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The Scientific Method as a Point of Departure in Aging Research

  • Rubén FossionEmail author
  • Leonardo Zapata-Fonseca
Chapter

Abstract

What makes knowledge scientific is not its content per se but rather the form, in which it is obtained. Following the scientific method is a necessary condition to carry out a sound and methodologically valid research. However, for empirical researchers, it is not common practice to reflect upon the method itself. It has been argued that the scientific method is not so different from the common sense that we use in daily life to reach solutions, but with its successive steps better articulated so that scientific knowledge can approach more robust conclusions over time. Since the last quarter of the previous century, there are indications that reductionist strategy of the scientific method has reached its limits, and that therefore a complementary approach is needed to investigate new complex research problems. Consequently, emergentism and systemic thinking are becoming a new explanatory framework that is currently permeating virtually any field of knowledge and all spatiotemporal scales. In the present chapter, we focus on a very specific system under a rather specific yet common and relevant condition: the aging human being. Particularly, we introduce some notions on how the sciences of complexity can help, not only clinicians but also medical research in general –and in particular aging research– to reach a more complete understanding and assessment of the older adult both at an individual and population levels.

Keywords

Philosophy of science Reductionism Complexity Effective theory 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nuclear Sciences Institute and Centre for Complexity Science (C3)National Autonomous University of MexicoMexico CityMexico
  2. 2.Faculty of MedicineNational Autonomous University of MexicoMexico CityMexico

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