Philosophy of Science

Philosophy of science concerns the in-depth investigation of science's foundations, implications, and assumptions. Most notably, philosophy of science investigates the social and natural sciences.

Generally, philosophy of science tends to focus on some major themes, including the following:

Divisions of Philosophy of Science

Most people see two major categories within philosophy of science. First, metaphysics literally contains that which goes beyond physical phenomenon. Second, epistemology contains inquisition regarding knowledge, including its reliability and limitations.

Subjects of Philosophy of Science

Philosophy of science deals with many different theories and subjects, including empiricism, scientific realism and instrumentalism, constructivism, analysis and reductionism, grounds of validity of scientific reasoning, induction, falsifiability, coherentism, and Ockham's razor.

Ethical concerns that come up during scientific practice usally do not get included in philosophy of science. Rather, they get categorized under as ethics. For example, most philosophers see bioethics as part of ethics rather than the philosophy of science. These include bioethics.

It is also important to note the difference between science and the philosophy of science. While science refers to the empirical study of physical things and events, the philosophy of science refers to philsophical study of science itself. For example, finding out the height of a tree is a scientific endevor, whereas asking about the reliablity of the scientific method is a philosophical question.

"Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds."
-Attributed to Richard Feynman (1918-88) U.S. Physicist. Nobel Prize 1965.

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