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Solved Exercise for Precis writing with Title “The Place of Philosophy in Physical Science” Precis for Class 9, 10, 11, 12 and Higher classes.

Passages with Solved Precis

From the very outset philosophy came forward as a science and as the only science. The highest and more certain knowledge was the aim which inspired its disciples. The fact that the question could be-raised as to whether it was a science at all can only be understood in the light of the development of the specially, modern sciences which came to fruition in the nineteenth century, mostly without the aid of, often in opposition and finally in the spirit of indifference to, philosophy. When the demand was now made that philosophy should be a science, something different was meant from what was meant in earlier ages-namely, that it should be exactly like these modem sciences and equal them in the effectiveness of its result”. If it could not do so, then it was said to have lost all purpose and might be allowed to disappear.

Some decades age it was a widely held view that science closed its innings when all the sciences split up into separated disciplines and left the bosom of this original universal science. After people had become aware of the true bases of the indubitable and universal validity of science philosophy was said to have been found wanting in the light of these criteria. Its thinking was empty because its assertions were not subject to proof; it ‘lacked the foundation of experience; its illusions were misleading; it sapped the forces which should have been employed in genuine research, diverting them to empty talk about universals.

Such was the picture of philosophy seen in the light of science as methodically, indubitable and universal valid knowledge. Could philosophy as a science hold its own against this attack? There were two reactions.

First, it was accepted that the attack was justified. The representatives of philosophy, therefore, withdrew to more limited problems. If philosophy is finished because it has given up all its themes to the sciences, there still remains the history of philosophy, first as a factor in the history of sciences themselves, then as a phenomenon of intellectual history in general, as the errors and anticipations of the process of liberation in the course of which philosophy has made itself superfluous. The history of philosophy has, finally, to keep alive the knowledge of the philosophy of classics, which although devoid of any scientific significance, are nevertheless worth reading for their style and general atmosphere.

Others followed the modern scientific outlook by rejecting philosophy as known hitherto, and tried to refound philosophy as strictly scientific discipline. They, therefore, took up the problems common to all the sciences, which must therefore be reserved for philosophy, to regain its reputation, philosophy now made itself the hand-maiden of the science imitating them and showing a humble willingness to serve them. The result of this reaction appears to be the idea held today that philosophy is just one science among others one department promoted like all the rest, by specialists, with its .own narrow circle of experts, congress, and journals.

Opposed to this view was there a second reaction. The attacks on existence of philosophy was countered by the total rejection of philosophy’s claim to be a science at all. It was a soaring emotion or longed for death observed with a wakeful eye. Some, indeed went even further and claimed that it was beside the point for philosophy to bother about science since it had already recognized the futility of all scientific truth. The modern sciences were leading man up the wrong path, especiallyby reason of the disastrous effects of rationalism on the soul and on life in general. Philosophy, these men argued, was not a science but was precisely (In that account in touch with the real truth.

Both reactions seem to imply the end of philosophy, for whether submissive to or disowning science, in both cases it ceases to be philosophy.

In the last decade, the apparent triumph of the science over philosophy has created a situation in which an attempt is being made to rediscover the true of philosophy from many different points of view. When it has been found, the underlying principle and practical application of the relationship between philosophy and sciences will also have been defined.

The full weight of this problem can be understood if its historical origins are recalled. It has developed from the bewildering interaction of three different themes. These are: firstly, the meaning of modern science; secondly, the old and constantly-renewed attempt to achieve a totality of knowledge through philosophy; and thirdly, the philosophical concept of truth as illuminated for the first and for all times by Plato.

First then, the modern sciences which have developed in the last few centuries have introduced a new mode of scientific thinking in the world, which did not exist in Asia, in classical antiquity or in the Middle Ages. It is true that the Greeks were already in possession of science as the methodical pursuit of universally valid knowledge. But the modem sciences have not only given more precise expression to this basic purpose of all sciences, but also they have given new foundations to the meaning, scope, and unity of their own research. Let us touch on some of their basic characteristics.

Nothing is indifferent to modem science. Everything, to the smallest and the ugliest, the furthest and the strongest, whatever really exists anywhere, is relevant by the mere fact of its existence.

The scope of modem science has become universal. Nothing can escape its grasp. Nothing is to remain hidden or suppressed, nothing to remain a secret. Further, modem science is incomplete on principle, advancing into infinity, whereas the science of antiquity came forward in its forms as a finished product. Modern science has understood that a universal conception of the world, explaining reality on the basis of a few principles only, is scientifically impossible.

The sciences of the classical age remained scattered and unrelated to each other. They lacked the idea of real completeness. The modern sciences, on the other hand, look for the universal bond of connection between themselves. Whilst a truly comprehensive conception of the world is beyond their scope, they are not unable to conceive the idea of a cosmos of the science. Because each individual science is dissatisfied with its own isolated knowledge, it seeks a closer association with all available knowledge.

The modern sciences do not attach much importance to the mere possibility of thought. They consider an idea as valid only in so far as it is the expression of definite knowledge; only if it has proved its worth by discovering new facts and only if allows infinite modification. Thus, ancient and modern atomic theories coincide in certain common conceptions of pattern. But the ancient theory was only a ready-made interpretation of possibilities, whereas the modern theory is continuously trans-ferred merely as an instrument of research.


The Place of Philosophy in Physical Science

The claim of Philosophy being the only science was challenged by physical sciences in the 19th century despite opposition offered by protagonists of Philosophy. Physical sciences had superiority over Philosophy in being exact and thus effective philosophy lacked proof and substance. Its methodically and universality was, therefore, limited. It thus failed to stand against physical sciences as a science in itself.

There is no branch of philosophy which has remained unwedded by the scientists. Even though the history of philosophy has no scientific basis, it continues to be though-provoking in view of its contribution to the progress of science in its initial stages. Some of the philosophers tried to deal with such theories as had their link with scientific data. More progressive among them remoulded philosophical methods along with the scientific exactitudes. Philosophy came to be regarded as a branch of science within its own limited sphere. But the scientists rejected such claims of Philosophy and regarded its methods as contrary to the methods of science. They retorted that the philosophers were sentimental in their behaviour and should not interpose in sciences. The scientists, claimed the philosophers, on the other hand, were not realistic in their approach as they adhered to rigid materialistic principles; and that only Philosophy could spread the real science of human existence.

During the last quarter of the century, effort’; were made to establish relationships between the methods of Philosophy and Science. Ancient philosophers were ignorant of the new approach of thinking introduced by modem scientists. Even the Greek philosophers, while possessing scientific methods, did not have advanced ideals as claimed by present-day scientists. Philosophy was regarded as the outcome of the confused meaning of science, totality of knowledge and the gospels of Plato.

Modern science has a wide scope just as the ancient Philosophy had. There is no aspect of human life which Science does not touch. Since cosmos could not be explained on the basis of new scientific data, modern day Science has come very much closer to Philosophy. The purpose of Science has been to find out ways and means in seeking exact knowledge. While pursuing such aims, it admits of “infinite modification”. The scope of Science does not reach maturity with independent branches of knowledge; it seems unity and uniformity of all these.


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