Is Science just a branch of Philosophy?

In summary: Clearly the author was talking about science in the context of academia, and made no explicit reference to science in general. Hence, my confusion when you claim that s/he is confusing science with academia.
  • #1
ikos9lives
41
0
That's why science degrees are called "PhD," which means doctor of philosophy.

Comment?
 
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  • #2
It is just a historical thing.

The word "philosophy" comes from the Greek φιλοσοφία (philosophia), which literally means "love of wisdom"

Philosopher once meant anyone that we would classify today as a scientist. It split on many occasions, as different sciences emerged as separate entities. As other sciences were removed, philosophy became much more narrow subject.

So if you mean "science as of today is just a branch of philosophy as it was understood 2000 years ago" you are right.
 
  • #3
ikos9lives said:
That's why science degrees are called "PhD," which means doctor of philosophy.

You are generalizing. What is true for some countries does not hold for other countries. What is more universal is just "Doctor of ...".
 
  • #4
ikos9lives said:
That's why science degrees are called "PhD," which means doctor of philosophy.

Comment?

Right, and homosapiens means "wise man" so we must all be wise or, at least, wisecrackers.

Science is a tool like logic rather than a philosophy.
 
  • #5
I would say: science is a method rather than a tool. The scientific method has its own tools, and is developing new tools.
 
  • #6
wuliheron said:
Science is a tool like logic rather than a philosophy.
However, there is reasoning involved in deciding what constitutes a fact and why. Empiricism is a philosophical issue as is positivism, isn't it?
 
  • #7
arkajad said:
I would say: science is a method rather than a tool. The scientific method has its own tools, and is developing new tools.

ikos9lives said:
However, there is reasoning involved in deciding what constitutes a fact and why. Empiricism is a philosophical issue as is positivism, isn't it?


Chewing your food can be described as a "method", but in this case the original post referred to "PhD" (piled higher and deeper?) with the implied context being "academic science". Since these are people who get paid to use the scientific method to produce results it is only appropriate to refer to it as a tool.

Likewise, just because I might use empirical evidence does not make me an empiricist and just because I use reason does not make me a philosopher. These words already have well established commonly used definitions and I prefer to stick with them whenever reasonable for the sake of clarity if nothing else. No doubt many scientists might use philosophy in their work, but it certainly isn't a requirement.
 
  • #8
wuliheron said:
Chewing your food can be described as a "method", but in this case the original post referred to "PhD" (piled higher and deeper?) with the implied context being "academic science".

Science is science and academic is academic. There is science without being academic and there are academicians who are nor really scientists. If these two categories somehow got mixed for you, or if you think something was implied - well it often happens that different people view things differently, especially in philosophy, less often, I would say, often in science.
 
  • #9
arkajad said:
Science is science and academic is academic. There is science without being academic and there are academicians who are nor really scientists. If these two categories somehow got mixed for you, or if you think something was implied - well it often happens that different people view things differently, especially in philosophy, less often, I would say, often in science.

Again, here is the original post which clearly is talking about academic scientists as defined by the academic community.

ikos9lives said:
That's why science degrees are called "PhD," which means doctor of philosophy.

Comment?

You are, of course, free to argue with the academic community about who they choose to call a scientist and equally free to argue with the dictionary about the commonly used definitions of words. However, I am neither so you are wasting your time.
 
  • #10
wuliheron said:
I am neither so you are wasting your time.

I was not arguing with you. I was stressing the fact that academia and science should not be confused.
And they were confused by the original poster.
 
  • #11
arkajad said:
I was not arguing with you. I was stressing the fact that academia and science should not be confused.
And they were confused by the original poster.

Let's pick this apart carefully and, hopefully, we can eliminate all confusion.

The title of the thread is:

Is Science just a branch of Philosophy?

And the original post was:

ikos9lives said:
That's why science degrees are called "PhD," which means doctor of philosophy.

Comment?

