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Abstract

During the past twenty years, research, curriculum development, and instruction in science education have been influenced by Gagne's conception of science processes. This article reports an investigation of the epistomologic foundations of this conception. The results indicate that a commitment to inductive empiricism pervades the presently held view of science processes. A major tenet of this commitment is that conceptual knowledge results from the application of science processes in understanding natural phenomena and solving problems. Criticism of the commitment in light of recent developments in the philosophy of science reveals that there is limited philosophical support for this view. The implication is that if science educators continue to use the presently held view of science processes, the conception needs to be reformulated. Otherwise, there is a clear danger that students will be presented an inaccurate and inadequate view of science processes. The alternative is to view the exact nature of science processes as being dependent upon the conceptual knowledge that is used to understand a particular phenomena or problem.