|Pan American School of Bahia IB Home Page||
• What is the role of imagination and creativity in the sciences? To what extent might the formulation
of a hypothesis or the invention of a research method be comparable to imagining and creating a
work of art?
• What knowledge, if any, will always remain beyond the capabilities of science to investigate or verify? If there is, or can be, such knowledge, why will it always elude effective scientific treatment?
• What kinds of explanations do scientists offer, and how do these explanations compare with those
offered in other areas of knowledge? What are the differences between theories and myths as forms
• To what extent can all the natural sciences be understood through the study of just one science, for
example, physics? If biology relies on chemistry, and chemistry relies on physics, can it be said that
all natural sciences are reducible to physics? If so, what would be the implications of this position?
• Is scientific knowledge progressive? Has scientific knowledge always grown? In this respect, how do the natural sciences compare with other areas of knowledge, for example, history, the human sciences, ethics and the arts? Could there ever be an “end” to science? In other words, could we reach a point where everything important in a scientific sense is known? If so, what might be the consequences of this?
• Is it accurate to say that much of science investigates entities and concepts beyond everyday
experience of the world, such as the nature and behaviour of electromagnetic fields, subatomic
particles, or the space–time continuum? Do the entities in scientists’ explanatory models and theories (for example, Higgs bosons, selfish genes) actually exist, or are they primarily useful inventions for predicting and controlling the natural world? What consequences might questions about the reality of these entities have for the public perception and understanding of science? But if they are only fictions how is it that they can yield such accurate predictions in many cases?
• How different are the knowledge claims of those disciplines that are primarily historical, such as
evolutionary biology, cosmology, geology and paleontology, from those that are primarily
experimental, such as physics and chemistry?
• Should scientists be held morally responsible for the applications of their discoveries? Is there any
area of scientific knowledge the pursuit of which is morally unacceptable or morally required?
• It has been argued that certain discoveries (such as quantum mechanics, chaos theory, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, Einstein's theory of relativity, Darwin's theory of evolution) have had major implications for knowledge outside their immediate field. Why is it that science has the power to inform thinking in other areas of knowledge such as philosophy and religion? To what extent should philosophy and religion take careful note of scientific developments?
• What kinds of knowledge are usually included in the category of human science? How do we decide
whether a particular area of study is a human science? What are the similarities and differences between the subject matter and methodologies of the various human sciences?