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For Some People Science Is the Supreme Form of All Knowledge. Is This View Reasonable or Does It Involve a Misunderstanding of Science or of Knowledge?

By irwanzee Oct 11, 2008 372 Words
The statement preceding the question is ambiguous. What sort of "science" is meant, in what sense is science 'supreme' and what is meant by "knowledge"? I will proceed by making reasonable assumptions on what this statement means, as I do not have enough space to cover every angle. For the purpose of answering this question it does not appear necessary to try to define knowledge. I will assume that this statement refers to Natural Science, not Human Science. I will discuss science's success and its problems of knowledge. Finally I will consider what is meant by the statement 'science is the supreme form of all knowledge." The view that 'science is supreme in finding knowledge within its subject area' seems incorrect. Mathematics appears to be 'superior' to science in this way because mathematics produces irrefutable proofs. Therefore I will assume that this statement means 'Natural Science is superior to all other areas of knowledge in giving us knowledge'. I will discuss how areas of knowledge are different, yet linked in ways that make it impossible to say which area is best. I will conclude that this statement involves a misunderstanding of both science and knowledge. So what is contained in the word science? There are two types of science, Natural Science and Human Science. Natural Science seeks a deep understanding of nature and aims to discover how things work. Human Science seeks explanation, order and underlying patterns in aspects of human behaviour and aims to find out how things work in order to make them work better. Both sciences use the scientific method in their research. Results in Natural Science involve a positive statement, which is a statement of fact. Results in Human Science involve a normative statement, a value judgement that often comes from ethics, as well as a positive statement. It is reasonable to assume that people who assert that 'science is the supreme form of all knowledge' arc referring to Natural Science because of the normative statement in human science. I will explain this assumption later. Bibliography

Nicholas Alchin, Theory of Knowledge, 2003, John Murray Publishers Ltd., London. Du Sautoy, The Music of Primes, 2003, Fourth Estate, London. The Chambers Dictionary, 2003, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd., London.

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