Science is a particular kind of cognitive activity, aimed at developing objective, systematically organized and justified knowledge of the world. A social institution that ensures the functioning of scientific cognitive activity.
As a kind of knowledge, science interacts with its other kinds: ordinary, artistic, religious-mythological, philosophical. It arises from the needs of the practice and regulates it specially. Science aims to identify the essential links (laws), according to which objects can be transformed in human activity. Since any objects – fragments of nature, social subsystems and society as a whole, states of human consciousness can be transformed into action, in so far all of them can become objects of scientific research. Science studies them as objects that function and develop according to their natural laws. It can study man as a subject of activity, but also as a special object.
The objective and objective way of viewing the world, characteristic of science, distinguishes it from other ways of knowing. For example, in art, the mastering of reality always occurs as a peculiar gluing of the subjective and objective, when any reproduction of events or states of nature and social life presupposes their emotional evaluation. The artistic image always acts as a unity of the general and the individual, rational and emotional. Scientific concepts are rational, which distinguishes the general and essential in the world of objects.
Reflecting the world in its objectivity, science gives only one of the sections of the diversity of the human world. Therefore, it does not exhaust the whole culture but is just one of the spheres that interact with other spheres of cultural creativity – morality, religion, philosophy, art. The sign of the objectivity and objectivity of knowledge is the most important characteristic of science, but it is still insufficient to determine its specificity since individual objective and subject knowledge can give ordinary knowledge. But unlike it, science is not limited to studying only those objects, their properties and relations, which in principle can be mastered in the practice of the corresponding historical epoch. It can go beyond the limits of each historically defined type of practice and open for the humanity new objective worlds that can become objects of mass practical development only at the future stages of the development of civilization. Leibniz characterized mathematics as the science of possible worlds. In principle, this characteristic can be attributed to any fundamental science. Electromagnetic waves, nuclear reactions, coherent radiation of atoms were first discovered in science, and in these discoveries, a fundamentally new level of technological development of civilization was potentially laid, which was realized much later (the technique of electric motors and electric generators, radio and television equipment, lasers and nuclear power plants).
The constant striving of science to expand the field of the objects under study, irrespective of today’s opportunities for their mass practical development, serves as a system-forming feature that justifies other characteristics of science that distinguish it from ordinary knowledge. First of all, this is the difference in their products (results). Ordinary knowledge creates a conglomerate of knowledge, information, prescriptions and beliefs, only individual fragments of which are related. The truth of knowledge is verified here directly in actual practice, knowledge is built on objects that are included in the production processes and the available social experience. But as science constantly goes beyond this framework, it can only partially rely on available forms of mass practical development of objects. She needs a special practice, with the help of which the truth of her knowledge is checked. This practice is a scientific experiment. Part of the knowledge is directly tested in the experiment. The rest are connected with each other by logical connections, which ensures the transfer of truth from one statement to another. As a result, the characteristics of her knowledge inherent in science arise-their systemic organization, validity and proof.
Science, unlike ordinary knowledge, involves the use of special means and methods of activity. It can not be confined to using only the ordinary language and those tools that are used in production and everyday practice. In addition to them, she needs special means of activity – a special language (empirical and theoretical) and special instrumentation systems. It is the constant development of these tools that ensures the research of all new objects, including those that go beyond the scope of available industrial and social practices. With this, the science needs to constantly develop special methods that ensure the development of new objects, irrespective of the possibilities of their current practical development. Such objects, as a rule, are not given in advance, are not fixed by the methods of daily practice and production activity, because they go beyond their borders. The method in science often serves as a condition for fixing the object of research. For example, short-lived particles – resonances were fixed in physics only due to the method of determining their main features. Resonances over their lifetime run through a distance comparable to the size of the atom, and therefore do not leave tracks in photographic emulsions; but they break up into particles that leave tracks, and by the nature of these tracks, applying the conservation laws, calculate the corresponding resonance. After the appearance of this method, it was found that traces of the decay of resonances were observed in some previous experiments with elementary particles, these tracks were observed, but no one interpreted them as the existence of a new class of particles. Along with knowledge of objects, science systematically develops knowledge about methods.
