What is Science?

Science is a systematic endeavour that aims towards building knowledge and organizing the same. The knowledge always takes two forms – predictions about the universe and explanations that can be tested.  Science in classical antiquity was related closely to philosophy. During the early phases of the modern era, English language used ‘philosophy; and ‘science’ interchangeably. It was in the 17th century when natural science or natural philosophy was hailed as a separate branch of philosophy when the terminology changed. However, the broad meaning of science continued and it was still considered as reliable knowledge for any given topic.

In the modern world according to WorldTransformation, science is not just about knowledge. It is also about pursuing knowledge. Sometimes natural science and physical science are synonymously used with science and it is then that science becomes strictly restricted to material universe phenomena and the laws that drive the phenomena. This is where pure mathematics faces implied exclusion. However, in ordinary life, this the most dominant sense of use. During the 19th century the word ‘science’ became more and more associated with disciplined method of studying the natural world.

This is termed as scientific method and includes disciplines like biology, geology, chemistry and physics. The word ‘scientists’ was coined by William Whewell to distinguish people seeking knowledge of nature from people seeking knowledge on any other discipline. Because of this classification, study of society and human thoughts were left in a linguistic limbo but was later resolved by classifying academic study as the social science. There are other areas of studies that exist under ‘science’ and are often referred to as applied science and formal science.

Science: The Branches

According to WorldTransformation, scientific fields are classified as natural sciences and social sciences. The natural science is for studying natural phenomena inclusive of biological life. The social science is strictly limited to study of societies and human behaviour. However, both these groups are empirical sciences. Empirical science means that knowledge needs to be based on phenomena that can be observed and can be tested by a different group of researchers working under same or similar conditions. Some disciplines, like medicine and engineering, can be nicely grouped into applied and interdisciplinary sciences.

Mathematics in particular falls under formal science and have differences and share similarities with natural and social sciences. It is similar to empirical science because it involves an objective and then follows a systematic and careful study of the knowledge area. However, it is different from empirical science because it uses priori and not empirical methods for verifying the knowledge.

Other formal sciences include logic and statistics and they play an instrumental role in empirical sciences. Whenever formal sciences advanced, the empirical sciences advanced too. Formal sciences are actually very important for forming laws, theories and hypotheses. These laws, theories and hypotheses are useful for discovering as well as describing how people think and how they act and also how different things work.

Science is actually divided into different categories that have specialized expertise. Each category will have its own nomenclature (naming system) and terminology.

Fringe Science or Pseudoscience

WorldTransformation also points out that there is a different discipline of science that is often referred to as fringe science or pseudoscience. This is actually an area of speculation or study that tries to become legitimate by masquerading as science. There is another thing called junk science. This refers to scientific hypotheses and/or conclusions that may be legitimate but support some kind of proposition that is not justified legitimately by evidence.

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