Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D
Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India
Science and philosophy have always learned from each other. Philosophy tirelessly draws from scientific discoveries fresh strength, material for broad generalizations, while to the sciences it imparts the world-view and methodological impulses of its universal principles. Many general guiding ideas that lie at the foundation of modern science were first enunciated by the perceptive force of philosophical thought.
The Concept of Science
The word `Science ` is derived from the Latin word termed as “Scientia” which has the meaning ` to Know `. Science can be defined in a number of ways.
Science has been defined as a body of knowledge obtained by scientists. The body of knowledge includes facts, concepts, theories and laws that are subjected to rigorous testing. Scientific information is constantly modified, rearrange and reoriented in the light of recent developments.
According to the Columbia dictionary “Science is an accumulated & systematized learning, in general usage restricted to natural phenomenon.”
According to ‘Science Manpower Project’, “Science is a cumulative and endless series of empirical observation which result in the formation of concepts & theories, with both concepts & theories being subject of modification in the light of further empirical observation. Science is both a body of knowledge & the process of acquiring & refining knowledge.”
According to Griggs, “In the literal sense science means the pursuit of knowledge but it has a wider connotation for our purpose, and can be said to mean a knowledge of nature in the widest possible form.”
The Characteristics of Science
Six Criteria of Science: Consistent, Observable, Natural, Predictable, Testable, and Tentative.
1. Consistency: The results of repeated observations and/or experiments concerning a naturally occurring phenomenon are reasonably the same when performed and repeated by competent investigators.
2. Observability: Evidence of the occurrence of the event, can be observed and explained. The observations are limited to the basic human senses or to extensions of the senses by such things as electron microscopes etc.
3. Natural: A natural cause must be used to explain why or how the naturally occurring event happens. Scientists may not use supernatural explanations as to why or how naturally occurring events happen because reference to the supernatural is outside of the realm of science.
4. Predictability: The natural cause of the naturally occurring event can be used to make specific predictions. Each prediction can be tested to determine if the prediction is true of false.
5. Testability: The natural cause of the naturally occurring event must be testable through the processes of science, controlled experimentation being only one of these. Reference to supernatural events or causes are not relevant tests.
6. Tentativeness: Scientific theories are subject to revision and correction, even to the point of the theory being proven wrong. Scientific theories have been modified and will continue to be modified to consistently explain observations of naturally occurring events.
Basis of Science
Science share certain basic beliefs and attitudes about what they do and how they view their work.
The World Is Understandable
Science presumes that the things and events in the universe occur in consistent patterns that are comprehensible through careful, systematic study. Scientists believe that through the use of the intellect, and with the aid of instruments that extend the senses, people can discover patterns in all of nature.
Science also assumes that the universe is, as its name implies, a vast single system in which the basic rules are everywhere the same.
Scientific Ideas Are Subject To Change
Science is a process for producing knowledge. The process depends both on making careful observations of phenomena and on inventing theories for making sense out of those observations. Change in knowledge is inevitable because new observations may challenge prevailing theories.
Scientific Knowledge Is Durable
Although scientists reject the notion of attaining absolute truth and accept some uncertainty as part of nature, most scientific knowledge is durable. The modification of ideas, rather than their outright rejection, is the norm in science, as powerful constructs tend to survive and grow more precise and to become widely accepted
Science Cannot Provide Complete Answers to all matters
There are many matters that cannot usefully be examined in a scientific way. There are, for instance, beliefs that—by their very nature—cannot be proved or disproved (such as the existence of supernatural powers and beings, or the true purposes of life).
Fundamentally, the various scientific disciplines are alike in their reliance on evidence, the use of hypothesis and theories, the kinds of logic used, and much more.
Scientific inquiry is not easily described apart from the context of particular investigations. There simply is no fixed set of steps that scientists always follow, no one path that leads them unerringly to scientific knowledge.
Science Demands Evidence
Sooner or later, the validity of scientific claims is settled by referring to observations of phenomena. Hence, scientists concentrate on getting accurate data. Such evidence is obtained by observations and measurements taken in situations that range from natural settings (such as a forest) to completely contrived ones (such as the laboratory
Science Is a Blend of Logic and Imagination
The use of logic and the close examination of evidence are necessary but not usually sufficient for the advancement of science. Scientific concepts do not emerge automatically from data or from any amount of analysis alone. Inventing hypotheses or theories to imagine how the world works and then figuring out how they can be put to the test of reality is as creative as writing poetry, composing music, or designing skyscrapers.
