If we trace the whole history of natural and social science,we cannot fail to notice that scientists in their specificresearches, in constructing hypotheses and theories haveconstantly applied, sometimes unconsciously, world-views andmethodological principles, categories and logical systemsevolved by philosophers and absorbed by scientists in theprocess of their training and self-education. All scientistswho think in terms of theory constantly speak of this with adeep feeling of gratitude both in their works and at regionaland international conferences and congresses.
One way to distinguish between science and religion is the claim thatscience concerns the natural world, whereas religion concerns both thenatural and the supernatural. Scientific explanations do not appeal tosupernatural entities such as gods or angels (fallen or not), or tonon-natural forces (like miracles, karma, or Qi). Forexample, neuroscientists typically explain our thoughts in terms ofbrain states, not by reference to an immaterial soul or spirit.
Even though I have difficulty with some points ofCharles Darwin's theoryof natural selection, I have no doubt of the effect his theory has had on ourself-awareness. Darwin's theory of natural selection is monumental in the behavioraldirection of this planet's future. Like Galileo before him, Darwin and his evolutionarytheories have been, and are still, under attack by religious forces frightened by thethought of a world where their authority and their right to speak for God is diminished. Iunderstand the fear that fuels their passion: they may lose influence. In particular, thefear of the diminution of the family and the chaos ensuing if such theories are accepteddo not fall on dispassionate ears. But I also understand the importance of evolutionarypsychology and the discoveries that this new science is bringing to our world in trulylearning human behavior. Most human suffering, including the possibility of globalconflict, occurs because of our ignorance of how behavior mechanisms evolved. Thisrequires the acceptance of evolutionary theory. In 1609, when the church condemned Galileoto house arrest for life, the churchmen refused to look through Galileo's telescope andsee the logic of his arguments. The church insisted that the poor found comfort in theirGod and refuge from the misery that surrounded them by remaining ignorant. Ordinarypeople, of course, found out about Galileo's theories anyway. The truth can not besuppressed forever.
My fondest wish is that somehow I could convince our religious cousins thatscience is merely filling the exacting evolutionary need that God gave all of us -- theneed for convincing answers before we take our next step. The need for God endured afterGalileo's theory was brought out of the darkness of ignorance, and it will endure when thebattle over evolution vs. creationism is over. Families in all communities will stillrequire the comfort and wisdom of their religious leaders; the formation of morals andcultural behavior models will always be their provenance. It is time, however, to see theoverwhelming logic before them by accepting the evolutionary theory. I know that it willbe a new beginning, not an end, for religion. For me, this step is wanted, needed, andeagerly awaited for. And it is for this reason that I give praise to Darwin and make acall for religious support for the next battle: The battle against those who supporteugenics and genetic engineering in their attempt to "improve" the humanspecies. That is God's provenance.
Science and philosophy have always learned from eachother. Philosophy tirelessly draws from scientific discoveriesfresh strength, material for broad generalisations, while tothe sciences it imparts the world-view and methodological impulses of its universal principles. Many general guiding ideasthat lie at the foundation of modern science were firstenunciated by the perceptive force of philosophicalthought. One example is the idea of the atomic structure ofthings voiced by Democritus. Certain conjectures about naturalselection were made in ancient times by the philosopherLucretius and later by the French thinkerDiderot. Hypothetically he anticipated what became ascientific fact two centuries later. We may also recall theCartesian reflex and the philosopher's proposition on theconservation of motion in the universe. On the generalphilosophical plane Spinoza gave grounds for the universalprinciple of determinism. The idea of the existence ofmolecules as complex particles consisting of atoms wasdeveloped in the works of the French philosopher PierreGassendi and also Russia's Mikhail Lomonosov. Philosophynurtured the hypothesis of the cellular structure of animaland vegetable organisms and formulated the idea of thedevelopment and universal connection of phenomena and theprinciple of the material unity of the world. Lenin formulatedone of the fundamental ideas of contemporary naturalscience—the principle of the inexhaustibility ofmatter—upon which scientists rely as a firmmethodological foundation.
