Aristotle, Locke, Berkeley, Hume

The scientific method and discovery is probably quite a bit older than Aristotle but the great Greek philosopher provides the first known paradigm in history of what we now call the scientific method. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Aristotle was the first genuine scientist in history and every scientist is in his debt.

Born in 384 BC in Stagira, 55 miles east of the port city of Thessaloniki, Aristotle is the greatest polymath of all time. His writings span the widest spectrum of human knowledge imaginable. Biology, zoology, physics, geography, astronomy, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theater, music. Have we…


We have all heard about Pragmatism. What does it really mean? Read on for the basics of this American philosophy and the people who made this a dominant trend in modern thinking. This is the complete version on Pragmatism previously published in three separate parts on this and other media.

This new philosophical current began to develop as nineteenth century America was coming of age culturally and intellectually. The undisputed founder of the new philosophy was Charles Sanders Peirce, one of the most original minds of the century and, in the words of Bertrand Russell, “the greatest American thinker ever”…


The history of science and philosophy in classical Greece shows that Aristotle and others, such as Eratosthenes and Hipparchus, were the first scholars to establish a scientific method, the pursuit of knowledge through systematic observation, measurement and experiment and the formulation, testing and modification of hypotheses.

Aristotle recognized that empirical input rather than pure reason is the only source of new knowledge. The basic steps of the scientific method have not changed much since Aristotle’s time. There are typically four steps: (1) Observation of a natural event. (2) Formulation of a hypothesis to explain the event. (3) Use of the…


Feyerabend and Kuhn explained

In my own experience scientists are actually fascinated and thrive by their own lack of knowledge. But what about their methods? Is there such a thing as the scientific method or do scientists make great discoveries in the absence of logic and method, driven by intuition, anarchy and (mostly) uncommon sense? Is there any value in the philosophy of knowledge and the study of the scientific method?


Quest for the Holy Grail

In his introduction to The Feynman Lectures on Physics, physicist Richard Feynman wrote “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics. So do not take the lecture too seriously, feeling that you really have to understand in terms of some model what I am going to describe, but just relax and enjoy it. I am going to tell you what nature behaves like. If you will simply admit that maybe she does behave like this, you will find her a delightful, entrancing thing. Do not keep saying to yourself, if you can possible avoid it, But how…


This article is aimed primarily at non-physicists wishing to have a better understanding of one of the great revolutions in science, which set the stage for modern physics. Advanced mathematics is avoided for the most part except in Maxwell, where the connection of mathematical formalism and physical reality leads to a deeper understanding of both.

In 1842 an Austrian physicist named Johann Christian Doppler proposed a theory that the frequency of a wave changes when the source of the wave is moving relative to an observer. …


Part 3: Renaissance and The Enlightenment

This historical timeline and summary was developed for my own personal use, to facilitate my philosophical readings. By the time it was completed it became apparent that this could be published for the benefit of readers with similar interests who have no formal philosophical training but are sufficiently interested in philosophical matters. It does not provide biographical notes or any discussion, defense and argumentation of ideas or explanatory examples. It provides an evolutionary perspective as well as a statement of the main ideas of each philosopher. …


Can subjectivism and objectivism be reconciled?

We can compare and confirm sensations received by different individual observers and thus form an objective view, that is, a view that is common to all observers and therefore void of observer idiosyncracies. But this is as far as we can go with the notion of objectivity. We cannot observe the absolutely objective and true reality unless we step outside of our human perspective, which is an impossibility. …


Einstein’s World Part III

In this third and last part of my series on Einstein I want to talk about General Relativity, which, according to some scholars, is the most beautiful physical theory ever invented.

Let us think of cosmological speeds for a while. As passengers on our planet earth, we travel along the earth’s revolution about its axis at the speed of over one thousand miles per hour, if we are in the tropics. That is about twice the speed of a Boeing 747. If we are in New York, our speed is more like 800 miles per hour, because our orbits become…


Einstein’s World Part II

In Part I of this three-part series on Einstein we focused on his biography and on some of the life experiences that shaped his personality and intellect. It is time now to make the effort to understand the meaning and significance of his scientific contribution.

The best place to start is Einstein’s 1905 explanation of the photoelectric effect, which gave him the Nobel prize in 1921. The photoelectric effect is the observation that many metals emit electrons when light shines upon them. It was first observed by Heinrich Hertz in 1887. This photoelectric effect is not to be taken lightly…

Michael Sidiropoulos

Independent consultant and author who writes about the philosophy of science and the scientific method. His most recent book is “The Mind of Science”.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store