What is the Purpose of Science, What are its Goals?June 28, 2021
The purpose of science is to give sound information on the entities that are its subject. This type of knowledge is called scientific knowledge. Scientific knowledge is knowledge of facts about objects or events.
Cases are divided into two as simple and non-lean cases. The universal-conditional phenomenon, which is a type of non-simple fact in science, has a special significance. The universal conditional phenomenon, which corresponds to a universal-conditional true proposition, is a regularity in the universe. The fact that metals expand when heated sufficiently is such a regularity and is expressed by the proposition of “All metals expand when heated sufficiently”, which belongs to the language of science.
In general, in the language of science, in principle, for any fact, there must be a proposition that this fact makes true. For this, in the language of science, there should be terms indicating objects, properties and relations that are the building blocks of this phenomenon, that is, object-names or singular-descriptions (singular terms), property terms and relation terms (predicates), respectively.
In philosophy of science, a meta-language is used to talk about both the language of science and the (non-linguistic) entities that the expressions in the language of science indicate. In this meta-language, singular terms of the language of science, “a”, “b”, “c”, …, “a1”, “a2”, “a3”, …, feature terms, “F1”, “G1” ”, “H1”, … (hereinafter only “F”, “G”, “H”, …) also the relation terms “Fn”, “Gn”, “Hn”, … (n ³ 2) Let’s show with icons. On the other hand, the singular terms “a”, “b”, “c”,…, “a1”, “a2”, “a3”,… The objects, properties and relations of the property terms and the relation terms “Fn”, “Gn”, “Hn”, … (n ³ 2) are a, b, c, …, a1, a2, a3, respectively. Let’s denote by .., F, G, H,…, Fn, Gn, Hn,… (n ³ 2).
Accordingly, the general form of the simple fact (a1,…, an) is Fn-being. This simple fact makes the proposition “Fna1…an” (n ³ 1) true. Accordingly, the fact that (a1,…, an) is Fn-is called the truth-sword of the proposition “Fna1…an”. For example, if a is an electron, F has a negative electric charge, the simple fact that an electron has a negative electric charge is that a is F-. On the other hand, the simple fact that the Earth revolves around the Sun when a, Earth, b, Sun, F2 revolve around, is the truth-sword of the proposition “F2ab”, where (a, b) is F2-. As an example of a non-lean phenomenon, let’s take the universal-conditional fact: F is becoming-metal, G is expanding when heated sufficiently, the fact that all metals expand when heated sufficiently becomes All F is G-.
When scientists come to know of any (simple or non-simple) phenomenon of their interest, they must come up with a scientific proposition to which this phenomenon corresponds. If a fact corresponding to a proposition is found, the proposition is said to be true, if not, it is said to be false. Whether some propositions are true or not can be determined by a small number of observations and/or experiments. Such a proposition is called an observation proposition. Observation statements are usually in the form of simple statements or universal-yes-ups of a small number of simple statements. For example, when a is a metal, a simple observation proposition “a is a metal at u at u and at t” is a non-simple observation proposition that “a is a metal at u at u and at t, and a is expanded at u and at t”. Sometimes we will express observation statements without resorting to u and the moment t. Accordingly, we can write “a is a metal” instead of the simple observation proposition above, and “a is a metal and a has expanded” instead of the non-uniform observation proposition.
It can be argued that for a scientific proposition to express knowledge of a fact, it must satisfy the following three conditions of general epistemology:
(i) Acceptance condition: The proposal must be accepted by the relevant scientific community.
(ii) Justification condition: The acceptance of the proposition must be justified.
(iii) Truth condition: The proposition must be true.
We can say that these three conditions have a semantic prerequisite: Each term in the accepted proposition has a single, unambiguous meaning and must be fully known by every member of the relevant scientific community, and this meaning must be communicated and shared. However, each of the above-mentioned conditions causes problems in the philosophy of science.
Compiled by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology Lecture Notes for Grade 1 “Introduction to Philosophy”, “Introduction to Sociology” and Grade 3 “History of Contemporary Philosophy” (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook