Quarterly Review of Biology 83 (1):7-15 (2008)
AbstractScience and philosophy have a very long history, dating back at least to the 16th and 17th centuries, when the first scientist-philosophers, such as Bacon, Galilei, and Newton, were beginning the process of turning natural philosophy into science. Contemporary relationships between the two fields are still to some extent marked by the distrust that maintains the divide between the so-called “two cultures.” An increasing number of philosophers, however, are making conceptual contributions to sciences ranging from quantum mechanics to evolutionary biology, and a few scientists are conducting research relevant to classically philosophical fields of inquiry, such as consciousness and moral decision-making. This article will introduce readers to the borderlands between science and philosophy, beginning with a brief description of what philosophy of science is about, and including a discussion of how the two disciplines can fruitfully interact not only at the level of scholarship, but also when it comes to controversies surrounding public understanding of science.
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