Science, philosophy, and caution about what we think we know


What is the difference between science and philosophy?  While there are enterprises that are clearly in one or the other, the dividing line isn’t always a sharp one.  Science grew out of philosophy, particularly natural philosophy.  Some would say that science is itself a type of philosophy.  But what is the difference between what we today call science and what we call philosophy?

What is science?  As in many broad categories of human endeavor, this is a difficult question to answer.  Whole books have been written on the question of what is called, in the philosophy of science, the ‘demarcation problem‘, which is simply another way of approaching the definition.  The definition many scientists seem to be the most fond of is Karl Popper’s falsifiability criteria.  Popper said that for a notion to be scientific, there has to be a possibility that it could be…

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