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The word science (science = knowledge, prior knowledge, permission; Latin scientia) refers to the totality of human knowledge, knowledge and experience of an era, which is systematically expanded, collected, stored, taught and handed down.

Science is a system of knowledge about the essential properties, causal relationships and laws of nature, technology, society and thought, which is fixed in the form of concepts, categories, measures, laws, theories and hypotheses.

Science is also the totality of knowledge and experiences, which refer to a subject area and stand in a reasoning context. The knowledge of a limited subject area characterizes the individual science, which is divided into a theoretical and an applied area and with progressive differentiation can give rise to a number of sub-disciplines.

Science also denotes the methodical process of intersubjectively comprehensible research and cognition in a specific field, which, according to conventional understanding, produces a well-founded, orderly and secure knowledge. Accordingly, science is characterized methodically by knowledge that is secured and placed in a rational context of justification, that is communicable and verifiable, and that follows certain scientific criteria. Science thus denotes a coherent system of statements, theories and procedures that has been subjected to strict tests of validity and is associated with the claim of objective, supra-personal validity.

In addition, science also refers to the totality of scientific institutions and the scientists working there. In their work, these are bound by specific values and practices and are expected to comply with scientific ethical principles. They are in a relationship of mutual influence with politics and society.

The history and development of science is studied in the academic discipline of the history of science. The development of human knowledge of the nature of the Earth and the cosmos and the historical emergence of the natural sciences is part of this, for example, the history of astronomy and the history of physics. In addition, there are connections to the applied sciences of mathematics, medicine and technology. Already Thales demanded that science be provable, verifiable or repeatable in its results and free of purpose. The philosophical occupation with scientific theoretical knowledge and methods goes back historically to Aristotle in antiquity, today called philosophy of science.