Scientific concepts can help us understanding the world

Predictive coding. Rational unconsciousness. Uncalculated risk. Constraint satisfaction

Scientific concepts: what good are they outside of science?

The endeavour of science is not an abstract exercise to increase absolute knowledge in a vacuum, but it seeks to understand the world. The complex thing is that in doing so, scientific concepts have to employed to help give observers a means to describe or explain phenomena, however imperfect they may be. These concepts however, are not constrained esoteric terms that only scientists or students of science can utilize, but they provide any interested observer with the tools to explain the world around them, to explain human behaviour and condition.

Here are 35 quick examples you can start to think about today. They might even give you a means to explain your observations or arguments in an essay. For example, determining whether the world is necessarily a  ‘better place’ because of technology would often lie with people’s perception of a supposedly better life entails, and predictive coding would help us be aware of how expectations often determine what we perceive as good or bad quality. Uncalculated risk may sensitize us to irrational moral panics and fears that arise from events like vandalism or air plane crashes when in fact larger issues are overlooked. Constraint satisfaction alerts us to the fact that more choice is not necessarily a good thing, and sometimes even an imperfect but deliberate narrowing down of options is more productive to solution finding. Policy makers for instance, cannot simply consider options and ideas from ALL sectors of society with equal weight, lest they become crippled and inefficient as a result.


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