Home > Philosophy > Science vs. Philosophy – A Fictional War

Science vs. Philosophy – A Fictional War

There are some people who think that science and philosophy are at odds. Even Stephen Hawking in his book The Grand Design states that philosophy is dead. That it has not kept up with modern science.

But what is meant when we say “philosophy”? Certainly not all philosophy is equal. Certainly conceptions that are logical or illogical can be accounted for without applying the methodologies of science. Do not misread this. I think science to be one of our best epistemological standards (standards of knowledge). There is nothing quite like it. But even making the statement that it is one of our best epistemological standards relies on our use of philosophy. We might say “because it uses evidence, and is the most reliable and consistent”, which I would suggest is true, but how and why those things apply to knowledge are in the realm of thinking about them philosophically.

If we cannot determine something using the scientific method, should we really dismiss all concepts that are not scientifically verifiable? There are questions that science is moving toward answering, but that can be determined without the use of science already.

Neuroscience, for example, is moving toward the direction that we really do not have free will (defined in a specific way). But if we determine free will to be as illogical as the notion of a colorless red square circle (which the case for this is made in the book I am writing), do we really have to wait for science to catch up before we make the conclusion?

How about ethics? Can we really have developed an ethical system by science alone? I think science should be involved, but don’t think we can create an ethical system without philosophy.

And what of scientific interpretations? Should these be discarded as well? If so, all of those quantum interpretations, which really are the philosophy of the scientific results, need to be abandoned as well. We should all take an instrumentalist approach.

Not to mention that science is a specific methodology of logic. It falls under the umbrella of philosophy for determining verifiable is’s. Classical logic existed way before our current day scientific method. The law of non-contradiction, law of identity, and law of excluded middle, are every bit as consistent and reliable.

Science and philosophy are compatible. They work together. I don’t think there will ever be a day when science can answer all of the questions. Nor does it have to.

How about you? Do you think philosophy is obsolete? Can the use of logic answer important questions? Leave me a comment.

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