• David Jones
    10
    Almost recently the late Stephen Hawking declared:“Philosophy is dead”
    I think in some respects he was right, the philosophy , as he mentioned , in our age is lagging the unbridled growth of our science and technology , and lost its main role in providing guidelines for human life developments.
    But I think that doesn't necessarily means that the philosophy is dead or should die.
    Instead it may imply that we must somehow revive our philosophy and review it even from the very dawn of the enlightenment age.

    So mystically the late Hawking’s warnings about the inhabitability of our planet in near future can be the efect of the cause he quoted: "Philosophy is dead" !!

    Can we revive or perhaps review our philosophy ?
    Even from the very dawn of the enlightenment age ?
  • schopenhauer1
    3.8k
    One of the big things philosophy can provide is systematic thinking AND understanding systems. These are things people are not prone to do on their own, or by society-at-large when left to its devices. Most people maneuver to goals without questioning, and to look at only what is right in front of their face rather than the broader picture. That's just my two cents though.
  • Marcus de Brun
    450
    An American friend of mine once said, 'opinions are like assholes, everybody's got one.

    200 years ago relatively few people were educated, and there were educated experts in every field. The actual and real paucity of these experts rendered their opinions to be of value. Things that are universally available are assigned little appreciation or value. Today there are experts who are valued because they have functional skills that are not universal, mechanics, surgeons, mathematicians etc. These activities are valued because they are not universal.

    Any fool however can claim ownership of philosophy, and democracy preaches that all opinions have a certain equality of sorts. Therefore the philosophy that is truly iconoclastic is lost within a tsunami of idiocy, self serving anger, and ego. Because the mass of men are now at least literate, philosophy is attended by a mass of literate fools, all tanned and oiled with their equality.

    Equality has murdered philosophy.

    Today we are living in an intellectual dark age. Expertise, valued opinion is dead because all are self professed experts in the realm of thought. I am a family physician by trade. I do not spend my day offering diagnosis that is based upon my 'expert' opinion, for the most part my time is spent confirming the preconceived diagnoses I am presented with. I have given up trying to argue a long time ago. Life is easier that way and patients are generally happier. The drugs don't kill and they mostly entertain the patient whilst nature effects her cure.

    My daughter once told me 'Dad who needs a family physician when you have a smart phone?' Almost all the purveyors of thought must behave the same; the architect must bring form to the vision of his client, so to must the designer, the philosopher too must align his thought to the idiocy of the herd if that philosophy is to be deemed of value.

    True philosophy resides like Zarathustra, far from the crowd. It lives in the mountains where it is safe and inaccessible. Presently it resides in the thought of the old Masters and it speaks with the quantum physicist in a language that is alien to the great mass of stinking thinking plebs.

    Soon it may descend from the heights with a new idea, and we will recognise this as truth as soon as the herd have sentenced it to death.

    M
  • darthbarracuda
    2.9k
    Philosophy is dead only insofar as humans have lost the interest in thinking philosophically.

    But they haven't - philosophy just goes by different names these days. When people like Stephen Hawking think philosophy is dead, they think a certain kind of philosophizing is dead (and I think they're wrong on that account as well).
  • EnPassant
    143
    Einstein only completed the theory of relativity because so many had done good work before him. Maybe now philosophy needs someone to pull all the threads together (not a Hawking though)
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    Is Hawking some sort of universal expert such that he can make pronouncements on the status of entire domains and declare them "dead"?

    Or does he just draw media attention?
  • gloaming
    104
    Nothing like an ad hominem to put a fork into a discussion, Marchesk. :razz:

    Philosophy has taught 'us' how to think carefully about common phenomena, matter, and ourselves and what we do. Few of us do it consistently well, as just pointed out, because to think constructively and objectively is difficult. The resultant conclusions are at most not going to be understood due to what seems to be their low 'face validity', and at best decried because they seem to be at counter-intuitive or just plainly wrong. Many will reach the same conclusions that are at variance with those of the philosopher and deem the philosopher to be inept or misapprehended.

    Is philosophy dead? No more than music is dead, or materials science is dead, or ethical reasoning is dead, or morality is dead, or legal machinations are dead. Philosophy still has the rudiments at its feet to help us to climb into that vast tree of reasoning to figure out why something does what it does the way it does it, and if any part of that construction could be wrong or even furthered to good effect.

