# 48 – MM’s – Method and Methodology

Para quem distingue dificilmente entre método e metodologia:

Methodology: The systematic analysis and organization of the rational and experimental principles and processes which must guide a scientific inquiry, or which constitute the structure of the special sciences more particularly. Methodology, which is also called scientific method, and more seldom methodeutic, refers not only to the whole of a constituted science, but also to individual problems or groups of problems within a science. As such it is usually considered as a branch of logic; in fact, it is the application of the principles and processes of logic to the special objects of the various sciences; while science in general is accounted for by the combination of deduction and induction as such. Thus, methodology is a generic term exemplified in the specific method of each science. Hence its full significance can be understood only by analyzing the structure of the special sciences. In determining that structure, one must consider

  1. the proper object of the special science,
  2. the manner in which it develops,
  3. the type of statements or generalizations it involves,
  4. its philosophical foundations or assumptions, and
  5. its relation with the other sciences, and eventually its applications.

The last two points mentioned are particularly important: methods of education, for example, will vary considerably according to their inspiration and aim. Because of the differences between the objects of the various sciences, they reveal the following principal methodological patterns, which are not necessarily exclusive of one another, and which are used sometimes in partial combination. It may be added that their choice and combination depend also in a large degree on psychological motives. In the last resort, methodology results from the adjustment of our mental powers to the love and pursuit of truth.

  1. There are various rational methods used by the speculative sciences, including theology which adds certain qualifications to their use. More especially, philosophy has inspired the following procedures:
    1. The Socratic method of analysis by questioning and dividing until the essences are reached;
    2. the synthetic method developed by Plato, Aristotle and the Medieval thinkers, which involves a demonstrative exposition of the causal relation between thought and being;
    3. the ascetic method of intellectual and moral purification leading to an illumination of the mind, as proposed by Plotinus, Augustine and the mystics;
    4. the psychological method of inquiry into the origin of ideas, which was used by Descartes and his followers, and also by the British empiricists;
    5. the critical or transcendental method, as used by Kant, and involving an analysis of the conditions and limits of knowledge;
    6. the dialectical method proceeding by thesis, antithesis and synthesis, which is promoted by Hegelianlsm and Dialectical Materialism;
    7. the intuitive method, as used by Bergson, which involves the immediate perception of reality, by a blending of consciousness with the process of change;
    8. the reflexive method of metaphysical introspection aiming at the development of the immanent realities and values leading man to God;
    9. the eclectic method (historical-critical) of purposive and effective selection as proposed by Cicero, Suarez and Cousin; and
    10. the positivistic method of Comte, Spencer and the logical empiricists, which attempts to apply to philosophy the strict procedures of the positive sciences.
  2. The axiomatic or hypothetico-deductive method as used by the theoretical and especially the mathematical sciences. It involves such problems as the selection, independence and simplification of primitive terms and axioms, the formalization of definitions and proofs, the consistency and completeness of the constructed theory, and the final interpretation.
  3. The nomological or inductive method as used by the experimental sciences, aims at the discovery of regularities between phenomena and their relevant laws. It involves the critical and careful application of the various steps of induction: observation and analytical classification; selection of similarities; hypothesis of cause or law; verification by the experimental canons; deduction, demonstration and explanation; systematic organization of results; statement of laws and construction of the relevant theory.
  4. The descriptive method as used by the natural and social sciences, involves observational, classificatory and statistical procedures (see art. on statistics) and their interpretation.
  5. The historical method as used by the sciences dealing with the past, involves the collation, selection, classification and interpretation of archeological facts and exhibits, records, documents, archives, reports and testimonies.
  6. The psychological method, as used by all the sciences dealing with human behaviour and development. It involves not only introspective analysis, but also experimental procedures, such as those referring to the relations between stimuli and sensations, to the accuracy of perceptions (specific measurements of intensity), to gradation (least noticeable differences), to error methods (average error in right and wrong cases), and to physiological and educational processes.

Dictionary of Philosophy

Method: (Gr. methodos, method)

  1. Any procedure employed to attain a certain end.
  2. Any knowing techniques employed in the process of acquiring knowledge of a given subject-matter.
  3. The science which formulates the rules of any procedure.

2 thoughts on “# 48 – MM’s – Method and Methodology

  1. Pingback: MM’s – Method and Methodology « Feeds « Theology of Ministry

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