Finally, there are specific features of the subject of scientific activity. The subject of ordinary knowledge is formed in the very process of socialization. For science, this is not enough. This requires special training of the cognizing subject, which ensures his ability to apply the tools and methods inherent in science in solving her problems and problems. Also, systematic studies of science involve the assimilation by the subject of a particular, intrinsic value system. Their foundation is the value of attitudes toward the search for truth and the constant build-up of true knowledge. These attitudes correspond to two fundamental and defining features of science: the objectivity and objectivity of scientific knowledge and its intentions to study all new objects, irrespective of the available opportunities for their mass practical development. By these installations, the system of ideals and norms of scientific research has historically developed. These same value orientations form the basis of the ethics of science. Two main principles characterize scientific ethos. The first of them forbids deliberate distortion of the truth in favor of one or another social goal, the second requires constant innovation, the growth of true knowledge and introduces bans on plagiarism. A scientist may be wrong, but he has no right to manipulate the results, he can repeat the discovery already made, but he has no right to engage in plagiarism. The Institute of Links as an obligatory condition for the design of a scientific monograph and article is intended not only to fix the authorship of certain ideas and scientific texts. It provides a clear selection of already known in science and new results. Outside of this selection, there would be no incentive for a tense search for a new one; in science, there would have been endless repetitions of the past and, ultimately, its main quality would be undermined – constantly generating the growth of new knowledge, going beyond the familiar and already known notions of the world. The requirement of inadmissibility of falsifications and plagiarism appears as a kind of presumption of science. In real life, it can be violated, and in various scientific communities, there are sanctions for violating the ethical principles of science (although their rigidity varies).
In the development of scientific knowledge, we can distinguish the stage of science and science in the proper sense of the word. The science of pre-science does not go beyond the limits of actual practice. It models the change of objects included in the practice, predicting their possible states. Real objects are replaced in cognition by ideal objects and act as abstractions in which thinking operates. Their connections and relations, operations with them are also drawn from practice, acting as a scheme of practical actions. Such a character had, for example, the geometric knowledge of the ancient Egyptians. The first geometric figures were models of land. The operations of marking the plot with a tightly stretched measuring rope and the same rope, but fixed to the end with a peg to hold circles and arcs, were then schematized and became a way of constructing geometric figures with the help of a compass and ruler. Similarly, in the ancient Egyptian tables of the addition of numbers, the scheme of real practical actions on uniting objects in the aggregate is traced. The real object was replaced by the ideal object “unit” and denoted by the sign |; ten dashes were replaced by the ⋂ sign (number ten), special signs were introduced for hundreds and thousands. Adding, for example, twenty-one (⋂⋂|) and eleven (⋂|) was carried out as adding to the signs denoting the first number, the signs denoting the second number, a new number ⋂⋂⋂ | | | (thirty-two).
The transition from pre-science to actual science was associated with a new way of forming ideal objects and their relationships modeling practice. In developed science, they are not only drawn directly from practice but are primarily created as abstractions, based on previously created ideal objects. Constructed from their connections, the models act as hypotheses, which then, after being substantiated, are transformed into theoretical schemes of the studied subject domain. Thus a special movement arises in the sphere of developing theoretical knowledge, which begins to build models of the reality under study, as it were, from above to practice, with their subsequent direct or indirect practical verification.
Thanks to the new method of knowledge building, science can study not only those subject connections that can meet in the existing stereotypes of practice, but also explore the changes in objects that, in principle, a developing civilization could master. From this moment the pre-science stage ends and science begin in the proper sense. In it, along with empirical rules and dependencies (which knew and pre-science), a special type of knowledge is a formed-a theory that allows one to obtain empirical dependences as a consequence of theoretical postulates. The categorical status of knowledge is changing too. They can relate not only to the experience that has been implemented, but also to a qualitatively different practice of the future, and therefore they are built in the categories of what is possible and necessary. Knowledge is no longer formulated only as prescriptions for actual practice, they act as knowledge about the objects of reality “in itself,” and on their basis, a formulation of the future practical change of objects is developed.
