A scientific principle is a set of ideas based on rules and laws that are generally accepted in the scientific community. Thus, they serve as a foundation for further research.
That is, a scientific principle is a truth accepted by scientists, being the basis of their studies and possible discoveries, inventions or demonstrations.
Scientific principles are ideas that guide researchers in the development of their work. This, raising hypotheses that must be contrasted with the evidence.
Likewise, these principles allow projections to be made, taking as a reference the data observed in the present.
Difference Between Scientific Principle and Law
A law describes an event. However, it does not explain why this happens. It can be the relationship between two variables, or a specific situation or condition. Instead, a principle does tell us why something happens.
We better see it with an example. One of the economic principles proposed by Gregory Mankiw is the following: all economic agents must face dilemmas and decisions.
According to this principle, given that there is a limitation of resources, as well as unlimited needs, agents must choose how to maximize and make efficient use of these resources.
Instead, an example of a law could be the law of supply and demand. This indicates that, holding everything else constant (ceteris paribus), the quantity demanded of a good falls when its price rises. Likewise, holding everything else constant, the quantity supplied of a good increases when its price increases.
In the first case, the principle presented by Makiw explains the what of the constraints faced by economic agents. However, the law describes a fact, but does not explain it.
In practice, law and principle are sometimes used interchangeably. Although, as we have explained, they are not exactly the same.
Because we are dedicated to economics, we have presented examples related to this subject. However, there are examples in physics, mathematics, and other sciences. In that sense, we can notice that the principles are more qualitative or descriptive, while the laws are more quantitative and can be translated into mathematical equations.
Scientific Principle and Thought
We must be clear that scientific principles, as the name implies, must be based on science. That is, it is not about proposing ideas or affirmations based only on an observation, but rather the scientific method must be followed.
The cientific method it is a methodology that allows us to arrive at knowledge that can be considered valid from the point of view of science. Thus, the following steps must be followed: observation, induction, hypothesis, experimentation, analysis and conclusion.
We must emphasize that the results obtained from this technique are falsifiable, that is, they can be re-evaluated and are not absolute or indisputable. Thus, over time, with perhaps more evidence, inconsistencies or inaccuracies may be found.