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Old 26th November 2012, 07:10 PM   #161
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
If scientists don't study philosophy how can they know what they know?
Most importantly, how can they know the unknown unknowns so we all know how unknown it all is?
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Old 26th November 2012, 07:19 PM   #162
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We didn't get any philosophy lessons at my grammar school. A couple of boys in my class later went on to earn their livings as scientists. How they did that without knowing how they know what they know is a real mystery.
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Old 26th November 2012, 10:28 PM   #163
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
There's the semantic wordplay in full regalia.
Is that seriously a confusing concept to grasp? There's no semantic wordplay in epistemology. I don't know how I could make the description of study of knowledge more basic than that. This is how I would explain it to a child.

I am really quite baffled at the apparent hatred and condescension towards philosophy, but I won't be changing any minds here it seems. So carry on handwaving it away.

ETA: reminds me when I debate with theists and they accuse science of not knowing everything and being 100% absolutely sure of things and dismissing it for that. What I suggest then is to read up on what science is and what it does, from wikipedia to start with. I'd give the same advice to anyone who dismisses philosophy for the sole reason that it doesn't do the same thing what science does. As someone here mentioned already, this whole thread is an attack against the caricature of philosophy.
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Old 26th November 2012, 11:06 PM   #164
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Maybe it's the rise of empiricism.

From a recent Guardian/Observer article (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/20...rence-krauss):
Quote:
What is disparagingly called scientism insists that, if a question isn't amenable to scientific solution, it is not a serious question at all. I would reply that it is an ineliminable feature of human life that we are confronted with many issues that are not scientifically tractable, but we can grapple with them, understand them as best we can and we can do this with some rigour and seriousness of mind.
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Old 27th November 2012, 02:25 AM   #165
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Where are the ardent (and deeply confused) Sam Harris disciples when we need them?

It figures that the one time I need a bunch of impenetrably committed fans of bad philosophy, they're nowhere to be found.
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Old 27th November 2012, 04:13 AM   #166
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Originally Posted by TeapotCavalry View Post
I am really quite baffled at the apparent hatred and condescension towards philosophy... As someone here mentioned already, this whole thread is an attack against the caricature of philosophy.
It's part of an increasing trend of anti-intellectualism I've been been noticing more and more on these forums... or maybe it's always been here and I've just noticed it recently.
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Old 27th November 2012, 04:24 AM   #167
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Originally Posted by Walter Ego View Post
It's part of an increasing trend of anti-intellectualism I've been been noticing more and more on these forums... or maybe it's always been here and I've just noticed it recently.
Anti-pseudo-intellectualism.
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Old 27th November 2012, 05:34 AM   #168
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Originally Posted by dafydd View Post
Anti-pseudo-intellectualism.
Would you say that, to pick one example, Peter Singer is a pseudo-intellectual? Daniel Dennett? Douglas Hofstadter? Nagarjuna? Socrates? Thales? Anaxagoras?
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Old 27th November 2012, 05:46 AM   #169
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Like I said, philosophy is the religion of atheists.
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Old 27th November 2012, 06:02 AM   #170
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Originally Posted by Kevin_Lowe View Post
Would you say that, to pick one example, Peter Singer is a pseudo-intellectual? Daniel Dennett? Douglas Hofstadter? Nagarjuna? Socrates? Thales? Anaxagoras?
Thales is known as ''the father of science'', Hofstadter, maths and logic, Anaxagoras attempted to give a scientific account of eclipses, meteors, rainbows, and the Sun. I was referring to the word games of certain members.
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Old 27th November 2012, 06:17 AM   #171
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The thing is, I do think that science takes precedence. I do think that if you want to claim to know anything empirical, you need to think scientifically (even when you have inconclusive data, it helps knowing the extent of your knowledge). But these anti-philosophy rants do strike me as anti-intellectual. I'm anti-pseudo-intellectualism like any reasonable person, but quite frankly, thinking about science is not science, yet it IS necessary.

I very much doubt any of us here became pro-science by trial and error, by performing experiments and thinking, "Hey! This works!" without any further reflection. I'd be willing to bet that most of us used to have a shaky understanding of what constitutes reliable knowledge - I know I did as a child. And I learned science was a good method not by trial and error, but by reflecting on what makes knowledge knowledge.