There are three main stages in the formation of science in the proper sense of the word. The transition from pre-science to science proper historically was first carried out by mathematics. As it evolves, numbers and geometric figures begin to be viewed not as a prototype of objects that are operated in practice, but as relatively independent mathematical objects whose properties are subject to systematic study. From this moment the actual mathematical research begins, during which new ideal objects are constructed from previously studied numbers and geometric figures. Applying, for example, the operation of subtracting positive numbers to any pair, one could get negative numbers (when subtracting from a smaller number greater than). Having discovered the class of negative numbers, mathematics takes the next step. It extends to them all those operations that have been taken for positive numbers, and in this way creates new knowledge that characterizes previously unexplored structures of reality. In the future, a new extension of the class of numbers occurs: the application of the operation of extracting a root to negative numbers forms a new abstraction – an “imaginary number”. And on this class of ideal objects all those operations that were applied to natural numbers again spread.
Similarly, the comparison and transformation of geometric shapes lead to the identification of their properties and relationships, which turn into fundamental abstractions of geometry (point, line, plane, angle, etc.). Their connections and properties express the postulates by which the first mathematical theory was created-Euclidean geometry. Further study of the features of geometric objects by applying various transformation operations to them leads to the construction of various theoretical systems of geometry (non-Euclidean geometry, projective geometry, topology, etc.).
Following mathematics, the method of theoretical cognition, based on the movement of thought in the field of ideal theoretical objects, was established in natural science. Here it is known as a method of hypothesizing with their subsequent substantiation of experience. Experimental testing is carried out through experimentation, observation and measurement, guided by theoretical knowledge. Independent experimental research is only relatively autonomous; it is always determined by the statement of problems and problems arising as a result of theoretical comprehension of the preceding facts and the formation of a theoretical vision of the reality under investigation.
Finally, as the third stage of the development of science in the proper sense of the word, it is necessary to single out the formation of technical sciences as a mediating layer of knowledge between natural science and production, and then the emergence of social and human sciences. In these areas of scientific knowledge, a layer of special theoretical ideal objects also arises, the operation of which makes it possible to explain and predict the phenomena of the studied subject area.
Each of the stages of the development of science had its socio-cultural preconditions. The first relatively developed models of theoretical knowledge of mathematics arose in the context of the culture of the ancient polis, with the inherent values of public discussion, demonstrations of evidence and justification as conditions for obtaining the truth. Polis took socially significant decisions by competing proposals and opinions at the people’s meeting. The advantage of one opinion over the other was revealed through proof. The ideal of grounded knowledge, other than opinion, received its rational comprehension and development in ancient philosophy. In it, the special influence was given to the methods of comprehending and unfolding the truth (dialectics and logic). The first steps towards the development of dialectics as a method were connected with the analysis of the clash in the dispute of opposing opinions (a typical situation of working out norms of activity in the people’s congress). The development of logic in ancient philosophy was also closely connected with the search for criteria for correct reasoning in oratory, and the norms of logical consequence worked out here were applied to scientific reasoning. The application of the ideal of sound and proven knowledge in the field of mathematics has established new principles for the presentation and translation of knowledge. It is in Greek mathematics that the presentation of knowledge in the form of theorems dominates: “given – it is required to prove – proof”. But in ancient Egyptian and Babylonian mathematics such a form was not adopted, only normative prescriptions for solving problems described here are found: “Do it!” … “Look, you did the right thing!”. Some knowledge in the mathematics of Ancient Egypt and Babylon, for example, such as the algorithm for calculating the volume of a truncated pyramid, apparently could not be obtained outside the procedures of inference and proof. However, in the process of presentation of knowledge, this conclusion was not demonstrated. The production and translation of knowledge in the culture of Ancient Egypt and Babylon were assigned to a caste of priests and officials and were authoritarian. The justification of knowledge by demonstrating the evidence did not turn into these in the cultures of the ideal of building knowledge, which imposed serious limitations on the process of transforming “empirical mathematics” into theoretical science.
