Two of the meanings of the word "science" in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is:

  1. A department of systematized knowledge as an object of study. "the science of theology"
  2. Something (such as a sport or technique) that may be studied or learned like systematized knowledge. "have it down to a science"

Looking up the word "systematize" in the same dictionary, I found out that it means:

  1. To arrange in accord with a definite plan or scheme : order systematically "the need to systematize their work"

Now does it mean that science is a body of knowledge that is arranged or organized according to a plan or scheme? If so, then what kind of plan? Natural sciences are organized according to which plan or scheme?

2 Answers 2


To systematize means to arrange something into a system. Check the meaning of system in various dictionaries, like this one:

Merriam-Webster "system"

2: an organized set of doctrines, ideas, or principles usually intended to explain the arrangement or working of a systematic whole: the Newtonian system of mechanics

The plan or scheme for a system of knowledge arises from what is discovered about the subject, and what is already known about universal things, like logic and mathematics. Nothing that is called true in science may contradict other things that are deemed to be true within the same system. It is internal relationships and self-consistency that makes a system.


By “systematized” here, we mean a collection of facts ordered with respect to certain general principles. So in chemistry, a huge number of facts are organized around the atomic theory, the periodic table, naming conventions for molecules, etc. Chemistry is not just a mass of recipes for creating compounds.

The general organizing principles differ among different sciences, but every natural science has general concepts that cover many individual facts. Think Newton’s laws of motion or general relativity.

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