The central concept of feminist epistemology is that of a situatedknower, and hence of situated knowledge: knowledge that reflects theparticular perspectives of the subject. Feminist philosophers areinterested in how gender situates knowing subjects. They originallyarticulated three main approaches to this question: feministstandpoint theory, feminist postmodernism, and feministempiricism. Conceptions of how gender situates knowers also informfeminist approaches to the central problems of the field: groundingfeminist criticisms of science and feminist science, defining theproper roles of social and political values in inquiry, evaluatingideals of objectivity and rationality, and reforming structures ofepistemic authority.
Take, for example, two of the most widely-known science fiction novels in the history of English literature: The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds, written in the late 1800s in Victorian England by H.G.
At this point a huge philosophical problem arises. How are we toovercome the yawning gap between mathematisednatural-scientific and technological thinking, on the onehand, and humanitarian, social thought, on the other? How arewe to resolve the intense and continuing argument between theso-called "lyricists and physicists", who symbolise thesetwo diverging styles of thought? This is something that has aharmful effect on the human personality, dragged in oppositedirections by the two principles. This morbid dichotomy mayhave negative consequences for the present and future of boththe individual and collective human reason. So it is aneducational, philosophical, moral and profoundly socialproblem.
Karl Jaspers, the German psychiatrist and philosopher, oncemade the point that students who became dissatisfied withphilosophy often entered the natural scientific faculties toget to grips with "real things", which they then studiedenthusiastically. But later, when they began to seek a basisfor their own lives in science, the general ruling principlesof their actions, they were again disappointed and theirsearch led them back to philosophy. Philosophy, besides allits other functions, goes deep into the personal side of humanlife. The destiny of the individual, his inner emotions anddesires, in a word, his life and death, have from timeimmemorial constituted one of the cardinal philosophicalproblems. The indifference to this "human" set ofproblems, which is a characteristic feature of neopositivism,is rightly regarded as one-sided scientism, the essence ofwhich is primitively simple: philosophy must be a science likenatural science, and strive to reach the same ideal ofmathematical precision and authenticity. But while manyscientific researchers look only outwards, philosophers lookboth outwards and inwards, that is to say, at the world aroundman and man's place in that world. Philosophical consciousnessis reflective in its very essence. The degree of precision andthe very character of precision and authenticity in scienceand philosophy must therefore differ. Who, for instance,reflects man's inner world with all its pathologicalaberrations "more precisely"—the natural scientistwith his experimental techniques, mathematical formulae andgraphs or, for example, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, intheir immortal works that are so highly charged withphilosophical meaning?
Philosophy helps us to achieve a deeper understanding of thesocial significance and general prospects of scientificdiscoveries and their technical applications. The impressiveachievements of the scientific and technological revolution,the contradictions and social consequences it has evoked,raise profound philosophical problems. Contemporaryphilosophical irrationalism gives a pessimistic appraisal ofscientific and technological advance and predicts worldwidedisaster. But this raises the question of the responsibilityof philosophy, since philosophy seeks to understand theessence of things and here we are dealing with the activity ofhuman reason and its "unreasonable" consequences. Thusthe question of the nature of philosophy in our day grows intoa question of the historic destinies of humanity and becomes avitally important social problem. To what extent can societycomprehend itself, rationally control its own development, bethe master of its own destiny, command the consequences of itsown cognitive and practical activity?
Not only are the subject-matter of this or that science andthe methods of studying it being verified. We are trying todefine the exact social and moral role that this or thatscience plays or may play in the life of society, what itimplies or may imply for the future of mankind—benefitor destruction? Thistrend towards self-knowledge, of which much is said both byscientists and philosophers, is bound to show itself andshould show itself in the relationship between philosophy andscience.