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Science and other ways of knowing

From what was said, it might have seemed that science is a way of knowing the world isolated from others, while ensuring the greatest reliability and effectiveness of knowledge.

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

Let's consider it in more detail.

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

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

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

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

However, there are significant differences. In everyday experience, we rely mainly on empirical generalizations, that is, on generalizations based on directly observable or experienced properties of objects and phenomena, while science focuses on theoretical generalizations that rely on hidden essential properties that go beyond direct observation and require the introduction of some additional principles (those same generalizing hypotheses that we talked about).

Somewhat rougher the situation, we can give an example: a whale and a shark are closer to us than a whale and a porcupine, although in zoological taxonomy, based not on external features (body shape, presence of fins) or community of habitat, but on the theory of the origin of species, this not this way.

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

Further, worldly 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 develop and do not specifically discuss methods of cognition; in science this, as already mentioned, is fundamental.

The foregoing does not mean a hard contrast; we have identified only general trends, although examples can be found in which this difference is very arbitrary.

Science differs from art (the artistic method) in that, as a rule, it strives for the most depersonalized knowledge (although we will make a reservation at once that this is not always the case in psychology), whereas for art the main thing is orientation to the creator’s unique personality, his subjective vision of the world - this is what most often constitutes the main interest of an artistic creation.

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

At the same time, these undoubted differences in many cases are 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 regards the human sciences, art often gave a direct impetus to scientific thinking (it is not by chance, for example, existentialism was formed in many ways like fiction), just as science opened up new facets for the possibilities of artistic development of the world (for example, psychoanalysis, which will be discussed below, influenced such art classics as the writer G. Hesse, the artist S. Dali, film director F. Fellini).

Science is distinguished from religion, first of all, by its readiness (not always, however, realized) for self-refutation - up to the basic principles, while religious knowledge - within the framework of a particular denomination, is usually aimed at the confirmation and confirmation of the initial dogmas, a symbol of faith. At the same time, in practice, this contrast is not always obvious: scientific postulates are always based on some postulates - provisions accepted without evidence and most often unprovable, and often scientists explicitly or implicitly defend them, defending their theories from criticism as if truth of these provisions was undeniable.

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

We note, however, that in relation to the human sciences, in particular, psychology, religious searches are of particular importance and often turn out to be deeper and more subtle than the traditional scientific approach (suffice it to recall such religious thinkers as V.
S. Soloviev, N.A. Berdyaev, S.L. Frank, N.O. Salmon and others). We also point out that the problems of faith and religious consciousness are extremely important for a number of the largest psychologists in the world, not only in terms of their personal existence, but also in the construction of psychological theories and psychotherapeutic systems {U. James, C. G. Jung, C. Rogers, W. Frankl, et al.).

Thus, science acts as one of the types of knowledge with its own specifics. In the future, we will talk about psychology within the framework of the concept of the scientific method of cognition, although often we will have to make numerous reservations: the boundaries between psychology and art, psychology and religion are sometimes so arbitrary that when discussing some psychological concepts, “moving away” from scientific rigor inevitable.

Of course, the knowledge generated by science cannot be considered absolute. Laws are formulated within the framework of certain theories; theories are attempts at 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 relationships and properties. Strictly speaking, general hypotheses, claiming explanations of a universal nature, are practically impossible to confirm conclusively; even if all the visible human experience confirms the validity of the hypothesis, this does not mean its universal reliability - there is always the possibility of new data appearing,

contradicting it, and then the hypothesis should be reviewed. 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 is accumulated, requiring a revision of the theory up to rejection of it. Actually, the development of science basically represents the development and change of theories; an honest scientist (or a group of scientists) creating a theory is always aware of its probabilistic, “non-absolute” nature. At the same time, new theories cover an increasing number of phenomena and serve practice more and more reliably; this allows us to talk about the increasing reliability of knowledge, which determines the progress in science. (At the same time, the situations of the “return” of old and already seemingly rejected theories are quite frequent - they are rethought at a new level and opened up by new, so far hidden sides and possibilities.)

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

The inability to explain the data within the framework of the existing ideas gives rise to a cognitive contradiction that constitutes the problem (usually it is formulated as a question); then a hypothesis is formulated, that is, a hypothetical answer to this question, justified in the framework of the original theory; To test the hypothesis, the organization of obtaining empirical (i.e. experimental) data is further processed and interpreted. The indicated items (statement of the problem, formulation of a hypothesis, obtaining empirical data, processing, interpretation) represent the main stages of scientific research, within the framework of which research methods are implemented, that is, sound normalized methods for its implementation. Special attention is paid to the improvement of research methods in science, since in order to advance in knowledge, confidence in the reliability of the data obtained, and therefore in the optimality of the method of obtaining them, is necessary.
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