After he was a part of it / When and how was science separated from philosophy?

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After he was a part of it / When and how was science separated from philosophy?

Now imagine yourself inside a dark room, looking for a black cat, it doesn’t make any sound, you refrain from even meowing, still gives no sign of its presence, but you insist on its presence.

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After that, you went out of the room to meet your friend who had come to visit you, and you told him that you were looking for a black cat in your darkroom, and he offered you help and you agreed. Your friend decided to enter the room with a flashlight or lamp in his hands and searched for the black cat, after a while, he came out and said.

Here I leave you the task of completing the story, you are free to choose whether to prove or deny your friend the presence of the black cat in this dark room.

But I will tell you something necessary, which is the focus of our topic. In the previous story, you are a philosopher and your friend is a scientist. Yes, this is very briefly the difference between philosophy and science.

“Philosophy is the mother of science”

This is how the relationship between philosophy and science became known whenever people wondered about the secret of the connection between them, and the truth is that their relationship is older than we imagine, extending to eras we may not have heard of when man decided to implement his mind and establish civilization. Our story today is interesting, its heroes are mother philosophy and her son’s science. Before moving on to the history of their separation and the many events that separated them from each other, let us delve more into the difference between philosophy and science.

After he was a part of it / When and how was science separated from philosophy?

Philosophy and science and the differences between them

Philosophy and science

To summarize for you some of the differences between science and philosophy in a few quick points:

  • Science is concerned with natural phenomena, while philosophy attempts to understand the nature of man, and examines existence.
  • The word “science” is derived from the Latin word “Scientia”, while the word “philosophy” is derived from the Greek word “Philosophia”.
  • Both science and philosophy try to explain different situations and find answers, but philosophy does so with logical arguments, while science uses empirical data.
  • Philosophy’s explanations are based on arguments of principles, while science provides explanations based on the results of experiments, objective evidence, and observable facts.
  • Science is used in cases that require empirical verification, where it searches for possible solutions to problems and then objectively checks their right or wrong, while philosophy is used in cases where experiments and measurements cannot be applied.
  • Philosophy may ask objective or subjective questions, but science only asks objective questions.
  • Science can be applied to a specific scale, unlike philosophy, which investigates all fields.
  • Philosophy helps in gaining knowledge through thinking, as for science, it does the same but by observation.

An anachronism.. when science was part of philosophy

Some people may be confused and think that philosophy was part of science, but the truth is the opposite, as science was one of the branches of philosophy. Here, it should be noted that modern science began as a “natural philosophy”, as it was a mixture of philosophy and science, but what is the case today?

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When we mention some of the famous names such as Galileo, Kleber, William Harvey, Christian Huygens, Robert Hooke, Edmund Halley, and Isaac Newton…all these prestigious names in history, we classify them as pioneering scientists of modern science.

Whereas, when we mention some other names such as Francis Bacon, Gottfried Leibniz, Baruch Spinoza, Rene Descartes, Thomas Hobbes, and John Locke, we classify them as philosophers.

They all considered themselves philosophers. Philosophy looked at the problems of metaphysics (called metaphysics, a branch of philosophy that deals with the essence of things) and philosophy. In addition to her research in other specialized problems such as chemistry, physics, astronomy, mathematics, mechanics, etc.

So, you find these names were thinking differently that would outpace the capabilities of the tech-limited era in which they lived. They combined science with philosophy and relied on critical philosophical thinking to solve problems creatively. This combination of science and philosophy was called “natural philosophy”.

After he was a part of it / When and how was science separated from philosophy?

Here science separated from philosophy… when Newton unintentionally killed natural philosophy!

On July 5, 1687, The Principia of the famous physicist Isaac Newton was published. And it became clear through the first edition that he relied on 9 hypotheses in interpreting his laws, which means that natural philosophy had a prominent role in what he reached.

But in the third edition issued in 1726, he modified the concept of hypotheses and said that he derived the laws of gravitation by induction, that is, through research and reliance on the empirical side. He developed two types of thinking rules, which are essentially inductive in nature, and denied hypotheses, and made some observations that differentiate between hypotheses and the argument of induction within the scope of empirical philosophy as follows:

  • Hypothesis: It is just an assumption that does not depend on phenomena, whether metaphysical or material. It does not fall within the scope of empirical philosophy, because it is simply a pure idea that can be right or wrong.
  • Induction argument: It means deducing hypotheses through phenomena, then subjecting the hypothesis to the inductive method and later becoming a scientific theory.

Do you remember the story of the black cat at the beginning of the report? You can apply the difference between a hypothesis and an induction argument to it and you’ll notice what Newton means.

Through this, Newton was able to transform his work on the laws of motion and gravity from natural philosophy to inductive or empirical science.

