From Science to Philosophy
The Differences between Science and Philosophy
Some of the differences between science and philosophy are:
1-As Whitehead believes, "Philosophy searches for generalizations that determine the entire reality of the truth, without which no reality could escape being abstract. Science, on the other hand, creates abstraction, content with knowing only some basic aspects of the entire truth, just a relative part of it."
2-Science cannot provide us with absolute dominance over the universe; each scientist can discover only aspects of realities, whereas by means of philosophy one can dominate the knowledge of the whole universe.
3-Philosophical systems are more stable than scientific systems, for they are based upon principles and generalizations far beyond the interpretations that form science. Philosophy has many fixed principles, such as the existence of realities in the world outside the mind, movement in the universe, objects for objects' sake and objects for the self's sake, the reliance of variables on unchangeables, and the uniformism of the mind.
4-In philosophy, we can achieve a form of certainty mixed with some vagueness, but in science we cannot achieve any certainty because of the influence of factors like the tools of knowledge.
There are a great many subjects which science fails to discover, such as the final value of good and evil, or in general any phenomenon that has absolute value and cannot be measured like natural issues; issues like absolute reality, absolute nonexistence, etc are also among them."
Philosophy is putting all its efforts into finally solving problems that have existed since the earliest times. In other words, philosophy still endeavors to discover the truth about philosophical matter, absolute values, the relationship between man and the universe, and the extent of the mind's judgment in realities. Another part of philosophy tends to understand general principles including various scientific results.
Despite the disputes scientists and philosophers have, they need each other. Contemporary philosophers believe that science can help them by proving the preliminaries to some philosophical proofs, and also by providing new problems for philosophical analysis.
The philosopher knows things that the scientist can neither deny nor study on by means of scientific methods. However, the sometimes the scientist becomes concerned with the possible necessity of gaining such philosophical knowledge and their influence on scientific explanations or the foundations of those explanations. For example, when a physicist discusses movement in physics or when a chemist studies interactive movements in chemistry, each have a certain concept of movement in his mind; likewise the philosopher attempts to perceive a kind of movement that involves everything. When the physicist or chemist assume that the meaning of movement according to the philosopher is vaster than what physics and chemistry (or experimental sciences, in general) offers, they may conclude that by taking the philosophical meaning of movement into consideration, they may both discover new meanings and even develop their approaches.
Science also explains various forms of physical matter with all their specific characteristics to us. The flow of human thought, however, does not stop at that; it attempts to discover the truth that can be the absolute matter in all external objects, and then come to a general relationship regarding movement. Thus, it is in such philosophical problems where science seems to be at the service of philosophy.
The philosopher knows quite well that science has discovered some of the realities and facts of the universe, and that scientific contact with facts – if accurate – is more reliable than the philosophical one, but purely scientific knowledge cannot bring us to the discovery of all components and levels of the universe. In other words, the mind may even playfully inhibit the progress of thoughts, so using science whenever possible is necessary. The philosopher should, however, keep in mind that his scientific contact with facts can only reveal to him some limited aspects of the facts, and he should never expect science to introduce him to all components and levels of the universe.