Science and philosophy

Philosophers should be scientists and scientists philosophers. The current rigid separation of science from philosophy is dangerous, for it encourages acquiescence in partial knowledge, leaving the ultimate and all embracing concern with truth only to faith and ideological and racist obscurantism. The separation denies scientists human wisdom and philosophers the sober knowledge of nature. Science without philosophy is wrongly authoritative, while philosophy without science is seriously limited.

Odera Oruka

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

12 thoughts on “Science and philosophy

  1. maryplumbago says:

    You come up with some interesting thoughts.

    I think it depends on your thinking style. How deep you think, just naturally. I would think many scientists are quite philosophical. Carl Sagan comes to mind.

    And I would think philosophers would have various degrees of an interest in science.

    And I do agree that it’s best if they intertwine a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. basenjibrian says:

    My only caveat is too much modern philosophy has devolved into arcane nonsense little better than religion. But overall, yes!


  3. Now that weed is legal in my home state, I’ll be philosophizing far more often. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I agree with what I think is your overall idea. But 2 questions. 1) is this a real problem, could specific examples be given of a scientific error made due to lack of philosophic knowledge, or an example of a philosophical error made due to lack of scientific knowledge ? This thing colours philosophy and science, but does it cause actual errors. 2) it this problem an example of overspecialization in general ? Could we not also say that physicists should know some biology, and followers of Aristotle know something of Nietzsche ?

    Liked by 2 people

    • makagutu says:

      Interesting questions.
      I think there is nothing wrong with a biologist knowing some physics or the other way round.
      I think he identifies specialization as a problem. Whether it is or not is a question for philosophers of science to discuss.
      I don’t know to what extent we would classify racism a scientific error and if we could, I think it would answer your first question.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Evan says:

    “Science without philosophy is wrongly authoritative, while philosophy without science is seriously limited.” I really like that. Nice piece!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. the seeker says:

    I think science can easily degenerate into cold rationalism without compassion, if it is not informed by a framework of morality.
    The Nazis, after all, justified murdering mentally ill Germans with science. They said that it was okay to murder them, because they contribute nothing to society, only consume resources, and carry “inferior” genes. And, from a cold and rational, darwinistic point of view, science can serve as a justification for that.
    I know many scientists who lack the humility to acknowledge that they know nothing – they believe that the fact that science can explain the evolution of the universe right until the Big Bang means that science can explain everything, even though deep insight must always lead us to humility. They use science in the service of their own grandiosity.


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