Defending Philosophy Against the Physicists

Defending Philosophy Against the Physicists

In 2012, physicists Lawrence Krauss claimed that “…science progresses and philosophy doesn’t”, and Neil deGrasse Tyson infamously echoes such opinions… Lots of high profile physicists make dead wrong claims about a subject in which they are not experts, repeating misperceptions even after philosophers keep correcting them. This is like listening to creationists repeatedly mischaracterizing evolutionary biology, when biologists keep correcting them.

That’s an excerpt from a brief essay by John C. “Buck” Field. Field is part of a group called Icarus Interstellar, “an international organization dedicated to starship research and development.”  He continues:

Scientists can be as wrong about fields outside their area of expertise as anyone, and in fact, the confidence they have from being an expert gives them an arrogance which prevents them from using caution which we all should have when stepping outside our specific discipline… Contrary to popular perceptions in science departments, philosophy has made tremendous progress in the study of knowledge, in understanding the nature of scientific cognition, and various aspects of scientific concepts and methods.

Field thinks that philosophers and historians of science will be of particular value to scientists working on FTL (faster than light) capabilities, and when the next “Starship Congress” meets later this year at Drexel University, it will include introductions to the philosophy and history of science. (via Carl Brusse)

(image: Constantin Brâncuși , “Bird in Space”)


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