Science (from Lat. scientia, knowledge) may refer to:
- Investigation and study of nature through observation and reasoning
- The sum of all knowledge gained from this research
- Mathematics, quantities studies and orders, are often called science, but the results of mathematical research, known as theorems, are obtained from derivatives involving logical axiomatic systems rather than a combination of observation and reasoning. Many fundamental mathematical methods are useful in the empirical sciences, whose fruits are hypotheses and theories.
Most scientists believe that scientific inquiry is that which corresponds to the scientific method, a process whose purpose is to assess the empirical knowledge. More broadly, the word science often describes any systematic field of study or knowledge gained from this study.
Scientific areas are classified along two dimensions:
- Experiment, the search for information readily available, versus theory, development of models that explain what is observed.
- Natural sciences, the study of nature versus social sciences, the study of human behavior and society.
What is science?
There are different meanings of “science”.
According to empiricism, scientific theories are objective, empirically verifiable, and empirical results are predictions that can be confirmed or refuted by falsifiability.
In contrast, scientific realism defines science in ontological terms: science attempts to identify phenomena and entities, forces that cause them, the mechanisms by which they exert these forces, and the sources of those forces within the meaning of the internal structure of these phenomena and entities.
Even in the empiricist tradition, we must be careful that the prediction refers to the outcome of an experiment or study, rather than predict the future. For example, the statement “a paleontologist may make predictions about finding a certain type of dinosaur” corresponds to the use of empirical prediction. On the other hand, sciences like geology and meteorology need not be able to make accurate predictions about earthquakes or weather that could be considered science. The philosopher Karl Popper argued that empirical confirmation of some hypotheses are impossible and therefore scientific hypotheses can only be falsified.
Positivism, a form of empiricism, sees science as it is defined by empiricism, as a means to regulate human affairs. Due to their close affiliation, the terms “positivism” and “empiricism” are often used interchangeably. But there are reproaches:
- Willard Van Orman Quine demonstrated the impossibility of an independent observation language on theory, so that the concept itself to test theories by experiments is problematic.
- Observations are always “theory laden”. Thomas Kuhn argued that science always involves “paradigms”, sets of assumptions, rules, practices, etc., and that the transition from one paradigm to another usually does not involve verification or falsification of scientific theories. Moreover, in contrast with empirical model, he believes that science has not evolved historically as continuous data accumulation.
Science helps people to learn about their lives and contribute to society.
Translated from Wikipedia