Science and philosophy are two fields of knowledge creation that are often confused each other.
Philosophers and scientists are often seen simply as experts in everything and everything, intellectual authorities in any subject, which blurs the lines between their functions. Below, we will see what exactly distinguishes science from philosophy and what are its fields of action.
Main differences between science and philosophy
These differences are very basic and generalAnd we must not forget that science and philosophy are very vast and very diverse bits of knowledge, so it is not always easy to generalize them.
Overall, however, all forms of science have a number of common characteristics that make them more similar to each other than to philosophy, and the same is true of the latter discipline.
1. One wants to explain reality, the other manipulates ideas
Philosophy, unlike science, does not depend on empirical contrasts. This means that while all of the work of scientists revolves around whether their assumptions and theories are supported by experience, philosophers don’t need to make these kinds of contrasts to develop their work.
This is because scientists are trying to find the basic mechanisms by which reality works, while philosophers instead focus on studying the relationships that exist between certain groups of ideas on the basis of basic theoretical assumptions. .
For example, the work of René Descartes was developed from an exercise in logic: there is a subject, because otherwise he could not think for himself.
2. One is speculative and the other is not
Philosophy is fundamentally based on speculation, to a greater or lesser degree, while science, although it also incorporates some degree of speculation, limits its power by empirical contrast. In other words, in the second these ideas and theories which do not correspond to what is observed and do not explain things as well as others, are no longer used, because they are considered to be at a dead end.
In philosophy, on the other hand, it is possible to take for granted any theoretical starting point (As bizarre as it may seem at first glance) if it allows you to create an idea map or a philosophical system that is interesting from a certain point of view.
3. Philosophy deals with morality
Science tries to answer questions, not point out what the best ethical positions are. Its task is to describe things in the most objective and aseptic way possible.
Philosophy, on the other hand, has incorporated the theme of ethics and morality for thousands of years. He is not only responsible for building knowledge; he also tries to answer questions about what is right and what is wrong.
4. Answer different questions
Science asks very specific questions and they are worded very carefully. In addition, try to use very clear and specific definitions in the vocabulary you use, so that it is clear whether a theory or hypothesis is fulfilled or not.
Philosophy, on the other hand, much more general questions are asked than science, And generally uses much more difficult concepts to define which, to be understood, first require knowledge of the philosophical system to which they belong.
5. They have different needs
In order for science to develop, it is necessary to invest a lot of money in it, because this type of research is very expensive and requires very expensive instruments, such as special machines or a team of people who spend several months working in coordination to respond to them. to a very specific question.
Philosophy, on the other hand, is not that expensiveBut on the contrary requires a social climate in which it is possible to launch certain types of philosophical research without being subjected to censorship. Moreover, as philosophy is generally not as applied in character as science, it is currently not easy for it to be used to earn a salary.
6. One has given way to the next
Science arose from philosophy, for in the beginning all forms of knowledge were a mixture of systematic empirical contrast, philosophy and myth.
This is clearly seen, for example, in the thinking of the Pythagorean sects, which investigated mathematical properties by attributing an almost divine character to the numbers and by relating their existence to that of an afterlife in the hypothetically inhabited qe. . (since the mathematical rules are always valid, regardless of what the subject is doing).
The split between science and philosophy came from the scientific revolution, At the beginning of the Middle Ages, and since then it has grown more and more. However, he never became totally autonomous from philosophy, because the latter supervises the epistemological conditions of the discoveries which are made and the conclusions which allow them to be reached.
- Blackburn, S., ed. (1996) The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy. Oxford, Oxford University Press.
- Bunnin, Nicholas; Tsui-James, Eric, eds. (2008). The Blackwell companion of philosophy. John Wiley and sons.
- Popkin, RH (1999). Columbia’s History of Western Philosophy. New York, Columbia University Press.
- Rutherford, D. (2006). The Cambridge Companion to Early Modern Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.
- Sober, Elliott. (2001). Basic questions in philosophy: a text with readings. Upper Saddle River, Prentice Hall.