The Problem of Science
Since the turn of the twentieth century, philosophy found itself in a trouble; whether to make an explanation of its very existence, or to surrender to the terms of the new era, when science was taking all over the truths of all matters, and vanish. Some scientists asserted that “philosophy is dead,” science seemed to many more than enough to provide accepted, definite, and even satisfying and convincing answers to all questions, if we just followed the scientific true means.
To many others that seemed too false, and only arrogance; most of them were anti-science religious, the other few were philosophers who did the philosophy of science. Some of them ended up to a result which encouraged the rise of neo-fundamental-atheism, their conclusions weren’t welcomed nor accepted, however on the contrary they were fought. Here, the death of philosophy seemed to be a necessity, and matters of philosophy were treated as non examined theories.
A new meme was spreading; only examined science is true — they don’t recognize that they repeat the old empirical philosophy in new vocabulary. This meme was associated with a sort of dictatorship, scientists hence rejected all surroundings but and by science, they showed science as the only way to truth, depending on an ulterior assumption which consider the existing of ‘a truth’ by the way we understand generally, fundamentally, and dogmatically. Actually, one can say a lot about that kind of a so-called truth, which has no reason for existence but for a fundamental worldview. Unfortunately, this worldview is backward and spreading in the form of war, which caused an anti-war on science.
This absurd is due to the misunderstanding of what science is, and that is due to the absence of nowadays philosophy. Why science needs philosophy? What questions science is capable of answering? And, what is science? All these questions are attempt to be answered below — and this is no prejudice nor is it an attempt to give philosophy the kiss of life as it’s really dead, this is a position of declaration, a necessary and urgent to help stop the widening dictatorship of the scientific fundamentalism; which is regarded mostly as neo-atheism.
Firstly, what is philosophy concerned with and aiming to? For all the centuries of the past two thousand years, philosophy seemed to be concerned with knowledge in order to understand matter. When we attempt to understand something, we have to know about it first; then by knowledge comes understanding, and truth shows itself by itself if it ever existed. One can presume a process of understanding, which may last for generations and longer. This process of understanding recommends knowledge, by thinking — questions, hence, are a result.
Since the mere rise of philosophy until the present decade, philosophers have been asking question that some of them are answered definitely and ceased to be called philosophy hence, other questions are still an unanswered, and philosophers all over the years have been developing knowledge about what might be solutions. Even after Einstein, some scientists are seeking definite answers and facts, this position is in contrary with some scientific theories, and this contradiction is due to their fundamental way of thinking, the lack of knowledge, and the pre-arranged judgments and worldview.
Now, we need to repeat an old fact; on the origin of all sciences; which is philosophy. Science is only capable of answering the questions asked by philosophy, science can only live in the medium created by them, because science is concerned with providing explanations for phenomena, hence the explanations science is providing are timed and conditioned and able to change at any time, the theory of gravity between Newton and Einstein is a perfect example for this certain matter. Science only remarks what is in a period of time confirmed scientifically.
Science is dulled to challenge, yes it can remark a fact or explanation of a phenomenon rejected by religion and fanatics, it’s hence courageous, however challenging is a matter philosophy; science can tell what the body consists of or how it works when we do things, but it will never tell ‘what is the body?’ this is a mission of a branch of philosophy undesired by modern scientists called metaphysics. What makes scientists unaware of such a confusion, is that the same question ‘what is the body?’ can be answered by what the body consists of and how it works, but when a philosopher asks such question, he is approaching a reflective study of the essence of the body.
Philosophers have failed and mainly lost this war because they handled the issue from a defending position, they felt that they were charged with being philosophers and had to make an excuse. Science is mostly understood in this war as the works of Darwin, Galileo, Newton, and Einstein, it’s not understood as the lame works of so-called scientists like Richard Dawkins. The figures of science are considered prophets and guardians of science, actually this big fail has turned the war upside down on science when science seemed to be as dictator as fundamentalist religious doctrines and fanatics. And science, in the post-modernist era, is surely losing the war.
What is science? Simply, one can say, it’s an advanced level of philosophy where knowledge becomes possible.
“The whole study of the heavens, which now belongs to astronomy, was once included in philosophy; Newton’s great work was called ‘the mathematical principles of natural philosophy’. Similarly, the study of the human mind, which was a part of philosophy, has now been separated from philosophy and has become the science of psychology. Thus, to a great extent, the uncertainty of philosophy is more apparent than real: those questions which are already capable of definite answers are placed in the sciences, while those only to which, at present, no definite answer can be given, remain to form the residue which is called philosophy.” — Bertrand Russell, The Problems of Philosophy, Ch. XV
Russell also said when asked that philosophy is “what we don’t know,” in differentiation from science which said that it is “what we know.” The notion here, is how do we get to know what we don’t know? The answer is simple, by the process of thinking (above). Philosophy, hence, is the mere origin of any science, and without philosophy science cannot actually survive and last as soon as all knowledge developed by philosophers becomes possible and some kind of definite. There are more of what we don’t know in the universe, the Earth, and species than we know, and it’s hard to get to know any of it without the process of understanding.
Of course possible knowledge leads to more knowledge for scientists, however it will only work in limitation of the medium discovered as well as reached by philosophers, and if anything comes up new, we will need to philosophize it in first place in order to allow science (the possible knowledge) to be shown and explained. And the way those fundamental scientists conduct towards religion and philosophy is backward, oppressing and killing creativity; what we need is a new post-modernist philosophy to protect us from the abuse of modern science and technology.
Originally published at kamalghazi.blogspot.com.