Philosophy, Science, and Nursing



Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Chapter 1
Philosophy, Science, and Nursing

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Topics for Discussion

  • Is nursing a profession or an occupation?
  • Is nursing a science? If yes, what type of science?
  • What is nursing’s theoretical base?
  • What are different kinds of knowledge?

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Nursing as a Profession

  • Characteristics of occupations
  • Varying levels of training or education
  • Variable defined knowledge bases
  • Varying levels of skill

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Nursing as a Profession—(cont.)

  • Examples of professions
  • Medicine
  • Law
  • Clergy
  • Education

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Question

Tell whether the following statement is true or false:

Nursing is a profession.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Answer

True

Rationale: Nursing is a profession. Nursing meets the characteristics of a profession, and nurses are valued by society because the services they provide are beneficial to members of the society.

*

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Nursing as a Profession—(cont.)

  • All professions are occupations, but not all occupations are professions.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Nursing as a Profession—(cont.)

  • What is our knowledge base?
  • Authority over education?
  • Registration?
  • Altruistic service?
  • Code of ethics?
  • Formal training?
  • Socialization process?
  • Autonomy?

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Nursing as an Academic Discipline

  • Discipline—a field of inquiry
  • Unique perspective and terminology
  • Determination of what phenomena are of interest
  • Determination of the context in which phenomena are viewed
  • Determination of what questions to ask
  • Determination of what methods of research are used and what evidence is proof

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Nursing as an Academic Discipline—(cont.)

  • A unique perspective
  • An identifiable philosophy
  • Conceptual frameworks/theories
  • Acceptable methodologic approaches for development of knowledge

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Academic Disciplines

  • Basic sciences
  • Physics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Sociology
  • Humanities
  • Philosophy
  • History
  • Fine arts
  • Languages

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Academic Disciplines—(cont.)

  • Professional disciplines
  • Medicine
  • Law
  • Dentistry
  • Engineering
  • Nursing

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Science

  • Science is concerned with causality (cause and effect).
  • Science is both a process and a product.
  • A body of empirically tested knowledge
  • A system of gathering and verifying information (process)
  • Science represents knowledge and is generated by the application of methods to acquire that knowledge.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Science—(cont.)

  • A discipline’s science:
  • Focuses on solving problems related to the discipline
  • Directs answering questions of the discipline
  • The science contains the research aspect of the discipline.
  • A discipline’s science is tied to its philosophy.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Classification of Sciences

  • Natural sciences
  • Chemistry, physics, biology, geology
  • Basic or pure sciences
  • Mathematics, chemistry, physics, language
  • Human or social sciences
  • Psychology, anthropology, economics
  • Practice or applied sciences
  • Engineering, medicine, pharmacology, law

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Classification of Sciences—(cont.)

  • Nursing draws on basic/pure sciences (physiology, biology).
  • Nursing has characteristics of social sciences.
  • Nursing is without question an applied science.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Philosophy

  • Philosophy is the “study of . . . the nature of existence, knowledge, morality, reason and human purpose.”
  • Philosophy seeks to:
  • Discover knowledge and truth
  • Identify what is valuable

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Philosophy—(cont.)

  • Philosophy is concerned with:
  • Purpose of human life
  • Nature of being and reality
  • Source(s) of knowledge

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Question

Which of the following do science and philosophy have in common?

A. Hypothesis testing

B. Nature of being

C. Goal of increasing knowledge

D. Verifiability of information

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Answer

C. Goal of increasing knowledge

Rationale: Science and philosophy share the common goal of increasing knowledge. Science is tied to the philosophy of the discipline, with a shared goal to increase the knowledge of the discipline.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Branches of Philosophy

  • Metaphysics—study of nature of reality and existence
  • Ontology—study of the theory of being
  • Cosmology—study of the physical universe
  • Epistemology—study of knowledge (ways of knowing)
  • Logic—study of principles and methods of reasoning (inference and argument)
  • Ethics (axiology)—study of values (right and wrong)
  • Esthetics—study of appreciation of arts or things beautiful

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Nursing Philosophy

  • Statement of foundational and universal assumptions, beliefs, and principles about the nature of knowledge and thought (epistemology) and the nature of entities represented in the metaparadigm (i.e., nursing practice and human health [ontology])
  • Provides perspectives for practice, scholarship, and research

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Science and Philosophy—Worldviews

  • Empiricism/positivism (received view)
  • What is experienced is what exists.
  • Examines parts to understand the whole (reductionistic)
  • Individuals learn by being told or receiving knowledge.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Science and Philosophy—Worldviews—(cont.)

  • Empiricism/positivism (received view)—(cont.)
  • Knowledge is described and verified through scientific methods (experimentation).
  • Theories are generated which describe, explain, and predict phenomena of interest.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Science and Philosophy—Worldviews—(cont.)

