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Difference between formal sciences and factual sciences

the formal sciences have as their object of study abstract ideas and the factual sciences they study the facts of nature. Science in general is a body of knowledge characterized by rational, systematic, exact, verifiable and fallible knowledge.

Factual sciences deal with propositions like “kinetic energy depends on mass and velocity” that are justified through observation and experimentation. The formal sciences resort to the type of propositions of the type “every number with an exponent zero is equal to one”, independent of experience.

formal sciences Factual sciences
definition Sciences that are in charge of the study of subjective abstract entities. Sciences that deal with the study of objective facts of nature.
Object of study ideals Material facts
statements Relationships between signs. Relationships between events and processes.
method Inductive inference. Observation and experimentation.
examples Mathematics, logic, computer science. Physics, chemistry, biology, sociology, economics.

What are formal sciences?

Formal or exact sciences study ideas, that is, they do not refer to anything found in reality. They are rational, systematic and verifiable, but they are not objective, they do not give us information about reality, they do not deal with the facts. They deal with ideal beings that exist only in the human mind and not in reality. The proper subject of formal science is the form of ideas.

Characteristics of formal sciences

  • They deal with symbols and the relationships that can be established with them, without the need to resort to experience to obtain results.
  • They prove or prove.
  • It is self-sufficient: they construct their own objects of study as abstractions from real objects, such as geometric figures and whole numbers.
  • worth of the analytical formulasthat is to say, to formulas that can be validated by means of simple rational analysis.

Example of formal science


formal sciences mathematics
Mathematics has as its object of study abstract mental constructions.

Mathematics is the science of numbers, quantities and spaces. Its object of study is ideas, a product of the human imagination.

What are factual sciences?

The factual or empirical sciences study the facts that occur in nature. They deal with facts and events that take place in the world and that we can know through experience.

The word “fact” is derived from the Latin factum which means “done”. It is based on observation and experimentation to generate scientific knowledge.

Characteristics of factual sciences

  • They verify hypotheses: factual science starts from a prior doubt to which a possible explanation or “hypothesis” is given.
  • It has a passive and active character: observation is passive in nature, this makes observation the main source of data for the scientist. Through experimentation, the scientist actively controls the phenomena he wants to study.
  • It is quantifiable: mathematical resources are used to quantify, measure and translate natural phenomena.
  • Use the formulas: can contain analytical formulas and synthetic formulas.

Types of factual sciences

Within the empirical or factual sciences, two groups are distinguished:

  • The natural sciences: these study the natural, physical and chemical phenomena that make up the Universe. Physics, biology, astronomy and chemistry are natural sciences.
  • The social sciences: those disciplines that study the phenomena related to human beings, their behavior and their interaction. Within these sciences there is psychology, sociology and economics.

Example of factual science


biology factual and formal sciences
Biology requires experimentation and observation as a factual science.

Biology is the science that deals with the study of living beings. It includes a diversity of fields such as ecology, botany, zoology, microbiology, among others.

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