There are different sciences and different definitions to 'science'. But there must be some commonness when we use the term--'SCIENTIFIC'. Since it is supposed that almost all sciences are seeking the Truth, seeking the Truth might be one of them. Modern science also is doing the same thing; almost all people believe so. But it is a known fact that modern science always leaves something to find out. There is no end to it. It couldn't find out the Ultimate Truth so far. But Vedanta, the limit of knowledge, ends after realizing the Ultimate Truth since it can be / is to be realized without any reference.

So, my question is,

"Can we say that modern science is absolutely scientific?"

To make clearer let me classify people into 3 groups:

• People who have no commonsense -- (GROUP 1)

• People who have commonsense -- (GROUP 2) [Majority of people belong to this category]

• People who can't be clearly understood by Group 1 & 2 -- (GROUP 3). [Very rare category]

By GROUP 3 I mean men who are very wise and having very great abilities.

Are we considering the consensus of GROUP 2 only, TO BE SCIENTIFIC?

In pursuit of truth, when I followed modern science, I felt that it would not stop anywhere and would not give contentment to each person in their short lifespan. Once I asked myself--"Is this 'keeping of continuity for another Inquiry' the base of this usage?" This is the kernel of my question.

Of these two (given in bold letters), first one is my main question. But when answering it, please bear in mind the second one also.

I wouldn't have asked this question if the Ultimate Truth were still unknown.

  • "there must be some commonness when we use the term scientific". Of course there are; see Wittgenstein's Family resemblance. Science is the activity of "scientists community" : in most (not all) cases, there is a very very high consensus of what kind od methods and results are scientific and what are not (astrology). There are "dubious" cases : omeopaty, psycoanalysis... Sep 12, 2016 at 9:38
  • @MauroALLEGRANZA you are stating a Kuhn/Lakatos style définition of science, but there are others. Sep 12, 2016 at 16:05
  • @Son_of_Thought after your edit, the question became hard to follow. Sep 12, 2016 at 16:07
  • Yes, we can say that science is scientific, that is a tautology. We can also more or less say that Vedanta is not scientific, most of its followers would proudly admit to that. But I doubt this is what you meant to ask. It is hard to understand what it is though. Consensus of people with "common sense" is neither necessary nor sufficient for something to be scientific, scientific methodology may have grown out of common sense, but they parted ways long time ago.
    – Conifold
    Sep 12, 2016 at 18:15
  • @Alexander S King: I have cleared your doubts about my question. Sep 13, 2016 at 4:22

1 Answer 1


But there must be some commonness when we use the term--'scientific'.

There is no universally accepted definition of science, although there are several proposals. This is the problem of demarcation.

One such proposal, pushed by the Logical Positivists in the early 20th century, is the verification principle, or the verifiability criteria of meaning, which states that scientific statements are those that can be empirically verified. Those that aren't, are dismissed as nonsense (or metaphysics, which the L.P saw as a bad thing).

For example A.J. Ayer, one of the main English speaking Logical Positivists, in "Language, Truth, and Logic" (p16) states that:

The criterion which we use to test the genuineness of apparent statements of fact is the criterion of verifiability. We say that a sentence is factually significant to any given person, if, and only if, he knows how to verify the proposition which it purports to express — that is, if he knows what observations would lead him, under certain conditions, to accept the proposition as being true, or reject it as being false.

The reason I bring up the Logical Positivists is that the verification principle is frequently refuted as being unverifiable. A.J. Ayers definition of test if genuineness is itself untestable.

This seems to be very close to the question you ask: "Can we say that modern science is scientific?" -- and someone would respond, along the same lines that the verification principle was refuted, by saying, "statements about modern science are themselves unscientific, since there would be no way of testing or falsifying them".

Your question also reminds me of Paul Feyerabend, who has a radical stance on the demarcation problem.

Paul Feyerabend, in "Against Method", believes that not only is there is currently no proper definition of science or the scientific method, but that there can never be such a strict definition of science as solutions to the demarcation problem try to achieve, and that science is essentially "anarchistic". In his opening chapter, he states:

  • Science is an essentially anarchistic enterprise: theoretical anarchism is more humanitarian and more likely to encourage progress than its law-and-order alternatives.
  • This is shown both by an examination of historical episodes and by an abstract analysis of the relation between idea and action. The only principle that does not inhibit progress is: anything goes.

And then further down in the opening chapter, he states:

  • Thus science is much closer to myth than a scientific philosophy is prepared to admit. It is one of the many forms of thought that have been developed by man, and not necessarily the best. It is conspicuous, noisy, and impudent, but it is inherently superior only for those who have already decided in favour of a certain ideology, or who have accepted it without having ever examined its advantages and its limits. And as the accepting and rejecting of ideologies should be left to the individual it follows that the separation of state and church must be supplemented by the separation of state and science, that most recent, most aggressive, and most dogmatic religious institution. Such a separation may be our only chance to achieve a humanity we are capable of, but have never fully realised.
  • Upvoted for "science as the most aggressive dogmatic religious institution" (Just need to see Dawkins or Hitchens or Harris to see to what length dogmatism can go). I would though replace "science" by "scientism" Mar 17, 2019 at 16:39

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