  • Empiricism/positivism (received view)—(cont.)
  • Dominant worldview of the pure and basic sciences (e.g., physiology, biology)

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Science and Philosophy—Worldviews—(cont.)

  • Perceived view—phenomenology, constructivism, humanism
  • Focus is on perceptions of the subject and the researcher.
  • Phenomena are studied and described from lived experiences, interrelatedness, interpretation, and learned reality.
  • Desire is to understand the actions and meaning of individuals.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Science and Philosophy—Worldviews—(cont.)

  • Perceived view—phenomenology, constructivism, humanism—(cont.)
  • What exists depends on what individuals perceive to exist.
  • Knowledge is subjective and created by individuals.
  • Research investigates the individual’s world.

Emphasis is on subjectivity, multiple truths, trends and patterns, discovery, description, and understanding.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Science and Philosophy—Worldviews—(cont.)

  • Perceived view—phenomenology, constructivism, humanism—(cont.)
  • Dominant worldview of the social/human sciences (e.g., psychology, sociology)

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Science and Philosophy—Worldviews—(cont.)

Received View—Empiricism Perceived View—Humanism
Reality/truth considered separate from context Reality/truth considered in context
Objective Subjective
Prediction and control Description and understanding
Deductive Inductive
One truth Multiple truths
Quantitative research methods Qualitative research methods

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Nursing Science

  • System of relationships of human response in health and illness (includes biologic, behavioral, social, and cultural domains)

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Nursing Science and Worldviews

  • Nursing is both a practice science and a human science.
  • Practice sciences typically use quantitative research methods (e.g., controlled experimentation) to develop knowledge.
  • Human sciences typically use qualitative research methods (e.g., phenomenology, ethnography) to develop knowledge

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Nursing Science and Worldviews—(cont.)

  • Until very recently, quantitative methods for research were most valued.
  • Nursing scholars are still undecided about which method (quantitative or qualitative) best demonstrate the essence and uniqueness of nursing.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Nursing Science and Worldviews—(cont.)

  • In recent years, it has been argued that both approaches are important and essential for nursing science.
  • Thus, multiple approaches to knowledge development and methodological pluralism should be encouraged.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Question

Tell whether the following statement is true or false:

There is only one research method of value for use in nursing.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Answer

False

Rationale: Quantitative and qualitative research methods are both of value for use in nursing research.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Ways of Knowing in Nursing

  • Nursing epistemology is the study of the origins of nursing knowledge, its structure and methods, the patterns of knowing of its members, and the criteria for validating its knowledge claims.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Ways of Knowing in Nursing—(cont.)

  • Understanding how nursing knowledge develops
  • Allows judgment of the validity and appropriateness of the knowledge
  • Determines appropriateness of methods used to develop knowledge
  • Nursing has both scientific knowledge and knowledge that can be termed “conventional wisdom.”

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Ways of Knowing in Nursing—(cont.)

  • Empirics—the science of nursing
  • Esthetics—the art of nursing
  • Personal knowledge in nursing
  • Ethics—moral knowledge in nursing

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Question

Tell whether the following statement is true or false:

The only true way of knowledge development is through empirics and science.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Answer

False

Rationale: There are multiple ways of knowing and knowledge development. There are many theories on knowledge and learning. Nursing epistemology is the study of the origins of nursing knowledge and encompasses much more than empirics.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Empirical Knowledge

  • Objective, verifiable, and generally quantifiable knowledge
  • When verified through research/testing, empirical knowledge becomes laws, theories, and principles that explain and predict.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Empirical Knowledge—(cont.)

  • The most emphasized way of knowing in nursing
  • Purpose is to describe, explain, and predict phenomena of concern to nurses.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Esthetic Knowledge

  • Expressive, subjective, experiential understanding
  • Includes sensing the meaning of a moment
  • Expressed in actions, conduct, attitudes, and interactions of the nurse

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Esthetic Knowledge—(cont.)

  • Relies on perception
  • Incorporates empathy, intuition, values, and understanding
  • Not expressed in words

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Personal Knowledge

  • Subjective view of the self and the client
  • Promotes integrity in personal encounters
  • Incorporates experience, personal maturity, knowing, encountering, and actualizing the self within the practice

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Personal Knowledge—(cont.)

  • May include spiritual or metaphysical elements
  • Largely expressed in personality—therapeutic use of self

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Ethical Knowledge

  • Moral code for nursing
  • Based on obligation to service and respect for human life
  • Occurs as moral dilemmas arise in ambiguous and uncertain situations

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Ethical Knowledge—(cont.)

  • Requires evaluation of what is good, valuable, and desirable
  • Must address conflicting norms, interests, and principles

Scroll to Top