Sean Carroll - The Case for Naturalism

If you follow current events in the world of public intellectualism, you probably know that over the past few decades, and increasingly over the past couple of years, some prominent physicists (Richard Feynman, Steven Weinberg, Stephen Hawking, and Lawrence Krauss, for instance) have been taking jabs at philosophy. The usual charge is that philosophy doesn't help us make scientific progress, which, for the most part, is kind of true. But, of course, who ever said that the job of philosophy is to make scientific progress? Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that what science is supposed to do?

You probably wouldn't criticize a sculptor for not hitting a home run, for not breaking a 100-meter dash world record, for not building the LHC, or for not discovering the Higgs Boson, etc. Why? Because that's not what sculpture is about! So for those physicists, all of whom I love but who don't know what the hell philosophy is or even what it's supposed to do, please stop talking about things over which you have no expertise. You kind of sound as ignorant as religious fundamentalists when they talk about science...

One of the physicists who does understand the ways in which philosophy and science can make great allies and help each other in their respective disciplines, however, is Sean Carroll. He's a great thinker, with a gift for precision, clarity and profundity. The following video has nothing to do with the physics/philosophy stuff I mentioned above, but it is a nice example of just how great he is at breaking down complex ideas into an accessible and nicely organized format without sounding the least bit condescending:

I'll check out the rest of this apparent debate later on, and if it's good, I'll post it in its entirety in the weeks to follow.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Embed this blog on your site