Monday, June 18, 2012

In Defense of Philosophy

Philosophy has come under attack by various scientists in recent years, generally because, well, they just don’t get it. This little essay is my attempt to show why.
Lawrence Krauss, an American physicist at Arizona State University and author of a number of books, stated recently that “philosophy hasn’t progressed in two thousand years.” He clarified in an Atlantic Monthly interview that he was being purposefully provocative in this statement, but this is a clear example of those scientists who just don’t get it. Krauss’s point was that whereas science progresses through the creation of hypotheses, experiments, and falsification, philosophy amounts to little more than word games that don’t really go anywhere.
Tam Hunt
This is unfortunately a rather common attitude among working scientists and even among laypeople. Richard Dawkins, the well-known British evolutionary biologist and author of numerous popular books on evolution, wrote the afterword for Krauss’s book A Universe from Nothing. Dawkins likens Krauss’s book to Darwin’s On the Origin of Species in terms of its potential importance in de-throning supernatural views of the world in favor of purely naturalistic explanations.
The bottom line is that the boundaries between philosophy and science are rather arbitrary and arguably even illusory. There is, perhaps, a continuum of changes in methodology that separates the two.
Read the rest here


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  2. Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek foresees mind-expanding future of physics:

  3. Peter Higgs has proposed his boson 50 years ago because at that time the community of physicists was sure that the space is empty. And therefore there was need to propose a theory in order to justify how the particles get their mass, by considering the current hypothesis of empty space in force at that time. He had no choice other than to propose the existence of a particle (a boson) responsible for the mass of the particles.

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  4. Insightful comments. I generally agree but keep in mind that the Higgs boson is just a manifestation of the Higgs field, which is in my view (and some others too) part of the background modern-day ether. So "particles" are mathematical idealizations of a kind of concentration/condensation of the ether field, which when combined in certain ways can create all of the complex matter that we see all around us.

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