The ancient philosophers, having worked out the necessary means for the transition to the theoretical path of the development of mathematics, undertook numerous attempts to systematize the mathematical knowledge obtained in ancient civilizations by applying the proof procedure (Thales, Pythagoreans, Plato). This process was completed in the Hellenistic era by creating the first sample of a developed scientific theory – Euclidean geometry (3rd century BC).
Natural science, based on combining the mathematical description of nature with its experimental study, was formed as a result of cultural shifts that took place during the Renaissance and the transition to the New Time. The idea of the experiment as a method of cognition and verification of the truth of scientific judgments could be established only in the presence of the following worldview attitudes. First, the understanding of the subject of knowledge as opposed to nature and actively changing its objects. Secondly, the consideration of the results of the experiment, which is a product of an artificial, man-created, as fundamentally indistinguishable from natural states of nature; the notion that experimental interference in the course of natural processes creates phenomena that are subordinate to the laws of nature, and reveals the effect of these laws. Thirdly, the consideration of nature as a regularly ordered field of objects, where the individual uniqueness of each thing seems to dissolve in the action of laws that govern the movement and change of the qualitative variety of things and act equally in all points of space and at all times.
All these world outlooks, assuming special meanings of the fundamental universals of culture (nature, man, space and time, activity, cognition), were formed in the era of the formation of the basic values of anthropogenic civilization, but they were not inherent in traditionalist cultures. They were not in antiquity, nor in the European Middle Ages. For example, in ancient culture, nature was viewed as a complete living organism, in which separate parts-things have their functions and functions. Therefore, it was believed that to understand the organic integrity of the cosmos, it is necessary to understand the individual qualitative specificity of each thing and each qualitatively specific entity embodied in things. The eternal movement of the cosmos was viewed as the reproduction of the harmony of the whole, the cosmos was simultaneously conceived as mobile, changeable, and as some sculptural whole, where the parts, complementing each other, create a complete harmony. From this point of view, forcible preparation of parts of the universe, in conditions that are not free, which are not natural to their natural conditions, can not detect the harmony of the cosmos.
In ancient culture, knowledge of the artificial (“tehne”) was contrasted with knowledge of the natural (“fusis”). Cognition of the cosmos was understood as comprehension of its harmony in contemplative contemplation, which was regarded as the main way of achieving the truth. Therefore, even when the ancient science in the Hellenistic era came close to combining the mathematical description of nature with experiment (Archimedes, Geron, Papp), it did not make a decisive step towards constituting the experiment as a way of knowing nature. This was hampered by fundamental philosophical meanings that determined the specificity of ancient culture.
The emergence of the worldview prerequisites necessary for the approval of the method of experiment in science was associated with the spiritual revolution of the Renaissance and Reformation: with a new (compared to the Middle Ages) understanding of man, not simply as a divine creature, but as a creator who continues in his deeds acts of divine creation; with the attitude to any activity, and not only to intellectual labor as to the value and source of social wealth; with the emergence of an understanding of nature as the field of application of human forces; with the formation of ideas about the artificial as a special expression of the natural, etc.