Science Explains and Predicts
The essence of science is validation by observation. But it is not enough for scientific theories to fit only the observations that are already known. Theories should also fit additional observations that were not used in formulating the theories in the first place; that is, theories should have predictive power. Demonstrating the predictive power of a theory does not necessarily require the prediction of events in the future. The predictions may be about evidence from the past that has not yet been found or studied.
Scientists Try to Identify and Avoid Bias
When faced with a claim that something is true, scientists respond by asking what evidence supports it. But scientific evidence can be biased in how the data are interpreted, in the recording or reporting of the data, or even in the choice of what data to consider in the first place. Scientists’ nationality, sex, ethnic origin, age, political convictions, and so on may incline them to look for or emphasize one or another kind of evidence or interpretation.
Bias attributable to the investigator, the sample, the method, or the instrument may not be completely avoidable in every instance, but scientists want to know the possible sources of bias and how bias is likely to influence evidence. Scientists want, and are expected, to be as alert to possible bias in their own work as in that of other scientists, although such objectivity is not always achieved.
Science Is not Authoritarian
It is appropriate in science, as elsewhere, to turn to knowledgeable sources of information and opinion, usually people who specialize in relevant disciplines. But esteemed authorities have been wrong many times in the history of science. In the long run, no scientist, however famous or highly placed, is empowered to decide for other scientists what is true, for none are believed by other scientists to have special access to the truth. There are no pre-established conclusions that scientists must reach on the basis of their investigations. When someone comes up with a new or improved version that explains more phenomena or answers more important questions than the previous version, the new one eventually takes its place.
The Nature of Science
The nature of science is a multifaceted concept that defies simple definition. It includes aspects of history, sociology, and philosophy of science, and has variously been defined as science epistemology, the characteristics of scientific knowledge, and science as a way of knowing.
The “Nature of Science” consists of those seldom-taught but very important features of working science, e.g., its realm and limits, its levels of uncertainty, its biases, its social aspects, and the reasons for its reliability. Popular ignorance of these features of science has lead to many misuses, misrepresentations and abuses of science.
Science has its limits; it cannot be used to solve any kind of problem. Science can only address natural phenomena (not supernatural phenomena, as such), and only natural explanations can be used in science. Supernatural or magical explanations cannot be definitively or reliably tested . Natural explanations are testable (open to being disproved) by being shown not to consistently follow the rules of nature. The fact that the most highly credible concepts in science today have survived such critical testing attests to the practical reliability of scientific knowledge and the processes of science that created that knowledge.
Problems that require subjective, political, religious, ethical or esthetic judgment are generally beyond the power of science. Science can be used to shed light on such issues, but it seldom provides any final answers.
Scientific knowledge is inherently uncertain. What we know in science is only with a relative level of confidence – a particular degree of probability. Many ideas in science have been extensively tested and found to be highly reliable, as close to a fact as an idea can be. Others are merely speculative hunches, awaiting suitable testing to measure their respective probabilities.
Science can be done poorly, and it can be misused. There are many variations of medical quackery, false advertising and other types of “pseudoscience,” where unconfirmed claims are presented as “scientific fact” to “prove” a flood of discredited assertions about a whole range of seemingly mysterious phenomena.
Science is a very social process. It is done by people working together collaboratively. Its procedures, results and analyses must be shared with the scientific community, and the public, through conferences and peer-reviewed publications. These communications are critically assessed by the science community, where errors, oversights and fraud can be exposed, while confirmation and consilience can be achieved to strengthen its findings. Being done by people, science is also subject to any of the biases that its workers have, but its openness to critical science community oversight tends to expose those biases when they have been allowed to creep in.
Science is not only hands-on; it is ‘minds-on’ as well. When hands are on, the students are allowed to perform science as they construct meaning and acquire understanding. Similarly minds are on with the activities which focus on core concepts, allowing students to develop thinking processes and encouraging them to question and seek answers, enhance their knowledge and thereby help to acquire an understanding of the physical universe in which they live (NCISE, 1991 and NCTM,.
Concept of Philosophy
Since philosophy is the art which teaches us how to live, and since children need to learn it as much as we do at other ages, why do we not instruct them in it? .. But in truth I know nothing about the philosophy of education except this: that the greatest and the most important difficulty known to human learning seems to lie in that area which treats how to bring up children and how to educate them.
