0
$\begingroup$

I'm writing a piece of paper and trying to understand, the meaning of word 'science' in the context of history. I'm not a native English speaker and I know I could look up in the dictionary, but my question is when the word 'science' is mentioned, does it usually mean all the scientific outcomes that we have now, or does it mean a general way of discovering and researching?

For example, if one says:

modern science has several issues.

It could mean that the outcome of science has drawbacks, e.g. global warming, or it could mean that the way people do research has limitation, e.g. something has to be seen before it can be studied. Or it means both?

Thanks a lot!

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Both ways are used, as well as the original meaning of simple "knowledge." Many people take advantage of the ambiguity to commit the fallacy of equivocation. $\endgroup$ – Rory Daulton Aug 12 '17 at 0:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Science is what scientists do. Scientists are people whose job is to advance some form of science. Circular? Yes. $\endgroup$ – David Hammen Aug 18 '17 at 15:20
0
$\begingroup$

I think the term is even more ambiguous than the original question implies. In addition to referring to the corpus of scientific facts (discoveries, theories, etc) obtained so far, and to the methods of discovering them, it can also refer to the social organization of the activity. These three are interrelated and their relationship has a history. A sentence like "modern science has several issues" can be read as a statement about what we think we know now, or as one about the "inner" methodology of science, or about (say) the politics or economics or sociology etc of science. Does this government fund science wisely, is there corruption in some nation's Academy of Sciences, are students being inspired to become scientists, are all "issues" with modern sciences.

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

Science has the etymological rootes "scire" (know) and "scientia" in Latin. It came via old French to the middle English science.

The present contents of the word "science" is the set of methods and techniques invented in the course of cultural development of mankind in order to gain knowledge.

A scientist is a person who has acquired, usually at a university, these techniques for a special field and endeavours to increase the knowledge in this field - contrary to engineers who apply the knowledge in order to construct reliably working useful (sometimes also useless or even detrimental) machines.

Of course the results obtained by scientists are also part of science. Often they are extolled as "scientifically proven".

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.