Science and philosophy are continuous with each other

Chris Mooney also read the Lawrence Krauss piece in the WSJ. He saw it as yet another chance to say methodological naturalism is different from philosophical naturalism and that scientists have no business going from the first to the second and they’d just better not or else.

What Krauss is effectively saying is that it is rational to go beyond science’s methodological naturalism to also become a philosophical naturalist…But it is an omission on Krauss’s part not to admit more explicitly that in making this move, one is leaving beyond the realm of science per se and developing a philosophical worldview. I think–though I’m not sure–that in a conversation Krauss would probably admit as much. But by not doing so in the Journal, Krauss is helping along the misconception that science itself is inherently atheistic. It isn’t.

Krauss agrees in a comment that that is what he was doing:

I agree with you about it being a philosophical leap… and that is why I began the argument with Haldane, who makes it clear that it is such.. or at least it was clear to me.

But Tom Clark and Russell Blackford dispute this idea of a Great Separation or a leap.

First Tom:

Seems to me Haldane isn’t making a “leap” from his atheistic scientific practice to his global atheistic naturalism, rather it sounds like he believes it’s ethically required of him to apply the same (reliable) cognitive standards in all domains. It’s not only rationally permissible, but epistemically responsible to do so because the standards are reliable. Not to do so is, as he says, intellectually dishonest if we’re interested in truths about the world.

Then Russell:

Science and philosophy are continuous with each other. Yes, Krauss is not speaking as a physicist, carrying out specialist research in an area of cosmology or whatever, when he makes the claims that he does in this article. He is stepping back from that; he is speaking as a person who has an overall familiarity with the image of the world that comes from modern science – which you’d hope any high-level scientist possesses – and is capable of comparing that with the typical claims of religion. Yes, that is an example of what we mean by doing philosophy, but you make it sound as if “doing philosophy” is some kind of exercise discontinuous from all our rational investigation of the world.

Krauss is doing exactly what Dawkins does, or what a philosopher like Philip Kitcher does. There’s no conspiracy to hide this and pretend that Krauss’s article in the WSJ is reporting findings from his lab.

Chris Mooney please note. (Not that he will. He never does. He just keeps repeating his mantra.)

5 Responses to “Science and philosophy are continuous with each other”