Why control an experiment?

Published: 03. September 2019
Category: Humanities
Author: John S Torday, Frantisek Baluska

From empiricism, via consciousness, toward Implicate Order

We made a deliberate decision to become scientists and not philosophers, because science offers the opportunity to test ideas using the scientific method. And once we began our formal training as scientists, the greatest challenge beyond formulating a testable or refutable hypothesis was designing appropriate controls for an experiment. In theory, this seems trivial, but in practice, it is often difficult. But where and when did this concept of controlling an experiment start? It is largely attributed to Roger Bacon, who emphasized the use of artificial experiments to provide additional evidence for observations in his Novum Organum Scientiarum in 1620. Other philosophers took up the concept of empirical research: in 1877, Charles Peirce redefined the scientific method in The Fixation of Belief as the most efficient and reliable way to prove a hypothesis. In the 1930s, Karl Popper emphasized the necessity of refuting hypotheses in The Logic of Scientific Discoveries. While these influential works do not explicitly discuss controls as an integral part of experiments, their importance for generating solid and reliable results is nonetheless implicit.


experimental control; experiment; Explicate Order; Implicate Order; David Bohm


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Why control an experiment

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