Philosophy is a subject that has always intrigued and fascinated people. The very nature of the discipline is such that it encourages speculation, and this is why it is often referred to as a speculative science.
But what does this term mean, and why is philosophy considered to be a speculative science? In this article, we will explore these questions in detail.
What is Speculative Science?
Before we delve into why philosophy is known as a speculative science, let us first understand the meaning of the term ‘speculative science.’ A speculative science is a field of study that deals with theoretical knowledge rather than practical application. It involves making educated guesses or hypotheses about certain phenomena or concepts based on available evidence and logical reasoning.
Why Is Philosophy Considered as a Speculative Science?
Philosophy deals with abstract ideas such as existence, reality, morality, and knowledge. These are concepts that cannot be observed directly but can only be inferred or speculated upon through logical reasoning. Therefore, philosophy relies heavily on speculation to arrive at conclusions.
Philosophical theories are often based on logical deductions from first principles or axioms. These first principles are themselves not provable but are accepted as true based on intuition or common sense. For example, the axiom ‘all men are mortal’ cannot be proven but is accepted as true based on our observations and experiences with mortality.
Moreover, philosophers often rely on thought experiments to explore various hypothetical scenarios and arrive at conclusions about their implications. These thought experiments involve imagining scenarios that may not exist in reality but help in understanding complex concepts better. For instance, philosopher John Rawls used the ‘veil of ignorance’ thought experiment to explore the concept of justice.
Another reason why philosophy is considered a speculative science is that it deals with questions that do not have definitive answers. Philosophers aim to provide reasoned arguments for their conclusions but recognize that there may be alternative viewpoints and objections to their arguments.
In conclusion, philosophy is a speculative science because it deals with abstract concepts that can only be speculated upon through logical reasoning. Philosophical theories are often based on logical deductions from first principles or axioms, and philosophers rely on thought experiments to explore hypothetical scenarios. Furthermore, philosophy deals with questions that do not have definitive answers, and philosophers aim to provide reasoned arguments for their conclusions while recognizing the possibility of alternative viewpoints.