Modern science is developing at a very fast pace, currently the amount of scientific knowledge doubles every 10-15 years. About 90% of all scientists who ever lived on Earth are our contemporaries. For some 300 years, namely this is the age of modern science, mankind has made such a huge leap, which our ancestors didn’t even dream of (about 90% of all scientific and technological achievements were made in our time).
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The whole world around us shows what progress mankind has achieved. It was science that was the main cause of such a rapidly flowing scientific and technological revolution, the transition to a post-industrial society, the widespread introduction of information technologies, the emergence of a “new economy” for which the laws of classical economic theory do not apply, the transfer of human knowledge to electronic form, so convenient for storage, systematization, search and processing, and many others.
All this convincingly proves that the main form of human knowledge – science in our days is becoming more and more significant and essential part of reality.
However, science would not be so productive if it did not have a developed system of methods, principles and imperatives of knowledge so inherent to it. It is the correctly chosen method along with the talent of a scientist that helps him to learn the deep connection of phenomena, to reveal their essence, to discover laws and regularities. The number of methods that science develops for the knowledge of reality is constantly increasing. The exact number is probably difficult to determine. Indeed, there are about 15,000 sciences in the world, and each of them has its own specific methods and subject of study.
At the same time, all these methods are in dialectic connection with general scientific methods, which they, as a rule, contain in various combinations and with the universal, dialectical method. This circumstance is one of the reasons that determine the importance of the presence of philosophical knowledge of any scientist. After all, it is philosophy as a science “about the most common laws of being and the development of the world” that studies tendencies and ways of developing scientific knowledge, its structure and research methods, examining them through the prism of its categories, laws and principles. In addition to everything, philosophy endows the scientist with that universal method, without which it is impossible to do in any field of scientific knowledge.
Cognition is a specific type of human activity, aimed at comprehending the surrounding world and oneself in this world. “Cognition is, first of all, due to the socio-historical practice, the process of acquiring and developing knowledge, its constant deepening, expansion, and improvement.”
Man comprehends the world around him, seizes him in various ways, among which there are two main ones. The first (genetically original) – material and technical – production of livelihoods, labor, practice. The second is spiritual (ideal), within which the cognitive relationship of the subject and object is only one of many others. In turn, the process of cognition and the knowledge gained in it in the course of the historical development of the practice and the cognition itself is increasingly differentiated and embodied in its various forms.
Every form of social consciousness: science, philosophy, mythology, politics, religion, etc. correspond to specific forms of knowledge. Usually distinguish the following of them: everyday, game, mythological, artistic, figurative, philosophical, religious, personal, scientific. Although the latter are connected, they are not identical with each other, each of them has its own specifics.
We will not dwell on the consideration of each of the forms of knowledge. The subject of our research is scientific knowledge. In this regard, it is advisable to consider the features of the latter only.
The main features of scientific knowledge are:
1. The main task of scientific knowledge is the discovery of objective laws of reality — natural, social (social), laws of cognition, thinking, etc. Hence the focus of research mainly on the general, essential properties of the subject, its necessary characteristics and their expression in the system of abstractions. “The essence of scientific knowledge consists in a reliable generalization of facts, in that it finds what is necessary and natural for the accidental, and what is common for the unit and carries out the prediction of various phenomena and events on this basis.” Scientific knowledge strives to reveal the necessary, objective connections that are fixed as objective laws. If this is not the case, then there is no science, for the very concept of science implies the discovery of laws, the deepening of the essence of the phenomena being studied.
2. The immediate goal and the highest value of scientific knowledge is an objective truth, comprehended mainly by rational means and methods, but, of course, not without the participation of living contemplation. Hence, the characteristic feature of scientific knowledge is objectivity, the elimination of whenever possible subjectivist moments in many cases for the realization of the “purity” of examining one’s subject. Einstein also wrote: “What we call science has as its exclusive task to firmly establish what is”. Its task is to give a true reflection of the processes, an objective picture of what is. However, it must be borne in mind that the activity of the subject is the most important condition and prerequisite for scientific knowledge. The latter is not feasible without a constructively critical attitude towards reality, which excludes inertia, dogmatism, and apologetics.
3. Science, to a greater extent than other forms of knowledge, is focused on being embodied in practice, being a “guide to action” on changing the surrounding reality and managing real processes. The vital meaning of scientific research can be expressed by the formula: “To know, to foresee, to foresee, to practically act” – not only in the present, but also in the future. All the progress of scientific knowledge is associated with an increase in the power and range of scientific foresight. Foresight provides the ability to control and manage processes. Scientific knowledge opens up the possibility of not only foreseeing the future, but also of its conscious formation. “The focus of science on the study of objects that can be included in activities (either relevantly or potentially, as possible objects of its future development), and their study as obeying the objective laws of functioning and development is one of the most important features of scientific knowledge. This feature distinguishes it from other forms of human cognitive activity. ”
The essential feature of modern science is that it has become such a force that predetermines the practice. From the daughter of production, science turns into his mother. Many modern production processes were born in scientific laboratories. Thus, modern science not only serves the demands of production, but more and more often acts as a prerequisite for the technical revolution. The great discoveries of the past decades in the leading fields of knowledge led to a scientific and technological revolution that encompassed all elements of the production process: comprehensive automation and mechanization, development of new types of energy, raw materials and materials, penetration into the microcosm and into space. As a result, the prerequisites for the gigantic development of the productive forces of society.
4. Scientific knowledge in the gnoseological sense is a complex, contradictory process of reproducing knowledge, forming an integral developing system of concepts, theories, hypotheses, laws, and other ideal forms fixed in language — natural or — more characteristic — artificial (mathematical symbols, chemical formulas, and .P.). Scientific knowledge does not just fix its elements, but continuously reproduces them on its own basis, forms them in accordance with its norms and principles. In the development of scientific knowledge, revolutionary periods alternate, the so-called scientific revolutions, which lead to a change of theories and principles, and evolutionary, quiet periods, during which knowledge deepens and is detailed. The process of continuous self-renewal by the science of its conceptual arsenal is an important indicator of science.
5. In the process of scientific knowledge, such specific material means as instruments, instruments, other so-called “scientific equipment” are used, often very complex and expensive (synchrophasotrons, radio telescopes, rocket and space technology, etc.). In addition, for science, to a greater extent than for other forms of cognition, it is typical to use such ideal (spiritual) means and methods as modern logic, mathematical methods, dialectics, systemic, hypothetical-deductive and other general scientific methods for the study of their objects and themselves. and methods (see about this below).
6. Scientific knowledge is inherent in rigorous evidence, the validity of the results, the reliability of the findings. At the same time, there are many hypotheses, guesses, assumptions, probabilistic judgments, etc. That is why the logical and methodological training of researchers, their philosophical culture, the continuous improvement of their thinking, the ability to properly apply its laws and principles are of great importance.
In modern methodology, various levels of scientific criteria are distinguished, referring to them, besides those mentioned, such as internal systematic knowledge, its formal consistency, experimental verifiability, reproducibility, openness for criticism, freedom from bias, rigor, etc. In other forms of cognition, considered criteria may occur (in varying degrees), but there they are not decisive.