Science is the systematic and logical of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. Although the term scientism is related to science, it has two basic meanings; it can refer to a philosophical view about the world as well as to the excessive or incorrect usage of science and scientific claims.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Science
– Definition, Characteristics, Branches
2. What is Scientism
– Definition, Characteristics
3. What is the Difference Between Science and Scientism
– Comparison of Key Differences
Science, Scientism, Scientific Method
What is Science
Science is basically the study of nature and behaviour of natural things and knowledge obtained through them. It includes observation, identification, experimental investigation, description, and theoretical explanation of the natural phenomenon. The Science Council has defined science as below:
“Science is the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence.”
The term science originates from the Latin word scientia, which means “knowledge”. Moreover, the earliest roots of science can be traced back to Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, around 3500 to 3000 BCE. Modern science, on the other hand, has three main categories as natural sciences, social sciences, and formal sciences. Moreover, disciplines that use existing scientific knowledge for practical applications are known as applied sciences. Subjects like engineering and medicine come under the field of applied science.
Branches of Science
Natural sciences involve the description, prediction, and understanding of natural phenomena according to empirical evidence from observation and experimentation. It has two main branches as life sciences (biological sciences) and physical sciences) It also includes sub-branches including chemistry, physics, earth sciences and astronomy. Social sciences, which studies society and the relationships among individuals within the society, includes many branches like anthropology, history, economics, archaeology, linguistics, political science. Formal science, on the other hand, is concerned with the study of formal systems and abstract concepts, and includes branches like mathematics, logic, and systems theory. However, some argue that formal sciences are not a part of science since they rely on deductive reasoning, instead of strictly relying on empirical evidence.
Furthermore, there are two types of scientific research as basic research and applied research: basic research involves the search for knowledge, whereas applied research involves the search for solutions to practical problems using this knowledge. When conducting scientific research, researchers use the scientific method to collect empirical evidence. This method involves systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, as well as the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.
What is Scientism
Scientism is the view that science is the absolute and only justifiable access to the truth. According to this view, only science can render truth about the world and reality, and therefore, science should determine normative and epistemological values in society. Scientism is often a point of contention is philosophy. Moreover, it is often associated with logical positivism.
The term scientism also has a pejorative meaning. Sometimes, we use this word to refer to science applied in excess or improper usage of science or scientific claims.
Difference Between Science and Scientism
Science is the study of nature and behaviour of natural things and knowledge obtained through them. Scientism, on the other hand, is the view that only science can render truth about the world and reality.
Science is the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of natural phenomenon, whereas scientism is a philosophical view of the world.
The main difference between science and scientism is that science is the study of nature and behaviour of natural things and knowledge obtained through them while scientism is the view that only science can render truth about the world and reality.
1. “Science.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 31 Oct. 2019, Available here.
2. “Scientism.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Sept. 2019, Available here.
3. “Our Definition of Science.” The Science Council, Available here.