The philosophy of science is concerned with the assumptions, foundations, methods and implications of science. It is also concerned with the use and merit of science and sometimes overlaps metaphysics and epistemology by exploring whether scientific results are actually a study of truth. In addition to these central problems of science as a whole, many philosophers of science also consider problems that apply to particular sciences (e.g.philosophy of biology or philosophy of physics). Some philosophers of science also use contemporary results in science to reach conclusions about philosophy. Philosophy of science has historically been met with mixed response from the scientific community. Though scientists often contribute to the field, many prominent scientists have felt that the practical effect on their work is limited; a popular quote attributed to physicist Richard Feynman goes, “Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds.” In response, some philosophers (e.g. Jonathan Schaffer) have pointed out that it is likely that ornithological knowledge would be of great benefit to birds, were it possible for them to possess it. Contents [hide] * 1 Demarcation * 2 Scientific realism and instrumentalism * 3 Scientific explanation * 4 Analysis and reductionism * 5 Grounds of validity of scientific reasoning * 5.1 Empirical verification * 5.2 Induction * 5.3 Test of an isolated theory impossible * 5.4 Theory-dependence of observations * 5.5 Coherentism * 5.6 Ockham's razor * 5.7 Objectivity of observations in science * 6 Philosophy of particular sciences * 6.1 Philosophy of biology * 6.2 Philosophy of chemistry * 6.3 Philosophy of economics * 6.4 Philosophy of mathematics * 6.5 Philosophy of physics * 6.6 Philosophy of psychology * 7 Positivism and social science * 8 Social accountability * 8.1 Scientific openness * 8.2 Critiques of scientific method * 9 Sociology, anthropology and economics of science * 10 Continental philosophy of science * 11 See also * 11.1 Philosophers of science * 11.2 Subfields * 11.3 Related topics * 12 Notes * 13 Further reading * 14 External links| -------------------------------------------------
Main article: Demarcation problem
Karl Popper contended that the central question in the philosophy of science was distinguishing science from non-science. Early attempts by the logical positivists grounded science in observation while non-science was non-observational and hence nonsense. Popper argued that the central feature of science was that science aims at falsifiable claims (i.e. claims that can be proven false, at least in principle). No single unified account of the difference between science and non-science has been widely accepted by philosophers, and some regard the problem as unsolvable or uninteresting. This problem has taken center stage in the debate regarding evolution and creationism. Scientists say that creationism does not meet the criteria of science (e.g. it is not falsifiable) and thus should not be treated on equal footing as evolution (in terms of science). -------------------------------------------------
Scientific realism and instrumentalism
Main articles: Scientific realism and Instrumentalism
Two central questions about science are (1) what are the aims of science and (2) how should one interpret the results of science? Scientific realists claim that science aims at truth and that one ought to regard scientific theories as true, approximately true, or likely true. Conversely, a scientific antirealist or instrumentalist argues that science does not aim (or at least does not succeed) at truth and that we should not regard scientific theories as true. Some antirealists claim that scientific theories aim at being instrumentally useful and should only be regarded as useful, but...