Is philosophy informative in our age of scientific inquiry?

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    May 03, 2012 1:12 AM GMT
    Read this article concerning a cosmologist's thoughts on the relationship between philosophy and physics:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-consolation-of-philos

    I've come to the conclusion that philosophical inquiry abides by an indefensible universalist methodology and as such, is not a reliable means by which to understand the world (in light of this, I also take care to distinguish the meanings of 'philosophical' and 'theoretical'). In any case, do you believe that philosophy is a discipline that gives access to knowledge unobtainable by scientific inquiry?
  • GWriter

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    May 03, 2012 1:39 AM GMT
    The most basic philosophical question was asked by Socrates: What is the best way to live? (= What is happiness?) I don't see how expertise in particle physics helps to answer that.
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    May 03, 2012 1:40 AM GMT
    Science is only equipped to answer scientific questions.
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    May 03, 2012 1:45 AM GMT
    Couple comments. First this essay is just more of two factions talking past each other. Krauss is only criticizing some of philosophy, not all philosophy—there's no need to throw away an entire way of thinking just yet. Even more, his criticism is flawed—saying that Kuhn is bad because his ideas don't help science in a practical way is really narrow-minded.

    Science is about knowledge. Philosophy is about wisdom.
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    May 03, 2012 2:57 AM GMT
    Larkin saidScience is only equipped to answer scientific questions.


    Ehh

    http://csc.ucdavis.edu/~rgjames/static/pdfs/publications/anatomy_poster.pdf
  • rockinb

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    May 03, 2012 3:04 AM GMT
    One word: Buddhism.
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    May 03, 2012 3:11 AM GMT
    calf said
    Science is about knowledge. Philosophy is about wisdom.


    +1
    The baby cow has spoken icon_smile.gif
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    May 03, 2012 3:19 AM GMT
    Philosophy poses the questions that science tries to answer. I don't see how you can have the one without the other.
  • starboard5

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    May 03, 2012 3:51 AM GMT
    Larkin saidScience is only equipped to answer scientific questions.


    This
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    May 03, 2012 4:23 AM GMT
    Art_Deco saidPhilosophy poses the questions that science tries to answer. I don't see how you can have the one without the other.
    I was just going to say that. icon_lol.gif
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    May 03, 2012 4:35 AM GMT
    Philosophy, in part, is the thinking that goes into forming a civil society.
    Science, in the form of sociology, tracks the results of that thinking.

    As to the article, I think the scientist and the OP are correct, in that, there needs to be a separation between the two, without discounting the contributions of philosophers. I think what the author is referring to is the speculation by philosophers about the zero point field. He is right that philosophers should leave it to scientists to discover what actually exists. But, sometimes philosophy allows society to escape our egotistic value systems, whether they be personal, familial, tribal, nationalistic or world view. This escape is necessary for real sociological progress.
  • dfrourke

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    May 03, 2012 6:01 AM GMT
    Art_Deco saidPhilosophy poses the questions that science tries to answer. I don't see how you can have the one without the other.


    exactly.

    - David icon_wink.gif
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    May 03, 2012 6:11 AM GMT
    Scruffypup said
    calf said
    Science is about knowledge. Philosophy is about wisdom.


    +1
    The baby cow has spoken icon_smile.gif


    µ
  • Art2D2x

    Posts: 148

    May 03, 2012 6:13 AM GMT
    I didn't read the article but haven't both co-existed for as long as they've been studied?

    I seem to take the perspective that both wouldn't exist without the other. Otherwise, where would questions and theories for both disciplines be inspired from?

    Even today scientists seem to acknowledge some form of philosophy in their studies.
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    May 03, 2012 7:22 AM GMT
    Philosphy is absolutely paramount for my career and life work in Academic art. Without it art is completely devoid of meaning and purpose.
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    May 03, 2012 7:43 AM GMT
    They're like two blades of a scissor working in tandem

    The scientists who writes the number "1" on a chalkboard is trusting the reliability of his memory when it tells him that this vertical line is the correct representation for this reality of oneness that he's trying to communicate
    He has to have further concluded, somehow, that there exists or could exist in theory, a world that sponsors, recognizes and agrees with this reality of "1"
    Those conclusions might be made in the blink of an eye and they might be made every second - but they are philosophical conclusions.
    Philosophical inquiry is woven into the very fabric of everything that humans do - it is the tension that keeps life taut. There is a "why" to every trivial decision you make.
    Of course, most of the things we do don't need overt philosophical discussion - until a worldview needs to be called into question
    To do that, we'll need to have kept the basic skills of philosophy, otherwise we won't have the tools/vocabulary to scrutinize flawed assumptions about reality.