    Philosophy will be dead when our level of understanding ceases to change in any way, and when we cease to seek the arcane and unforeseen results of what we have just come to understand. I don't see sentient creatures such as ourselves closing the intellectual shop just yet.
  • InternetStranger
    154
    Philosophy was the question: How to Live?. Which makes sense only so far as we really think there is an answer to that question. An apple tree, planted in the far north, in the extreme of climate, will not produce perfect apples. But given the right soil, and light, and tended well, the seeds planted at the right depth so as not to blow away in the wind, or to remain in the sunken world, too deep, the apples will come forth. Likewise, philosophy meant the right way to cultivate the soul, the right soil for it. This was not cast aside so much by the rise of science, as the belief that knowledge can be nothing but what is quantifiable, but, rather, for the deeper reason of the destruction of the cogency of the conception of a cosmos as such; a ground where a human being exists as a solid feature. Instead, it seems to us that the apple can always find some other course, change form, become another thing. Nothing true and proper is there, but a form that changes, finds new perfections, lives creatively. However, at bottom, creativity is one more principle of philosophy in the old style. Everything palls.
  • TheMadFool
    4.9k
    Almost recently the late Stephen Hawking declared:“Philosophy is dead”David Jones

    Category error. Shows Hawking didn't know philosophy.:grin:

    Perhaps Hawking was being poetic. Wish he'd finished the poem.
  • unenlightened
    4.2k
    the late Stephen Hawking declared:“Philosophy is dead”David Jones

    'The unexamined life is not worth living', said Socrates, which is to say that philosophy is the examination of life. And from where is one to examine life, but from the point of view of death? So philosophy has always been dead, and practical men have always despised it and got on with their unexamined lives.
  • David Jones
    10
    I just quoted that phrase "Philosophy is dead" to highlight the point that philosophy or philosophies in our age have not come along with the somehow rapid changes in our lives and environment.

    The rapid development of technology in our age, especially in telecommunication and transportation, pushing us towards the phenomenon called globalization in one hand and the gap in economy , political maturity and technology , that's all elements of welfare and living standards between the developed and undeveloped countries in the other hand , caused the migrant crisis and clashes between cultures , religions and ethnicities resulting in extremism , inflaming racism and reinforcing segregative and anti migrant inclinations and politicians in the developed countries . (remember Br-exit and US president now at office).
    A trend quite opposite globalization phenomenon that seems inevitable.

    Also the growth of non-renewable energy consumption besides the growth of population, especially in the third world, caused the global warming trend and the prospective drought and desertification in many parts of the world .

    In other words , our world(planet) is becoming smaller , while our cultures , religions and ethnicities , and in a nutshell: our identities , holds us apart and we behave as if we stay apart , as before .

    Now I am asking:
    Is modern and even postmodern philosophies were answering and do answer the needs of humans' way of thinking and behavior to help humans cope with the oncoming vicissitudes?

    So again, in my first post, I referred to that scientist's opinion about the habitability of our planet in near future. not to confirm that " philosophy is dead" , but perhaps because it has to be reviewed to find its weak or even wrong points.
  • Jeremiah
    1.5k
    One of the big things philosophy can provide is systematic thinking AND understanding systemsschopenhauer1

    We don't actually need philosophy for that, as that is not unique to philosophy. I would even argue that there are other academic areas that do a better job at setting one for systematic thinking and comprehension.
  • unenlightened
    4.2k
    Now I am asking:
    Is modern and even postmodern philosophies were answering and do answer the needs of humans' way of thinking and behavior to help humans cope with the oncoming vicissitudes?
    David Jones

    No, that's plumbing and market gardening.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.7k
    I don't see how Hawking could have meant all of philosophy and all its disciplines when he used the term. Logic is one of the disciplines a philosophy and is one of the fundamental aspects of science.

    There are philosophers who think that science is dead. Hawking's quote could represent the other side of the extreme. What both extremes don't seem to realize is that philosophy is a science and that you have to integrate all information from all domains of knowledge in order to have a more objective and consistent worldview.
  • LD Saunders
    314
    Hawking's assertion that "philosophy is dead," was self-refuting. Why? Because the statement "philosophy is dead" is itself a philosophical statement.

    If philosophy was irrelevant, then how come Hawking failed to answer all of the philosophical questions that have been raised? Hawking didn't even answer numerous questions that have been raised by the philosophy of science, much less questions in political philosophy.

