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The science. Signs of science
Science is the sphere of human activity, the main function of which is the generation of knowledge about the world, its systematization, building on their basis the image of the world (scientific picture of the world) and ways of interacting with it (scientifically based practice). Science is the most important form of human knowledge. It has an increasingly visible and significant impact on the life of not only society, but also of the individual. Science today stands as the main force in the economic and social development of the world. That is why the philosophical vision of the world organically includes certain ideas about what science is, how it is organized, what is developing, what it can give and what is inaccessible to it.
The concept of "science" is quite ambiguous. Science, having numerous definitions, appears in three main guises.
• form (sphere) of human activity;
• a special way of knowing the world;
• a system or set of disciplinary knowledge;
• social institution (system of institutions and organizations).
Science is understood as a special sphere of human activity, the main function of which is the development of knowledge about the world, its systematization, on the basis of which it is possible to build an image of the world (the so-called scientific picture of the world) and build ways of interacting with the world (scientifically based practice). In this sense, we use the concept of "science", saying, for example, that someone is "engaged in scientific activities", "passionate about science", etc.
Secondly, science is understood as a special way of knowing the world, different, for example, from artistic or ordinary knowledge, that is, from art and life experience (as discussed below). In this sense, they talk about a scientific approach, about the scientific nature of data, that something is scientifically established, etc.
Thirdly, science refers to the knowledge system itself, obtained as a result of research activities. In this sense, we are talking about the so-called Science with a capital letter (for example, "science claims to be ..."), physical science (that is, the system of knowledge developed by physics), biological science, etc. The body of science in this In the sense, laws make up open stable connections between phenomena, the wording of which allows us to describe, explain and predict the phenomena of objective reality.
Science is more often defined as a system of knowledge; so Kant determined. But such a definition is narrow, for it is limited only by the epistemological characteristic; it does not reflect the social function of science and its creatively active vector. In addition, science includes not only knowledge, but also institutions, so science is increasingly being defined as a type of spiritual production. However, there is no generalized definition of science.
Finally, fourthly, science is sometimes understood as a system of institutions and organizations (Academies, institutes, laboratories, professional communities, etc.), within which research activities are organized, conferences are convened, etc. In this sense we use the term “Science”, for example, saying that someone is “employed in the field of science” or “is a worker in science” - by analogy with the fact that someone may be engaged in production or in trade.
There are very large discrepancies among the scientists and scientists regarding the origin and criteria of scientific knowledge. We point out two extreme points of view. According to the first of them, science in the proper sense of the word was born in Europe only in the 15-17th centuries, during the period called the “great scientific revolution”. Its occurrence is associated with the activities of such scientists as Galileo, Kepler, Descartes, Newton. It was precisely at this time that the birth of the scientific method itself came, which is characterized by a specific relationship between theory and experiment. At that time, the role of mathematization of the natural sciences was realized.
Another point of view, directly opposite to the one just stated, does not impose severe restrictions on the concept of science. According to its supporters, in the broad sense of the word, any combination of knowledge related to the real world can be considered science. From this point of view, the emergence of mathematical science, for example, should be attributed to the time when a person began to perform the most elementary operations with numbers: astronomy appeared with the first observations of the movement of celestial bodies; zoology and botany - with the advent of the first information about flora and fauna, etc.
It is clear that the problem of the emergence of science rests on the problem of identifying the generic characteristics of scientific knowledge, by which one can draw a demarcation line between scientific and unscientific knowledge.
The characteristic features of science were successfully identified by I.D. Rozhansky and P.P. Gaidenko in their works devoted to the study of ancient civilization.
Firstly, all science is not just an aggregate of knowledge, which also takes place in everyday knowledge. It is much more important that science is a special activity, namely, the activity of acquiring new knowledge. The latter assumes the existence of a certain category of people who are engaged in obtaining new knowledge. A necessary condition for scientific activity is the possibility of fixing the information received, which suggests the existence of a developed writing system. A society devoid of writing cannot have science.
It follows that traditional or archaic civilizations that had a mechanism for storing and transmitting accumulated information, but where there was no activity to acquire new knowledge, did not have a science. Without detracting from the achievements of archaic civilizations: ancient Egyptian, Sumero-Babylonian, Harappan, ancient Indian, ancient Chinese, etc., we can say this: proto-science was formed in them, and never turned into a science.
The second sign of science in the proper sense of the word is its intrinsic value. The goal of science should be knowledge for the sake of knowledge itself, in other words, comprehension of the truth. Scientific activity to obtain new knowledge cannot be aimed only at solving practical problems; in the latter case, it falls into the field of applied disciplines.
For the Greeks, on the contrary, who approached mathematics purely theoretically, what mattered was, first of all, the strict solution obtained by logical reasoning. This led to the development of mathematical deduction, which turned out to be inaccessible to all eastern mathematics. Thus, the hallmark of ancient science since its inception was theoretical, that is, the pursuit of knowledge for the sake of knowledge itself, and not for practical applications.
The third sign of real science should be considered its rational nature. The transition "from myth to logos", that is, to a rational explanation of any phenomena, was a huge step in development, the sources of early Greek science should also be sought in mythology, in particular in cosmogonic myths.
Fourth, the next feature of real science is its systematic nature. The totality of disparate knowledge not connected by the internal unity, even if they relate to the same reality, does not yet form a science.
Pseudo-science (from other Greek: ?????? - “false” + science; less commonly: pseudoscience, quasi-science, alternative science) - an activity that imitates scientific activity, but in essence not one. The characteristic features of the pseudoscientific theory are ignoring or distorting facts, non-falsifiability (non-compliance with Popper's criterion), refusal to reconcile theoretical calculations with the results of observations in favor of appeals to “common sense” or “authoritative opinion”, use of data not confirmed by independent experiments in theory, impossibility independent verification or repetition of research results, the use of political and religious attitudes, dogmas in scientific work.
Developers of theories unrecognized by the scientific community often act as "fighters against ossified official science." However, they believe that representatives of “official science”, for example, members of a commission to combat pseudoscience, advocate group interests (mutual responsibility), are politically biased, do not want to admit their mistakes and, as a result, uphold “outdated” ideas to the detriment of the new the truth that their theory carries. Some of the non-scientific concepts are called paranoscience.
The main functions of science:
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The science. Signs of science
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