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Friday, May 15, 2015

Philosophers Are Scientists Too

Nice piece (Physicists Are Philosophers, Too) in Scientific American in which the late physicist Victor Stenger defends philosophy from the attacks of those who say that Physics is enough to explain reality.

I submitted my comments:

Philosophers are scientists too. To defend philosophy, it is important to demystify it. Richard Rorty makes philosophy "literary criticism." And I think he is on to something. 
Philosophy is critical thinking in and of all the disciplines of knowing--including art, myth, religion, common sense, and physical science. When the scientist reflects on her trade or another critical thinker like Karl Popper reflects on the scientist's way of doing science and how that fits with others ways of modeling the world, they are doing philosophy. Some call it secondary reflection, the reflection on the first mode of modeling your world. 
To do this I think good philosophers stay up to date on the latest practices and theories of science, and especially now, evolutionary psychology and neuroscience which are casting more light on our ways of thinking and consciousness. Philosophers need to be scientists too in using evidence that can be accessible to all whether in the laboratory or phenomenologically. In second reflection, the thinker reflects back on his/her previous enterprise from within, as it appears while doing it, and tries to communicate what she is doing and why. 
Philosophy may no longer be queen of the sciences, but she is a worthy handmaiden.

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