From Science to Philosophy

Factors that Make Man Seek Science

The basic factor that arouses the interest for science in man is the necessity for a correct, clear relationship with the facts that surround the human character. Such a necessity arises from the "self love," or the "need for self-preservation."

If the need for science persists, the necessity to establish a correct, clear relationship with facts can appear in various ways. In other words, people recognize facts by means of different factors, namely:

1-Expanding the dominance of the "self" upon nature in order to make use of its physical and spiritual benefits,

2-The enjoyment of science,

3-Eagerness for discovering facts,

4-Literal advantage-seeking, whether the greed for wealth, fame or popularity.

5-Spiritual flourish and elevation through establishing contact with the truth.

Each of the above-mentioned factors is rooted in self-preservation and the perfection of the soul, and has advanced science throughout history. The third and fifth factors were more dominant in the past, but nowadays the factors which mostly aid man to govern nature are considered more significant.

Endeavors toward the flourishing of the soul are considered by some philosophers as the highest aim of philosophy. 

Islamic philosophers also believe the primary purpose of seeking science to be perfecting the soul and flourishing the spirit.

Scientific Laws

What makes a law scientific? What criteria make scientific laws? Various answers have been posed, each of which cast light on one aspect of the question. For instance, when a thinker says, "A scientific law is a theorem that is repeated in the observable, physical world," his statement does not conflict much with another thinker's statement, 

"A scientific law is a theorem applicable and compatible to numerous cases, and is general enough to apply to more than one person or one case." Thus, both thinkers state that if a phenomenon cannot apply to more than one case, it cannot be a scientific law. So, all thinkers agree that partial, specific cases and facts which only arise at times, never qualify as a scientific law, even if they still may be worth studying from a scientific point of view.

Likewise, when a thinker says, "Every scientific law proves that any phenomenon arising in the physical, observable world depends on the existence of certain circumstances and the absence of inhibiting factors which, if distorted, the phenomenon will fall apart," describes the same aspect about scientific laws as this statement, "If there were no order and harmony in the universe, there would be no laws in human knowledge, either." Such theories not only do not conflict as definitions of scientific laws, but even verify one another, studying the same truth from various – and very useful –points of view. 

Generally speaking, a scientific law is a general theorem showing a harmonious process in the universe, the occurrence of which calls for certain conditions and circumstances; if any of the required conditions are not fulfilled, the process cannot take place. The continuation of the needed circumstances make the process last, and the continuation the conditions provide is what gives the scientific law its generality.


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