I’ve been reading a lot of comments on articles about philosophy and science that seem to be seeking the worth of philosophy in whether or not it currently contributes anything substantive to the natural sciences. While I expect this from those who are aiming to show that philosophy is obsolete, I’m puzzled by the many defenders of philosophy who also follow this path, thereby reifying the idea that science is the be-all and end-all of intellectual inquiry – essentially saying that if a discipline is a science, it’s good, and if it’s not, it’s bad.
But philosophy’s contribution to science isn’t that it helps us find answers to specific physical questions. Its contribution isn’t that it performs scientific inquiry, its contribution is that scientific inquiry exists at all. Philosophy isn’t worthwhile because it can do what science does, it’s worthwhile because it gave us science.
That doesn’t mean, as many claim…
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