Philosophy vs Science
September 10, 2012
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Which can answer the big questions of life? The Guardian has a debate between Julian Baggini and Lawrence Krauss. ProPhi has mentioned Krauss a number of times recently for his dismissal of the worth of philosophy. He ends the exchange with Baggini with,
We can end in essential agreement then. I suspect many people think many of my conversations are just noise, but, in any case, we won’t really know the answer to whether science can yield a complete picture of reality, good at all levels, unless we try. You and I agree fundamentally that physical reality is all there is, but we merely have different levels of optimism about how effectively and how completely we can understand it via the methods of science. I continue to be surprised by the progress that is possible by continuing to ask questions of nature and let her answer through experiment. Stars are easier to understand than people, I expect, but that is what makes the enterprise so exciting. The mysteries are what make life worth living and I would be sad if the day comes when we can no longer find answerable questions that have yet to be answered, and puzzles that can be solved. What surprises me is how we have become victims of our own success, at least in certain areas. When it comes to the universe as a whole, we may be frighteningly close to the limits of empirical inquiry as a guide to understanding. After that, we will have to rely on good ideas alone, and that is always much harder and less reliable.