Has “philosophical superficiality” harmed physics?

John Horgan interviews quantum gravity expert Carlo Rovelli. Can science attain absolute truth? “I have no idea what ‘absolute truth’ means. I think that science is the attitude of those who find funny the people saying they know something is absolute truth. Science is the awareness that our knowledge is constantly uncertain. What I know is that there are plenty of things that science does not understand yet. And science is the best tool found so far for reaching reasonably reliable knowledge.” And what is your opinion of the recent philosophy-bashing by some scientists: “Seriously: I think they are stupid in this.   I have admiration for them in other things, but here they have gone really wrong.  Look: Einstein, Heisenberg, Newton, Bohr…. and many many others of the greatest scientists of all times, much greater than [those who are bashing philosophy], of course, read philosophy, learned from philosophy, and could have never done the great science they did without the input they got from philosophy, as they claimed repeatedly.”

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One thought on “Has “philosophical superficiality” harmed physics?

  1. I’m not in favor of the philosophy bashing either. If there is any reason that I am in the physics field it is most certainly because of my love for philosophy. Looking at today’s greatest questions in science, we can see how much we really should be incorporating philosophy into science. For instance, there is a questions that goes like this: Why can the universe be explained using math? – this sounds like a decent question but there is a big flaw: there is an assumption that there could be the alternative, in which case we might find ourselves asking: Why can’t the universe be explained using math? – Again, not a terrible question, but one that would have been avoided had philosophy been further included.

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