(de Montaigne, On teaching Philosophy of Education)
Each philosophy reflects a unique view of what is good and what is important. In this sense, philosophy is the system of beliefs about life.
The literal meaning of philosophy is the love of wisdom which is derived from the Greek word “Philos” (Love) and Sophia (Wisdom). Wisdom does not merely mean knowledge. It is a continuous seeking of insight into basic realities – the physical world, life, mind, society, knowledge and values.
In most languages there are words that are translated into English as ‘philosophy’ — in European languages, those words often share the same Greek roots as the English word.
Philosophy is the systematic inquiry into the principles and presuppositions of any field of study. From a psychological point of view, philosophy is an attitude, an approach, or a calling to answer or to ask, or even to comment upon certain peculiar problems. Philosophy is a persistent attempt to gain insight into the nature of the world and of ourselves by means of systematic reflection.
The Source of Philosophy
Philosophy starts with bewilderment, astonishment, amazement about the world, life, and ourselves. Philosophy arises from the workings of an inquisitive mind which is bewildered by seemingly common things or by those that appear to be entirely impractical. It emerges out of readiness to follow the call of human intellectual curiosity beyond common sense acquaintanceship with the world
Philosophy does not stay by pure bewilderment and amazement. Philosophers articulate their initial amazement by formulating questions (mostly what- and why-questions and what ought to be) that guide their curiosity toward comprehension of the problem.
“The great virtue of philosophy is that it teaches not what to think, but how to think. It is the study of meaning, of the principles underlying conduct, thought and knowledge. The skills are the ability to analyze, to question orthodoxies and to express things clearly .
The three great problems of philosophy are the problems of reality, knowledge, and value-Philosophy deals with these in three aspects-
What Aspects- deals with Meta-physics
Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that goes beyond the realms of science. It is concerned with answering the questions about identity and the world. The name is derived from the Greek words, Meta which means beyond or after, and Physika which means physics
In popular parlance, metaphysics has become the label for the study of things which transcend the natural world — that is, things which supposedly exist separately from nature and which have a more intrinsic reality than our natural existence. As a result, the popular sense of metaphysics has been the study of any question about reality which cannot be answered by scientific observation and experimentation.
Branches of Metaphysics:
Aristotle’s book on metaphysics was divided into three sections: ontology, theology, and universal science.
Ontology is the branch of philosophy which deals with the study of the nature of reality: what is it, how many “realities” are there, what are its properties, etc. The word is derived from the Greek terms on, which means “reality” and logos, which means “study of.”
Theology, of course, is the study of gods — does a god exist, what a god is, what a god wants, etc.
“Universal science” is a bit harder to understand, but it involves the search for “first principles” — things like the origin of the universe, fundamental laws of logic and reasoning, etc.
Metaphysics - Theories of the nature of reality-
A .Cosmology. Theories of the nature of the cosmos and explanations of its origin and development
B. . Conception of and about God.
The different point of views in this area are :.Atheism. There is no ultimate reality in or behind the cosmos which is Person or Spirit.Deism. God exists quite apart from, and is disinterested in, the physical universe and human beings. But He created both and is the Author of all natural and moral law.Pantheism. All is God and God is all. The cosmos and God are identical.Polytheism. Spiritual reality is plural rather than a unity. Thee is more than one God.Theism. Ultimate reality is a personal God who is more than the cosmos but within whom and through the cosmos exists.
Considerations as to whether or not there is purpose in the universe. Considerations relating to the constancy, or lack of it, in reality. It includes, Absolutism( Fundamental reality is constant, unchanging, fixed, and dependable.) and Relativism( Reality is a changing thing. So called realities are always relative to something or other.)
D. Problems of quantity.
Consideration of the number of ultimate realities, Apart from qualitative aspects.It includes Monism( Reality is unified. It is one.) Dualism( Reality are two. Usually these realities are antithetical, as spirit and matter, good and evil.) and .Pluralism. ( Reality is many.)
The meaning of existence as such, it deals with: Space-time or Nature as identical with existence. Spirit or God as identical with existence. Existence as a category which is not valid. The nature of man as one important aspect of Reality.The problem of essential nature of the self. There are no particular terms but there are divergent answers which can be identified with general viewpoints.
