Science is part of philosophy

researchPhilosophy as science?

Whether philosophy is a science is controversial. Some say yes, the subject is taught at universities. No, others counter, at least philosophy is not an empirical science, which is why it cannot become scientific by using empirical methods. In the phase before the natural sciences finally unfolded - that is, physics, chemistry, psychology and so on - philosophy was of paramount importance in the scientific community. Philosophy was not just science, in fact it was the central science of all:

"Today the designation of philosophy as a science is viewed rather skeptically because the empirical sciences set the paradigm for scientificity."

Philosophy was the basis of many individual sciences

Matthias Koßler, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Mainz and Head of the Schopenhauer Research Center:

"There were still law and medicine as other subjects, but everything else that we associate with the natural sciences today, psychology and what we have differentiated today, that was all a science. From this commonality of philosophy, the various sciences have emerged and evolved emancipated. "

They also developed methods that inevitably had to differ from those of philosophy. Philosophy is not an empirical science, like biology or geology, in which hypotheses and theories can fail due to experience. Research results in empirical sciences can be checked by observation; this is not possible in philosophy. In addition, according to Matthias Koßler, philosophy does not know linear progress. She sees her task in this:

"To reflect on the method of science and to question the terms on which science is based, for example nature or matter. What is nature, what is matter, that philosophy must always do in the context of the social situation. And hence there is progress in correspondence with societal development, but not linear progress, so that one could say that one philosophy builds on another, as in the natural sciences, and we can forget the other, and the newest is always the best, that cannot be said in philosophy. "

Merging philosophy and science

Nevertheless, philosophers repeatedly developed concepts and ideas to reconcile philosophy and science. Hegel, for example, tried the term "holism", a teaching that derives all phenomena of life from a holistic principle - according to Nina Lott, research assistant at the Philosophical Seminar of the University of Mainz:

"In order for it to be science, philosophy, it must appear in the form of the system. Hegel says that the true is the whole, insofar as Hegel's philosophy is a holism in which every element of knowledge is presented in an inferential connection with others, with all other knowledge So, everything in the system must be able to be conveyed and derived. For Hegel, this is what the 'concept' does, that would make up the science. "

Hegel tried to integrate even burgeoning individual sciences into his holistic system:

"He would say that the individual sciences are contained as eliminated differences in his overall concept. In his Science of Logic, he tries to represent the general forms of thought; he would say that the individual sciences are also dependent on these forms of thought."

Experiments integrated into philosophy

Schelling, a main exponent of German idealism, even tried to integrate experiment - a central element of empirical science - into his philosophy. How he did it, explains Erik Eschmann, Research Associate at the Philosophical Seminar of the University of Mainz:

"An example is always relatively difficult in philosophy, but what you can do is to show how it breaks down the relationship. Namely, that it shows that the experiment is definitely relevant for the contingents, that is, for the random phenomena in the world , since a system of knowledge that is supposed to proceed a priori cannot deduce all possible phenomena by itself, but is dependent on the results of experiments, which are supposed to serve as intermediate links in order to construct a system of knowledge of nature a priori can."

Despite all attempts to define philosophy as a science, it has not really succeeded to this day. According to Matthias Koßler, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Mainz, a glance at the modern concept of science is enough to uncover inconsistencies and make possible perspectives of philosophy clear:

"You always seem to know what science is because you combine it with experience, experiments, but if you want to pinpoint the paradigm for science it becomes very difficult. You can say in general that science should be a rational process, that is recognized in society as capable of arguing. That is very general, but it must also remain general in relation to philosophy, because philosophy should shape the dialogue between different sciences, and in a rational way, not in any arbitrary way. "

Philosophy as a critical observer of individual sciences

Methodically broken down to the minimal consensus that science should be a rational process that society recognizes as capable of arguing, philosophy definitely has tasks with regard to other - already recognized - sciences:

"For example, nuclear power, the annihilation of mankind, these are ethical aspects that do not really have to interest the scientist, he does his research, says that it cannot be stopped either, the research goes on. That would be one too, for example The task of philosophy is to record the limits of scientific research and to observe them critically in comparison to the ethical requirements that are placed on research in relation to the other approaches that exist in research. There is not only scientific treatment Nature is treated aesthetically, for example, from the field of medicine, there are also alternative forms of healing that cannot simply be left out now, but which one then has to examine in terms of their rational justification. That would be something that philosophy should do in relation to the sciences. "