How would you describe the relationship of science and philosophy of science? Is it a worldview that sets a tone to scientific jargon? I mean that statements of eg. physics are under submission of the worldview of philosophy of science?

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    +1 Interesting question with a lot of potential. Could you develop it a bit more? – DBK Apr 2 '13 at 23:48

Philosophy of science is the science about science, or to put it differently the theory of science. It is a meta-science which determines which endeavors are scientific in the first place and not merely pseudoscience.

So basically, it asks what science is. What do we have to assume to conduct science? Can we know anything (for sure) and, if so, what can we know? What rules one should apply in science? Which standard should we adhere to, strict or pragmatic? Is there such a thing as scientific progress? Are there different fields which require a different methodology, e.g.: Can we conduct "physics" in the same way we conduct "sociology"? Can science influence our sense of morality? Can it affect ethics or is that something else entirely?

It is a very broad field, and for me philosophy of science is quite frankly the king of all sciences.

  • But many philosophers would disagree. They somewhy try to use the argument that if science tries to justify itself, it's circular. Metaphilosophy is circular too. – rus9384 Sep 30 '18 at 19:20
  • At least four of the example questions you give belong in metaphysics. – PeterJ Oct 2 '18 at 15:30
  • @PeterJ Only if you are a proponent of metaphysics though. There are philosophies objecting that metaphysics is even possible, and there are others claiming metaphysics is either meaningless or that its statement may have truth values that cannot be known. – k0pernikus Oct 9 '18 at 16:26
  • Yes. All these arguments come from people who admit they do not understand metaphysics. This should make you wonder. These four examples belong in metaphysics whatever you and I think. It's just how things are. – PeterJ Oct 10 '18 at 11:17

Philosophy of Science is the study of the assumptions, foundations, and implications of natural science (which is usually taken to mean biology, chemistry, physics, earth science and astronomy, as opposed to social science which deals with human behavior and society).

It asks questions like:

"What is science?",

"What are the aims of science" and

"How one interpret the results of science?".

Scientism is the broad-based belief that the assumptions and methods of research of the physical and natural sciences are equally appropriate (or even essential) to all other disciplines, including philosophy, the humanities, and the social sciences.

Positivism is the closely related philosophy which holds that the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge, and that such knowledge can only come from positive affirmation of theories through strict scientific method (which means the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses).

One of the central questions in the Philosophy of Science is distinguishing science from non-science, although many regard the problem as unsolvable or moot.

Historically, the main point of contention was between science and religion and, even today, many opponents of intelligent design claim that it does not meet the criteria of science and should thus not be treated on equal footing as evolution.

The criteria for science typically include: • the formulation of hypotheses that meet the logical criteria of contingency (i.e. not logically necessarily true or false), falsifiability (i.e. capable of being proved false) and testability (i.e. there is some real hope of establishing whether it is true or false)

• a grounding in empirical evidence

• the use of the scientific method

Empiricism (and, later, Positivism and Logical Positivism) grounded science in observation, and campaigned for a systematic reduction of all human knowledge to logical and scientific foundations.

Non-science, on the other hand, (e.g. Metaphysics and Philosophy of Religion) was non-observational and hence meaningless, a theory also known as Verificationism.

Karl Popper (1902 - 1994), in response to the Logical Positivists, recognized that a theory might well be meaningful without being scientific, and that the central feature of science was that it aims at falsifiable claims (i.e. claims that can be proven false, at least in theory), which he called Falsificationism.

The American Thomas Kuhn (1922 - 1996) pointed out that most science was what he called normal science (problem solving work within the bounds of current theory and knowledge).

However, when many anomalies are generated during the process of doing normal science, it may become accepted that the work is actually extraordinary (or revolutionary) science within the current scientific paradigm.

There may then occur a paradigm shift (such as the shift from Newtonian science to Einsteinian science) until the new paradigm is accepted as the norm by the scientific community and integrated into their previous work.



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