Analysis Of Conan Doyle 's ' Elementary ', Holmes Exclaims

1773 WordsMay 25, 20178 Pages
In Knowledge, there is always a trade-off between accuracy and simplicity’. Evaluate this statement with respect to two Areas of Knowledge’ Elementary’ , Holmes exclaims. By this phrase, Conan Doyle suggests our protagonist finds simplicity in his accurate logical inferences. Conversely, as an IB learner, as I increase the accuracy of my knowledge of the world around me, I often find this new knowledge more challenging than what has gone before. It is this compromise to which I believe this question refers. Simplicity is a lack of complexity of knowledge, whether through an ease of understanding or lack of assumptions implicit within explanations. Accuracy is a measure of correctness of knowledge relative to what is actually true. I agree…show more content…
However, as long as we are prepared to further refine our theories when new evidence arises, we should not abandon them altogether. In my opinion, scientific theories can still have great value when helping us to make predictions in the majority of cases. However, a counter-claim is simplicity aids reasoning when gaging accuracy of scientific explanations. The simplicity principle states the simplest theory providing an equally acceptable explanation of experimental trends is ‘preferred’ . This was applied in Phlogiston’s refutation. Many once believed combusting substances gave off Phlogiston. . As metals gain mass in combustion, if they simultaneously lost Phlogiston, the latter would require a negative mass. By the simplicity principle, it was concluded Lavoisier’s oxygen theory, which did not resort to this ludicrous assumption, whilst explaining the same experimental evidence, was more accurate. I think simplicity is desirable as scientists rely on empiricism; they verify their hypotheses through active experimentation. Simpler theories are likely to exist more within the bounds of experimental data. In contrast, as we move to more complex theories we are forced to make claims that are not fully falsifiable. We can test for oxygen but it would impossible to confirm Phlogiston’s negative mass to prove its existence. The greater
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