But I think the key difference between science and philosophy is that we need the results of science more than we need everyone in the body politic “doing science.” By contrast, we need everyone “doing philosophy” more than we need the results of philosophy. In other words, we don’t need to know or understand how the scientist has gone from the minute molecular intricacies of DNA to a public good like genetic counseling. On the other hand, the emulation of the critical thinking and logical argument of a philosopher is a virtue that can be applied to any area of life — from where you stand on the most important social and political issues of the day to how best to spend the rest of your days on this planet.
Steve Neumann, Free the Philosophical Beast – NYTimes.com.
This, apparently, is how you achieve consilience: by pretending that artists are scientists in disguise.
via William Deresiewicz, ‘Jane Austen, Game Theorist’ by Michael Suk-Young Chwe Is a Joke | New Republic.
The academy sets aside the humanities for the sciences because of a pre-imposed philosophical approach. To embrace materialism, as Dr. Ronald McArthur has noted in a speech at Thomas Aquinas College, is to embrace “nihilism. That means nobody knows anything. It doesn’t matter whether you affirm something or deny something….Education then turns to the practical…There is hardly any education that is ordered, institutionally, to anything that is sound intellectually.”
Marina Olson, via The Humanities in Our Strange and Wonderful World | The American Conservative.
What do all these systems have in common, and why are they so fascinating, even to the skeptic? They make order from the chaos of the world. The anatomical parts I can do without, except as curiosities or spiritual metaphors. Whatever the flaws of Western medicine, it’s a lot more persuasive to me than turmeric, the kundalini, or the channel that runs from my right nostril to my left testicle, even if it does correspond to the River Yamuna. Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, the esoteric anatomy of the subtle body: all arose before the discovery of genes, or cells, or microbes, or molecules. How much can they know? Most damning, for me, is that they’re no longer subject to change or correction. I’m a sucker for falsifiability. If it can’t be wrong, it can’t be right.
The American Scholar: Stretchers – William Deresiewicz
It is a work of philosophy; and it is entirely typical of the scientistic tyranny in American intellectual life that scientists have been invited to do the work of philosophers. The problem of the limits of science is not a scientific problem. It is also pertinent to note that the history of science is a history of mistakes, and so the dogmatism of scientists is especially rich. — Leon Weseltier
via A Darwinist Mob Goes After a Serious Philosopher | New Republic.
So much for the integrity of science.
After months of allegations about university researchers who allowed companies to ghostwrite their articles in scientific journals, there’s now evidence that the practice extended to books as well. The Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit advocacy group, has produced documents showing that Charles B. Nemeroff, chairman of psychiatry at the University of Miami, and Alan F. Schatzberg, who served until last year as chairman of psychiatry at Stanford University, allowed the drug manufacturer SmithKline Beecham to participate in their drafting of a 269-page textbook on psychiatric disorders.