what is the relationship between philosophy and science pdf

What is the relationship between philosophy and science pdf

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Philosophy and Its Contrast with Science

Edited by Paul Humphreys

The Thomist: A Speculative Quarterly Review

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Philosophy and science are both ways of learning about ourselves and about the rest of the world.

Philosophy and Its Contrast with Science

The touchstone of the value of philosophy as a world-view and methodology is the degree to which it is interconnected with life. This interconnection may be both direct and indirect, through the whole system of culture, through science, art, morality, religion, law, and politics.

As a special form of social consciousness, constantly interacting with all its other forms, philosophy is their general theoretical substantiation and interpretation. 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 philosophising, the latter often being understood as groundless and generally vague theorising. If the term philosophy is given such a poor interpretation, then of course anyone would agree with the warning "Physics, beware of metaphysics!

The specific sciences cannot and should not break their connections with true philosophy. Science and philosophy have always learned from each other. Philosophy tirelessly draws from scientific discoveries fresh strength, material for broad generalisations, while to the sciences it imparts the world-view and methodological im pulses 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.

One example is the idea of the atomic structure of things voiced by Democritus. Certain conjectures about natural selection were made in ancient times by the philosopher Lucretius and later by the French thinker Diderot.

Hypothetically he anticipated what became a scientific fact two centuries later. We may also recall the Cartesian reflex and the philosopher's proposition on the conservation of motion in the universe.

On the general philosophical plane Spinoza gave grounds for the universal principle of determinism. The idea of the existence of molecules as complex particles consisting of atoms was developed in the works of the French philosopher Pierre Gassendi and also Russia's Mikhail Lomonosov.

Philosophy nurtured the hypothesis of the cellular structure of animal and vegetable organisms and formulated the idea of the development and universal connection of phenomena and the principle of the material unity of the world. Lenin formulated one of the fundamental ideas of contemporary natural science—the principle of the inexhaustibility of matter—upon which scientists rely as a firm methodological foundation. 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.

Besides influencing the development of the specialised 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 and methodology.

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 generalisation of these facts. The achievements of the specialised sciences are summed up in philosophical statements. 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 methodology.

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.

Mendeleyev's brilliant system of chemical elements deepened our understanding of the structure of matter. Einstein's theory of relativity changed our notion of the relationship between matter, motion, space and time.

Quantum mechanics revealed hitherto unknown world of microparticles of matter. The theory of higher nervous activity evolved by Sechenov and Pavlov deepened our understanding of the material foundations of mental activity, of consciousness.

Cybernetics revealed new horizons for an understanding of the phenomena of information interactions, the principles of control in living systems, in technological devices and in society, and also the principles of feedback, the man-machine system, and so on.

And what philosophically significant pictures have been presented to us by genetics, which deepened our understanding of the relationship between the biological and the social in man, a relationship that has revealed the subtle mechanisms of heredity.

The creation and development by Marx, Engels and Lenin of the science of the laws of development of human society, which has changed people's view of their place in the natural and social vortex of events, holds a special place in this constellation of achievements of human reason. 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 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 and at regional and international conferences and congresses. So the connection between philosophy and science is mutual and characterised by their ever deepening interaction. Some people think that science has reached such a level of theoretical thought that it no longer needs philosophy.

But any scientist, particularly the theoretician, knows in his heart that his 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 pupils with its beneficent influence in order to make them specialists capable of comprehensively and critically analysing all the principles and systems known to science, discovering their internal contradictions and overcoming them by means of new concepts.

Real scientists, and by this we usually mean 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.

Sometimes these qualities are brilliantly expressed, as in the work of Marx, particularly in his Capital, or in Einstein's wide-ranging natural scientific conceptions. 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 knowl edge, 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. Today too many gifted minds are oriented on destructive goals. 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.

For example, philosophy and physics were at first organically interconnected, particularly in the work of Galileo, Descartes, Kepler, Newton, Lomonosov, Mendeleyev and Einstein, and generally in the work of all scientists with a broad outlook.

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 generalising truth.

Philosophy does not replace the specialised 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 specialised 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 specialised science, without a broad grasp of inter-disciplinary and philosophical views. The specialised 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 speciality.

But this is a profound delusion. In reality every scientist, whether he realises 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.

Oversimplifying the question a little, one may say without such concepts as property, cause, law or accident. But these are, in fact, philosophical categories evolved by the whole history of human thought and particularly in the system of philosophical, logical culture based on the experience of all fields of knowledge and practice.

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, particular ly in the present age, when knowledge has formed an extremely ramified system.

Suffice it to say, for example, that medicine alone comprises some specialised branches. Medicine has "scalpelled" man into hundreds of little parts, which have become the targets of independent investigation and treatment. Sciences have become so ramified that no brain, however versatile can master all their branches, or even one chosen field.

No one nowadays can say that he knows the whole of medicine or biology or mathematics, as some people could have said in the past. Like Goethe's Faust, scientists realise 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 specialisation 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 specialisation we cannot make progress and at the same time such specialisation 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, for example, will lag farther and farther behind the general flood of information and become more and more limited as the years go by.

Aristotle knew nearly everything that was known to his epoch and constituted the substance of ancient science, but today by the time he leaves school the pupil is expected to know far more than Aristotle. And it would be a lifetime's work even for a gifted person with a phenomenal memory to learn the fundamentals of all the sciences.

What is more, narrow specialisation, deprived of any breadth of vision, inevitably leads to a creeping empiricism, to the endless description of particulars. What are we to do about assembling integral knowledge? Such an assembly can nevertheless be built by the integrative power of philosophy, which is the highest form of generalisation of all human knowledge and life experience, the sum-total of the development of world history.

By means of philosophy the human reason synthesises 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 realise 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.

Edited by Paul Humphreys

Access options available:. We ought, however, to begin with some kind of nominal definitions to indicate where the regions in question are to be found on the general map of knowledge. We might start by saying that the philosophy of nature is that knowledge of the physical universe which is sought by philosophers, while natural science is that kind of knowledge of the same physical universe which is sought by scientists. This scarcely seems sufficient, even as a merely nominal definition; but it is difficult to say more without immediately launching into the main theme. So we shall go on to our third term-" Thomist.


I will conclude with some implications of this synergetic relationship between science and philosophy for the liberal arts and sciences. Page 2. 2. Contents. 1.


The Thomist: A Speculative Quarterly Review

In this chapter, two significant connections between epistemology and philosophy of science are discussed: approaches to knowledge in traditional epistemology and in philosophy of science, and the roles played by instruments in the production of scientific knowledge. The author considers, in particular, how these roles can be illuminated by certain forms of epistemological theorizing, such as internalism and externalism. These considerations indicate the significance that internalist and externalist considerations play in the proper formulation of suitable epistemic conditions for scientific instruments. By engaging with this aspect of epistemological reflection, philosophers of science can be provided a better account of the epistemology of instruments, which produce some of the most significant pieces of knowledge in scientific practice.

First published on 9th June Last updated 1 January by Dr Helen Klus. There is no such thing as philosophy-free science; there is only science whose philosophical baggage is taken on board without examination. Science has a massive impact on everyone.

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Она совершила судорожный рывок влево и вроде бы закружилась в воздухе, а затем снова прильнула к центру лестницы. Халохот сделал стремительный прыжок. Вот. На ступенях прямо перед Халохотом сверкнул какой-то металлический предмет. Он вылетел из-за поворота на уровне лодыжек подобно рапире фехтовальщика. Халохот попробовал отклониться влево, но не успел и со всей силы ударился об него голенью. В попытке сохранить равновесие он резко выбросил руки в стороны, но они ухватились за пустоту.

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