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Purchase access Subscribe now. Purchase access Subscribe to JN Learning for one year. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel became one of the first philosophers to support this view. Philosophers such as Pierre Duhem and Gaston Bachelard also wrote their works with this world-historical approach to science, predating Kuhn' work by a generation or more. All of these approaches involve a historical and sociological turn to science, with a priority on lived experience a kind of Husserlian "life-world" , rather than a progress-based or anti-historical approach as emphasised in the analytic tradition.
The largest effect on the continental tradition with respect to science came from Martin Heidegger's critique of the theoretical attitude in general, which of course includes the scientific attitude. Another important development was that of Michel Foucault 's analysis of historical and scientific thought in The Order of Things and his study of power and corruption within the "science" of madness.
Analysis is the activity of breaking an observation or theory down into simpler concepts in order to understand it. Reductionism can refer to one of several philosophical positions related to this approach. One type of reductionism is the belief that all fields of study are ultimately amenable to scientific explanation. Perhaps a historical event might be explained in sociological and psychological terms, which in turn might be described in terms of human physiology, which in turn might be described in terms of chemistry and physics.
A broad issue affecting the neutrality of science concerns the areas which science chooses to explore, that is, what part of the world and man is studied by science. Philip Kitcher in his "Science, Truth, and Democracy"  argues that scientific studies that attempt to show one segment of the population as being less intelligent, successful or emotionally backward compared to others have a political feedback effect which further excludes such groups from access to science. Thus such studies undermine the broad consensus required for good science by excluding certain people, and so proving themselves in the end to be unscientific.
There is no such thing as philosophy-free science; there is only science whose philosophical baggage is taken on board without examination. In addition to addressing the general questions regarding science and induction, many philosophers of science are occupied by investigating foundational problems in particular sciences. They also examine the implications of particular sciences for broader philosophical questions. The late 20th and early 21st century has seen a rise in the number of practitioners of philosophy of a particular science. The problem of induction discussed above is seen in another form in debates over the foundations of statistics.
Instead, the typical test yields a p-value , which is the probability of the evidence being such as it is, under the assumption that the hypothesis being tested is true. If the p -value is too low, the hypothesis is rejected, in a way analogous to falsification. In contrast, Bayesian inference seeks to assign probabilities to hypotheses.
Related topics in philosophy of statistics include probability interpretations , overfitting , and the difference between correlation and causation. Philosophy of mathematics is concerned with the philosophical foundations and implications of mathematics. Was calculus invented or discovered? A related question is whether learning mathematics requires experience or reason alone. What does it mean to prove a mathematical theorem and how does one know whether a mathematical proof is correct?
Philosophers of mathematics also aim to clarify the relationships between mathematics and logic , human capabilities such as intuition , and the material universe. Philosophy of physics is the study of the fundamental, philosophical questions underlying modern physics , the study of matter and energy and how they interact. The main questions concern the nature of space and time , atoms and atomism. Also included are the predictions of cosmology , the interpretation of quantum mechanics , the foundations of statistical mechanics , causality , determinism , and the nature of physical laws.
Philosophy of chemistry is the philosophical study of the methodology and content of the science of chemistry. It is explored by philosophers, chemists, and philosopher-chemist teams. It includes research on general philosophy of science issues as applied to chemistry. For example, can all chemical phenomena be explained by quantum mechanics or is it not possible to reduce chemistry to physics? For another example, chemists have discussed the philosophy of how theories are confirmed in the context of confirming reaction mechanisms.
Determining reaction mechanisms is difficult because they cannot be observed directly.
Chemists can use a number of indirect measures as evidence to rule out certain mechanisms, but they are often unsure if the remaining mechanism is correct because there are many other possible mechanisms that they have not tested or even thought of. The philosophy of Earth science is concerned with how humans obtain and verify knowledge of the workings of the Earth system, including the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere solid earth.
Philosophy of biology deals with epistemological , metaphysical , and ethical issues in the biological and biomedical sciences. Although philosophers of science and philosophers generally have long been interested in biology e. Other key ideas such as the reduction of all life processes to biochemical reactions as well as the incorporation of psychology into a broader neuroscience are also addressed.
Research in current philosophy of biology includes investigation of the foundations of evolutionary theory such as Peter Godfrey-Smith 's work ,  and the role of viruses as persistent symbionts in host genomes. As a consequence the evolution of genetic content order is seen as the result of competent genome editors in contrast to former narratives in which error replication events mutations dominated. Within the epistemology of medicine, evidence-based medicine EBM or evidence-based practice EBP has attracted attention, most notably the roles of randomisation,    blinding and placebo controls.
Related to these areas of investigation, ontologies of specific interest to the philosophy of medicine include Cartesian dualism , the monogenetic conception of disease  and the conceptualization of 'placebos' and 'placebo effects'. Philosophers of medicine might not only be interested in how medical knowledge is generated, but also in the nature of such phenomena.
Causation is of interest because the purpose of much medical research is to establish causal relationships, e. Philosophy of psychology refers to issues at the theoretical foundations of modern psychology.
Some of these issues are epistemological concerns about the methodology of psychological investigation. For example, is the best method for studying psychology to focus only on the response of behavior to external stimuli or should psychologists focus on mental perception and thought processes?
Self-reports of feelings and beliefs may not be reliable because, even in cases in which there is no apparent incentive for subjects to intentionally deceive in their answers, self-deception or selective memory may affect their responses. Then even in the case of accurate self-reports, how can responses be compared across individuals?
Even if two individuals respond with the same answer on a Likert scale , they may be experiencing very different things. Other issues in philosophy of psychology are philosophical questions about the nature of mind, brain, and cognition, and are perhaps more commonly thought of as part of cognitive science , or philosophy of mind. For example, are humans rational creatures? Philosophy of psychology also closely monitors contemporary work conducted in cognitive neuroscience , evolutionary psychology , and artificial intelligence , questioning what they can and cannot explain in psychology.
Philosophy of psychology is a relatively young field, because psychology only became a discipline of its own in the late s.
In particular, neurophilosophy has just recently become its own field with the works of Paul Churchland and Patricia Churchland. It is concerned with questions about the very nature of mind, the qualities of experience, and particular issues like the debate between dualism and monism. Another related field is philosophy of language.
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Functional Contextualism is a modern philosophy of science rooted in philosophical pragmatism and contextualism. It is most actively developed in behavioral science in general, the field of behavior analysis , and contextual behavioral science in particular see the entry for the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science.
Functional contextualism serves as the basis of a theory of language known as relational frame theory  and its most prominent application, acceptance and commitment therapy ACT. Skinner 's radical behaviorism first delineated by Steven C. Hayes which emphasizes the importance of predicting and influencing psychological events including thoughts, feelings, and behaviors with precision, scope, and depth, by focusing on manipulable variables in their context.
Philosophy of psychiatry explores philosophical questions relating to psychiatry and mental illness. The philosopher of science and medicine Dominic Murphy identifies three areas of exploration in the philosophy of psychiatry. The first concerns the examination of psychiatry as a science, using the tools of the philosophy of science more broadly.