Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Science vs. Philosophy

Science without philosophy is lame, philosophy without science is empty.

Philosophy is the history of ideas and an ongoing inquiry into the nature of things based on abstract reasoning rather than empirical methods. Philosophy involves examining basic concepts such as truth, existence, reality, causality, and freedom. Philosophy comprises logic, aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, ontology, and epistemology. And science, which was formerly labeled natural philosophy, is now studied separately. Talking about science, it claims to be based on two types of reasoning (a). Inductive: If something has been happening in a particular fashion since time immemorial, it will keep on happening in the same way. (b). Deductive: These are deduced from inductive laws by using a toolkit called mathematics. Science vs. Philosophy, are they competitive or compatible disciplines, and how to leverage them in solving complex problems?

Science is an objective matter and field of study. Philosophy is a subjective matter and field of study. Observations and conclusions in the field of science are either right or wrong according to knowledgeable experts. Observations and conclusions in the field of philosophy may be acceptable or unacceptable to different people of different social and ethnic backgrounds. Science always needs philosophy. If there were no critical philosophy to add to the brainstorming, science will in the end loose ground. Unfortunately, the hardcore scientists do not always want to listen to what the philosophical critique of their science is. How to bridge this gap and make it work in real life is an enormous challenge.

Science without philosophy is lame, philosophy without science is empty. Philosophy is the mother of all sciences even presently philosophy seems to be the completely different discipline from science. Philosophy is a Greek portmanteau of the love of wisdom. All the academia claims to love the information- knowledge - wisdom. All sciences, should they be political, nautical botanical or any other are  philosophy. Questions are raised by philosophers and once they are able to find an answer, it’s a turnoff for them. They immediately declare it to be science. Mathematics is the science of structure. It studies structural relations. So it can also be described as the science of complexity ('complexity' just means 'a lot of structure'). One reason for the difficult relationship between mathematics and philosophy is that philosophers are trained to a certain blindness to structure. Philosophers love abstraction and hate complexity. They want to see complexity explained away in terms of a few simple principles an issue cannot be attained.

Science is grounded in philosophy. Does science need philosophy? Yes, of course, it does. It cannot reason, deductively or inductively without logic. The theoretical groundings of science as a methodology to gain knowledge empirically about physical reality are in epistemology and ontology. For example, mathematics is the science, mathematics is the design, construction and operation of deductive systems, based on the principles of logic and the patterns of nature. Patterns, real and abstract, are the very essence of thought, of communication, of computation, of society, and of life itself. Mathematics helps us understand our perceptions of reality. Mathematics encompasses arithmetic and algebra, geometry and trigonometry, calculus and analysis, statics and dynamics, probability and statistics, and operational or operation research. The taught subject now extends to so-called modern topics including sets and groups, vectors and matrices, and topology and non-Euclidean geometry. Mathematics is not usually classified as a science because it does not rely on an experiment in the traditional sense. And the structure and structural relations are not its only concerns.

Philosophy predates science and they were once basically the same. Philosophy is the foundation upon which science has been built and continues to put forth the questions which help move science onward and upward. They are not only compatible but in many ways they need one another to continue to advance.


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