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Thursday, March 07, 2024

Why Philosophy of Biology?

Robert Lawrence Kuhn has published a series of videos on his "Closer to Truth" site. On March 4, 2024 he posted a teaser video introducing Season 23: "Why Philosophy of Biology." The video contains short clips of his interviews with philosophers of biology (see list below).

Here's the blurb covering the introduction to the new season.

How can philosophy advance biology? How can biology influence philosophy? In this first series on Philosophy of Biology, Closer to Truth explores the challenges and implications of evolution. We ask how life on earth came to be as it is, and how humans came to be as we are. We address biologically based issues, such as sex/gender, race, cognition, culture, morality, healthcare, religion, alien life, and more. When philosophy and biology meet, sparks fly as both are enriched.

Those are all interesting questions. Some of them can only be answered by philosophers but others require major input from scientists. One of the important issues for philosophy of science seems to be the confict between the philosophy of the early 20th century, which was developed with physics as the model science, and the the success of molecular biology in the latter half of the 20th century, which didn't play by the same rules. (See the short interview with Paul Griffiths, whom I greatly admire, for a succinct explanation of this problem.)

I'm very conflicted about the role of philosphy in understanding the science of biology and even more conflicted about whether philosophers can recognize good science from bad science (Richard Dawkins, Denis Noble). I'm also puzzled by the apparent reluctance of philosophers to openly challenge their colleagues who get the science wrong. Watch the video to see if my scepticism is warranted.


Mehrshad said... you think science need philosophy? why not/ why yes ?

Robert Byers said...

None of these issues are relevant. they are issues that aere famous at the moment and show the the guy is trying to make his stuff matter.This is unintelligent. Science is only a methodology to rech conclusions. Its meant to be so well done as to demand confidence in nits conclusions. The first insight/guess is not science. so pilosophy, other conclusions, only can make the road straight by getting poor science out of the way. Creationism does this. Evolutionary biology was not scientific and indeed philosophy in time will show it.Again they want science to be noun when its a verb. Science is not the hunch.God should start the hunch in mens thinking. Then prove your stuff with methodology. no philosophy is needed in a strick methodology.The creationist asks for biological scientific evidence of evolution and does not want philosophy of gender/race/aliens.