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Faith and science are two concepts which differ sharply when it comes to verification of natural phenomena and life. Faith is a strong proponent of strong belief in the myths and stories handed down from one generation to another without questioning or trying to have an empirical verification of these beliefs. Faith is closely tied to religion where people believe in the Supernatural God that controls everything in universe. On the other hand, science is a strong proponent of empirical studies where everything that happens in the world is subject to questions and that answers to these questions can only be through empirical studies.
As such, there has been a major conflict between science (scientists) and faith (faithful of various religions) over various natural phenomena. The scientists try to question and when they come up with their answers based on their studies, they find that there is a sharp contradiction between what is believed under various faiths and what is true. These two concepts are very engaging especially given the fact that they sharply differ in the way they view certain issues about nature. It is important to look at some of the philosophical views and philosophers that supported the concept of faith, science or both.
In this section, the researcher will look at some of the philosophical concepts which support faith as a belief and source of information about life. Eudemonia is one of the leading faith-based philosophies. Eudemonia is a Greek philosophical view that focuses on the well-being of an individual based on the right action that he does (Coyne 23). It is a faith-based concept that can be supported by the works of popular philosophers such as Socrates. Socrates strongly supported religion because it ismajorly based on ethics and beliefs. For instance, he argued that no one desires evil, a concept popular in most of the religions (Ward 34).
Aesthetics as a philosophical principle focuses on artistic beauty and taste. It learns more towards belief and faith than on science. The philosophical works of Friedrich Nietzsche talks about aesthetics and their importance in one’s life. They help in taking one from the hard painful realities of the world to a new world of beauty and imagination (Goddard 41). This concept is also supported by Rousseau who was a great champion of imagination as a way of discovering new things and moving towards an ideal world.
Other philosophers such as Gottlieb Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, also championed for idealism as a way of moving away from the common to something that is near perfect.
Ethics and moral philosophy is basically based on two concepts of right or wrong, which makes it one of the main principles used in faith and religion (Ward 88). It emphasizes on doing the right thing for the benefit of all. It closely related to the works of Epicureans who emphasized on happy and content life. One can only have a happy and content life if he or she is at peace. This peace comes only when one is doing the right thing.
It can also be related to the Stoics works that promote endurance of pain and suffering without complaints. Sometimes to do the right thing and be contented and happy with life in future, we may need to endure some sufferings today by making a number of sacrifices. Berkeley’s philosophy of immaterialism also promotes having a society where greed and selfishness is not allowed to control of the decisions that people make (Ward 89).
Normative theory is a further emphasis on to be just and do the right thing in the society. It supports faith and the need to always do the right thing as a way of living peacefully and happily with others. Cynics, the ancient Greek philosophers, had contempt for pleasure and ease but supported the need to do the right thing as a way of promoting a better society. Theory of Forms holds that ideas (non-physical forms) often represent reality in the most accurate way (Frank 38). This concept helps in explaining both scientific and faith-based beliefs and practices.
A number of philosophers have strongly supported science-based reasoning as the only way of finding answers about nature. Arithmetic is a popular concept that involves manipulation of numbers. It is the center of science and emphasizes on the need to conduct empirical studies before coming to conclusion over a given issue. The works of great philosophers such asLeibniz, a great scientist and mathematician, support the need to conduct empirical studies before believing in something. It strongly rejects blind faith without empirical tests.
Logic is another science-based philosophy that champions for demonstration and valid inference. Aristotle is known for his contributions in the development of logic as a concept of reasoning. According to Turell, logic reasoning sharply contradicts the skeptics who deny any possibility of rational belief and knowledge(54). As Aristotle suggested, knowledge and belief that can be proven through investigation are worth believing in and applying in a practical context.
Metaphysics focuseson abstract reasoning and mainly supports the need to question things around us, as strongly suggested by a number of philosophers. It is a science-based concept that challenges religion. Descartes strongly championed for the need to question and find answers about nature. His works closely relate to that of Spinoza who supported learning and understanding things beyond myths.
Empiricist such as Immanuel Kant also champions for reasoning beyond the popular beliefs and concepts which are sometimes misplaced. David Hume’s philosophical views also popularized naturalism, skepticism and empiricism as a way of addressing the realities of life. Arthur Schopenhauer was also a strong champion of metaphysics.
Epistemology is a scientific concept that seeks to distinguish justified belief from opinion. Plato was one of the greatest champions of epistemological reasoning as opposed to faith-based reasoning. This school of thought champions for validity in the beliefs that we have. The works of John Locke also support epistemology. He popularized the concept ‘tabula rasa’. His empiricism views hold that people can only have sensory knowledge.
It is clear from the above discussion that both science and faith play an important role in finding solutions to thereal-world problems. Science is based on making conclusions only after conducting an empirical study. It emphasizes on questioning things and conducting studies to find solutions. However, Magee (67) says that even science has its limitations. As such, faith helps in explaining some issues that people often struggle to understand.
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Faith offers a very simple solution to complex problems. It emphasizes on believing in a Supernatural God, life after death, and rewards for people based on their actions on earth. It is, therefore, important to let these two concepts co-exist as a way of having a peaceful world.
Coyne, Jerry. Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible. New York: Cengage, 2015. Print.
Frank, Adam. The Constant Fire: Beyond the Science Vs. Religion Debate. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009. Print.
Goddard, Jerome. Faith Vs. Science: The Unnecessary Dichotomy. United States: First Edition Design Publishing, Inc, 2012. Print.
Magee, Bryan. The Story of Philosophy. New York: DK Pub, 1998. Print.
Turell, David. Science Vs. Religion: The 500-Year War : Finding God in the Heat of the Battle. Baltimore: Publish America, 2004. Print.
Ward, Keith. The Big Questions in Science and Religion. West Conshohocken, Pa: Templeton Foundation Press, 2008. Print.