What are factual sciences? Types, Differences, Examples

We express what the factual or empirical sciences are, their branches, and how they are classified. Examples of different factual sciences.

What are factual sciences?

The factual sciences or even empirical sciences are those whose purpose is to get a (mental or artificial) reproduction of the phenomena of nature to be studied, in order to understand the forces and mechanisms involved in them.

It is, thus, the sciences that deal with the verifiable and experiential reality, as its name indicates: “factual” comes from the Latin factum term, which translates “facts”; and “empirical” from the empirical Greek which translates experience. In this, they clearly differ from the formal sciences, whose object of study is the very systems of logical and mental representation of reality, such as mathematics or philosophy, interested in abstract and mental objects.

Factual sciences, however, turn to logic and formal processes as a tool to sustain their studies, whose principle of non-contradiction of the exposed terms and whose methodological steps for experimentation constitute the so-called scientific method.

Thus, factual or empirical sciences resort to experimentation as a way of approaching the universal laws of reality, but their results are always, at best, transitory: a new discovery can call them into question or vary the way in which the results obtained were interpreted.

Differences between formal sciences and factual sciences:

1.- Formal sciences study ideas or things, while factual sciences study facts.

2.- Factual sciences employ method, observation, and experimentation. Now the formal sciences employ deduction.

3.- Formal sciences find their verification in reasoning. Meanwhile, the factual sciences prove in practice.

4.- Formal sciences allow the construction of abstract ideals that only exist in the human mind, that is, they are not tangible. The factual sciences are based on objects or phenomena that in fact occur and that in most cases are tangible.

5.- The formal sciences are linked to logic, mathematics and philosophy . Meanwhile, the factual sciences respond to the sciences, such as: biology, physics and chemistry .

Similarities between formal sciences and factual sciences

1 .- Despite the differences that may exist between the two. Both are recognized as sciences that are worth the recognition and weight of the advances of humanity in history.

2.- Both have allowed the construction and establishment of knowledge and currents for the search for knowledge.

3.- If there is something that formal science and factual science share, it is the absolute truth that knowledge is infinite in any of its forms. 

Types of factual sciences

There are two large groups of factual sciences:

  • Natural sciences . The natural sciences are those that are interested in understanding the dynamics of functioning of natural reality, both of living beings and of inanimate matter, and pursue universal responses about the composition of life and nature. Biology is a good example of this.
  • The social sciences . Social sciences instead are interested from a scientific perspective for human phenomena, such as the constitution of the human mind, the history of civilizations or the rules of economics .

Characteristics of formal and factual sciences

  1. Object of study

formal and factual sciences
Formal sciences study the objects created in the human mind. 

The formal sciences have as their object of study the empty forms of content , the objects created by man in his mind, their forms. The factual ones are aimed at physical and natural reality, the real world: study the facts and their correlations.

The formal and factual sciences analyze real objects in ideal environments , and ideal objects in formal settings (such as emotions in the human mind).

  1. The truth”

The formal sciences seek to prove theorems , take as “truth” what is necessary and formal, what has logical coherence within a system.

The factual sciences consider as “truth” that which approves the contrast of the analysis, the results, and verifies or refutes the initial hypothesis.

The result of the analyzes is considered a “provisional truth” , since in this analysis the reality and the framework of the analysis can be modified

  1. Methodology

The factual sciences are based on the scientific method of observation. 

In the formal sciences, the application methodology is the deductive method: induction, deduction and logic . In factual science, the method is one of observation and experimentation: the scientific method . The methodology of both will also depend on the object of study and its environment and environment, sometimes real, and sometimes ideal.

  1. Tools

Formal sciences make use of definitions, axioms, inference rules and propositions , always of the analytical type, since it is not possible to make observations of the real world. The factual sciences make use of empirical methodologies, observation, study and analysis. In formal and factual sciences, the tools will combine both alternatives, according to the object and its environment in the analyzed situation.

  1. Classification

The social sciences analyze the human being as an individual. 

The objects of study of the formal and factual sciences can distinguish them, according to their application, into three main branches:

  • Natural Sciences. They analyze the environment , the natural environment, climatic adaptations and others.
  • Social Sciences. They analyze man as an individual, and more.
  • Cultural sciences. The human as part of a time and a place – society .
  1. Objective

  • Formal sciences. The goal is to find evidence, to demonstrate a notion.
  • Factual Sciences. The goal is to prove or disprove initial hypotheses.
  1. Symbols

formal and factual sciences
In factual sciences symbols are determinate, not open to interpretation.

In the formal sciences symbols are often empty and interpretable (for example, a calculation like ‘x + 5 = 7’ deserves the interpretation that defines ‘x’). In factual sciences the symbols are determined, not open to interpretation (in the chemical composition of water ‘H 2 O’, ‘H’ is the element Hydrogen unequivocally).

The symbol used must be adapted to the object of the study , being able to use unequivocal symbols in some cases, although normally the analysis of the symbols is required (if a historical period is studied, it will be adapted to the site, the people analyzed, and more).

  1. Verification

The verification will depend on the analysis carried out to the object of study. 

In the formal sciences the method of verification must correspond to logic: the results work in a strict theory, and in all conditions. In the factual, the verification will be demonstrated in practice : the rule is fulfilled whenever it happens under certain conditions. Therefore, the verification will depend on the analysis or study carried out, in consideration of the objects.

  1. Time

Formal proofs are complete and final, and factual proofs are temporary and incomplete . In this case, the timing of the formal and factual results will also be temporary or provisional, since the elements are both ideal and formal.

Factual Science Examples

Factual sciences - biology
Biology is the study of life and known living things. 

Some examples of factual or empirical sciences are the following:

  • Biology . The study of life and known living things.
  • Chemistry . The study of the formation of matter and the reactions that occur between substances.
  • Physical . The study of the forces that interact in the universe with matter and energy .
  • Economic sciences or economics . The study of the administration of resources in societies and the formation and flow of wealth.
  • Political science or Politology . The study of the systems of community management and government of the differenthuman societies in their different epochs and of their mechanisms of domination and change.
  • Psychology . The study of the formation, functioning and dynamics of the human mind.
  • Sociology . The study of human societies and their historical-social contexts, understood as identifiable systems.
  • Sexology . The study of sex and human sexual relations, not only from an anatomical and biological point of view, but also cultural and social.
  • Legal sciences or Law . The study of justice , that is, of the mechanisms and ways in which human societies judge themselves and conform their ethical and legal codes.
  • History . Although for many it is rather a humanity, there are many academics who defend the belonging to the social sciences of the study of the dynamics of change of humanity from the invention of writing to the present day.

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