    It's not a skill you want to be without
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    May 03, 2012 9:36 AM GMT
    The_Watchers saidThey're like two blades of a scissor working in tandem

    The scientists who writes the number "1" on a chalkboard is trusting the reliability of his memory when it tells him that this vertical line is the correct representation for this reality of oneness that he's trying to communicate
    He has to have further concluded, somehow, that there exists or could exist in theory, a world that sponsors, recognizes and agrees with this reality of "1"
    Those conclusions might be made in the blink of an eye and they might be made every second - but they are philosophical conclusions.
    Philosophical inquiry is woven into the very fabric of everything that humans do - it is the tension that keeps life taut. There is a "why" to every trivial decision you make.
    Of course, most of the things we do don't need overt philosophical discussion - until a worldview needs to be called into question
    To do that, we'll need to have kept the basic skills of philosophy, otherwise we won't have the tools/vocabulary to scrutinize flawed assumptions about reality.

    It's not a skill you want to be without


    Haha... seems like someone has had the "deskness of the desk" talk. icon_smile.gif Good response. I would ad that science leaves little room for the concepts of moral behavior, as well. (to over-simplify)
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    May 03, 2012 9:40 AM GMT
    Knowledge: a tomato is a fruit.

    Wisdom: not using a tomato in a fruit salad.
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    May 03, 2012 2:58 PM GMT
    Although I was a philosophy major in college, it has been a looong time. I have no idea what universalism is and am not inclined to spend a lot of time figuring it out. And I know almost nothing detailed about science (the perils of a liberal arts education), so I can't really speak to that. However -

    "Philosophy" is a broad term. I wouldn't go so far as JP and say that it is bunk. In my experience, it can be extremely interesting and profitable mental exercise, but the results are generally not translatable easily into the real world. Philosophy does give access to knowledge unobtainable by scientific inquiry, but I am not sure how much practical application much of that knowledge has.

    Science and the scientific method clearly allow us to understand the world around us - putting aside the empistemological problem of solipsism and assuming that something of our perceptions of the world and others maps to what really exists. icon_wink.gif

    When you get into quantum mechanics, I have no earthly idea.

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    May 03, 2012 3:07 PM GMT
    physax said
    Larkin saidScience is only equipped to answer scientific questions.


    Ehh

    http://csc.ucdavis.edu/~rgjames/static/pdfs/publications/anatomy_poster.pdf


    Clever, but it's not science. It is, at best, Rhetorical Theory and at worst speculative sophistry tarted up with a graph.
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    May 03, 2012 3:10 PM GMT
    Larkin said
    physax said
    Larkin saidScience is only equipped to answer scientific questions.


    Ehh

    http://csc.ucdavis.edu/~rgjames/static/pdfs/publications/anatomy_poster.pdf


    Clever, but it's not science. It is, at best, Rhetorical Theory and at worst speculative sophistry tarted up with a graph.


    Its such a turn on when you use big boy words Larkin :-)
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    May 03, 2012 3:12 PM GMT
    Chainers said
    Larkin said
    physax said
    Larkin saidScience is only equipped to answer scientific questions.


    Ehh

    http://csc.ucdavis.edu/~rgjames/static/pdfs/publications/anatomy_poster.pdf


    Clever, but it's not science. It is, at best, Rhetorical Theory and at worst speculative sophistry tarted up with a graph.


    Its such a turn on when you use big boy words Larkin :-)


    10 years in the academy and all I got was this lexicon icon_wink.gif
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    May 03, 2012 3:13 PM GMT
    Larkin said
    Chainers said
    Larkin said
    physax said
    Larkin saidScience is only equipped to answer scientific questions.


    Ehh

    http://csc.ucdavis.edu/~rgjames/static/pdfs/publications/anatomy_poster.pdf


    Clever, but it's not science. It is, at best, Rhetorical Theory and at worst speculative sophistry tarted up with a graph.


    Its such a turn on when you use big boy words Larkin :-)


    10 years in the academy and all I got was this lexicon icon_wink.gif


    If only more gay men did the same :-(
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    May 03, 2012 3:15 PM GMT
    I think there's room for both. Science doesn't give you the moral compass, merely the mechanics of what how things happen. Philosophy is a discussion of the core values and the why. We learn that through arts and humanities and philosophy.

    They are both methods of understanding the world we live in better.
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    May 03, 2012 3:18 PM GMT
    JPtheBITCH said
    onaquest saidI think there's room for both. Science doesn't give you the moral compass, merely the mechanics of what how things happen. Philosophy is a discussion of the core values and the why. We learn that through arts and humanities and philosophy.

    They are both methods of understanding the world we live in better.

    Ooh, you're so earnest. You are from the midwest.


    Nope. Not from the midwest. But there's nothing wrong with being earnest. That's just my perspective. As I am sure there are many others here.