Relationship between Philosophy and Science

Philosophy relies on the result of the empirical sciences for the formulation of its propositions and theories. Thus philosophy and science go hand in hand and so are not separable even though they are quite distinct. This explains why in the past, most philosophers were at the same time also scientists.

One of the important relationships between philosophy and science is that while science explains how things occur, philosophy explains why things occur.

This is an important aspect in the relationship between philosophy and science. This is because, in trying to explain why things and events occur in the physical world, one must also be confronted with the question of how the events occur. Both science and philosophy are disciplines that are concerned with realities and nature of things.

They borrow deeply into the principles of nature and causes of things as well as provide valid and reliable explanations and information to the various questions that arise in the heart of men. Although, philosophy and science share some notable relationships, we must not underscore the fact that philosophy is the queen of all sciences.

Philosophy as already noted is the love of wisdom or the search for the ultimate reality. Thus since philosophy is the only discipline defined as the love of wisdom, it means that every scientist, every scholar or student is automatically engaged in the philosophic activities in so far as such a person is in pursuit of knowledge or wisdom, whether in the sciences or in other allied courses. What this means is that, given the simply definition of philosophy, every discipline is simply a branch of philosophy.

The Birth of Modern Science

 The Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation and other external and internal influences were instrumental to the birth of the modern science. At the time, men and women were moving out of Europe and traveling all corners of the earth gathering and acquiring new knowledge.

As they return, they brought back tales of strange land and peoples. Their tales were very unsettling to both the established religion and cultural or ethnic customs of the time. Also, at the time, there were attempts to forge a new science of nature.

Consequently, truths of scholastic philosophy and theology were questioned. People began to turn to the book of nature itself for answers to basic questions in life. This led to the emergence of a new natural science.

The growth of modern science in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries played significant roles in encouraging skepticism. But then, this posed some problems, for the skeptics hold that knowledge is not possible.

Therefore, if they deny that knowledge is, how can one explain the experiments of great mind like Galileo and the impressive theories of Copernicus, Kepler and Newton in astronomy and physics respectively; all of which seem to have been confirmed by mathematics, observation, and experiment?

To that effect, modern philosophy took the challenge of attempting to resolve two basic problems posed by the new science and skepticism. The first problem is on the nature of knowledge itself, the nature of truth and the most reliable methods of discovering and testing truth and knowledge if any.

Secondly, the nature of reality or what constitutes reality; what was knowledge about, the nature of the ultimate reality, the extent and limit of knowledge. That was and still is the concern of the modern philosophy till date.

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