    Philosophy makes progress by refining its arguments for and against various positions. Philosophy deals with non-empirical issues, so progress in science does nothing to establish philosophy as being irrelevant. How could it?
  • schopenhauer1
    3.8k
    We don't actually need philosophy for that, as that is not unique to philosophy. I would even argue that there are other academic areas that do a better job at setting one for systematic thinking and comprehension.Jeremiah

    I agree, fields like history, the hard sciences, the social sciences, etc. have similar system analysis. However, philosophy taught well teaches how to analyze and synthesize any information- this tool can be useful in any given field. That's just the pragmatic use. The more holistic reason is that though these fields have their own systems to study, philosophical thinking can see where the pieces fit together, to understand a worldview, then question this for any contradictions, fallacies, and assumptions, and rework it, etc. So it has the specific function of rigorous critical thinking applied across any field (including its specialties in metaphysics, logic, ethics, epistemology, aesthetics, and philosophy of...fields). It also has the general function of synthesizing information and seeing how the sub-systems fit together in a more general worldview. It is understanding the significance of the systems and how they fit together as a whole.
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.8k
    What both extremes don't seem to realize is that philosophy is a science and that you have to integrate all information from all domains of knowledge in order to have a more objective and consistent worldview.Harry Hindu

    I think science is a philosophy, to use your terminology. Science is actually a tool developed under the auspices of the analytic/objectivist/logical-positivist disciplines of philosophy. And it's a great tool. Its successes are well-known and obvious to all. But it isn't the only tool we need, and it shouldn't be used when another tool is more useful or appropriate. So I would say this:

    What both extremes don't seem to realize is that science is a philosophy and that you have to integrate all information from all domains of knowledge in order to have a more objective and consistent worldview.

    And even then, I would wonder whether an objective worldview is a good thing to aim for. :chin:
  • Jeremiah
    1.5k
    I am a student of statistics, a data science. You are literally describing data science, which spans into all fields, including philosophy.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.8k

    But what to do stats on? What counts as significant? What about necessity as opposed to contingency? What do the results mean? Why does it matter? And some things are not amenable or appropriate for statistics. It is subsumed in philosophical meta-analysis and theories of value, significance, and what is the case.
  • Jeremiah
    1.5k
    But what to do stats on? What counts as significant? What about necessity as opposed to contingency? What do the results mean? Why does it matter? And some things are not amenable or appropriate for statistics. It is subsumed in philosophical meta-analysis and theories of value, significance, and what is the case.schopenhauer1

    It is subsumed in science, literature, history, politics, art, etc. . . . They all do it, all by themselves.

    Also, if "philosophy" is part of every other discipline, then we don't really need it as its own separate entity.

    You are not bringing anything unique to the table.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.7k
    I think science is a philosophy, to use your terminology. Science is actually a tool developed under the auspices of the analytic/objectivist/logical-positivist disciplines of philosophy. And it's a great tool. Its successes are well-known and obvious to all. But it isn't the only tool we need, and it shouldn't be used when another tool is more useful or appropriate.Pattern-chaser

    Well, which is it? Is philosophy a science, or is science a philosophy? The key to understanding the relationship between philosophy and science is to realize that philosophy is a science. And the conclusions of one branch of the investigation of reality must not contradict those of another. All knowledge must be integrated.

    At root, science identifies and integrates sensory evidence (which is the nature of reason). Science is essentially based, not on experiment, but on observation and logic; the act of looking under a rock or into a telescope is the quintessentially scientific act. So is the act of observing and thinking about your own mental processes--a scientific act is completely private. (Proof of one's conclusions to others comes later, but that is argumentative, not inquisitive.) Science is willing to accept and integrate information from any observational source, without concern about persuading other people.

    What other tools are there and when would they ever be more appropriate than using logic/reason to integrate sensory information? Many people make this same claim but when I ask what other methods there are and when they would be better to use, I don't get an answer. Can you do any better?

    And even then, I would wonder whether an objective worldview is a good thing to aim for.Pattern-chaser
    Objectivity is knowledge incarnate. Subjectivity is ignorance incarnate. Socrates said that knowledge is the greatest good and ignorance is the greatest evil. So, to have knowledge means you need to limit your subjective world view in favor of a more objective one.
  • BrianW
    950
    "Philosophy is the study of facts in their right relation". - I don't remember whose quote it is but I must have got it from one of the esoteric philosophy books.