The third important milestone in the development of science – the formation of technical and then social and human sciences – was connected with the era of industrialism, with the increasing introduction of scientific knowledge into production and the emergence of the needs of scientific management of social processes. In this historical period, the intensive development of industrial production generates the need for the invention and replication of all new engineering devices, which creates incentives and prerequisites for the development of technical sciences. At the same time, industrial development leads to relatively rapid transformations of social structures, the destruction of traditional communal ties, driven out by the relations of “property dependence” (K.Marks). New types of social communities are emerging, becoming objects of social management. Conditions and needs arise in elucidating the methods of rational regulation of the standardized functions and actions of individuals included in certain social groups. In the context of these social needs, the first programs for the construction of social sciences (K. Sen-Simon, O. Kont, K. Marks) arise. At first, it was thought to build social sciences as a mere continuation of the natural sciences (the program of Saint-Simon and Comte, sociology as “social physics” and focused on the search for laws of society, analogous to the law of universal gravitation). Then, the specificity of social objects as historically developing (organic) systems was revealed (Comte already took the first steps in this direction and then by Spencer, and the development of Marx’s method of studying complex, historically developing systems was a significant contribution to the social cognition). Formation of the humanities, the main objects of which are the state of culture, spiritual phenomena embodied in the texts, was accompanied by the identification of some specific procedures for their study (attribution to values, understanding, ideographic method, narrative descriptions, etc.). The identification of these features gave rise to a juxtaposition of the “natural sciences” and “spirit sciences” (Rickert, Windelband, Dilthey, Weber), which had definite grounds in science 19 and early 20 century (but in modern science, the demarcation between the natural sciences and the humanities is no longer a hard one).
At each stage of development, scientific knowledge complicated its organization. In all developed sciences, levels of theoretical and empirical research develop with methods and forms of knowledge specific to them (the basic forms of the theoretical level of knowledge are scientific theory and the scientific picture of the world, the empirical level is observational data and a scientific fact). A disciplinary organization of science is formed, a system of disciplines with complex connections between them arises. Each of the sciences (mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, technical and social sciences) has its own internal differentiation and its foundations-its inherent picture of the reality under investigation, the specificity of ideals and norms of research, and the philosophical and philosophical foundations characteristic of it. The interaction of sciences forms interdisciplinary research, the specific weight of which increases with the development of science. The development of science as cognitive activity was accompanied by the appearance of the corresponding forms of its institutionalization, connected with the organization of research and the way of reproduction of the subject of scientific activity. As a special social institution, science began to take shape in the 17th and 18th centuries, when the first scientific societies and academies arose in Europe. During this period, new types of communication scientists. The community of naturalists is constituted not only by academies and scientific societies, but also within the framework of the so-called. “The Republic of Scientists”, based on private correspondence in Latin between researchers. Correspondence, in which the results of experiments, their interpretation and explanatory hypotheses were presented, becomes a means of joint discussion of the intermediate results of the study. Along with the book – a folio, which outlines the system of views on nature, scientists’ letters to each other become a means of fixing and transferring scientific knowledge. In the end of 18 – 1st part of 19th century the deepening of the specialization of scientific activity leads to the emergence of disciplinary associations of researchers. There are scientific journals, for example. the journal “Chemical Annals”, around which a single community of German chemists is being consolidated. A scientific article (along with a monograph) becomes the main product of scientific activity. Latin gives way to national languages. “The Republic of Scientists” is replaced by a multitude of disciplined communities. Along with the academic institutions that emerged in the 17 – beginning 18 century (London Royal Society – 1660, the Paris Academy of Sciences – 1666, the Berlin Academy of Sciences – 1700, the Petersburg Academy of Sciences – 1724), new associations of scientists are formed: “The French Conservatory (repository of technical arts and crafts” (1790), “Collection of German naturalists” (1822), the British Association for the Advancement of Progress (1831), etc. The system of education is changing, and a new network of educational subjects is emerging in universities, including, besides traditional humanitarian, also natural-science and technical disciplines. I have new centers for training specialists, for example, the Polytechnic School in Paris in 1795. In the 19th century, education began to be built on the basis of specialization in certain areas of scientific knowledge, which corresponds to the constitution of the disciplinary organization of science. The purposeful specialized training of scientific personnel as a method of reproduction the subject of scientific activity forms a special profession of a scientific worker.In the 20th century, science turned into a special type of production of scientific knowledge, including the diverse types of association of studies including, among others, and large research teams, purposeful financing and special expertise of research programs, their social support, a special industrial and technical base that serves the scientific search, a complex division of labor and targeted training of personnel. Disciplined studies are complemented by interdisciplinary and problem-oriented research. Stationary associations of scientists (research institutes, academies, research centers in universities) are combined with informal associations such as “invisible college.” In the end of 20 century the emergence of computer networks and the global Internet creates new types of scientific communications (computer article, monograph, computer journal, discussion using a computer network, etc.). Within the Internet, there are some analogues of the “Republic of Scientists” (discussion of intermediate results, ideas, hypotheses through computer discussion, the use of English about in the same function as Latin used by 17th-century scientists).
