The Philosophy Of Science Philosophy Essay

Modified: 1st Jan 2015
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Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds. Philosophy of science is one of the formal philosophy that wondered about science and its scientific methods. It can be defined as the study of understanding of scientific things and its scientific processes or methods. Philosophy does not account its processes to limited knowledges, but is concerned with the variety of principles and laws of all things in the nature. In this concept, philosophy can be said as the process of examining the data of science’s observation and the reasoning through it.

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Science can be defined as a systematic process that gain up knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe. Science is made up of theories that have an observable consequences. The present theories in science must be agreed with the previous theories. Philosophy of science can be divided into four important sections which are the concept of philosophy of science, the relationship between science and philosophy, science and pseudoscience, as well as the scientific method and well known philosophers and scientists.

The concept of philosophy of science is concentrated more on the assumptions, foundations, methods, implications of science, and with the use and merit of science. This can be explained by a few concepts that associated with the philosophy of science such as induction, deduction, epistemology, empiricism, falsification, and demarcation problem.

Induction concept is the reasoning method in which a generalization is argued to be true based on individual’s view and opinion. As for example, people used to believe that bread will nourish them because it has done so in the past. However, it might not do so nowadays.

It can be seen that the induction process is based on people’s view. People do not conduct any experiments and researches to prove it. Induction process is also called as bottom-up approach as it works from a specific to a broad generalization and theory.

The second concept associated with the philosophy of science is deducted. It is a reasoning method in which a conclusion is true if the premises are true. The conclusion is also true when an argument is valid even the premises are false. The example of a valid argument of a false premise can be said as follows;

Everyone who eats carrot is a quarterback.

John eats carrots.

Therefore, John is a quarterback.

This deduction concept helps people to work from the very general to very specific view. It is also called as top-down approach.

The next is empiricism. Empiricism is a set of philosophical approaches to build knowledge that emphasize the importance of observable evidence. In this case, microorganisms can be as examples. Microorganisms cannot be seen with naked eyes. Thus, people cannot say that microorganisms exist. Even there is people claim on the existence of microorganisms by writing books, journals, articles and such others, it still cannot be accepted as we cannot see it by ourselves. While epistemology is a branch of philosophy that deals with the theory of knowledge which regards to its methods, validity and scope. It is also studying the distinction between justified belief and opinion. As for example, in mathematics, it is known that 2 + 2 is equal to 4, but there is also knowing the formula of calculation which is the process of adding the two numbers to be four.

Besides the induction, deduction, imperialism and epistemology, demarcation is also associated with the philosophy of science. Demarcation is concerned about distinguishing between science and non-science or called as pseudoscience. It is a process of grouping the things to be science or non-science. The falsification is an act of falsifying or make it false. It is also associated with the concept of philosophy of science. Falsification makes the things right to be wrong. As for example, people say that all swans are white. This can be falsifiable by observing a black swan in the middle of the white swans.

Nowadays, science and philosophy are more related to each other. This is because science is based on theories that have observable consequences which must agree with the previous theories. While theories in philosophy are complied with existing theories. In a general process of science, all the things happen need to be observed. The science materials are facts. It provides the data with empirical facts during the experimental processes. Science is described as the empirical investigation can only observe the things happen. This observation is to describe the process. Science is for efficiency as it helps to invent technologies and its goals are predicted. Physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, and zoology are the example of science. All of them has a goal to be achieved and things to be proven. The outcomes of those sciences will give an increase in global technologies.

While in philosophy, the general process focuses more on examining the data of the observation and reasoning through it. The materials of philosophy are conceptual based conceptualised. In philosophy, people are able to construct arguments over all those things observed. The process is to provide explanations over the arguments that lead to the development of the worldwide system. Philosophy complies with a search and understanding of meaning. As for example, when one is asking what is time, there will be many answers as it can be argued.

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Apart from those above, philosophy of science is also discussed on science and pseudoscience from Karl Popper’s view. Karl Popper is a professor of Logic and Scientific Method at University of London. He claimed that a theory can be classified as scientifically when it has a principle which is testable by experiments. Popper figured out the ways to distinguish between science and pseudo-science. The important difference seems to be in which approach gives better logical justification for knowledge claims. Scientific claims are falsifiable and pseudo-scientific claims are not.