    I believe the statement infers that philosophy was and still is the way to express wisdom, knowledge, concepts, percepts, ideas, etc. A way to represent/relate the great to the small; the abstract (principles) to the practical. Philosophy is the language of wisdom, it doesn't die, it adapts. Perhaps philosophers are no longer regarded with as much esteem as Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, and the like, but they don't need to be rockstars to represent their calling. Philosophy still exists; unfortunately, our absurd expectations blind us to its true value. I think Hawking remarked to the incongruity within the people who hailed him as a celebrity (as famous/popular) but who would not take the time to understand his teachings or venture into them. To him, "philosophy is dead," because, instead of attracting like minded people who would walk with him side by side as companions (as in the old days), it pulled to him 'dead-weights', people who did not understand the primary fundamental that 'a philosopher is first and foremost a student of life, not some guy professing to give answers to questions nobody asked or cared for'. In his aloneness, philosophy truly was dead.
  • Pussycat
    226
    So is it dead and buried? If so, how did it die. Did someone kill it?
  • Gnomon
    468
    I just quoted that phrase "Philosophy is dead" to highlight the point that philosophy or philosophies in our age have not come along with the somehow rapid changes in our lives and environment.David Jones
    That's because, originally, Philosophy included aspects of Physical Science, Metaphysical Philosophy, and Sociological Religion/Politics. Christianity made Philosophy subservient to the Church (Theology). Politics, as usual, revels in Sophistry. And Science has left both Religion and Philosophy in the dust as the best source of knowledge about the real world. What's left for modern Philosophy is the stuff that very few people care about : the esoteric topics we discuss on this forum. :smile:

    PS___If you want to revive philosophy, simply ask "what's for dinner tonight?". In many modern families a heated debate will ensue. :razz:
  • Pussycat
    226
    But imagine if the bloody thing were dead, and we did not know it, what a tragedy that would be. And if it were so, how to announce it to the academia? They would crucify us!
  • fishfry
    1.2k
    Celebrity physicists bashing philosophy is as old as Feynman if not older.
  • Pussycat
    226
    Do you know the joke with the madman at the square?

    Philosophy is dead! Philosophy remains dead! And we have killed her! How can we console ourselves, the murderers of all murderers! The holiest and the mightiest thing the world has ever possessed has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood from us? With what water could we clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what holy games will we have to invent for ourselves? Is the magnitude of this deed not too great for us? Do we not ourselves have to become philosophers merely to appear worthy of it?
  • Pussycat
    226
    That's because, originally, Philosophy included aspects of Physical Science, Metaphysical Philosophy, and Sociological Religion/Politics. Christianity made Philosophy subservient to the Church (Theology). Politics, as usual, revels in Sophistry. And Science has left both Religion and Philosophy in the dust as the best source of knowledge about the real world. What's left for modern Philosophy is the stuff that very few people care about : the esoteric topics we discuss on this forum. :smile:Gnomon

    Yeah, I think that philosophy spent too much time with the sciences, that started to believe and eventually convinced herself that she is one of them. And so tries to express herself as a set of propositions, the so-called philosophical propositions, where in fact there are none. This is because philosophy thinks in terms of science, and in science there are indeed scientific propositions.

    PS___If you want to revive philosophy, simply ask "what's for dinner tonight?". In many modern families a heated debate will ensue. :razz:Gnomon

    Well, I guess you know a lot about that! :)
  • Pussycat
    226
    Celebrity physicists bashing philosophy is as old as Feynman if not older.fishfry

    It is not only from celebrity physicists that philosophy gets a bashing. Philosophers themselves also appear very critical of philosophy, which seems to be self-contradictory, but is it really?

    For example, Heidegger, as it says here in this wikipedia article about the death of god:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_is_dead#Explanation

    Martin Heidegger understood this aspect of Nietzsche's philosophy* by looking at it as the death of metaphysics. In his view, Nietzsche's words can only be understood as referring not to a particular theological or anthropological view but rather to the end of philosophy itself. Philosophy has, in Heidegger's words, reached its maximum potential as metaphysics and Nietzsche's words warn of its demise and the end of any metaphysical worldview. If metaphysics is dead, Heidegger warns, that is because from its inception that was its fate.

    *god is dead
  • Pussycat
    226
    Hawking's assertion that "philosophy is dead," was self-refuting. Why? Because the statement "philosophy is dead" is itself a philosophical statement.LD Saunders

    But of course, if there are no philosophical statements, then it is not self-refuting, and Hawking could be right. But I doubt that Hawking knew himself what he was talking about.
  • alcontali
    1.2k
    Can we revive or perhaps review our philosophy ?
    Even from the very dawn of the enlightenment age ?
    David Jones

    It is alive in ontology and epistemology.

    It is dead in logic, which is now mathematics. It has never been alive in metaphysics, because infinite regress does not work. It has never worked in ethics either, because it cannot compete with religious law.
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