Classification of the sciences

Science is a set of disciplines dedicated to the search for information on a certain topic, that is, knowledge. Its function is to explain, discover and invent something that is true and valid for all humanity, through research and the scientific method.

According to Mario Bunge, a mathematical physicist who studies science, science is classified, in the first instance, between those that study ideas or formal sciences and those that study facts or factual sciences.

Formal science

Formal science is based on abstract concepts and ideas that science itself creates. For example, the foundation of mathematics is numbers, a representation to make counting objects easier, but no one has seen negative numbers or a square root.

The formal sciences are rational, systematic and verifiable, but not objective because their search is not the real object. For example, determining the probability of rolling two 6s when rolling two dice does not require having the dice in hand.

They are deductive sciences that prove or prove sentences. Let’s see the statement: A and B are two sets, such that B is included in A, then A cannot be included in B. It does not matter what the sets are about, whether of letters or birds, this will be true in any case .

Examples of formal science are mathematics, statistics, logic, and computer science. These disciplines create their own systems of work, whether they are numbers, algorithms, or theorems.

Factual science

The factual sciences are based on the material, on the facts, on what can be observed. We can observe a lightning bolt in the sky and look for why or how it occurs.

The factual sciences seek knowledge through observation and experimentation through the scientific method. Gregor Mendel discovered the principles of heredity by observing and experimenting with peas of various shapes and colors.

Since they are sciences verifiable by experimentation, they are also known as empirical sciences. They seek to confirm or discard hypotheses or tentative explanations to a given phenomenon. Until Albert Einstein introduced the Theory of Relativity, Newton’s laws were considered infallible for many years.

Within the factual sciences there is a following classification, depending on whether it focuses on nature and its components, such as natural sciences, or if it studies the human being and its interrelations or social sciences.

Natural Sciences

The natural sciences are all those disciplines that are responsible for the study of a part of nature and the Universe. For example, the science that studies how things work is physics, the science that studies the matter that makes up nature is chemistry, the science that studies living things is biology.

Natural sciences are characterized by being objective, the researcher is not part of the object of study. The natural sciences also cover a great extension of knowledge so it can be subdivided into:

  • Physical Sciences – Study the inorganic context, such as chemistry, physics, and astronomy.
  • Biological Sciences – Study life and its organisms, such as botany, zoology, ecology, and genetics.
  • Earth Sciences : studies the phenomena of the Earth and its layers, such as geology, oceanography, meteorology and paleontology.

It may interest you Branches of chemistry .

Social Sciences

The social sciences or human sciences are those disciplines related to the study of the human being in society that apply the scientific method to obtain knowledge. Among the aspects addressed by the social sciences are: culture, the origins of the human being, the body-mind relationship and exchanges between societies.

These seek to understand the human being and his behavior in the groups he forms and participates in the most objective way possible.

The social sciences include:

  • Sociology : tries to understand and explain the interactions of the individual in a society and global social processes.
  • Anthropology : analyzes, studies and describes the past and present of humanity.
  • Psychology : studies what is related to the behavior and the mind of the human being.
  • The economy : studies how to meet material needs with the criterion of scarcity.
  • Political science : is responsible for studying the organs of power, their development and evolution.

Pure or Basic Sciences and Applied Sciences

Additionally, there is a division of the sciences according to their final objective between pure or basic sciences and applied sciences. The basic sciences are aimed at the search for knowledge by itself, for example:

  • Astrophysics : which tries to understand the genesis of black holes in the Universe.
  • Paleontology : study fossils and their relationship with the evolution of life.

On the other hand, applied science focuses on having a long-term utility, such as:

  • Pharmacology : which studies the effects and interactions of drugs in the human body.
  • The climatology : that studies the conditions of the atmosphere and the effects in the climate.

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