolved into six steps, and it was only in the 20th century and the work of KarlPopper that it split into those we recognize today.

  • Pose a question about nature (Some would say, not necessarily as the result of an observation).
  • Collect the pertinent, observable evidence.
  • Formulate an explanatory hypothesis, defining relevant assumptions.
  • Deduce its implications.
  • Test all of the implications experimentally.
  • Accept, reject, or modify the hypothesis based upon the experimental results.
  • Define its range of applicability.
  • Peer review
  • Publish (including methodology, data and analysis)
  • Evaluation and peers continue to test, extend and challenge the hypothesis.

See other InterestingMemes.

Last edited on Tuesday, January 7, 2003 4:49:55 am.