Physical Sciences: History, Types and Principal Methodology

The Factual sciences , Empirical sciences or factual sciences, are a set of disciplines that are based on the experimentation to understand the facts.

Through a method and a specific order, they create representations as close and reliable as possible to the observation made and verify the similarity between reality or nature and the artificial or mental.

Data verification method of the factual sciences

Unlike the formal sciences, which study abstract relationships between signs, ideas and logic itself, empirical or factual sciences need the materiality of the object to develop its activity.

Likewise, in order for their representations to be as close and exact as possible to facts, they use logic and sensory perception to ensure that there are no internal contradictions in the analysis and presentation of the case. In this way, they check their hypotheses or refute them.

The factual or empirical sciences are concrete from their etymology. Its name comes from the terms factum, from the Latin"hecho", and empiria, from the Greek"experience".

History of Factual Sciences

The origin of the empirical sciences is difficult to accurately characterize, but they arose during the first stage of the Modern Age, between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries.

The context of his birth is under the development of new philosophical and epistemological tendencies. But it was not a discovery or a line of thought that drove them, but their presence was latent from the beginning of humanity.

In the East, Buddha used the forms of empiricism, while in the West extended the philosophical knowledge of Aristotle.

In his work Metaphysics , The ancient Greek philosopher defines knowledge as a process of accumulation of reflective experience based on the most common perceptions.

Already in modernity, Thomas Hobbes , Francis Bacon and subsequently David Hume Gave the final impulse to this type of science with its treatises on empiricism.

Thus, one established that there were two types of knowledge, one based on facts and sensations, and another, that science is the assertion of a consequence.

Francis Bacon is considered the father of the empirical sciences, for the development of a theory of knowledge and a system of scientific rules that constitute the scientific method.

Bacon also introduced the notion of the essay in England, generating a philosophical revolution, which confirmed the importance of factual sciences within epistemology.

Hume, in his treaties, established that all knowledge has its origin in sensitive experiences and without them there is no possibility of knowing any.

Types of factual or empirical sciences

Within the factual or empirical sciences there are two types of disciplines: the natural sciences and social Sciences , Who share the method of study but not its object.

While the natural sciences study the physical aspects, the social sciences analyze behaviors. The former establish laws and the latter do not.

Some examples of natural sciences are biology, physics and chemistry. All lacking the real plane but with verifiable results through representations.

Social sciences include sociology, economics and politics, which study society and work with living things but without reliable conclusions.

Empirical Theories

Empiricism as a method has some theories that focus its analyzes. They assume that all truth must be proven in experience to be ratified, modified or abandoned. No conclusion is absolute and no tool is perfect.

In addition, the factual or empirical sciences deny the knowledge of the innate principles and the suprasensible, that which can not be bought objectively.

And finally, they start from the subject as the first source of the knowledge of the world, not of the given reality, since reason can only understand from preexisting ideas.

The following explains what kind of methods are put in place to carry out this type of science:

Deductive hypothetical method

The hypothetico-deductive method is the most widespread procedure within the factual or empirical sciences and is the means of the researchers to be able to practice.

They were Francis Bacon and Karl Popper The main exponents in its development. The first to establish that science started from the observation of facts, from which it obtained regularities to raise its hypotheses.

While the second was the one who introduced the idea that this observation is guided by the preexisting ideas of the scientist, establishing the concept of falsification, which generated a revolution in this way of doing science.

In this way, the conclusions of the deductive hypothetical method can not be true, but only non-refutation.

The deductive hypothetical method has a series of phases necessary to be valid: it begins with the approach of the problem and continues with the elaboration of hypotheses, the deduction of its consequences, the contracting, to arrive at the approval or refutation of this knowledge.

Experience guides the first and fourth steps, while rationality does so in the second and third stages. Normally, its path is inductive when observing, deductive in the approach and inductive in the final verification.


  1. Empiricism, David Hume, Sergio Rabade Romeo, Trotta, 2004.
  2. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions Stay , Thomas Kuhn, Fondo de Cultura Económica, Mexico, 1981.
  3. L Of scientific research Stay , Karl Poppe, Tecnos, 1977.
  4. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, David Hume, 1748.
  5. The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age , Frances Yates, Routledge & Kegan Paul, United Kingdom, 1979.

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