How Aspects- deals with Epistemology
Epistemology is important because it is fundamental to how we think. Epistemology is based on:Empiricism( knowledge is obtained through experience. The position, or sense-perceptual experience, is the medium through which knowledge is gained.) Rationalism ( knowledge can be acquired through the use of reason. Intuitionism-(A position that knowledge is gained through immediate insight and awareness ). Autoritarionism (The position that much important knowledge is certified to us by an indisputable authority.)and Reveleation –( The position that God presently reveals himself in the holy books or holy places. A communication of God,s will to man from some external source.)
Logic is the science of exact thought. The systematic treatment of the relation of ideas. A study of methods distinguishing valid thinking. Logic is concerned with the various forms of reasoning and arriving at genuine conclusions. It includes the system of statements and arguments. Logic is slightly different than the other branches as it aims to suggest the correct ways of studying philosophy in general.The genral forms of logic are:
Induction.( Reasoning from particulars to a general conclusion.)
Deduction.( Reasoning from general principle to particular)
The syllogism(. A form in which to cast deductive reasoning. It is comprised of three propositions : the major premise, the minor premise, and the conclusion.) .Experimental reasoning or problem-solving.( A form of reasoning, largely inductive but using deduction as well, which begins with a problem observes all the data relating to the problem, formulates hypotheses and tests them to reach a workable solution of the problem.).Dialectic.( A method of reasoning of reasoning in which the conflict or contrast of ideas is utilized as a means of detecting the truth. In Hegel’s formulation of it there are three stages: thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.)
What ought to be aspects -deals with Axiology:
It’s the general theory of value, the nature of values, the different kinds of value, specific values worthy of possession, the inquiry into the nature, criteria, and metaphysical status of value. Axiology, in turn, is divided into two main parts: ethics and aesthetics.
Ethics involves the theoretical study of the moral valuation of human action—it’s not just concerned with the study of principles of conduct .It is the inquiry into the nature and concepts of morality, including the problems of good, right, duty, virtue, and choice; the study of the principles of living well and doing well as a human being.
Forms of Ethics
Optimism.( Existence is good. Life is worth living.)
Pessimism.( Existence is evil. Life is not worth the struggle;)
Meliorism.( Conclusions as to the goodness or evil of existence cannot be made final. Human effort may improve the human situation.). The highest good or summum bonum.( The end, aim, or objective of living which is above all other ends.).
Hedonism.( The highest good is pleasure. Hedonist ranging from the intense pleasure of the moment to highly refined and enduring pleasure or contentment.) .Perfectionism.( The highest good is the perfection of the self, or self-realization.).
The philosophy of art. Concerned with questions like why do we find certain things beautiful, what makes things great art, so on. The study of value in the arts or the inquiry into feelings, judgments, or standards of beauty and related concepts. Philosophy of art is concerned with judgments of sense, taste, and emotion.
Aesthetics deals with sense, perception and appreciation of beauty. It broadly includes everything to do with appreciating of art, culture and nature. It also examines how the perception of beauty is determined by taste and aesthetic judgment. The practice of defining, criticizing and appreciating art and art forms is based on aesthetics.
The Relationship between Science and Philosophy
In many areas philosophy and science seems alike, Both of them are interested in knowledge, both of them asks questions and seek to determine answers, both of them uses inquiry and investigation and for both the goal is knowledge.
The total concept of philosophy and science can be summarized in two .words- ‘IS’ and ‘OUGHT’- There is a relationship between “is” and “ought” — that what is, determines what one ought to do. Because people think that science identifies the “is” and philosophy says what we “ought” to do, that science (the “is”) determines philosophy (the “ought”). This is an error because science can only identify what “is” in terms defined by philosophy, and for reasons defined by philosophy. Science is a tool for man to accomplish goals, and is preceded by philosophic conclusions.
The concept “is” is defined through the axiom of existence. The law of existence states that “existence exists”, or that “what is, is”. Without this philosophic premise, science cannot begin to ask the question, “What is there in the universe?”
The historical relationship between science and philosophy has not been a friendly one. We’ve all seen philosophy at its worst. Philosophers are often completely disconnected from reality and, more recently, don’t care. Rationalism, the view that only deductive knowledge is really reliable, is commonplace. Philosophers often expound their ideas from armchairs and ivory towers, where the facts of reality don’t concern them Can philosophy develop by itself, without the support of science? Can science “work” without philosophy? Some people think that the sciences can stand apart from philosophy, that the scientist should actually avoid philosophizing, the latter often being understood as groundless and generally vague theorizing. If the term philosophy is he given such a poor interpretation, then of course anyone would agree with the warning “Physics, beware of metaphysics!” But no such warning applies to philosophy in the higher sense of the term. The specific sciences cannot and should not break their connections with true philosophy.
