What is Science?

Posted in Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, Science by e1saman on August 23, 2010
Science (from Latin: scientia, meaning “knowledge”) is a systematic enterprise of gathering knowledge about the world and organizing and condensing that knowledge into testable laws and theories.[1] As knowledge has increased, some methods have proved more reliable than others, and today the scientific method is the standard for science. It includes the use of careful observation, experimentation, measurement, mathematics, and replication — to be considered a science, a body of knowledge must stand up to repeated testing by independent observers. The use of the scientific method to make new discoveries is called scientific research, and the people who carry out this research are called scientists.[2][3] This article focuses on science in the more restricted sense, what is sometimes called experimental science. Applied science, or engineering, is the practical application of scientific knowledge.
In the modern world, scientific research is a major activity in all developed nations, and scientists are expected to publish their discoveries in refereed journals, scientific periodicals where referees check the facts in an article before it is published. Even after publication, new scientific ideas are not generally accepted until the work has been replicated. Scientific literacy is the ability of the general population to understand the basic concepts related to science.


What is science after all? Can we give a simple definition as above? I am afraid that definitions change in time and that is the reason why we have to involve philosophy;

Sir Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon (1561–1626) has been considered to be the father of What is science - Francis Baconmodern science. He was anything but a scientist[1] ; philosopher, statesman, lawyer, jurist, author and some believe that he was also an alchemist. Actually he was one of the first strong supporters of a social, spiritual and financial progress  that will be based on knowledge and discovery . This view is described in his book New Atlantis. For this purpose he needed to describe how knowledge and discovery can lead the way to progress, and for that reason he described a system that will help for the production of new knowledge; one of the first descriptions of a scientific method. His scientific method was based in experiment and induction; a rational procedure that will establish causation between phenomena and will produce principals and theories that will try to explain the phenomena.

Later Isaac Newton tried to improve Bacon’s method with his four “rules of reasoning” in the Principia.

In the next post we will discuss newer opinions about scientific models.

[1] as we know the term nowadays.

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