Does philosophy need science why
Why physics needs philosophy
Time and again, eminent physicists have questioned the usefulness of philosophy, including real heavyweights like the recently deceased Stephen Hawking or the Nobel Prize winner Steven Weinberg. Physics made rapid progress in the second half of the 20th century by checking mathematically elegant theories for the microcosm of particle accelerators. Why do you need the unrealistic talk about terms and logical concepts for which philosophers are known?
This attitude is widespread among physicists. But they are probably falling into a trap, argues the physicist Carlo Rovelli in a brilliant essay that the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung translated into German. This is supported not least by the fact that the great physicists of the FIRST half of the 20th century were half philosophers, above all Albert Einstein:
Einstein even saw himself influenced by Schopenhauer - and in fact it is not difficult to find Schopenhauerian ideas about time and representation in the lines of thought that led him to the general theory of relativity. And is it a mere coincidence that the greatest physicist of the 20th century was someone who had read all three of Kant's “reviews” by the age of fifteen?
And ultimately the critics of philosophy overlook the fact that they themselves are adherents of a certain philosophical school, of logical positivism according to Popperscher and Kuhnian influences.
Weinberg and Hawking make the mistake of mistaking a certain limited understanding of science, which has emerged in a certain historical context, as the eternal logic of research. But science has repeatedly redefined its own self-image - and with it its goals, its methods and its instruments. This flexibility is an important factor in their success.
It is worth following Rovelli's reasoning, and physicists in particular should read the text.
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