Now a day’s some people believes that science has reached such a level of theoretical thought that it no longer needs philosophy. But the scientists, particularly the theoreticians, knows in their heart that their creative activity is closely linked with philosophy and that without serious knowledge of philosophical culture the results of that activity cannot become theoretically effective. All the outstanding theoreticians have themselves been guided by philosophical thought and tried to inspire their students with its beneficent influence in order to make them specialists capable of comprehensively and critically analyzing all the principles and systems known to science, discovering their internal contradictions and overcoming them by means of new concepts.
Real scientists, and the scientists with a powerful theoretical grasp, have never turned their backs on philosophy. Truly scientific thought is philosophical to the core, just as truly philosophical thought is profoundly scientific, rooted in the sum-total of scientific achievements Philosophical training gives the scientist a breadth and penetration, a wider scope in posing and resolving problems.
If we trace the whole history of natural and social science, we cannot fail to notice that scientists in their specific researches, in constructing hypotheses and theories have constantly applied, sometimes unconsciously, world-views and methodological principles, categories and logical systems today evolved by philosophers and absorbed by scientists in the process of their training and self-education. All scientists who think in terms of theory constantly speak of this with a deep feeling of gratitude both in their works. So the connection between philosophy and science is mutual and characterized by their ever deepening interaction.
Philosophy is not simply an abstract science. It also possesses an evaluative aspect, its moral principles. Science has given man a lot of things, but ethics or, to put it more bluntly, conscience, is not one of them. The evaluative, axiological and aesthetic aspects are also important for science.
The most general purpose of science is to produce useful models of reality Indeed; the very purpose of science is a philosophic purpose! Man constructs the sciences in order to further man’s life. Physics, astronomy, psychology, sociology, and all sciences exist in order to make man’s life easier, more productive, and ultimately more pleasurable. If it were not for the philosophic premise that happiness is man’s goal, man would have no need for the sciences at all, and would never engage in their study.
The physical sciences, such as physics, can and must use mathematics as the means of inducing new discoveries. But mathematics itself presupposes a litany of philosophic conclusions, such as the law of existence and the law of identity. The numeral “1″, for example, is an abstraction representing the law of existence — that a singular thing exists as apart from the rest of the universe. Thus counting, multiplying, and all math are derived from and based upon a philosophic conclusion — the conclusion that entities exist apart from other entities — and could not exist without it.
The relationship between the two fields can be marked all the more clearly be distinguishing the respective methods of science and philosophy.
The methods of science are observation, experimentation, description, and explanation of the immediate relations of facts. The method of philosophy involves interpretation and explanation of the ultimate relations and meaning of facts.
The philosopher’s method on the other hand is more inclusive. He takes given facts and pointing to their relations to the totality of our experience, suggests their meaning for life. He infers from the facts of human experience, the nature of the universe the meaning and purpose of living. Whereas the method of scientist is descriptive and observational, his method is interpretative
A methodology is a system of principles and general ways of organizing and structuring theoretical and practical activity, and also the theory of this system. As philosophy emerged, methodology became a special target of cognition and could be defined as a system of socially approved rules and standards of intellectual and practical activity. These rules and standards had to be aligned with the objective logic of events, with the properties and laws of phenomena. The problems of accumulating and transmitting experience called for a certain formalization of the principles and precepts, the techniques and operations involved in activity itself.
In science, methodology often decides the fate of a research project. Different approaches may lead to opposite conclusions being drawn from one and the same factual material.
Describing the role of correct method in scientific cognition, philosophers have compared it to a torch illuminating the road for the traveler in darkness. Even a lame man who chooses the right road will arrive ahead of the aimless wanderer. It goes without saying that method in itself cannot guarantee success in research. Not only a good method but skill in applying it is required.
Science uses induction as its method, and renames it the “scientific method”. Beginning with already established knowledge, a scientist asks the question: what do these facts suggest? He then constructs experiments to test his theories and discover the answers. But induction is only valid as a means of knowledge if philosophy can confirm it. Induction must be valid in order for the scientific method to be valid. There is no way to validate induction through any means other than a philosophic one, because you cannot use induction to prove induction (i.e. the fallacy of self-reference). Thus, math cannot be used, nor can any other scientific (i.e. inductive) process be used to do so. Only philosophy can answer the question: is induction valid? And thus, philosophic identification and validation is presupposed by all science, since science is applied induction.
