I will ignore the evasive prattle and put a specific question to you.
Assuming, arguendo, that there are two scientific theories (regarding the same phenomena) that are mutually and irreconcilably contradictory as a matter of logic and mathematics but each is internally consistent and has equal predictive value—can both be right?
Can a scientific theory (or any proposition, for that matter) be both true and false in a particular context? If not, what is it that makes it either true or false in that context?
If the proposition—“Right and wrong are merely words that have no demonstrable meaning outside specific contexts”—is true, does that mean it cannot also be false?
What is it exactly that constitutes truth and falsity in any context?
Kant:I'79 wrote:I don't know if any of you are aware of a statement Stephen K. Hawking made recently, he said, " Philosophers have not kept up with the progress of science, therefore, Philosophy is dead." I have heard a lot on the subject as far as raising the question on Ethics, political philosophy, etc, etc.. but what do you all think about the statement in regards to philosophy of science. awaiting your reply.
Keep_Relentless wrote:I agree with the mainstream direction of this thread. I think "Philosophy is dead" is a ridiculous statement, akin to "I don't like to think". This does not put Hawking in a favourable light from my perspective.
Philosophy doesn't need to, and isn't expected to, keep up with science, because science uses assumptions and impressions to race ahead. Philosophy assumes nothing, and it lays the foundation of all activity.
Hawking contra Philosophy
Christopher Norris presents a case for the defence.
Stephen Hawking recently fluttered the academic dovecotes by writing in his new book The Grand Design – and repeating to an eager company of interviewers and journalists – that philosophy as practised nowadays is a waste of time and philosophers a waste of space. More precisely, he wrote that philosophy is ‘dead’ since it hasn’t kept up with the latest developments in science, especially theoretical physics. In earlier times – Hawking conceded – philosophers not only tried to keep up but sometimes made significant scientific contributions of their own. However they were now, in so far as they had any influence at all, just an obstacle to progress through their endless going-on about the same old issues of truth, knowledge, the problem of induction, and so forth. Had philosophers just paid a bit more attention to the scientific literature they would have gathered that these were no longer live issues for anyone remotely au fait with the latest thinking. Then their options would be either to shut up shop and cease the charade called ‘philosophy of science’ or else to carry on and invite further ridicule for their head-in-the-sand attitude.
Predictably enough the journalists went off to find themselves media-friendly philosophers – not hard to do nowadays – who would argue the contrary case in a suitably vigorous way. On the whole the responses, or those that I came across, seemed overly anxious to strike a conciliatory note, or to grant Hawking’s thesis some measure of truth as judged by the standards of the natural science community while tactfully dissenting with regard to philosophy and the human sciences. I think the case needs stating more firmly and, perhaps, less tactfully since otherwise it looks like a forced retreat to cover internal disarray. Besides, there is good reason to mount a much sturdier defence on principled grounds. These have to do with the scientists’ need to philosophize and their proneness to philosophize badly or commit certain avoidable errors if they don’t take at least some passing interest in what philosophers have to say.
Science is Philosophical
Professor Hawking has probably been talking to the wrong philosophers, or picked up some wrong ideas about the kinds of discussion that currently go on in philosophy of science. His lofty dismissal of that whole enterprise as a useless, scientifically irrelevant pseudo-discipline fails to reckon with several important facts about the way that science has typically been practised since its early-modern (seventeenth-century) point of departure and, even more, in the wake of twentieth century developments such as quantum mechanics and relativity.
Obvious Leo wrote:....In my view the philosophers have been asleep at the wheel throughout the 20th century and let the physicists get away with describing reality to fit their models instead of devising their models to describe reality. Science and philosophy are two sides of the same coin and to regard them as disconnected disciplines is to make a nonsense of them both.
Obvious Leo wrote:In my view the philosophers have been asleep at the wheel throughout the 20th century and let the physicists get away with describing reality to fit their models instead of devising their models to describe reality.
Obvious Leo wrote:Having just read through this entire thread I find myself in a minority position. I broadly agree with Hawking. I reckon Hawking is a better philosopher than he is a physicist, which is saying not much. So too was Einstein if it comes to that, but in his case I can be more forgiving. In my view the philosophers have been asleep at the wheel throughout the 20th century and let the physicists get away with describing reality to fit their models instead of devising their models to describe reality. Science and philosophy are two sides of the same coin and to regard them as disconnected disciplines is to make a nonsense of them both.
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