I've also questioned a lot of common sense ideas about life and society, ideas that we are raised with from the day we are born. I'm sure you have too. This questioning is not scientific. If done right, you do rely on established scientific facts to reach various conclusions, but they are not enough. You do need to think to understand how all those facts fit together; you do need logic and reason. And that's philosophy.

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Old 27th November 2012, 06:52 AM   #172
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Originally Posted by TeapotCavalry View Post
I am really quite baffled at the apparent hatred and condescension towards philosophy
I reckon they'd prefer to be posting in the "Religion" section without a lot of distractions.
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Old 27th November 2012, 06:59 AM   #173
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Originally Posted by Kevin_Lowe View Post
Where are the ardent (and deeply confused) Sam Harris disciples when we need them?

It figures that the one time I need a bunch of impenetrably committed fans of bad philosophy, they're nowhere to be found.
I'm a fan of Sam Harris. In another thread, I offered to email anyone who asked a copy of his latest book, "Lying". I'll repeat that offer here.
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Old 27th November 2012, 08:59 AM   #174
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Originally Posted by zeggman View Post
I'm a fan of Sam Harris. In another thread, I offered to email anyone who asked a copy of his latest book, "Lying". I'll repeat that offer here.
I would like a copy.
My email is porcinate@hotmail.com
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Old 27th November 2012, 11:12 AM   #175
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Originally Posted by Kevin_Lowe View Post
Would you say that, to pick one example, Peter Singer is a pseudo-intellectual? Daniel Dennett? Douglas Hofstadter? Nagarjuna? Socrates? Thales? Anaxagoras?
The Galileo Gambit.
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Old 27th November 2012, 11:17 AM   #176
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Originally Posted by TeapotCavalry View Post
Is that seriously a confusing concept to grasp? There's no semantic wordplay in epistemology. I don't know how I could make the description of study of knowledge more basic than that. This is how I would explain it to a child.

I am really quite baffled at the apparent hatred and condescension towards philosophy, but I won't be changing any minds here it seems. So carry on handwaving it away.

ETA: reminds me when I debate with theists and they accuse science of not knowing everything and being 100% absolutely sure of things and dismissing it for that. What I suggest then is to read up on what science is and what it does, from wikipedia to start with. I'd give the same advice to anyone who dismisses philosophy for the sole reason that it doesn't do the same thing what science does. As someone here mentioned already, this whole thread is an attack against the caricature of philosophy.

So philosophy is the study of knowledge?
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Old 27th November 2012, 11:24 AM   #177
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"The scepticism that I advocate amounts only to this:
(1) that when the experts are agreed, the opposite opinion cannot be held to be certain;
(2) that when they are not agreed, no opinion can be regarded as certain by a non-expert; and
(3) that when they all hold that no sufficient grounds for a positive opinion exist, the ordinary man would do well to suspend his judgment.

These propositions may seem mild, yet, if accepted, they would absolutely revolutionize human life."

- Bertrand Russell

Yeah. Useless. I agree.
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Old 27th November 2012, 02:06 PM   #178
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Here's an example of a good intersection: Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience ( http://www.amazon.com/Philosophical-.../dp/140510838X ), written by a philosopher and a neuroscientist. A critique can be found here: http://u15357647.onlinehome-server.c...ources/179.pdf
The Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience is a good example of where philosophy is going. It used to study big questions like the difference between living and dead materials but the chemists spoiled that by actually doing experiments. They used to study the cosmos but physicists, mathematicians and astronomers spoiled that by making observations and falsifiable theories. So now they have moved onto softer subjects such as neuroscience and conciousness. Well, we have already seen that Dennett has to do science to study conciousness and when the neuroscientists start hooking up the neurochemistry to large scale responses the philosopher will have to look elsewhere.

Philosophy is in the same behavioural bind as religion and the god of the gaps. It has been taken over by science but refuses to die. I have previously stated that as a training regime for skepticism it is very good, much like the training Jesuits and Rabbis get, but in itself, it is pretty irrelevant.
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Old 27th November 2012, 02:11 PM   #179
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
So philosophy is the study of knowledge?
http://lmgtfy.com/?q=philosophy+definition
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy

You're welcome
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Old 27th November 2012, 02:20 PM   #180
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Originally Posted by Acleron View Post
Philosophy is in the same behavioural bind as religion and the god of the gaps. It has been taken over by science but refuses to die. I have previously stated that as a training regime for skepticism it is very good, much like the training Jesuits and Rabbis get, but in itself, it is pretty irrelevant.
You are yet another person engaging in the fallacy of composition. This is true of some philosophy but not all philosophy.