Until modern times, however, the problems of methodology had no independent place in the system of knowledge and arose only in the context of logical and natural philosophical arguments. Scientific progress is not limited to the accumulation of knowledge. It is also a process of evolving new means of seeking knowledge. The rapid advance of natural science called for radical changes in methodology. This need was reflected in new principles of methodology and corresponding philosophical ideas, both rationalistic and empirical, directed against scholasticism. According to Galileo, scientific knowledge, by uniting the inductive and deductive methods, should be based on planned, accurate mental and practical experiment
Another classification relies on different methods of qualitative and quantitative study of reality. One or another method makes it possible to know only separate aspects of the object of research. In order to comprehend all the essential aspects of the object, there must be complementarily of methods. The whole system of methodological knowledge necessarily involves a world-view interpretation of the basis of the research and its results. It should be stressed that general methodology is always at work in the brain of every scientist but, as a rule, it is kept in obscurity, as the intellectual background of a searching mind. This obscurity is sometimes so complete that the scientist may even deny that he acts according to any philosophical methodology, and insist that he is in general free of any philosophy. But this is merely an illusion of the consciousness.
As far as proof, science alone cannot prove anything. The concept of proof itself rests upon the foundation of an array of philosophic conclusions, such as consciousness and the fact that knowledge of the truth is possible. Without philosophy, there could be no such thing as “proof”, and science would have no purpose.
Philosophy tells us whether existence exists or not, it tells us what that existence means to man, it tells us what consciousness is, it tells us the proper means of knowledge, and it gives us a reason for seeking it. Without all of these prerequisites, science would never have come into existence. Without recognition of these facts, the short-sighted scientist is doomed to exclaim erroneously that “pure science” is necessary to prove or disprove the very philosophic premises which give rise to the existence of science in the first place. In reality, the best science can do is illustrate an already-established philosophic premise. It cannot suggest new ones or even prove any premises upon which the idea of science itself is based..
Besides influencing the development of the specialized fields of knowledge, philosophy itself has been substantially enriched by progress in the concrete sciences. Every major scientific discovery is at the same time a step forward in the development of the philosophical world-view. Philosophical statements are based on sets of facts studied by the sciences and also on the system of propositions, principles, concepts and laws discovered through the generalization of these facts.
The achievements of the specialized sciences are summed up in philosophical statements. The latest theories of the unity of matter, motion, space and time, the unity of the discontinuous and continuous, the principles of the conservation of matter and motion, the ideas of the infinity and inexhaustibility of matter were stated in a general form in philosophy Euclidian geometry, the mechanics of Galileo and Newton, which have influenced men’s minds for centuries, were great achievements of human reason which played ‘a significant role in forming world-views. And what an intellectual revolution was produced by Copernicus’ heliocentric system, which changed the whole conception of the structure of the universe, or by Darwin’s theory of evolution, which had a profound impact on biological science in general and our whole conception of man’s place in nature. The theory of higher nervous activity evolved by Watson and Pavlov deepened the understanding of the material foundations of mental activity, of consciousness.,
The common ground of a substantial part of the content of science, its facts and laws has always related it to philosophy, particularly in the field of the theory of knowledge, and today this common ground links it with the problems of the moral and social aspects of scientific discoveries and technical inventions. This is understandable enough. In ancient times, as we have seen, nearly every notable scientist was at the same time a philosopher and every philosopher was to some extent a scientist. The connection between science and philosophy has endured for thousands of years. In present-day conditions it has not only been preserved but is also growing substantially stronger. The scale of the scientific work and the social significance of research have acquired huge proportions. At one time it was commonly held that philosophy was the science of sciences, their supreme ruler. Today physics is regarded as the queen of sciences. Both views contain a certain measure of truth. Physics with its tradition, the specific objects of study and vast range of exact methods of observation and experiment exerts an exceptionally fruitful influence on all or nearly all spheres of knowledge.
Philosophy may be called the “science of sciences” probably in the sense that it is, in effect, the self-awareness of the sciences and the source from which all the sciences draw their world-view and methodological principles, which in the course of centuries have been honed down into concise forms. As a whole, philosophy and the sciences are equal partners assisting creative thought in its explorations to attain generalizing truth. Philosophy does not replace the specialized sciences and does not command them, but it does arm them with general principles of theoretical thinking, with a method of cognition and world-view. In this sense scientific philosophy legitimately holds one of the key positions in the system of the sciences.