Clearly the author was talking about science in the context of academia, and made no explicit reference to science in general. Hence, my confusion when you claim that s/he is confusing science with academia.
 
  • #12
From the biography of Benoit Mandelbrot:

"It is thanks to such maturation that he joins that category of the classical, pre-academic specialization of the wisdom-generating natural philosophers."

But "natural philosophy" is not the same as philosophy. Moreover, Mandelbrot received "Doctorat d'état" and not the "Doctor of Philosophy" title.
 
  • #13
From P. Merel's translation of the Tao Te Ching:

Words

Nature says only a few words:
High wind does not last long,
Nor does heavy rain.
If nature's words do not last
Why should those of man?
Who accepts harmony, becomes harmonious.
Who accepts loss, becomes lost.
For who accepts harmony, the Way harmonizes with him,
And who accepts loss, the Way cannot find.
 
  • #14
I think the OP is saying that science could be a branch of philosophy because the highest(?) academic title for an academic degree in science is Ph.D. in science, in the US and also countries following the US style of academic titles and degrees.

But of course there is also Doctor of Science without any mention of philosophy, unless I am mistaken.


The more substantial question I like to ask someone here who says that you can do science without philosophy, is the following:

  • Can there be any intelligent science pursued without any philosophy?


Or more broadly:

  • Can any human do anything peculiar only to humans without any kind of intelligent thinking involved, or according to any criteria of intelligent thinking involved?




Yrreg
 
  • #15
Science assumes a particular Set of philosophies, but is not just a philosophy. Science requires practicality (i.e tangible observations).

Theoretical sciences may have more philosophy to them, by they are still constrained by mathematical observations that come directly from experimentation.
 
  • #16
To give an example: my friend has two titles: PhD in philosophy and PhD in mathematics (in fact he has two other PhD's, bu that's irrelevant). Both French style - Docorat d'Etat.

Philosophically he is a Platonist. His philosophy certainly influences the areas of mathematics that he is choosing for his research, but not the way his research in mathematics is being done. Mathematics has its own tools and methods and they are independent of any philosophy. A theorem is either true or false, and if there is an error in the proof - philosophy has nothing to do with it. In fact his love for mathematics has much stronger influence on his philosophy than his philosophy on mathematics.
 
  • #17
One of the major goals of philosophies goal is to come up with a method to examine a class of questions. Math was once philosophy, and then philosophy developed a systematic way to explore questions related to math. At this point it ceased being philosophy and became its own subject. The same can be said for biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, logic, etc.
 
  • #18
Pythagorean said:
Science assumes a particular Set of philosophies, but is not just a philosophy. Science requires practicality (i.e tangible observations).

Theoretical sciences may have more philosophy to them, by they are still constrained by mathematical observations that come directly from experimentation.

Yeah. Like you said. Science is philosophy with toys. Like an LHC (Large Hadron Collider). Toys like this tend to prune buds and new branches here and the there--even whole trunks of thought.
 
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  • #19
yrreg said:
The more substantial question I like to ask someone here who says that you can do science without philosophy, is the following:

  • Can there be any intelligent science pursued without any philosophy?

Or more broadly:

  • Can any human do anything peculiar only to humans without any kind of intelligent thinking involved, or according to any criteria of intelligent thinking involved?

Yrreg


The question itself expresses a common archaic misconception about people, that is, that the only thing that distinguishes us from animals is some unique quality of our minds. The truth is we have numerous things that distinguish us from other animals. For example, humans are the only animal that can literally run all day long in the heat of the day. We may not be fast, but there are still some tribes that occationally run their prey into the dirt in this fashion. If we are hungry enough I have no doubt we are quite capable of running prey into the ground in a similar fashion without the slightest thought or hesitation.

As for the first question, that really depends upon what you mean by "intelligent science". Personally, I am more interested in science that produces practical results than anything else.
 
