Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Has Physics Killed Philosophy?

The old song said "video killed the radio star." While that prediction is arguable, some are arguing "physics killed philosophy." Physics has the lofty goal of scientifically explaining all of reality. Philosophy, however, helps us deal with what we do not know and it also helps us decide what we know and how we know it. Science arises from this centuries-long and still ongoing philosophical persuit. 

In other words, science seeks to be as objective as possible, but it is, alas, conducted by scientists primarily in scientist's minds, even when using data from physical instruments. 

In this post, we share an essay which criticizes some prominent physicists who have belittled the importance of philosophy: 

PBS has also released a program on the subject of why physics needs philosophy:

We hope to instigate a discussion on the subject, ahead of the 1st International Congress of Conscientiology (ICC) in May, where several speakers will likely demonstrate physics (consciousness science, all sciences) and philosophy are overlapping and interdependent disciplines. 


Science is underpinned by philosophy and has philosophical consequence; science and technology constantly challenge philosophy to be expanded and re-evaluated. 

From paradigms that betray untested assumptions about reality and how we think we know what we know like positivism to the applications of principles like Occam's Razor to the determination of worth of a specific line of study or result (such an added year of life from an expensive medicine), to bioethics and the philosophy of technology, there are plenty of examples of the fruitful and very practical dialogue between science and philosophy. 

Periodically one "kills" the other, only to have it be "reborn" like the Phoenix, adapting to new evidence, new conclusions, and above all, new doubts. 

Please leave your comments!

Nelson Abreu

"[T]here’s a more insidious form of human-centric ontology, as found in many version of scientism. On the one hand, scientism insists that human consciousness is nothing special, and should be naturalized just like everything else. On the other hand, it also wants to preserve knowledge as a special kind of relation to the world quite different from the relations that raindrops and lizards have to the world. Another of putting it… for all their gloating over the fact that people are pieces of matter just like everything else, they also want to claim that the very status of that utterance is somehow special. For them, raindrops know nothing and lizards know very little, and some humans are more knowledgeable than others. This is only possible because thought is given a unique ability to negate and transcend immediate experience, which inanimate matter is never allowed to do in such theories, of course. In short, for all its noir claims that the human doesn’t exist, it elevates the structure of human thought to the ontological pinnacle."
- Philosopher Graham Harman on the folly of reductionist scientism.


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