Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A crick in the back: About philosophy in science and science in philosophy

Today I lie in bed with the crick in the back. Should stand up at 4.30 AM to begin the journey to work from Sandefjord to Fredrikstad, but my back said no. Cause: The Crick. Five letters in a short and strange word, but it hurts. I can not get out of bed. But there is a reason behind the cause. I like to find reasons and objective knowledge. This weekend I dug up two tree trunks from my lawn. Trees cut down last year and I do not like tree trunks sticking out of the lawn to no avail. I like order and neatness. So I dug them up. It was an achievement I was proud of. But today the  tree trunks took revenge. I actually think they did it on purpose. An irrational thought, but I can not find any other explanation. Crick in the lower back. Lying in bed with a crick, gives me time for some philosophical reflections on life. Here are a few.

My main philosophical considerations came to me when I was 5-7 years old. Maybe I had some before, but I do not remember them so well. I remember thinking, 3-4 years of age, if stones could speak. I was interested in stones and always had someone with me in my pocket. I talked a few times with them, and thought they spoke back to me. Later, I was concerned with our grey cat, who we called greycat, and wondered if cats could talk. When my dad cut down a tree, I thought of the trees have feelings. What does the tree feel when the ax is cut into the trunk? What if the tree sudden took revenge? I looked at the stars often as a child and think I could grasp eternity. I saw God and he smiled.

Philosophy is not scientific knowledge. It's contrary to the goals of scientific knowledge. This means that we can not achieve philosophical knowledge in a scientific manner. Philosophy is based on subjective evidence and is thus not able to submit to scientific claims of objective evidence. This means that philosophy turns to the idea and the realization of the individual's conversation with oneself. It is still meaningful to talk about the philosophy of science. Philosophy is found in the sciences, especially where it is about to apply the basic concepts that characterize a variety of scientific research. This is what we usually call "science" or "philosophy of science."

It is a natural question to ask here how philosophy, without science, can have a scientific status. A  legitimate task of philosophy should perhaps be to systematize and summarize our knowledge, but believing that philosophy is able to create system and order are met with great skepticism. Nevertheless, it seems that metaphysics and religion have given more support to society's demands for order, than science itself have managed. Hegel argues that a people without metaphysics is like a temple without holyness, an empty temple, a temple that no one visits anymore, which therefore ceases to exist. Metaphysics was been the first of all sciences (Latin: prima Philosophie). It contained the knowledge of God, world and man. This was the traditional metaphysical content. An example of a metaphysical concept is freedom. Hegel believed that freedom is a higher thought or principle that a person can have and he has interpreted human history as a struggle to constantly renew this freedom.

Approaching the philosophical notion of such freedom through scientific research can not be done. Science requires understanding, and this is something science often struggles with. That's where philosophy enters the picture. Resoning is not just about our self-consciousness. The term was used in the Greek philosophy long before we had concepts of subject and subjectivity. Augustine recommended that in order to find ourselves, we must turn our gaze inwards. Hegel believed that we also must turn our gaze outward, toward the other that is outside ourselves. For man to understand himself, requires not only a conversation with ourselves, in our own thoughts, but also through conversations we participate in with others, and we never cease to participate in conversations with others.

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