Science seeks for falsification. If things happened do have the hypothesis and evidence, it is said to be science. If there is only looks like scientific which do not have a principle and testable by experiments, it is said to be pseudoscience. Pseudoscience only seeks for confirmation.

Science is a process of inquiry in a way that is relevant, transparent and systematic that produce a claim to knowledge. Science can be divided into three basic characteristics which are a fundamental concept, law, principles and theories, and observational facts. The fundamental concept is a concept that described the most basic things and their relation towards each other. As for examples, fundamental concept can be found in chemistry, biology, physics and astronomy. All these are related to each other in describing things happen in the universe.

While laws generalize a body of observation. It describes the natural phenomena and principle under a specific condition. Such example is Newton’s Law which describe the relationship between the forces acting on a subject and its motion due to the forces applied. Newton predicts a dropped object, but he cannot explain why such a thing happened. Observational facts in science lead to conclusions. This can be explained when doing experiments in the laboratory as for example. Scientists observe the changes in their experiment throughout the process and come out with a conclusion at the end of the experiment.

In contra to science, pseudoscience is a theory, methodology or practice that sounds to be scientific yet is without scientific foundation. As pseudo-science seeks for confirmation, it can be known through a few characteristics. Pseudoscience fails to generate testable hypotheses or to conduct objective tests of theory. People claim that homeopathic medicine can be a cure for many diseases. However, the claim is not based on research. The ideas never change and people do not conduct a systematic test that would disconfirm their ideas. Pseudoscience sounds like scientific terms but it is actually not a science. Telekinesis is an ability to move objects at a distance by mental power or other nonphysical means. It sounds to science but is poorly defined as it.

In addition, pseudoscience is lack of evidence. If there is no evidence exist to prove a thing happened, it can be considered as false. In the early 90s, there were a married couple in a farmland of California claimed to witness a UFO spaceship and have a photo of it. There is no one has questioned about the existence of UFO so that it was said to be true. The fourth characteristics of pseudoscience are that the ideas are not agreeable to scientific evaluation. In science, there have been proved that human being has only five senses. However, pseudoscience claims that human being does has the sixth sense which is called as clairvoyance. Clairvoyance is the ability to see into the future. This sixth sense as claimed is undetectable and cannot be verified to be true.

In other words, science and pseudoscience are different from each other. As science relies on empirical evidence, pseudoscience relies on anecdotes. In science, the words used are very clear and precise while pseudoscience only uses scientific-sounding words. Science is objective and pseudoscience is subjective. Science provides a clear explanation and each of its principles are tested. However, the explanations in pseudoscience tend to be vague and ambiguous as well as its concepts tend to be shaped by individual.

In science, there are the methods that should be followed in making sure that the things are accepted to be science. It is called as scientific methods which are divided into empirical and non-empirical method. The empirical scientific method is further divided into natural science and social science. The examples of natural science or physics, biology and chemistry. While the examples of social science or economics, psychology, law and linguistics. It is also known as empiricism which focuses on theories, sense and evidence. While non-empirical science method is known as rationalism. Rationalism only focuses on the mind and reasoning. The examples of non empirical science or mathematics, languages and logic. In scientific methods, there will always be questions of inquiry, research on the topics, hypothesis and its test, analyzing the data and finalization of the results.

In doing the research and studies regarding the philosophy of science, there are many philosophers and scientists involved. Some of them are Aristotle and Karl Popper. Aristotle discovered about the topics called as physics, astronomy, biology as well as epistemology and mathematics. While Karl Popper argued that falsifiability is both the hallmark of scientific theories and the proper methodology for scientists to employ. He claimed that all scientists should seek the opportunity to try to falsify the theories.

Besides Popper and Aristotle, Francis Bacon is also promoting a scientific method in which scientists collect many facts from their observations and experiments in order to make inductive inferences about the patterns in nature. While Paul Feyerabend argued that there is no scientific method. He said that without regard to rational guidelines, scientists do anything in order to come up with new ideas and influence others to accept them.

In conclusion, it can be seen that science and philosophy are related to each other. Without philosophy, science cannot be improved. While scientist do observe the data of their experiments, philosophers examine it and the reason through it. Science help to increase the world’s technology and philosophy do develop the worldwide system. Science has also been divided into many branches compared to philosophy itself.


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