Originally Posted by dafydd View Post
Thales is known as ''the father of science'', Hofstadter, maths and logic, Anaxagoras attempted to give a scientific account of eclipses, meteors, rainbows, and the Sun. I was referring to the word games of certain members.
Then it's not very helpful to refer to "the word games of certain members" as "philosophy", is it? Since you admit that philosophy includes a heck of a lot more than "the word games of certain members" and includes a lot of stuff that was important at the time or is important now, couldn't you just call "the word games of certain members" exactly that instead?
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Old 27th November 2012, 02:26 PM   #181
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Originally Posted by Acleron View Post
The Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience is a good example of where philosophy is going. It used to study big questions like the difference between living and dead materials but the chemists spoiled that by actually doing experiments. They used to study the cosmos but physicists, mathematicians and astronomers spoiled that by making observations and falsifiable theories. So now they have moved onto softer subjects such as neuroscience and conciousness. Well, we have already seen that Dennett has to do science to study conciousness and when the neuroscientists start hooking up the neurochemistry to large scale responses the philosopher will have to look elsewhere.
Could you give an example of those occurrences? Where a philosopher's study of cosmos, or matter, was foiled by a scientific advancement?
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Old 27th November 2012, 02:47 PM   #182
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Originally Posted by TeapotCavalry View Post
I wanted to know what you think philosophy is, not your skill at googling but you are proving my point about how philosophers resort to snark instead of reason.

From the first link:

phi·los·o·phy (f-ls-f)
n. pl. phi·los·o·phies
1. Love and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means and moral self-discipline.
2. Investigation of the nature, causes, or principles of reality, knowledge, or values, based on logical reasoning rather than empirical methods.
3. A system of thought based on or involving such inquiry: the philosophy of Hume.
4. The critical analysis of fundamental assumptions or beliefs.
5. The disciplines presented in university curriculums of science and the liberal arts, except medicine, law, and theology.
6. The discipline comprising logic, ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, and epistemology.
7. A set of ideas or beliefs relating to a particular field or activity; an underlying theory: an original philosophy of advertising.
8. A system of values by which one lives: has an unusual philosophy of life.



When you cut yourself off from empirical methods you have no way to test your theories so they become fantisies.
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Old 27th November 2012, 03:27 PM   #183
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
I wanted to know what you think philosophy is, not your skill at googling but you are proving my point about how philosophers resort to snark instead of reason.
Why does it matter how I word it?
It's an investigation of the nature of reality and encompasses many different sub-categories and approaches. You want me to name all of them off the top of my head? I thought it would be easier to provide a link. My interpretation doesn't change what philosophy is, even if I forget something or word it a bit differently. Since I've studied it academically, my take on it is related to the subjects I actually studied.

So my snarky response proves that all philosophers are snarky? FYI, I'm not a philosopher, let alone an embodiment of a humongous group of people. The snark is a reaction to my perceived handwaving and condescension, so forgive me.

Quote:
When you cut yourself off from empirical methods you have no way to test your theories so they become fantisies.
Is deduction not a rational way to arrive to conclusions? Before answering that very question, think about it. Can you justify your answer - that deduction is or isn't valid method for arriving to true conclusions - with empirical evidence?
We're doing philosophy here
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Old 27th November 2012, 04:03 PM   #184
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
When you cut yourself off from empirical methods you have no way to test your theories so they become fantisies.
I am curious to know how one could operate in the world if empirical methods were the only way to interact with and make sense of it?

On what basis would you ever get out of bed? What empirical test do you perform to justify smiling at the antics of your dog? How do you manage to shop for food without comparing prices across every supplier? Even worse, on what basis do you trust those scientific results you've read about but never tested yourself?

The plain fact is that empiricism is a type of dumbing down into the form of models, a way to alter the world with the purpose of making it testable. How might I live my life a hundred or a thousand times repeatedly to gather enough data so that I might construct the proper and most satisfying version?

Empiricism is a very limited methodology, a few bright oases in a desert of everything else going on. It's a trap and one made pleasant because of how easy it is to grasp and follow the linear chain of reasoning. To force the world to fit into nice experimental designs is to do damage to the world and construct, from gross facts, another sort of fantasy -- as compelling to some minds as the even easier answer, "God did it."

