Conclusions to Part I I shall deal with the conclusions in a slightly different order from that of the chapters, by starting with science and then going into philosophy, though still finishing with Theory of Knowledge and the principal contextual considerations which I believe to be important.First of all, I shall think of science (insofar as we can sensibly distinguish it from philosophy which I believe, in some contexts, we cannot) as the hypothetico-deductive method, placed within the context of explanation. The cycle is one of hypotheses-inferences (both “classical” and other forms of deductive inference) - observations (often well-controlled experiments), generalisations (essentially inductive) and then back again to the hypotheses (theories, laws, etc.). Whether this hypothetico-deductive theory is formalised or not is immaterial, but where it deals with logical (analytic) statements (theories), we search for such properties as consistency and completeness, and where we deal with empirical (synthetic) statements (theories) we look for testability (falsifiability).Since prediction is a vital part of science, these methods are particularly suitable for the (quasi-) repetitive type of event. The theories so founded may be deterministic or probabilistic, statistical or uncertain. There is, though, the need for understanding (over and above prediction) wherever we can find it. This is why explanation is so important and never more so than where the repetitive or more often quasi-repetitive events are not apparent, but the so-called “one-off” event is. Historical events
have an element of repetition, but may be thought as more nearly “one-off”. Either type of event may be “explained” if we understand the causal relations which lead to them.Here it should be added that teleological explanations are quite as acceptable as deterministic or probabilistic explanations of the non-teleological kind. This is so because the “goal” of a “purpose” is not a cause, but the concept (conscious or unconscious) of a goal is, and that occurs before the action which leads to the effect of searching for, whether or not finding, some “goal” (see Bennett, 1976, Chapter 2). We shall, of course, base all our causal explanations on highly confirmed laws which we cannot know to be true, but where we have no reason to doubt their truth. Some belief is possible before we can start and before we can even have doubt, as Wittgenstein pointed out.If experimental science is often separated from theoretical science, this is a mere division of labour and does not imply an essential “logical” division. They work together and interact (or should do so) throughout. The philosopher of science observes (or this is his primary role) their interaction and examines and seeks justification for the resulting science, where division of labour arbitrarily involves so-called different sciences, such as biology, chemistry, physics, etc. It is the commonality between “sciences” rather than the differences which interest us.The philosopher qua philosopher is not a philosopher of science. Rather he is trying to establish a Theory of Knowledge and an understanding involving, among other things, linguistic analysis, which is never isolatable from empirical facts. In a sense he looks at the experimental scientist (grading over into the everyday observations of everyday facts) rather than the theorist or the philosopher of science.This point brings up the importance of one factor and that is that all of the above people live ordinary everyday lives in the community, with families, houses, cars, shops, etc. Without this experience, philosophers could not perform their task without empirical knowledge. Not even those who take the narrowest view of their subjects (most desirous of keeping clear of — and having priority over - science), and thus possibly excluding logic and philosophy of science.