Formal science

economic-dictionary

Formal science is a set of rational and ordered knowledge, which studies phenomena from abstraction, and with the aim of generalizing laws or theories.

Therefore, we can say that they are essential for knowledge. Thanks to them these can be applied to reality. On the other hand, due to its approach to knowledge, the method used is deduction.

Mathematics and formal science

Perhaps mathematics can be considered the formal science par excellence. They study abstract structures and relationships. To achieve their objective, they start from axioms that are developed through logical reasoning. Therefore, their learning is essential.

In addition, it uses a formal and universal language that allows everyone who knows it to understand it. In this way, everyone knows the most frequent symbols, such as the addition (+), the subtraction (-), or others such as the square root or an integral.

Logic and formal science

Logic is a branch of philosophy that studies proofs, fallacies, and more similar questions. Within it, the part related to mathematics uses its formal systems to reach its conclusions.

Therefore, in formal science, logic is more than necessary. In fact, it is very common in economics to use this type of reasoning. For example, the Austrian school uses praxeology for its studies on this social science.

Computer's science

In this case, we are facing a formal science that studies the theoretical bases of computing.

In this way, algorithms, like Google's, are based on the formal precepts mentioned, applying them to real problems.

Therefore, today the digital world is possible thanks to the theory that underlies it. Without these theoretical aspects, they would have walked blindly and with the consequent risk. Hence, the importance of this type of science.

Formal science example

Let's see, to finish, some examples that may seem obvious but that perfectly reflect the deductive method used in this type of science.

  • Let's imagine that in biology we start from an axiom. Sheep don't fly. On the other hand, we know that animals that fly have wings. The deduction is that sheep are not going to have wings. It is evident, but in reality the phenomena are much more complicated.
  • In criminology. The murderer was a black male. The main suspect is oriental. This is not going to be the killer. Once again the reality is much more complex, but the method is the same.
  • This last example would be the opposite, using the inductive method. My grandfather got constipation, my grandfather is a man, men get constipated. As we can see, in this case we go from the particular to the general.

They are very simple examples, but with them we wanted to show how the deductive method used in formal science works, as opposed to the inductive one. In fact, the reality, as we have mentioned before, is much more complex. Of course, many times we can approach it with simplicity.

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