  • #20
yrreg said:
The more substantial question I like to ask someone here who says that you can do science without philosophy, is the following:

  • Can there be any intelligent science pursued without any philosophy?
Or more broadly:

  • Can any human do anything peculiar only to humans without any kind of intelligent thinking involved, or according to any criteria of intelligent thinking involved?
It depends on what you mean by "intelligent science". Science has its rules--the interaction of theory and experiment. But to make sense of science (i.e. to do more than just get numbers out) one needs a point of view. And even though for most scientists this isn't explicit but implicit, it's still there. I'll use quantum mechanics as an example: there are various interpretations of qm extant, but none are disproved by experiment. (which isn't to say that there might not be experiments to disprove one or another). The only interpretation that has been disproved, by the Aspect experiments violating Bell's Theorem, is the hidden variables interpretation that requires local reality. The majority of physicists take the Copenhagen interpretation, which is an instrumentalist approach (not mine, by the way).
 
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  • #21
wuliheron said:
As for the first question, that really depends upon what you mean by "intelligent science". Personally, I am more interested in science that produces practical results than anything else.
The scientific method is a philosophical construct. You can't prove or measure its existence by science.

Now you're looking for "practical results". That term can only be understood through philosophy because science cannot tell us what is practical and what is not.

Science can only look at what "is". And it is limited to that because it is defined philosophically to do so.

You cannot begin science at all without philosophical assumptions. You can't interpret results without a philosophical basis either.
 
  • #22
Science is some sort of subset of philosophy. Science can answer questions starting with "how" and philosophy can answer questions starting with "why"
Though it is enough if we get answers for questions starting with "how" , the subject itself will not be complete if we don't know why something happens.
In this way philosophy (philosophical thinking) is the one which completes our knowledge of understanding.
 
  • #23
ikos9lives said:
Now you're looking for "practical results". That term can only be understood through philosophy because science cannot tell us what is practical and what is not.

With unending and contradictory results advanced through much squabbling over the multitude of personal flavors of "understood" and "practical".
 
  • #24
ikos9lives said:
The scientific method is a philosophical construct. You can't prove or measure its existence by science.

Now you're looking for "practical results". That term can only be understood through philosophy because science cannot tell us what is practical and what is not.

Science can only look at what "is". And it is limited to that because it is defined philosophically to do so.

You cannot begin science at all without philosophical assumptions. You can't interpret results without a philosophical basis either.


Without providing any rationale or other evidence to support your assertions you might as well be trying to sell me a used car.
 
  • #25
What is philosophy and what is intelligent thinking?

From my stock knowledge philosophy is the most broadest view of things which includes anything and everything that humans can and should concern themselves with and about.

Someone will say that that is saying nothing.

In which case he is lacking in intelligent thinking.

What is intelligent thinking?

It is the thinking that is concerned with the most broadest aspects of any question, but also concerned with the concrete details of any question which requires an answer for solving a problem in life in the world of human acts and human thoughts.


That is why you can make a machine to think logically but you cannot up to the present make up a machine to think intelligently like humans can and do or should think intelligently.

And the quest for artificial intelligence according to what I believe is an intelligent conjecture is doomed to failure.

And that is why scientists who are not necessarily philosophers and intelligent thinkers still are curious about finding intelligent life outside humans like ourselves who dwell in the planet called earth.

And they are into a project called SETI, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.


Lastly, someone here says that mathematics does not need any philosophy, in which case I am sure he is not conversant with philosophy and not practicing intelligent thinking.


Think now, does the mathematical concept of the infinite has a corresponding object in the world of reality like the nose in our face?

You need philosophy and intelligent thinking to dwell on that question.

Of course you might say that question is a meaningless question, in which case you are lapsing into the universal all purpose escape of atheist scientists.

Putting your head beneath the sand.






Yrreg
 
  • #26
yrreg said:
And the quest for artificial intelligence according to what I believe is an intelligent conjecture is doomed to failure.

I don't want to believe. I want to know.
 
  • #27
wuliheron said:
Without providing any rationale or other evidence to support your assertions you might as well be trying to sell me a used car.
It might be best for you to question the specific assertions that I offered. What point did you disagree with?
 
