Are the New Paradigms in the Study of Science Innovative or Simply Post-Modern?

Topics: Scientific method, Science, Philosophy of science Pages: 17 (5807 words) Published: February 21, 2014
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe. In an older and closely related meaning, "science" also refers to a body of knowledge itself, of the type that can be rationally explained and reliably applied. A practitioner of science is known as a scientist. Since classical antiquity, science as a type of knowledge has been closely linked to philosophy. In the early modern period the words "science" and "philosophy of nature" were sometimes used interchangeably. By the 17th century, natural philosophy was considered a separate branch of philosophy. In modern usage, "science" most often refers to a way of pursuing knowledge, not only the knowledge itself. It is also often restricted to those branches of study that seek to explain the phenomena of the material universe. In the 17th and 18th centuries scientists increasingly sought to formulate knowledge in terms of laws of nature such as Newton's laws of motion. And over the course of the 19th century, the word "science" became increasingly associated with the scientific method itself, as a disciplined way to study the natural world, including physics, chemistry, geology and biology. It is in the 19th century also that the term scientist was created by the naturalist-theologian William Whewell to distinguish those who sought knowledge on nature from those who sought other types of knowledge. However, "science" has also continued to be used in a broad sense to denote reliable and teachable knowledge about a topic, as reflected in modern terms like library science or computer science. This is also reflected in the names of some areas of academic study such as "social science" or "political science". History

Science in a broad sense existed before the modern era, and in many historical civilizations, but modern science is so distinct in its approach and successful in its results that it now defines what science is in the strictest sense of the term. Much earlier than the modern era, another important turning point was the development of classical natural philosophy in the ancient Greek-speaking world. Pre-philosophical

Science in its original sense is a word for a type of knowledge, rather than a specialized word for the pursuit of such knowledge. In particular it is one of the types of knowledge which people can communicate to each other and share. For example, knowledge about the working of natural things was gathered long before recorded history and led to the development of complex abstract thinking, as shown by the construction of complex calendars, techniques for making poisonous plants edible, and buildings such as the pyramids. However no consistent conscientious distinction was made between knowledge of such things which are true in every community, and other types of communal knowledge such as mythologies and legal systems. Philosophical study of nature

Before the invention or discovery of the concept of "nature", by the Pre-Socratic philosophers, the same words tend to be used to describe the natural "way" in which a plant grows, and the "way" in which, for example, one tribe worships a particular god. For this reason it is claimed these men were the first philosophers in the strict sense, and also the first people to clearly distinguish "nature" and "convention". Science was therefore distinguished as the knowledge of nature, and the things which are true for every community, and the name of the specialized pursuit of such knowledge was philosophy — the realm of the first philosopher-physicists. They were mainly speculators or theorists, particularly interested in astronomy. In contrast, trying to use knowledge of nature to imitate nature was seen by classical scientists as a more appropriate interest for lower class artisans. Philosophical turn to human things

A major turning point in the history of early philosophical science was the controversial but...

References: Cole, K. C., Things your teacher never told you about science: Nine shocking revelations Newsday, Long Island, New York, March 23, 1986, pg 21+
Feynman, Richard
Kuhn, Thomas, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 1962.
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