On one hand, Einstein's relativity was non-scientific knowledge until it was proven using the scientific method. Since then, we can say that relativity is part of scientific knowledge.

On the other hand, the occidental musical theory provides a set of rules that would describe occidental taste about music. But since music is a subjective perception (repeat: subjective, not objective), we do not tend to include any proof about music as part of scientific knowledge, even if it is obtained using the scientific method. Musical theory, the behavioral rules of a tv series, or just the rules of love are not considered scientific knowledge, because they deal about our subjectivity.

My point is that several elements in science are subjective, and nevertheless are considered scientific knowledge. Thermodynamic temperature has no physical meaning, even to the point that we needed to introduce the Zeroeth Law of Thermodynamics just to give it a physical meaning; nevertheless, temperature is a feeling, as we know, there are no hot atoms. In other words, a subjective feeling is used to sustain an objective theory. Biology would be another example: we don't have a precise definition of life, we just accept entities following certain subjective intuitive behaviors as life. If we would have an objective definition of life we would know if virii are biologically alive or not, which currently we don't know. We just have subjective opinions. Nevertheless, we have a huge set of scientific knowledge about life.

So, can we consider subjective knowledge (as thermodynamical temperature, biological life or the psychological oedipus complex) as part of science? Wouldn't that be a fallacy?

  • 1
    You might be confusing scientific theories with scientific definitions or scientific vocabulary. You don't have to "prove" a scientific definition. You're also asking about the difference between hard and soft science, which you might to google to see more.
    – user935
    Dec 10, 2017 at 15:17
  • @Barrycarter right, never said the intention is to prove a definition, moreover if a subjective definition as life can be considered part of a scientific theory.
    – RodolfoAP
    Dec 10, 2017 at 18:02
  • This is why the academic field of "intellectual history" is so important. For instance, we had a concept in the West of objective values, normativity, the importance of ends and not just means, and so on. Some of the worst abuses of logical positivism still linger.
    – Gordon
    Dec 10, 2017 at 19:35
  • Relativity was always a scientific theory, it had to be confirmed to become knowledge. Music taste as a social phenomenon is also a subject of scientific study, sociology of science, and music theory proper was studied by mathematicians since Pythagoras. Temperature is not a "feeling", it is measured by thermometers and is not subject to "wind chill" and other effects, but even "subjective" impressions of warmth are the subject of psychology.
    – Conifold
    Dec 11, 2017 at 21:31


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