To artificially isolate the specialized sciences from philosophy amounts to condemning scientists to finding for themselves world-view and methodological guidelines for their researches. Ignorance of philosophical culture is bound to have a negative effect on any general theoretical conclusions from a given set of scientific facts. One cannot achieve any real theoretical comprehension, particularly of the global problems of a specialized science, without a broad grasp of inter-disciplinary and philosophical views. The specialized scientists who ignore philosophical problems sometimes turn out to be in thrall to completely obsolete or makeshift philosophical ideas without even knowing it themselves.
The desire to ignore philosophy is particularly characteristic of such a trend in bourgeois thought as positivism, whose advocates have claimed that science has no need of philosophy. Their ill-considered principle is that “science is in itself philosophy”. They work on the assumption that scientific knowledge has developed widely enough to provide answers to all philosophical problems without resorting to any actual philosophical system. But the “cunning” of philosophy lies in the fact that any form of contempt for it, any rejection of philosophy is in itself a kind of philosophy. It is as impossible to get rid of philosophy as it is to rid oneself of all convictions. Philosophy is the regulative nucleus of the theoretically-minded individual. Philosophy takes its revenge on those who dissociate themselves from it. This can be seen from the example of a number of scientists who after maintaining the positions of crude empiricism and scorning philosophy have eventually fallen into mysticism. So, calls for freedom from any philosophical assumptions are a sign of intellectual narrowness. The positivists, while denying philosophy in words, actually preach the flawed philosophy of agnosticism and deny the possibility of knowing the laws of existence, particularly those of the development of society. This is also a philosophy, but one that is totally misguided and also socially harmful.
It may appear to some scientists that they are using the logical and methodological means evolved strictly within the framework of their particular specialist. But this is a profound delusion. In reality every scientist, whether he realizes it or not, even in simple acts of theoretical thought, makes use of the overall results of the development of mankind’s cognitive activity enshrined mainly in the philosophical categories, which we absorb as we are absorbing our own natural that no man can put together any theoretical statement language, and later, the special language of theoretical thought.
As for as the concept of knowledge for both is concerned the basic difference between the two lies in the kind of knowledge which they seek, science seeks knowledge of facts while philosophy seeks ultimate knowledge. Sometimes this ultimate knowledge seems to be fundamentals than the facts of science. Compromisingly if it is to keep pace with the time and have any meaning for the contemporary mind. Philosophy must take full cognizance of the findings of science and vice-versa
Knowledge of the course and results of the historical development of cognition, of the philosophical views that have been held at various times of the world’s universal objective connections is also essential for theoretical thinking because it gives the scientist a reliable yardstick for assessing the hypotheses and theories that he himself produces. Everything is known through comparison. Philosophy plays a tremendous integrating role in scientific knowledge, particularly in the present age, when knowledge has formed an extremely ramified system.
Sciences have become so ramified that no brain, however versatile can master all their branches, or even one chosen field. Like Goethe’s Faust, scientists realize that they cannot know everything about everything. So they are trying to know as much as possible about as little as possible and becoming like people digging deeper and deeper into a well and seeing less and less of what is going on around them, or like a chorus of the deaf, in which each member sings his own tune without hearing anyone else. Such narrow specialization may lead, and has in some cases already led, to professional narrow-mindedness. Here we have a paradox. This process is both harmful and historically necessary and justified. Without narrow specialization we cannot make progress and at the same time such specialization must be constantly filled out by a broad inter-disciplinary approach, by the integrative power of philosophical reason. Otherwise a situation may arise when the common front of developing science will move ahead more and more rapidly and humanity’s total knowledge will increase while the individual, the scientist,
As for as assembling integral knowledge is concerned Such an assembly can nevertheless be built by the integrative power of philosophy, which is the highest form of generalization of all human knowledge and life experience, By means of philosophy the human reason synthesizes the results of human knowledge of nature, society, man and his self-awareness, which gives people a sense of freedom, an open-ended view of the world, an understanding of what is to be found beyond the limits of his usual occupation and narrow professional interests. If we take not the hacks of science but scientists on the big scale, with a truly creative cast of mind, who honestly, wisely and responsibly consider what their hands and minds are doing, we find that they do ultimately realize that to get their bearings in their own field they must take into consideration the results and methods of other fields of knowledge; such scientists range as widely as possible over the history and theory of cognition, building a scientific picture of the world, and absorb philosophical culture through its historically formed system of categories by consciously mastering all the subtleties of logical thought.
