Analytic Philosophy: unscientific or too scientific?

We’ve all heard Stephen Hawking claim that philosophy is dead because philosophers have not kept up with modern developments in science. And we’ve all concluded from this that Stephen Hawking’s ideas about philosophy are dead, because he has not kept up with modern developments in philosophy. One wonders when he last read any philosophy of science.

Now we have a pair of philosophers, Creston Davis (The Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, Skopje, Macedonia) and Santiago Zabala (Barcelona), attempting to resuscitate Hawking’s false conclusion, but not for any of Hawking’s reasons. In fact, these two make use of reasons that seem at odds with the spirit of Hawking’s criticism. They write that analytic philosophers have tried to turn philosophy into a “slave to the hard sciences, especially physics.” But such tries are doomed, since “analytic philosophers are enslaved to their own methods, which ignore humans’ existential and spontaneous creative powers of thought – the very cornerstone of philosophy since its inception.” That is news to me.

To their credit, the authors attempt to explain “why analytic philosophy is ‘anal'”–ok that’s a good one, guys–but otherwise this article, which appears on Al Jazeera, is just a boundary-policing rant.

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10 years ago

When Leiter linked to this earlier this week, I thought that I’d seen it before. And I guess I must have done, since according to the date on the article it’s a year old – in fact, Leiter linked to exactly the same article a year ago! (

Anyone know why this is doing the rounds again?

10 years ago

Very amusing. The first sentence of the post make it clear just how good a philosopher is Professor Hawking.