Scientific disciplines need other complementary knowledge of a scientific nature. These other knowledges are known as auxiliary sciences. Its function is to support and complement a specific science, that is, to provide an instrumental dimension.
The role of auxiliary sciences in the whole of knowledge
In general, all sciences have recourse to other auxiliary sciences. This is what happens with the different branches of biology, a science that uses auxiliary disciplines such as statistics , informatics and taxonomy.
In the area of physics, some sciences also have an auxiliary character. That’s what happens with math, biology and statistics.
Law has a scientific character and in its development it is necessary to resort to complementary legal disciplines, such as criminal anthropology and legal medicine.
Astronomy needs two auxiliary sciences: physics and mathematics. At the same time, physics also makes use of other knowledge, such as chemistry and biology.
When thinking about the set of sciences, there are certain scientific disciplines that are characterized by their auxiliary tool condition, such as logic, mathematics and computing. These three disciplines are auxiliary sciences (also called formal sciences) in the sense that their principles apply to any scientific field.
The auxiliary sciences of history
History as a science aims to know some aspect related to the past. To achieve this purpose, historians need to resort to the various auxiliary sciences. If a historian wants to know about the context of the discovery of America, he needs to become familiar with cartography , a science that studies maps and navigation charts.
When researching the Roman Empire, the historian should know Roman law well . These examples remind us that history is a general science and that it needs specific and more specialized scientific instruments.
History has a wide range of auxiliary sciences, such as heraldry, genealogy, numismatics, archival and papyrology.
It should be taken into account that knowledge from any time in history can only be achieved through an interdisciplinary perspective. In other words, several disciplines must offer their contributions so that it is possible to give an explanation of what happened in the past.
The auxiliary sciences of history can be understood in a double sense: as fields of study at the service of the historian and, in parallel, as an autonomous science that can be studied beyond its hypothetical utility as a historical tool.