What is Science? The ‘Scientific Stance’

 

‘A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring’

‘Science’, from the Latin Scire, related to the words ‘Cognition’ and ‘Consciousness’, is a form of Knowledge, a type of Knowing.

Albert Einstein: Science is the endeavor to bring together by means of systematic thought, the perceptible phenomena of the world, into as thoroughgoing an association as possible. To put it boldly, it is the attempt at the posterior reconstruction of Existence by the process of conceptualization…‘ [See: ‘The Concept of Concept’]

Science is the nearest thing we have to a credible Modern Religion. And Science has three parts:

First, the codified ‘Scientific Method’ itself. Repeatable, measurable tests; consistent, cumulative theory; verifiable data and documentation; informed peer review, and so on.

Secondly, its central principles, the Principle of Contradiction and the Principle of Induction [there are others but these are the big ones. We’ll get to Method and Principles in later Posts].

And finally, very importantly, the ‘Scientific-Stance’.


Since you won’t take my word for it, here are three very distinguished members of the extended Scientific Community on the core of what is meant by the ‘Scientific Stance’:

Bertrand Russell, co-author of the Principia Mathematica:'Mathematics..a beauty cold and austere..'

‘The kernel of the scientific outlook is the refusal to regard our own desires, tastes and interests as affording a key to the understanding of the Universe..

[It] involves a suppression of hope and fear, love and hate..the whole subjective emotional life, until we become subdued to the material at hand, able to see it frankly without misconception and without bias, without any wish except to see it as it is..

 

Albert Einstein:

‘Where the world ceases to be the scene of our personal hopes and wishes, where we face it as free human beings..we enter the realm of Art and Science.

If [it is] communicated in the language of Logic we are engaged in Science.. common to both is the loving devotion to that which transcends personal concerns and volition‘.

 

Michael Faraday:

‘I will simply express my strong belief, that that point of self-education which consists in teaching the mind to resist its desires and inclinations, until they are proved to be right, is the most important of all, not only in things of natural philosophy, but in every department of dally life.’

[Einstein famously had Faraday’s Photograph on his desk at Princeton.]