The Difference Between Philosophy And Science
For quite some time, people have believed that there is indeed a difference between philosophy and science: ‘The Logical Difference Between Philosophy And Science“.
Some have supposed that the vocabulary and structure of scientific thinking are different from philosophical thinking; some have proposed, such as Kant, that philosophy precedes science, and that philosophy deals with the nature of experience while science deals with the particulars of experience.
And yet others have held that all scientific terms correspond to observable entities and therefore have observable terms, whereas philosophical terms are non-observable and aren’t always about entities or objects.
Evidently so, there are numerous conceptions put forth in regards to the notion that there exists some difference between science and philosophy. But I believe, of the positions I’ve studied, none are satisfactory. Therefore, I shall herein argue that philosophy and science are the same.
The Arguments For Philosophy And Science Being The Same
- The Argument From Cognition
- The Argument From Labels
Why Philosophy And Science Are The Same: The Argument From Cognition
Scientific work requires someone to come up with an idea or theory to not only explain some aspect of reality but also predict said aspects. To observe via the sense-organs the world around us, so as to understand the world.
In example, when a linguist looks at various sentences jotted down on paper, he or she has to derive some idea or theory from those sentences that either explains or neatly categorizes the various meanings and arrangements within those sentences.
When the scientist, through hours of reflection, successfully obtains an idea or theory, he or she then has to ask how such an idea can be valid or not. Meaning, they have to justify the theory or idea with evidence and arguments.
That can be done by either creating experiments or finding some already existing evidence to support the claims put forth by the idea or theory.
At the core of an experiment is the notion of “prediction,” which can be used to argue the following: idea or theory z predicts outcome w; if outcome w, then idea or theory z is valid. So, experiments are used as evidence to support ideas and theories.
Likewise, pre-existing evidence can also do the same, such as when we cite previously executed experiments or various kinds of qualitative data.
And thus is the essentials of the modern scientific enterprise. Theory, predict, experiment, and then analyze the results to see whether the idea or theory either explained or predicted the data.
However, that series of steps is precisely what philosophers do as well. In fact, it is what many of us do on a day to day basis.
Philosophers create theories, be it an epistemic or ontological theory, that are used to predict experience. For example, numerous theories of perception have plenty of predictions about the behaviour of illusions and hallucinations.
Philosophers likewise engage in experiments, albeit less elaborate and controlled. In example, philosophers can say, “if x is the case, then z is the case. I can see x; therefore, z is the case”. And that is a prediction about the world.
Philosophers also analyze data as well, since all data comes from our sense perceptions. So, both rely on the same source for their evidence.
The reason we have so much overlap is because these two groups of people aren’t doing anything different. Both philosophers and scientists produce mental content to characterize the contents of their perceptions, and both can utilize perception to verify how well their concepts correspond and predict the world around them.
Fundamentally, we have two people who are thinking about the world around them and developing beliefs as a result of their reflections. Put otherwise, science and philosophy are the same because they are nothing more than a brain (or mind) explaining the world around them.
The Argument From Mistaken Labels
Another argument in favour of philosophy and science being the same stems from the munchausen trilemma. Since we cannot know whether our beliefs are justified or not – which includes that very statement – then we cannot adopt our beliefs with logic or rationality.
Put otherwise, we adopt certain axioms from either unconscious or conscious motivations and then use those axioms as starting points. And since axiomatic starting points are non-empirical means of starting, it thus follows that the so called “empirical scientists,” have to start with non-empirical means.
From here, I can then conclude, the separation of philosophy from science isn’t coherent, since everyone is utilizing axioms and bounded rationality to navigate their sense-perceptions. Both the “philosopher” and “scientist” have the same starting point and method for explaining the world. Hence, I think these labels to be confused or mistakenly applied.
Science and philosophy are the same cognitive process: producing concepts and then using them to explain or predict the contents of sense perception. Likewise, science and philosophy have the same starting point and methods of knowledge, which brings into doubt whether the labels refer to anything distinct.
So, I conclude, that philosophy and science are indeed the same. They are just different words for cognition and research about the world around us.