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Keywords:

  • philosophy of science;
  • nursing;
  • nursing science;
  • nursing paradigm;
  • philosophical inquiry;
  • scientific inquiry;
  • research;
  • research methods;
  • taxonomy;
  • historical turn

Background.  In response to the question of the idea of nursing as a legitimate science, Edwards (1999) claims that it does not qualify as a legitimate science. He bases his claim on the assumption that legitimate science must be empirical. Edwards defends his claim based on the lack of consensus and development in nursing philosophy during the past 40 years and, as he describes it, the lack of ends (or truth) of nursing science.

Aim.  The aim of this response is to refute Edwards’ conclusion. The basis for this refutation is twofold. First, legitimate science includes both empirical and non-empirical scientific methods. Second, evidence of development of a nursing school of philosophical thought is found in the nursing literature.

Discussion.  Empirical science is only one mode of inquiry in nursing. Philosophical and non-empirical methodologies are gaining increasing importance as modes of scientific inquiry. I therefore contend that nursing would be better served to continue applying an offensive effort into integrating all applicable modes of scientific inquiry into the discipline.