If empiricism held sway, this forum wouldn't exist. We would all simply perform some experiment and there would be no need for discussion. Philosophy is what happens after you've gathered some facts and you wish to combine those, sort them by evidentiary worth, set values on one over another, offer provisional conclusions and critique the conclusions of others.

Philosophy is what happens when scientists talk about the meaning of an experiment, where to go next and how to go about it. The very question, "Is this testable?" is a philosophical question.
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Old 27th November 2012, 04:23 PM   #185
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post


When you cut yourself off from empirical methods you have no way to test your theories so they become fantisies.
A radical empiricist is someone who believes that every single integer was discovered one at a time.

Besides, who is advocating an absolute rejection of empiricism? Certainly not Hume, who is mentioned in your quote.
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Old 27th November 2012, 04:29 PM   #186
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I think all reasonable sciences are born in general philosophy .. but also they divide them selves of it when they mature .. so general philosophy contains all what did not yet mature .. or did not mature after centuries of trying ..
Modern philosophers I met were all crazy ..
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Old 27th November 2012, 05:20 PM   #187
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Could someone please wake me up when the strawman is finally defeated?


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Old 27th November 2012, 05:32 PM   #188
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Originally Posted by TeapotCavalry View Post
Is that seriously a confusing concept to grasp? There's no semantic wordplay in epistemology. I don't know how I could make the description of study of knowledge more basic than that. This is how I would explain it to a child.

I am really quite baffled at the apparent hatred and condescension towards philosophy, but I won't be changing any minds here it seems. So carry on handwaving it away.

ETA: reminds me when I debate with theists and they accuse science of not knowing everything and being 100% absolutely sure of things and dismissing it for that. What I suggest then is to read up on what science is and what it does, from wikipedia to start with. I'd give the same advice to anyone who dismisses philosophy for the sole reason that it doesn't do the same thing what science does. As someone here mentioned already, this whole thread is an attack against the caricature of philosophy.
Nicely said.
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Old 27th November 2012, 05:38 PM   #189
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Originally Posted by TeapotCavalry View Post
Could you give an example of those occurrences? Where a philosopher's study of cosmos, or matter, was foiled by a scientific advancement?
Is that an advanced philosophers trick, the strawman?

Spoiled was the word, it refers to the hapless witterings about many aspects of nature that were clarified by people we would term scientists going out, observing and formulating testable theories.

But it is the sheer arrogance of the pro-philosophers in considering that their hobby has anything of importance to tell scientists.
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Old 27th November 2012, 06:29 PM   #190
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Originally Posted by Acleron View Post

But it is the sheer arrogance of the pro-philosophers in considering that their hobby has anything of importance to tell scientists.
Is this the crux of the argument, that philosophy is worthless because it has nothing "important" to tell to the god-like scientists who (we must presume) are the final arbiters of what we can know to be verifiability "true" about the world we live in?

ETA:

Did anyone read the link I provided above about the kerfuffle between physicist Lawrence Krauss and the "moronic philosophers"? Here it is again.

Lawrence Krauss: another physicist with an anti-philosophy complex.

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Old 27th November 2012, 06:39 PM   #191
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Old 27th November 2012, 06:45 PM   #192
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Originally Posted by Walter Ego View Post
Is this the crux of the argument, that philosophy is worthless because it has nothing "important" to tell to the god-like scientists who (we must presume) are the final arbiters of what we can know to be verifiability "true" about the world we live in?
So if we wish to find out if it is true that quarks exist we have to leave it to the philosophers? If we had always used that approach then we would still be living in caves.

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Old 27th November 2012, 07:12 PM   #193
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Originally Posted by dafydd View Post
So if we wish to find out if it is true that quarks exist we have to leave it to the philosophers? If we had always used that approach then we would still be living in caves.
You're being silly again. Why would I ask a philosopher to confirm the existence of quarks? The existence of the quantum universe does, however, raise philosophical questions not, strictly speaking, answerable by science.

There also seems to be an unstated assumption here that any field of human knowledge or inquiry that cannot provide empirically (i.e., scientifically) verified answers is by definition worthless or beneath contempt.

ETA:

Massimo Pigliucci, philosopher and former scientist, on those who show "a fundamental distrust of (if not downright contempt for) philosophy, coupled with an overly enthusiastic endorsement of science."

