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Quora Answer : Has philosophy been replaced by science?

Apr 8, 2014

No. The two are orthogonal.

Sometimes science informs philosophy and sometimes philosophy informs science.

Probably both sides, when commenting on each other, could do with being better informed. But I don't think scientific ignorance of philosophy or philosophical ignorance of science are particularly egregious compared to the really big problems like, say, politicians knowing nothing about either.

There's a lot of jostling for status where both sides tend to feel that they're capable of encompassing the other. But they're both wrong.

In general, scientific and philosophical knowledge complement each other well.

Update : On the question of why we hear more from scientists than philosophers, you have to remember that philosophy, just like science, has been "professionalized" in the 20th century. It has become more academic and specialized and, like science, more abstruse. I won't say it's become more abstract because it's been pretty damned abstract for two and a half millennia.

There are philosophy popularisers, the way there are science popularisers. Jostein Gaarder was pretty hyped a few years ago. John Gray, Daniel Dennett, A C Greyling, Slavoj Zizek etc. all write accessible philosophy. And the 20th century saw everyone from Bertrand Russell to Karl Popper to Isiah Berlin to Michel Foucault to John Rawls and Robert Nozick write philosophy which captured the popular imagination.

Quora Answer : Are philosophers ignorant when it comes to science?

Oct 27, 2014

Well, it's no worse than the the average scientist's ignorance about philosophy. Even philosophy of science.

A lot of scientists can talk about Popper, because he was very friendly to them and built bridges, but how many scientists have bothered to keep up with all the serious criticisms of Popper that have emerged in the philosophical literature in the last 50 years? Do they know Putnam? Or Kuhn or Feyerabend?

How many know (and understand) Quine's "Two Dogmas of Empiricism"? Or the work of Bruno Latour? How many can even hear of such things without immediately jumping to conclusions and trying to mount a knee-jerk defence against them?

The truth is that people accuse modern philosophy of lack of critical thinking. But modern philosophy is the result of taking critical, sceptical thinking to a degree that the average scientist (or any other philosophical layman) couldn't imagine; and then seeing what's left after such a blistering attack. The answer is that not many intellectual pretensions survive. Including those of the scientists.

Scientists don't like that. And the more closed minded ones prefer to blame philosophers for "lack of knowledge" rather than admit that the real problem is that the philosophers refuse to accept the scientists' own account of what science is and how it works.

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