The Intertwining of Life and Scientific Knowledge, What Is Science Good For?June 28, 2021
Science enables people to understand and comprehend the nature and society in which they live, and even to explain the events in this field. But only then, scientific knowledge is passive, static knowledge; becomes an ornament on the human head. However, scientific knowledge is not content with only understanding, comprehending and explaining, it becomes a power in the person, enabling him to use and change nature in line with his own needs.
There are two opposing views on the purposes of science. For some, science only helps reveal the truth. For this reason, one should not be too selfish in applying science to life or putting science at the service of life. Some views, such as pragmatism and utilitarianism, argue that the main purpose of science is to facilitate human life.
The common opinion of historians of science is that the ancient Greeks in history did scientific work almost without expecting any material benefit; on the other hand, the Romans were utilitarian and only preoccupied with knowledge to apply to technology.
Contemporary civilization and modern industry want to take advantage of all kinds of forces of nature. The way to do this is to find the laws of nature through science and put them into human service in a controlled manner.
Some scientists like to work purely theoretically and never consider financial interests while pursuing the truth; while others are in pursuit of information that can be applied in life and can give strength to people.
Some sciences are more pure science, and some sciences are applied sciences. There are more theoretical studies in some sciences and more applied studies in some sciences. For example, medicine, engineering, agriculture and animal husbandry, sociology and economics are applied sciences rather than theoretical. In fact, there is very little theoretical ground in sciences such as sociology, politics and history.
We see the best examples of science being intertwined with life in medical science and its applications. X-rays, tomography devices, measuring instruments, biology, medicinal chemistry, clinical psychology etc. Almost all sciences help to protect human health.
In new developments in agriculture and animal husbandry, new plant and animal culturing, everything happens according to scientific knowledge. Is it possible to have a healthy diet without food engineering? Metallurgy, paint, paper, glass, porcelain etc. new information systems dominate. The machinery, electrical and chemical industries arose from pure scientific studies in this field. Industry and technology, which are no longer based on scientific knowledge, regress and close in a short time.
The high civilization we live in today is thanks to the mutual cooperation of science and technology that has been going on since the 17th century. Industrial applications in almost every field are not possible without scientific knowledge (naturally, this relationship is not one-sided; it is possible thanks to experimental materials, measuring instruments, etc., which are industrial products in many scientific inventions).
Scientific knowledge is more and more dominant in human life. A rationalization dominates even in human social life. The criterion of evaluation and progress in everything is reason and scientific knowledge. The environment we live in is becoming more and more technical.
The main characteristic of contemporary human societies at present is the dominance of scientific knowledge in all affairs and in all strata of society. The societies that are managed and lived on the basis of scientific knowledge are called information society.
Compiled by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology Lecture Notes for Grade 1 “Introduction to Philosophy” and Grade 3 “History of Contemporary Philosophy” (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook; Mustafa Ergün, “Introduction to Philosophy”