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Section 1 Foundations of Doctoral Study / Chapter 5 The Nature of Inquiry

The reader should note that there is a difference between phenomena having continuity and being indistinguishable.

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The reader should note that there is a difference between phenomena having continuity and being indistinguishable. Continuity denotes some sort of connection between phenomena. There are similarities between ordinary and scientific inquiry, but these similarities are due to their mutual connection. Discovery has been proposed as this connection or, in formal terms, the intersection of ordinary and scientific inquiry. To say these two types of inquiry have continuity is to say there is an uninterrupted relationship (intersection) of the two.


As noted later in this chapter, there is a sense in which ordinary and scientific inquiry are discontinuous. This may seem confusing. The point to consider is how something can have both continuity and discontinuity with something else, to be necessary in one respect but unnecessary in another. When it is stated that scientific inquiry is an outgrowth of ordinary inquiry this seems to help explain this sort of phenomena, but it only shows part of the picture. The example of a table may provide further explanation of this relationship.


One can state that the legs of the table have continuity with the tabletop. By definition, a table includes some sort of legs upon which a top rests. Here, the table, taken as a whole, is used to represent the entire activity of inquiry. The legs of the table are taken as analogous with ordinary inquiry, and the top is taken to be like scientific inquiry. This example may also seem inconsistent, for it implies that there would be no scientific inquiry without ordinary inquiry, and no ordinary inquiry without scientific inquiry. In one specific sense, this is correct.


Although, temporally speaking, scientific inquiry is an outgrowth of ordinary inquiry, that is ordinary inquiry precedes the activity of scientific inquiry, the activity of inquiry contains both and needs both to be what it is, just as in the table example. This is not to state that life cannot be lived without science. Surely, life was lived before the birth of formal science, and there are many worthy endeavors in life that do not include science. It means that either type of inquiry taken in isolation is deficient. Put another way, some of the deficiencies of both types of inquiry are satisfied by the awareness and embracing of their continuity. Science without everyday life does not have a purpose. Everyday life without systematic ways of knowing is limited in scope, ignoring the tools accessible for humans to use.