  • #28
ikos9lives said:
It might be best for you to question the specific assertions that I offered. What point did you disagree with?

Unfortunately I am not a mind reader so there is little for me to respond with since you refuse to explain your assertions. At best I can clarify what remains a mystery to me.

First off, the "scientific method" in and of itself is hotly debated to this day so I have only a vague idea of what you are talking about.

Second, if it is a method then it is a method and not merely a "philosophical construct" (whatever that is). No doubt we could assert that anything and everything is a philosophical construct, but that seems rather counter-productive in the context of the present thread.

Third, the idea that you can't use a method to prove it's validity is a vague assertion. I might assert that the best way to tighten a screw is to turn it clockwise, and then proceed to prove the validity of the statement by actually turning the screw clockwise. At some point all such assertions can only ultimately be tested by demonstrating their efficacy.

Forth, the word "practical" has widely know definitions that don't require philosophy to be understood. Again, we could assert that anything and everything is philosophical, but such an assertion is demonstrably meaningless in the context of the present thread.

Fifth, "science" is a word like any other word and has clear dictionary definitions. To claim that every word in the dictionary has some sort of philosophical definition is, again, a meaningless statement, if for no other reason then that the word "philosophical" itself is a word found in the dictionary. You might as well claim that the definition of every word is somehow "spiritual" for all the meaning such an assertion conveys.
 
  • #29
wuliheron said:
Third, the idea that you can't use a method to prove it's validity is a vague assertion.

That means that may well imply that we cannot use philosophy to justify philosophy. So, what shall we use? Scientific method? If so, then philosophy fails.
 
  • #30
arkajad said:
That means that may well imply that we cannot use philosophy to justify philosophy. So, what shall we use? Scientific method? If so, then philosophy fails.


I'm not sure exactly what you are saying here.

As far as I am concerned you can use whatever you want to prove whatever you want, and people do so all the time. Personally, I'm more interested in what appears to be useful than in proving anything and that includes not least of all whatever you care to call philosophy and science.
 
  • #31
wuliheron said:
Personally, I'm more interested in what appears to be useful than in proving anything and that includes not least of all whatever you care to call philosophy and science.

Useful for whom, useful for what? What is useful and in which sense is a deep philosophical question? What can be useful for you, may be harmful for other people. What is useful for human beings in general? Who knows? Different people, scientists, politicians, have different ideas in this respect. Is it useful to reduce the population of the planet? Or is it harmful? You can't escape philosophy!
 
  • #32
arkajad said:
Useful for whom, useful for what? What is useful and in which sense is a deep philosophical question? What can be useful for you, may be harmful for other people. What is useful for human beings in general? Who knows? Different people, scientists, politicians, have different ideas in this respect. Is it useful to reduce the population of the planet? Or is it harmful? You can't escape philosophy!


Nature is demonstrably the ultimate arbiter of what is and is not useful no matter what abstract reasoning you might care to devise on the subject. Most importantly this includes anything that promotes the survival of the individual and species. If these are not met, then the entire argument is moot.
 
  • #33
wuliheron said:
Nature is demonstrably the ultimate arbiter of what is and is not useful

Useful for whom? Are you going to help nature? Help with what? Nature creates and nature destroys. Which of these two activities you want to be helping?
 
  • #34
arkajad said:
Useful for whom?

As I already said, useful for the survival of the individual and species. In my case, that just happens to be myself and the human race.

arkajad said:
Are you going to help nature? Help with what? Nature creates and nature destroys. Which of these two activities you want to be helping?

I am a part of nature and, so, have no alternative but to help her. As for creation and destruction, those are relative terms and meaningless outside specific contexts.
 
  • #35
But what if your survival requires killing other people - and we see a lot of such reasoning in the world around us. Which one of the two "useful" things will you choose: your survival or survival of others?

You seem to think that all is simple and "usefulness" answers all all the problems. But it is only your illusion, that is so nice to hold to.
 

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