In the process of the historical development of science, its functions in social life changed. In the era of the formation of natural science, science defended the right to participate in the formation of a worldview in the struggle against religion. This process led to the formation of a scientific picture of the world, which eventually appeared as an independent form of knowledge, not subordinate to religious ideas about the world, but interacting complexly with them. The scientific picture of the world and the specific knowledge of various disciplines associated with it gradually became the basis of the system of mass education. Thus, science has become a real factor in shaping the worldview of people. In the 19th century to the worldview function was added the function of the productive force. The wide application of scientific achievements in production has given rise to the phenomenon of scientific and technological revolutions. In the 1 st part of 20-century science began to acquire one more function, it began to turn into a social force, penetrating into the most diverse spheres of social life and regulating various human life activities.
In the modern era, in connection with global crises, the problem arises of finding new worldview orientations of mankind. In this connection, the functions of science are rethought. The dominant position of science in the system of cultural values was largely due to its technological projection. Today, it is important to combine the values of scientific and technological thinking with those social values that are represented by morality, art, religious and philosophical comprehension of the world. Such a connection is a new type of scientific rationality.
In the development of science (beginning with the 17th century), three main types of scientific rationality can be distinguished: classical (17th-early 20th century), nonclassical (1st half of the 20th century), post-nonclassical (late 20th century). Classical science assumed that the subject is distanced from the object, as if from the outside he knows the world, and considered the condition of objective-true knowledge as elimination from the explanation and description of everything that relates to the subject and means of activity. For nonclassical rationality, the idea of the relativity of an object to the means and operations of activity is characteristic; Explication of these means and operations is a condition for obtaining true knowledge about the object. An example of the realization of this approach was quantum-relativistic physics. Finally, post-nonclassical rationality takes into account the correlation of knowledge about the object not only with the means but also with value-oriented structures of activity, assuming the explication of intrascientific values and their correlation with social goals and values.
The emergence of each new type of rationality does not eliminate the previous but limits the space of its action.
Each of them extends the field of investigated objects (from the domination of simple, mechanical systems in the 17th and 18th centuries to include as the main objects of studying complex, self-regulating, and then historically developing systems).
In modern, post-non-classical science, an increasingly important place is occupied by a special type of historically developing systems – human-sized systems that include a person and his activities as an integral component. These include objects of modern biotechnology, primarily genetic engineering, medical and biological objects, large ecosystems and the biosphere as a whole, human-machine systems and complex information complexes (including artificial intelligence systems), social facilities, etc.
In the study of “human-sized” objects, the search for truth turns out to be connected with the definition of strategy and possible directions of the transformation of the object. With systems of this type, you can not freely experiment. In the process of their research and practical development, a special role is played by the knowledge of prohibitions on certain interaction strategies, potentially containing catastrophic consequences for a person. In this connection, the ideal of value-neutral research is being transformed. Objectively, the true explanation and description concerning “human-sized” objects not only allows but also presupposes the inclusion of axiological factors in the composition of explanatory provisions. There is a need to explicate the links of fundamental intrascientific values (the search for truth, the growth of knowledge) with extra-scientific values of a general social character. In modern software-oriented studies, this explication is carried out with the social expertise of programs. At the same time, in the course of research activities with human-sized objects, the researcher has to solve some problems of an ethical nature, defining the boundaries of possible interference in the object. The internal ethics of science, which stimulates the search for truth and the orientation toward the increment of new knowledge, constantly correlates in these conditions with humanistic principles and values. The methodology of research of historically developing human-sized systems brings together natural and humanitarian knowledge, forming the basis for their deep integration.