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      • For example, philosopher Paul Kurtz argues that nature is best accounted for by reference to material principles. These principles include mass, energy, and other physical and chemical properties accepted by the scientific community.
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  2. Natural philosophy or philosophy of nature (from Latin philosophia naturalis) is the philosophical study of physics, that is, nature and the physical universe. It was dominant before the development of modern science . From the ancient world (at least since Aristotle) until the 19th century, natural philosophy was the common term for the study ...

  3. Science as natural philosophy Precritical science. Science, as it has been defined above, made its appearance before writing. It is necessary, therefore, to infer from archaeological remains what was the content of that science. From cave paintings and from apparently regular scratches on bone and reindeer horn, it is known that prehistoric humans were close observers of nature who carefully tracked the seasons and times of the year.

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    • Current Work in The Philosophy of Science and Nature

    See also: Nature in Philosophy and Philosophy The term natural philosophy preceded current usage of natural science(i.e. empirical science). Empirical science historically developed out of philosophy or, more specifically, natural philosophy. Natural philosophy was distinguished from the other precursor of modern science, natural history, in that n...

    In Plato‘s earliest known dialogue, Charmides distinguishes between scienceor bodies of knowledge that produce a physical result, and those that do not. Natural philosophy has been categorized as a theoretical rather than a practical branch of philosophy (like ethics). Sciences that guide arts and draw on the philosophical knowledge of nature may p...

    Major branches of natural philosophyinclude astronomy and cosmology, the study of nature on the grand scale; etiology, the study of (intrinsic and sometimes extrinsic) causes; the study of chance, probability and randomness; the study of elements; the study of the infinite and the unlimited (virtual or actual); the study of matter; mechanics, the s...

    For the history of natural philosophy prior to the 17th century, see History of science, History of physics, History of chemistry, and History of astronomy. Mankind’s mental engagement with nature certainly predates civilization and the record of history. Philosophical, and specifically non-religious thought about the natural world, goes back to an...

    In the middle of the 20th century, Ernst Mayr’s discussions on the teleology of nature brought up issues that were dealt with previously by Aristotle (regarding final cause) and Immanuel Kant(regarding reflective judgment). Especially since the mid-20th-century European crisis, some thinkers argued the importance of looking at nature from a broad p...

  4. The first great conceptual synthesis in modern science was the creation of a system of mechanics and a law of gravitation by the English physicist Isaac Newton, published in his Principia (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy) of 1687. His “system of the world” was based on a universal attraction between any two point objects described by a force on each, along the line joining them, directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of ...

  5. › article › philosophyThe philosophy of science

    Induction — method of reasoning in which a generalization is argued to be true based on individual examples that seem to fit with that generalization. For example, after observing that trees, bacteria, sea anemones, fruit flies, and humans have cells, one might inductively infer that all organisms have cells.

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