On Science and Philosophy

Author: Claus D. Volko

Basically I agree with Karl Popper's notion of the logic of scientific discovery: science is all about testing hypotheses. It is the scientist's job to try to disprove hypotheses. On the other hand, what should the process of coming up with hypotheses be called? In my opinion, it should be called: philosophy. The person who invents hypotheses is a philosopher.

When you do a PhD, your task is to investigate hypotheses assigned to you by your supervisor. A PhD programme is supposed to train you as a scientist. The scientist is the one who tests the hypotheses. It is possible that there is a personal union of the one who comes up with the hypothesis and the one who tests it. But usually this is not the case, as the same hypothesis is often tested by several scientists.

The philosopher is the person who comes up with new hypotheses. That is why the journal "Medical Hypotheses" is actually not a scientific but a philosophical journal. A scientific journal is a journal that publishes results of scientific investigations, of testing hypotheses.

My "symbiont conversion theory" is a hypothesis that has already been tested a couple of times and so far has not been disproven; that is why I called it a "theory". However, I have not tested it. I have just come up with it. That means that I am a philosopher, not a scientist.

Philosophy and Science have to work together to come closer to the truth. The philosopher invents the hypothesis, the scientist tests it. If the same person comes up with the hypothesis and tests it, that is perfectly fine; in that case, the person is a philosopher and a scientist at the same time. But usually these two roles are separated. It is a kind of epistemologic division of labor.


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