Lesson Worksheet: The Characteristics of Scientific Knowledge Philosophy

In this worksheet, we will practice identifying several important characteristics of scientific knowledge.


Studies of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine did not show that it was able to prevent all COVID-19 infections but that it was 95.3% effective at preventing severe cases. Which characteristic of scientific knowledge explains this limitation?

  • AIts humanitarian character
  • BIts cumulative character
  • CIts self-critical character
  • DIts probabilistic character
  • EIts social character


What is the function of a hypothesis?

  • AA hypothesis is a fundamental assumption used in scientific reasoning.
  • BA hypothesis is a tested and broadly accepted explanation of a phenomenon.
  • CA hypothesis is an article of faith that cannot be tested.
  • DA hypothesis is a claim explaining some phenomenon that is to be tested in an experiment.


Which of the following statements describes the social character of scientific knowledge?

  • AThe production of scientific knowledge is a largely solitary and independent activity.
  • BThe production of scientific knowledge depends on cooperation between members of the scientific community.
  • CThe production of scientific knowledge is only possible when scientists do not interfere with each other’s work.
  • DThe production of scientific knowledge requires the complete independence of scientists.


Which of the following is an example of the humanitarian character of scientific knowledge?

  • AEinstein’s theory of relativity was crucial to the development of the global positioning system.
  • BThrough COVAX, 507 million vaccines have been distributed in low- and middle-income countries.
  • CRadiocarbon dating allows paleontologists to determine the age of dinosaur fossils.
  • DThe Large Hadron Collider allowed physicists to discover the Higgs boson particle.


Which of the following are included in the kinds of social support needed to produce scientific knowledge?

  • ACooperation in the scientific community
  • BGovernment funding
  • CUniversities
  • DAcademic publishers
  • EAll of the answers are correct.


Which of the following describes the cumulative character of scientific knowledge?

  • AProgress in scientific knowledge is often achieved by overturning older beliefs.
  • BScientists acknowledge the limits of scientific knowledge.
  • CNew research furthers our understanding of the universe by building on established scientific knowledge.
  • DScientific knowledge employs controlled experiments to confirm or disconfirm hypotheses.
  • EScientific research is performed according to rigorous methodology designed to ensure its reliability.


Which of the following statements is about probabilities?

  • AIf you are not vaccinated, you will catch COVID-19.
  • BI have not caught COVID-19 because I am vaccinated.
  • CVaccines reduce the likelihood of catching COVID-19.
  • DIf you are vaccinated, you will not catch COVID-19.


Which of the following facts provides an example of the limits of scientific knowledge?

  • AChemists have identified all 98 naturally occurring elements.
  • BGeneticists have mapped the entire human genome.
  • CGeologists have shown that Earth is at least 4.49 billion years old.
  • DBiologists have identified 1.9 million species and estimate that a further 8.7 million species exist.


What is the basis of scientific knowledge?

  • AIntrospection
  • BEvidence
  • CSpirituality
  • DClose reading
  • ETraditional beliefs


Which of the following describes the rationality of scientific knowledge?

  • AA scientist must provide reasons for what they claim to know.
  • BAnyone can understand scientific knowledge without special education or training.
  • CA scientist must always ignore their emotions.
  • DA scientist should trust their ideas over their experiences.

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