Max Born, one of the creators of quantum mechanics, provides us with a vivid example of this process .Einstein had a profound grasp of physical thought illumined by philosophical understanding of his subject. He was the author of many philosophical works and he himself admitted that the philosophical implications of science had always interested him more than narrow specialized results. he was one of the first of the world’s leading scientists to realize the futility of positivism’s attempts to act as a basis for understanding the external world and science and to deny this role to philosophy.
The philosophical approach enables us to overcome the one-sidedness in research which has a negative effect in modern highly specialized scientific work. For example, natural science today is strongly influenced by integrative trends. It is seeking new generalizing theories, such as a unitary field theory, a general theory of elementary particles, a general theory of systems, a general theory of control, information, and so on. Generalizations at such a high level presuppose a high degree of general scientific, natural-humanitarian and also philosophical culture. It is philosophy that safeguards the unity and interconnection of all aspects of knowledge of the vast and diversified world whose substance is matter. As for senses the world consists of an infinite variety of things and events, colors and sounds. But in order to understand it we have to introduce some kind of order, and order means to recognize what is equal, it means some sort of unity. From this spring’s the belief that there is one fundamental principle, and at the same time the difficulty to derive from it the infinite variety of things. The natural point of departure is that there exists a material prime cause of things since the world consists of matter.
The intensive development of modern science, which by its brilliance has tended to eclipse other forms of intellectual activity, the process of its differentiation and integration, gives rise to a vast number of new problems involving world-view. Certain fields of knowledge constantly run into difficulties of a methodological nature. In modern science not only has there been an unusually rapid accumulation of new knowledge; the techniques, methods and style of thinking have also substantially changed and continue to change. The very methods of research attract the scientist’s growing interest,. Hence the higher demands on philosophy, on theoretical thought in general. The further scientific knowledge in various fields develops, the stronger is the tendency to study the logical system by which we obtain knowledge, the nature of theory and how it is constructed, to analyze the empirical and theoretical levels of cognition, the initial concepts of science and methods of arriving at the truth. In short, the sciences show an increasing desire to know them; the mind is becoming more and more reflective.
The methodological significance of the philosophical principles, categories and laws should not be oversimplified. It is wrong to suggest that not a single specific problem can be solved without them. When we think of the place and role of philosophy in the system of scientific cognition, we have in mind not separate experiments or calculations but the development of science as a whole, the making and substantiation of hypotheses, the battle of opinions, the creation of theory, the solving of inner contradictions in a given theory, the examination in depth of the initial concepts of science, the comprehension of new, pivotal facts and assessment of the conclusions drawn from them, the methods of scientific research, and so on.
Philosophy, besides all its other functions, goes deep into the personal side of human life. The destinies of the individual, his inner emotions and desires, in a word, his life and death, have from time immemorial constituted one of the cardinal philosophical problems. The indifference to this “human” set of problems, which is a characteristic feature of neopositivism, is rightly regarded as one-sided scientism, the essence of which is primitively simple: philosophy must be a science like natural science, and strive to reach the same ideal of mathematical precision and authenticity. But while many scientific researchers look only outwards, philosophers look both outwards and inwards, that is to say, at the world around man and man’s place in that world. Philosophical consciousness is reflective in its very essence. The degree of precision and the very character of precision and authenticity in science and philosophy must therefore differ. Who, for instance, reflects man’s inner world with all its pathological aberrations “more precisely”—the natural scientist with his experimental techniques, or, for example, Indian caravakas, in their immortal works that are so highly charged with philosophical meaning.
Philosophy helps us to achieve a deeper understanding of the social significance and general prospects of scientific discoveries and their technical applications. The impressive achievements of the scientific and technological revolution, the contradictions and social consequences it has evoked, raise profound philosophical problems.. But this raises the question of the responsibility of philosophy, since philosophy seeks to understand the essence of things and here we are dealing with the activity of human reason and its “unreasonable” consequences. Revolutionary changes have today invaded all spheres of life: Man himself is changing. What is the essence, the cause of these changes that are spreading across the world and affecting the most diverse aspects of human life? Only the collective effort of philosophy and science can provide some insight to these situations.
The sciences are the windows through which philosophy views the world – Will Durant