What is Philosophy of Science?June 28, 2021
Philosophy of science in general; It is the name of the philosophical approach that seeks answers to questions that can be asked about science, such as what science is, the structure of scientific thought, the functionality of scientific methods, the characteristics of scientific results, the value of science and these. In other words, philosophy of science is thinking about science.
THE HISTORICAL LINK OF PHILOSOPHY WITH SCIENCE
The thinkers who contributed to philosophy in the first age of philosophy saw the philosophical intellectual structure of that period as similar to the scientific intellectual structure that we understand at the present time. In other words, they accepted philosophy as a tool to reach the knowledge of nature. For example, Democritus revealed the first intellectual structure of today’s atomic understanding about two thousand five hundred years ago.
In this context, something that exists cannot be divided forever; He emphasized that a thing that is divided forever cannot create any greatness at the last instance, and emphasized that this division must stop somewhere, and that the thing that is divided must be indivisible at the last instance. This definition of Democritus also has an approximate meaning to the atomic particle mentioned in current sources.
Philosophy was not understood during the Antiquity any differently than what we understand by science today. As a result, Aristotle saw and defined sciences such as physics, mathematics and astronomy, which are defined as independent sciences today, only as branches of philosophy. In fact, Newton named his book, in which he wrote his scientific views, “Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy”. So even Newton did not separate philosophy from science. The serious distinction between philosophy and science began to be made definitively in the 19th century. Today, the relationship between philosophy and science continues to be investigated by considering these two fields as separate fields.
WHAT IS THE PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE?
It is in question that science is a subject of philosophy and even that this subject has become a sub-discipline of philosophy at a certain time. As a historical explanation, it is generally stated that science was born and developed out of philosophy. After the separation of science as a form of consciousness, the relationship between science and philosophy continued. Science is separated from philosophy and divided into many sub-branches within itself. In this context, each branch of science has made a different aspect of existence the subject of examination and different branches of science have emerged. Thus, for example, physics has been accepted as the same scientific sub-branch that studies the nature of inanimate objects and astronomy of celestial events. Likewise, in the 19th century, sociology, psychology, history and economy, which we call social sciences, also broke away from philosophy by accepting their own specific field of existence in a scientific sense. Philosophy of science was born as a result of philosophy’s reflection on science, especially after this distinction.
Science cannot know its own meaning, as soon as it turns to such an effort to know, it tries to make the science of science. In this sense, philosophy of science is the whole of the studies carried out in philosophy to determine the place, meaning and theoretical position of science. After the separation of science from philosophy, philosophy’s reflection on science constitutes the content of philosophy of science. In summary, philosophy of science tries to give a logical or theoretical analysis of scientific thought and methods.
The separation of sciences from philosophy did not occur only as separations in subjects and fields of study. In this case, the main distinction between science and philosophy is the differentiation of method rather than subject. For example, if the method of philosophy is consistent and systematic thinking, the method of science is observation, making assumptions and verifying this assumption.
As a result, philosophy of science; It is a philosophical discipline that evaluates what science is, the specific structure of scientific theories, the epistemological status of scientific knowledge, the meanings of scientific methods, the object of scientific knowledge, the meaning of the development of science and, in the most general sense, the position, development and internal structure of all science, and tries to reveal it on a theoretical level.
SCIENCE AS THE SUBJECT OF PHILOSOPHY
Philosophy deals with everything that “exists” in the universe. Science as a field of existence is also among the subjects of philosophy. We call the branch of philosophy, which deals with science and scientific knowledge, the philosophy of science. The subject of philosophy of science is science. It examines the structure and nature of science, the relationship between scientific theories and reality, its principles, main concepts and the problem of method in science. In short, philosophy of science philosophizes about science by asking questions about science. We should also mention that the philosophy of science deals with scientific knowledge, knowledge that has reached the level of theory.
Philosophy of science should not be confused with “scientific philosophy”. As stated in the previous paragraph, philosophy of science questions the subject of science, the results it has achieved and its method;