Funkcja i cele nauki – zarys problematyki metodologicznej
THE FUNCTION AND AIMS OF SCIENCE – AN OUTLINE OF METHODOLOGICAL PROBLEMS
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The principal function of science is striving for knowledge; cognitive aims and values identified by methodology should serve this function. Critical rationalist K. Popper pointed to ever better explanations of phenomena as the aim of science. Apart from the causal explanation by means of natural laws, functional (e.g. in biology) and intentional explanations (e.g. in psychology) are possible, as well. According to some authors (Elster, Grobler), the functionalism in the social sciences is based on an analogy with the biological evolution. Attempts to give intentional explanations disclose the great complexity of cultural and social interpersonal interactions. Besides, the explanation of phenomena takes different forms depending upon the type represented by a particular domain of science. In the 20th-century philosophy of science, one can distinguish four main currents: logical, methodological, historical and sociological; the function and the aims of science were presented within these currents in different ways. I illustrate this diversity by an example of possible interpretations of the discovery of DNA structure. Subsequently, I refer to the position of N. Koertge – an American supporter of Popperian approach – who rightly resists claims that non-cognitive values should be included in science into the context of justification. At the end, I remind K. Ajdukiewicz’s views on the topic of the aims of science.
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