Differences Between Science and Philosophy, and Causal and Logical Possibility Ever since Socrates, philosophers have asked questions of the form “What is X?” When a philosopher asks a question of this form, she is not asking what happens to be true of X. Rather, the philosopher wants to know what is essential to X. That is to say, a philosopher wants to know what makes something to be the kind of thing that it is. By contrast, scientists are generally interested in the causes and effects of things. Whereas philosophers want to know what makes something to be the kind of thing that it is, scientists want to know what causes things of that kind, and what things of that kind typically cause. To illustrate the point, here are some examples of scientific questions, contrasted with philosophical questions. Scientific Question: What causes thoughts to occur? Philosophical Question: What is a thought? Scientific Question:
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