Pigliucci in the linked article gives a good definition of philosophy.

Quote:
Broadly speaking, it can be thought of as an activity that uses reason to explore issues that include the nature of reality (metaphysics), the structure of rational thinking (logic), the limits of our understanding (epistemology), the meaning implied by our thoughts (philosophy of language), the nature of the moral good (ethics), the nature of beauty (aesthetics), and the inner workings of other disciplines (philosophy of science, philosophy of history, and a variety of other “philosophies of”). Philosophy does this by methods of analysis and questioning that include dialectics and logical argumentation.
Can any of the philosophy bashers tell us why such a field of inquiry can be summarily dismissed as "worthless"?

Last edited by Walter Ego; 27th November 2012 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 27th November 2012, 10:37 PM   #194
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Originally Posted by Walter Ego View Post
There also seems to be an unstated assumption here that any field of human knowledge or inquiry that cannot provide empirically (i.e., scientifically) verified answers is by definition worthless or beneath contempt.
Precisely. And I think this is the crux of the problem.
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Old 28th November 2012, 12:01 AM   #195
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Ironically, the fact that the philosophy-bashers can't usefully define the "philosophy" they are attacking demonstrates that they could probably benefit from going to a university Philosophy department and doing a first year critical reasoning subject.
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Old 28th November 2012, 03:23 AM   #196
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Originally Posted by Walter Ego View Post
Is this the crux of the argument, that philosophy is worthless because it has nothing "important" to tell to the god-like scientists who (we must presume) are the final arbiters of what we can know to be verifiability "true" about the world we live in?

ETA:

Did anyone read the link I provided above about the kerfuffle between physicist Lawrence Krauss and the "moronic philosophers"? Here it is again.

Lawrence Krauss: another physicist with an anti-philosophy complex.
Another straw man argument. Nobody said that scientists are god-like or that philosophers are moronic.

Just what use is philosophy in science? That's the question to which nobody has answered with anything substantive.

As for truth, I'll leave that to the philosophers and theists. I suspect the meaning of that word has been devalued too much to be of much use to science or understanding nature.

Pigliucci is just trotting out the same arguments that have been seen here, but still not explaining what use, importance or relevance philosophy has for science.
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Old 28th November 2012, 03:30 AM   #197
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Originally Posted by Walter Ego View Post
You're being silly again. Why would I ask a philosopher to confirm the existence of quarks? The existence of the quantum universe does, however, raise philosophical questions not, strictly speaking, answerable by science.

There also seems to be an unstated assumption here that any field of human knowledge or inquiry that cannot provide empirically (i.e., scientifically) verified answers is by definition worthless or beneath contempt.
It may be an immensely enjoyable pursuit, but it doesn't extend human knowledge and if it is of no use to science or scientists, why shouldn't there be complaints when philosophers claim that it is?

Quote:
ETA:

Massimo Pigliucci, philosopher and former scientist, on those who show "a fundamental distrust of (if not downright contempt for) philosophy, coupled with an overly enthusiastic endorsement of science."

Pigliucci in the linked article gives a good definition of philosophy.



Can any of the philosophy bashers tell us why such a field of inquiry can be summarily dismissed as "worthless"?
Perhaps because it has no worth. If it had, I'm sure somebody would have been able to point out this salient fact before now.
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Old 28th November 2012, 03:38 AM   #198
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I think the disdain for philosophy amongst skeptics is because of exchanges like the one I posted about in this thread: http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=153517

Thanks for inspiring to reread that, it gave me a mini-lol.
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Old 28th November 2012, 03:53 AM   #199
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Originally Posted by Acleron View Post
Another straw man argument. Nobody said that scientists are god-like or that philosophers are moronic.

Just what use is philosophy in science? That's the question to which nobody has answered with anything substantive.
Before you get too crazy with the accusations of straw man arguments, who exactly said philosophy was "of use" to science in the sense that scientists need to look up a philosophy book to get science done? I don't remember seeing that exact claim.

You are ignoring the point that ethics and critical thinking, among other things, are generally subjects you have to go to the Philosophy department to study. If you think those subjects are of no use then there's not much of a basis for a conversation because a fruitful conversation requires both parties to be rational.
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Old 28th November 2012, 04:02 AM   #200
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Originally Posted by Acleron View Post
Just what use is philosophy in science? That's the question to which nobody has answered with anything substantive.
^ This
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