He even circumvented the concept of the hypotheses that he put in the first edition of his book and transformed their concepts into the new rules of thinking that he talked about, namely inference and phenomenon, so he transformed the hypotheses as follows:

  • The first two he listed under the name of inference rules.
  • The last 5 hypotheses related to the solar system are listed under Phenomena.
  • One of the hypotheses was excluded.
  • One hypothesis became unnecessary to prove the main argument for laws.

But what prompted Newton to do this? Well, you may have noticed that I just wrote that Newton unintentionally killed natural philosophy. And this is the truth.

His theory of gravitation was controversial and many scientists were not convinced of it. It was disjointed and tainted by some defects that Einstein came later and put the fourth dimension of the universe, which is time, and came out with general relativity that explained the laws of the universe better.

In the case of Newton, since his theory met with this attack, this means that he heard some words regarding his reliance on philosophical assumptions because the name of Newton was included in the list of natural philosophers and not scientists at the time, that is, his argument is not strong because it contains some uncertainty, part of his theories It is based on hypotheses that are not conclusively proven.

Here our friend was forced to change the concepts and include what supports his theory under the concept of induction, that is, a theory based on concrete evidence and not just an assumption.

Newton refused to argue about this, and because he was a man of high standing in the scientific or philosophical community, the rest were convinced of his point of view and the end that connects science with philosophy was written, and the modern science we know with the empirical science that exists to this day was born.

After he was a part of it / When and how was science separated from philosophy?

Science is not just separated

Science is not just separated

Newton was a prominent figure – as I mentioned – and the natural philosophers were influenced by him and adopted a wrong conception of the nature of science, which was the end of natural philosophy, and philosophy lost a large part of it, which was the most interesting and striking part.

Philosophy began to take its steps towards decadence, as many other branches were separated from it in the form of independent disciplines, including psychology, anthropology, logic, linguistics, sociologists, and cosmology.

The headache began to increase between science and philosophy

Our venerable scientist Newton passed away during the eighteenth century, leaving philosophers and scientists separate, each holding his own thought, and the prevailing classification became: scientist and philosopher. The difference increased sharply during the nineteenth century. In this regard, Prince Louis de Broglie says:

“In the nineteenth century, a barrier arose between scientists and philosophers. Scientists look at the speculations of philosophers, which often seemed to them to be inaccurate in wording, as they revolve around useless and unresolvable issues. As for the philosophers, they were no longer interested in science, especially because its results were limited. This divergence has been detrimental to both philosophers and scientists.”

What de Broglie said is really interesting, for the separation of science from philosophy made scientists and philosophers lose the deep essence of the nature of science, and each of them became different from the other, despite the essential link between them.

After he was a part of it / When and how was science separated from philosophy?

But we need to return science to the fold of philosophy

Return science to the fold of philosophy

Going back a bit. Both Kleber and Galileo made careful observations and conducted their experiments until they came up with the sciences that they later presented to mankind. But wait, that’s not all.

They adopted metaphysical views (metaphysics is a branch of philosophy) about nature that helped them reach the motion of the planets as interpreted by Kleber, as well as the motion of terrestrial bodies discovered by Galileo.

Galileo expresses this approach, saying: “The book of nature is written in the language of mathematics.” They postulated that these simple mathematical laws as we know them to govern the way natural phenomena occur, and this metaphysical idea played a powerful role in their discoveries.

The twentieth century came, and the creative scientists tried to re-mix science and philosophy, but the idea of separation remained, as some scholars believed that science needed philosophy to become stronger. In this regard, the genius physicist Albert Einstein commented:

“I can be sure that the most appreciative of the students I met while I taught them were very interested in epistemology. I mean not only those students who excel in their abilities, but also in their independence of opinion. They tend to provoke discussions about the axioms and methods of science, and they stubbornly prove in defending their opinions the importance of this point of view for them.”

Einstein sheds light on the importance of paying attention to the philosophical aspect of science. When we look at strong scientific changes, we find that their basis is philosophical thinking, such as changing the Ptolemaic system to Copernican. As well as the shift from Euclidean geometry to non-Euclidean. From Newtonian mechanics to relativity. All of these crucial transitions in science had philosophical grounding at the outset.

Finally, Einstein says, imagination is more important than knowledge. Imagination is one of the things that motivate a person to make assumptions that may be right or wrong, and this is philosophy, as it makes us delve into what is happening around us, and it may push us to experiment and prove or deny the hypothesis, and thus science and philosophy came together.

The truth is that science uses philosophy, but many scientists deny this because there is a well-established idea in everyone’s minds that science and philosophy are completely separate. This is not true, and here we find the necessity of their meeting together.

After he was a part of it / When and how was science separated from philosophy?

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