Philosophical essays on physics and biology

Pre-modern[ edit ] The origins of philosophy of science trace back to Plato and Aristotle [28] who distinguished the forms of approximate and exact reasoning, set out the threefold scheme of abductivedeductiveand inductive inference, and also analyzed reasoning by analogy. The eleventh century Arab polymath Ibn al-Haytham known in Latin as Alhazen conducted his research in optics by way of controlled experimental testing and applied geometryespecially in his investigations into the images resulting from the reflection and refraction of light.

Philosophical essays on physics and biology

Share via Email Does philosophy or science have all the big answers? Julian Baggini No one who has understood even a fraction of what science has told us about the universe can fail to be in awe of both the cosmos and of science.

When physics is compared with the humanities and social sciences, it is easy for the scientists to feel smug and the rest of us to feel somewhat envious.

Philosophical essays on physics and biology

Philosophers in particular can suffer from lab-coat envy. If only our achievements were so clear and indisputable!

Find a copy in the library

How wonderful it would be to be free from the duty of constantly justifying the value of your discipline. Not content with having achieved so much, some scientists want to take over the domain of other disciplines. History has taught us that many philosophical issues can grow up, leave home and live elsewhere.

Science was once natural philosophy and psychology sat alongside metaphysics. I cannot see how mere facts could ever settle the issue of what is morally right or wrong, for example. So tell me, how far do you think science can and should offer answers to the questions that are still considered the domain of philosophy?

Marjorie Grene - Wikipedia

Lawrence Krauss Thanks for the kind words about science and your generous attitude. To first approximation, all the answerable ones end up moving into the domain of empirical knowledge, aka science.

Getting to your question of morality, for example, science provides the basis for moral decisions, which are sensible only if they are based on reason, which is itself based on empirical evidence. Without some knowledge of the consequences of actions, which must be based on empirical evidence, then I think "reason" alone is impotent.

Similar books and articles

Ultimately, I think our understanding of neurobiology and evolutionary biology and psychology will reduce our understanding of morality to some well-defined biological constructs. The chief philosophical questions that do grow up are those that leave home. This is particularly relevant in physics and cosmology.

Vague philosophical debates about cause and effect, and something and nothing, for example — which I have had to deal with since my new book appeared — are very good examples of this. One can debate until one is blue in the face what the meaning of "non-existence" is, but while that may be an interesting philosophical question, it is really quite impotent, I would argue.

I agree that many traditional questions of metaphysics are now best approached by scientists and you do a brilliant job of arguing that "why is there something rather than nothing? But we are missing something if we say, as you do, that the "chief philosophical questions that do grow up are those that leave home".

My contention is that the chief philosophical questions are those that grow up without leaving home, important questions that remain unanswered when all the facts are in. Moral questions are the prime example. No factual discovery could ever settle a question of right or wrong.

But that does not mean that moral questions are empty questions or pseudo-questions. We can think better about them and can even have more informed debates by learning new facts.

What we conclude about animal ethics, for example, has changed as we have learned more about non-human cognition. I would reply that it is an ineliminable feature of human life that we are confronted with many issues that are not scientifically tractable, but we can grapple with them, understand them as best we can and we can do this with some rigour and seriousness of mind.

It sounds to me as though you might not accept this and endorse the scientistic point of view. I do think philosophical discussions can inform decision-making in many important ways, by allowing reflections on facts, but that ultimately the only source of facts is via empirical exploration.

And I agree with you that there are many features of human life for which decisions are required on issues that are not scientifically tractable. Human affairs and human beings are far too messy for reason alone, and even empirical evidence, to guide us at all stages.

I have said I think Lewis Carroll was correct when suggesting, via Alice, the need to believe several impossible things before breakfast.

Philosophical essays on physics and biology (Book, ) []

We all do it every day in order to get out of bed — perhaps that we like our jobs, or our spouses, or ourselves for that Fictions in Science: Philosophical Essays on Modeling and Idealization (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Science) (): Mauricio Suárez: Books With case studies that range from physics to economics and to biology.

Essay One IS BIOLOGY AN AUTONOMOUS SCIENCES ALL RECENT volumes on the philosophy of biology begin with the of biology to physics. Ruse (), for example, wondered "whether or approach continued to dominate the philosophy of science. As a result, biology was referred to as a "dirty science," an activity, according to the.

Fictions in Science: Philosophical Essays on Modeling and Idealization (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Science) 1st Edition. With case studies that range from physics to economics and to biology Author: Mauricio Suárez.

Philosophical essays on physics and biology

Free Biology papers, essays, and research papers. My Account. Your search returned [tags: mathematics, academy, physics] Good Essays words | ( pages) | Preview.

What is Molecular Biology? It appears mostly as a philosophical debate. The science itself researches concrete facts trying to understand the reflection on knowledge and.

Editorial team. General Editors: David Bourget (Western Ontario) David Chalmers (ANU, NYU) Area Editors: David Bourget Gwen Bradford.

One claims that biology does not differ in principles and methods from the physical sciences, and that further research, particularly in molecular biology, will in time lead to a reduction of all of biology to physics.

Essays in the Philosophy of Chemistry - Eric Scerri; Grant Fisher - Oxford University Press