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3 Things I Learned about Philosophy as A Science Student

Science and philosophy are not different rather they compliment each other for a better life.

I am a science graduate, in fact, a pharmacy graduate. Since my childhood, I have always been fascinated by science, be it the work of facts, statistics, or numbers, everything about science just pulls me towards it.

However, as I grew up and started to unravel more and more scientific findings in health and psychology, I began to wonder if all the knowledge was true or if it could help me find a better version of me.

After I turned 30, I started reading even more and more scientific papers and finally settled down with the notion – Yes, science and philosophy are closely related if not the two sides of a coin.

The following is a list of what I found after years of studying science and pondering over the nature of life, knowledge, wisdom, and a thin line between fact and fiction.

Truths are relative, mostly

I still remember one of my relatives saying the only absolute truth in this world is death, all others are merely an individual’s perception. It makes a lot of sense to me now as I have realized that truth in itself is nothing more than a mirror. Our brain sees what it wants to see and barely notices anything else.

We were made to believe that science is always true right from our childhood. However, do you know even scientific facts apparently change after new discoveries are made? For example, the ancient people (maybe some people till date) believed that the earth was flat. However, it has now been demonstrated that the earth is round.

So, where is the truth? The truth is that for the ancient people, the earth was flat and for us, it is round. The big thing about this debate is that the absolute truth is the earth’s real shape and not the perception of the people in the different era of time.

Generalizations make little sense

We all have a very dangerous, yes dangerous habit of generalizing almost everything that we read, feel, see or listen. For example, when someone says coconut oil a poison, we all rush to dump that bottle of coconut oil. Sadly, we hardly spend a few minutes reading why the person said so and what could be the potential causes behind it.

If you ever have time to study the scientific papers about coconut oil, you will find hundreds of papers that support the use of coconut oil and other hundreds that do not.

It’s the same reason that research findings cannot always be translated into guidelines for the general public.

The bottom line is everything has both good and bad sides. What we should absorb from it is what’s relevant and analyze if the benefits outweigh the risks. The same approach can be extremely helpful when taking a major decision in life.

Science and philosophy are not very different

We can often see science and philosophy in a head-to-head battle where each side has its own claims. Nonetheless, have we ever realized both these could go hand in hand and make this world a better place to live in?

Let me give an example. In science, we have something called the double-blind randomized controlled trial (RCT), which most of the researcher call the gold standard of truth. However, even this standard of truth fails due to the so-called biases.

Keep in mind that biases are, in most cases, purely subjective but tend to change the outcome of a study. I firmly believe that philosophy is in a stronger position to define a bias compared to science. 

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