The course on the philosophy of science makes me think about the science itself dialectically, what science is, how to understand it and what the attitudes I should have towards science in other words a scientific bent of mind.
Science refers to a logically ordered system of true or probably true universal stamen. It tells about essence, causes and finality of objects in a definite field of knowledge with reference to the investigation, arguments and demonstrations upon which the conclusions are made.
Now how can we relate science to philosophy? Science is a process and includes the various means of experimentation, observation, and analysis leading to empirically testable claims about the physical universe. Philosophy also is a process by which humans develop and organize their thought processes, values, and criteria for “truth,” which are not empirically testable.
Science as a process cannot itself be empirically tested; on the contrary, it is a human means of understanding the universe which rests on philosophical assumptions and values, and which cannot be tested against anything except its philosophical coherence. Therefore, science as a process is not itself scientific; rather, it is philosophical searching for true knowledge of objects.
Now the question is about the validity of knowledge and can we take the scientific knowledge as objective? Many would agree that the scientific knowledge is objective. And science is valid for all places, persons and all times. But I would like differ from the popular opinion saying the scientific knowledge is relative because it involves the elements of personal experiences, assumptions, and judgments based on the previous knowledge which means there is no objective knowledge. If then, what is philosophy of science?
The philosophy of science is the study of various philosophical issues associated with science. It is a critical study of the nature of science, of the method of science. It maintains a critical approach to the claims made by science. The contemporary philosophers of science have made an effort to study the nature of these claims. The three schools of philosophy of science are logical positivism, historicism and historical realism.
Logical positivists are those who believe that every knowledge should be based on sense experience. Any valid statement must have an empirical basis. According to them the language of philosophy of science must be conveyed through symbolic logic. These are extremely empiricists like Carnap, Hempel and Reiche.
Historicism rose as a reaction against the logical positivism since there was an idealistic understanding of science. Issues of change, Rationality, Truth and Objectivity were the main points of connection between these two extreme forms of schools. While one argues for the subjectivity, the other emphasizes the objectivity. According to them, there are some subjective elements in science questioning the science’s unique claim to truth.
Historical realists are half way between the logical positivists and the historicists. They are opposed to the absolution of the logical positivists and according to them historicism has led to irrationality and relativism. Science is rational but rationally should be understood non-conventional way.
According to them history of science is central to our philosophy of science. Regarding change they say that scientific concepts, methods, theories all are subject to change but change does not take place at random. It is governed by certain rational principles.