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Science and other ways of knowing

From what has been said, one could get the impression that science is some way of understanding the world that is isolated from others, while providing the greatest authenticity and effectiveness of knowledge.

This is so only to a certain extent; in many respects, science is associated with other forms of knowledge; as for reliability, in some cases, science - in the established tradition of approaching it - is forced to recognize their priority.

Consider this in more detail.

In addition to the scientific method of mastering reality, it is customary to single out ordinary cognition, artistic cognition and religious cognition.

Ordinary cognition is the cognition that we carry out in everyday life practice. The American psychologist D. Kelly generally believed it possible to liken any person to a scientist: in order to live, we must rely on certain patterns of life that we have identified; when interacting with something new, we rely - though not always formulate them - on certain hypotheses.

For example, when meeting a new person, we can unconsciously proceed from the fact that he is kind or, on the contrary, wants to harm us.

We test these hypotheses with practice, if we confirm this, we change them and act accordingly. Indeed, there are similarities; moreover, it is sometimes believed that science was born from everyday experience and constitutes a kind of “ordered common sense”.

There are, however, significant differences. In life experience, we rely mainly on empirical generalizations, that is, generalizations based on directly observed or experienced properties of objects and phenomena, while science is focused on theoretical generalizations based on hidden significant properties that go beyond direct observation and require the introduction of some additional principles (of the very generalized hypotheses, which we talked about).

Roughly coarsening the situation, we can give an example: a whale and a shark are closer for us than a whale and a porcupine, although in zoological systematics based not on external signs (body shape, presence of fins) or habitat community, not this way.

The following difference: life experience is predominantly individual, while science strives for the universality of knowledge.

Further, everyday experience is focused primarily on the practical effect; science is largely (especially the so-called "pure" science) focused on knowledge as such, on knowledge as an independent value.

Finally, in life we, as a rule, do not elaborate and do not specifically discuss methods of knowledge; in science it is, as already mentioned, fundamentally.

This does not mean a hard opposition; we have identified only general trends, although it is possible to find examples in which this distinction is very conditional.

Science differs from art (artistic method) that, as a rule, it strives for knowledge that is as impersonal as possible (although we stipulate right away that this is not always the case in psychology), whereas for art, the focus is on the unique personality of the creator, his subjective vision of the world - this is what most often constitutes the main interest of the artistic creation.

In addition, it is customary to emphasize rationalism, the intellectualism of science as opposed to the figurative and emotional nature of artistic creation.

At the same time, these undoubted differences are in many cases rather arbitrary. Many scientists (for example, A. Einstein) emphasized the role of figurative and aesthetic experiences in the process of making scientific discoveries and constructing theories. As for the sciences of man, art often gave a direct impulse to scientific reflections (it was not by chance, for example, that existentialism was shaped in many ways as fiction), as well as science opened up new frontiers for the possibilities of artistic mastery of the world ( which will be discussed below, influenced such classics of art as the writer G. Hesse, artist S. Dali, film director F. Fellini).

Science differs from religion, first of all, the readiness (not always, however, realized) to self-repudiation - up to the basic principles, while religious knowledge - within the framework of a particular denomination, is usually aimed at establishing and confirming the original dogmas, the symbol of faith. At the same time, this opposition is not always obvious in practice: some postulates are always based on scientific concepts - provisions taken without evidence and most often unprovable, and often scientists explicitly or implicitly defend them, defending their theories from criticism as if truth these provisions was indisputable.

Another opposition is important: in religious knowledge, the world is seen as a manifestation of divine intentions and forces, while in science it is considered - even if the scientist is religious - as a relatively independent reality that can be discussed as such (most obviously it manifests itself in materialistic science).

We note, however, that with regard to the sciences of man, in particular, psychology, religious quests are of particular importance and often turn out to be deeper and thinner than the traditional-scientific approach (it suffices to recall such religious thinkers as B.
S. Soloviev, N. A. Berdyaev, S. L. Frank, N. O. Salmon, and others). We also point out that the problems of faith, religious consciousness are extremely important for a number of the world's largest psychologists, not only in terms of their personal existence, but also in the construction of psychological theories and psychotherapeutic systems {Y. James, C. G. Jung, C. Rogers, V. Frankl, and others.).

Thus, science acts as one of the types of knowledge, which has its own specifics. In the future, we will speak about psychology within the framework of ideas about the scientific method of knowledge, although we often have to make numerous reservations: the boundaries between psychology and art, psychology and religion are sometimes so conditional that when discussing some psychological concepts of “leaving” scientific rigor inevitable.

Of course, the knowledge produced by science cannot be considered absolute. Laws are formulated within the framework of certain theories; theories are attempts to provide a holistic view of the laws and essential properties of certain areas of reality and arise on the basis of hypotheses, that is, assumptions about these connections and properties. Strictly speaking, general hypotheses claiming to be universal explanations are almost impossible to finally confirm; even if the entire foreseeable experience of mankind confirms the validity of the hypothesis, this does not mean its universal reliability - there is always the likelihood of new data,

contradicting it, and then the hypothesis must be revised. The same with theory; it is a systematic description, explanation and prediction of phenomena in a certain area on the basis of a widely supported basic hypothesis, it exists until a certain amount of conflicting data accumulates that requires a revision of the theory until it is abandoned. Actually, the development of science basically represents the development and change of theories; An honest scientist (or group of scientists) who creates a theory is always aware of its probabilistic, “non-absolute” character. At the same time, new theories cover more and more phenomena and more reliably serve practice; This allows us to speak about the increasing reliability of knowledge, which is what determines the progress in science. (At the same time, the situations of the “return” of old and seemingly rejected theories are quite frequent - they are being rethought at a new level and opened up with new, hitherto hidden sides and possibilities.)

One should not think that science is limited to "pure theorizing." The development of scientific knowledge means entry into new areas of phenomena and their correlation with initial ideas, that is, new interactions with the world.

The impossibility to explain the data within the framework of the available ideas gives rise to a cognitive contradiction that makes up the problem (usually it is formulated as a question); then a hypothesis is formulated, that is, a tentative answer to this question, substantiated in the framework of the initial theory; To test the hypothesis, it will be organized to obtain empirical (that is, experimental) data, further processed and interpreted. The indicated points (problem statement, hypothesis formulation, empirical data acquisition, processing, interpretation) are the main stages of scientific research, within the framework of which research methods are implemented, that is, reasonable standardized methods of its implementation. Special attention is paid to the improvement of research methods in science, since in order to advance in cognition, confidence in the reliability of the data obtained, and therefore in the optimality of the method for obtaining them, is necessary.
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