Philosophy chunks #1

Here we have one of these debates over the worth of philosophy. Lawrence Krauss argues that philosophical questions have no impact on physics whatsoever. That depends on what you understand as physics. Collecting data and constructing theories may not be influenced by philosophy but I think the interpreting of this data is. Angie Hobbs says that science is discussing beings (with a small b) and philosophy is discussing Being (with a capital B) and I think such talk is responsible for scientists not taking philosophy serious. On the other side, Mary Midgley is point on when she says, that connecting different ways of thinking is one job for philosophy and  that Krauss’ metaphilosophical theses are still philosophical.

Philosophy bites back

Many people interested in philosophy know Existential Comics. They are hilarious but also promoting philosophy. Here is an interview with the man behind the scenes Corey Mohler:

Existential Comics: Interview with Corey Mohler

Ray Monk writing about the very interesting Frank Ramsey:

‘One of the Great Intellects of His Time’

 

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4 comments

  1. Krauss might think that philosophy has nothing to contribute to physics. Looking at the row of philosophical books on my bookshelf written by physicists (people like Heisenberg, Plank, Einstein, Bohr, Born, Weizsäcker etc., I have about halv a metre of such stuff) I doubt he is right. However that might be, I think even if he were right, that would say nothing about the value of philosophy as such. Some philosophers might think philosophy should be an ancilliary discipline of the sciences, but I think that is far too narrow a concept of philosophy. It might be of little importance to physics because physicists normally restrict their work to simple, very special, well behaved and formalizable problems which are inside the scope of well known methods, but it is definitely important in all kinds of disciplines concerned with humans and human culture (including science, by the way).

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    1. Yeah. I mean one should not take Krauss as one of the guys who says philosophy has no value whatsoever. All he is stating is a simple fact: philosophy has no impact on physicists today. That is not a value judgement and therefore not a very crazy thesis.

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      1. Yes, I agree. To use some concepts of Kuhn: As long as you do “normal science”, you don’t need philosophy. Most physicists do normal science puzzle solving, applying known methods to well-defined and well-behaved problems. People like Heisenberg and Bohr, on the other hand, where the protagonists of a scientific crisis and revolution, and so had to develop some kind of philosophy.
        The anomalies are there in today’s physics as well (there is no common framework for general relativity and quantum mechanics, for example) and resolving them might require some kind of philosophical thinking again, calling into question the well-trodden paths of normal thought. So the attitude that philosophy is irrelevant for physics might cause physics to remain stuck.

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