Monday, February 14, 2011
Worldview Class Takes on "Philosophy is Dead" Claim [Jay]
After reading some of the most incredible and condescending dismissals of philosophy by professional physicists this week, I decided to put the claim that philosophy is dead to the test with a high school worldview class. They were not troubled and saw the flaw immediately. It may be basic, but it is dead on.
Here Dr. William Lane Craig says something similar but obviously with a great deal more sophistication in his Reasonable Faith Question of the Week article on Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow's assertion in The Grand Design that "Philosophy is Dead."
Whatever verdict we make on their arguments, the point is that despite their claim to speak as scientific torchbearers of knowledge, what Hawking and Mlodinow are engaged in is philosophy. The most important conclusions drawn in their book are philosophical, not scientific. Why, then, do they pronounce philosophy dead and claim as scientists to be bearing the torch of discovery? Simply because that enables them to cloak their amateurish philosophizing with the mantle of scientific authority and so avoid the hard work of actually arguing for, rather than merely asserting, their philosophical viewpoints.
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Good stuff. I like Alvin Plantinga's observation about this kind of nonsense. He was talking about Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion" when he said it, but it is equally applicable here ...ReplyDelete
"I would call his arguments sophomoric but that would be insulting ... to sophomores."