The Relationship Between Science and Philosophy

How far can science take us and at what point does philosophy and metaphysics take over?  Here is the general process of science and philosophy.

  1. METHOD. Science’s modus operandi is to observe the data while philosophy is examining the data and reasoning through it.
  2. MATERIAL. Science’s materials are facts. There are certain data that provide empiricalfact to work with.  Philosophy’s material are conceptual–concepts that are the basis for the rest of the process.
  3. PURPOSE. Science is descriptive.  Empirical investigation can only observe what happens and the purpose of it is to describe the mechanism or process taking place.  The purpose, in relation to philosophy, is to be able to construct an argument.
  4. GOAL.  The goal of science is prediction.  We will see this in the strength of a theory by principle of verification and falsification.  The philosophical role is providing an explanation of the data.  Explanation is philosophical and not scientific.
  5. OUTCOME. The end of science is the production of technology. The general history of science runs in the direction of greater efficiency in its function.  Likewise, in the history of science, philosophy’s outcome is developing a worldview system.  Consider the historical development of science with Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton.  Copernicus changed the worldview system with the Copernican revolution as did Newton.  I would actually argue that Newtonian physics may have made a greater philosophical impact than Copernicus in light of Kant (thanks Kant…).
  6. REASON.  We’ve already touched on this briefly, but the reason for why one does science is for efficiency.  The reason for philosophy is a search and understanding for meaning.

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About Max Andrews

Max's graduate research is in philosophy of science and religion. His thesis is on the fine-tuning argument from cosmology and physics in multiverse scenarios. He has lectured in logic, existentialism, metaphysics, epistemology, the philosophy of science, theological liberalism, neo-orthodoxy, personhood, free will and determinism, theological fatalism, axiology, moral argument for the existence of God, various cosmological arguments for the existence of God, fine-tuning argument for the existence of God, and the problem of evil. Following his graduate work he will be completing his PhD in philosophy at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.