Philosophy And Science

This blogger's last post on philosophy elicited some comments from folks who thought I was devaluing the discipline. I attempted to clarify the relationship between science and philosophy. However, I'm not sure I was very successful, as the distinction is not always clear.


The Ask MetaFilter website had a post a few years ago that elicited several comments that this blogger thinks can further add to the understanding of the differences and similarities regarding these disciplines. Following are representative comments:

“Where science ends and philosophy begins there is a matter of some debate.”
“Science, as it exists today, happens within the framework of a philosophy.”

"I wouldn't consider the practice of science to be philosophy, much like trying to figure out why a car isn't working isn't philosophy. However, the historical and logical bedrock of science is certainly based on philosophical thought.”
“Philo-sophia is the greek "love of wisdom"; sciencia is the latin "knowledge" (the greek equivalent being "episteme"). So are wisdom and knowledge the same? Not exactly, by most accounts anyway, but they're certainly related"
"Science is trying to get at the details, the facts, the actual information of the physical world that we can pin down and make use of. Philosophy is trying to look at the larger picture and understand the interrelations, what it all means, the foundation for existence to start with." (COMMENT: This blogger reads this explanation of philosophy and finds it wanting in truly giving us information with which we can understand "what it all means" or the "foundation for existence." (This is at the heart of my previous comments.)
"The sciences have an established frame work for epistemology for physical properties, stemming from the philosophy of science."
"What makes something scientific? Answer: falsifiability; i.e. you can prove through experiment or observation that something is false.”
“---science is very simple: The only things we can know are things which we can test, which is to say come up with a series of circumstances and outcomes, and establish which outcomes confirm and deny our theory.
“This depends on many assumptions though. This is not a condemnation - you depend on these assumptions to get yourself through the day. The big one is induction. When I tap my finger on the table, I assume it will make a sound that I hear, because that's generally what happens when things collide. The table could, instead, explode. I would be quite surprised, and would probably question the causality at work - surely me tapping things doesn't make them explode... I tap things all the time and it's only happened once! Pragmatically, this sort of reasoning seems obvious - but there is no reason why that should be. Why does the world around us follow predictable patterns? That's the sort of question philosophy asks.

“Most people live by inductive reasoning scientific thinking, and those who don't are typically though of as mentally handicapped or insane. Children do it naturally. Watch a child with some new object... a rubber ball for instance. They will drop it, watch it bounce, and as soon as their parent fetches it, do it again. They may do this hundreds of times. In the process, they learn about things falling and bouncing and that mom will continue to pick the ball up only so many times. Science, no matter how impenetrable it can get for the laymen, is always based around the same basic philosophical underpinnings.”
“Science is concerned with predicting and describing natural phenomena. Philosophy is concerned with explaining human value. The main tool in science is Francis Bacon's scientific method. The main tool in philosophy is Aristotle’s logic.”
“Science is a philosophy because it's an organized way of understanding the world. Philosophy isn't a science because it doesn't follow the scientific method.”

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To quote Albert Einstein:

"One thing I have learned in a long life: that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike -- and yet it is the most precious thing we have."

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