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In general, science is understood as the 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). The "body" of science is constituted by laws — open, stable connections between phenomena — the formulation of which allows us to describe, explain, and predict the phenomena of objective reality.

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 connections and properties. Strictly speaking, general hypotheses, claiming explanations of a universal nature, are almost completely impossible to confirm; 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 that contradict it, and then the hypothesis should 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 confirmed hypothesis; it exists until a certain amount of conflicting data is accumulated, requiring a revision of the theory up to abandoning 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, situations of “returning” to the old and already seemingly rejected theories are quite frequent - they are rethought at a new level and are opened 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 access to new areas of phenomena and their correlation with initial ideas, i.e., 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 of its implementation. Special attention is paid to the improvement of research methods in science, because 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.


So, science is an area of ​​human activity aimed at gaining knowledge; the most developed form of knowledge is a theory within which formulated laws are formulated; theories are formulated on the basis of widely supported hypotheses and, accordingly, there are opportunities to describe, explain and predict phenomena; The main mechanism for the development of scientific knowledge is scientific research, carried out on the basis of the application of specially developed methods.
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