As Robert Barron notes:
In a rambling and largely incoherent response to an interlocutor who wondered whether philosophy is still relevant, Nye denigrated the discipline, stating that philosophy never deviates from common sense, that it doubts the reality of sense experience, and that it engages in speculation about whether we might be part of an intergalactic ping pong match!
To tumultuous applause, doubtless.
The physical sciences can reveal the chemical composition of ink and paper, but they cannot, even in principle, tell us anything about the meaning of Moby Dick or The Wasteland. Biology might inform us regarding the process by which nerves stimulate muscles in order to produce human action, but it could never tell us anything about whether a human act is morally right or wrong. Optics might disclose how light and color are processed by the eye, but it cannot possibly tell us what makes the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling beautiful. Speculative astrophysics might tell us truths about the unfolding of the universe from the singularity of the Big Bang, but it cannot say a word about why there is something rather than nothing or how contingent being relates to non-contingent being.
How desperately sad if questions regarding truth, morality, beauty, and existence qua existence are dismissed as irrational or pre-scientific.
The scientism that I’ve been describing and criticizing is but a symptom of a more far-reaching problem, namely, the fading away of the humanities in our schools. … More.
For example, Peter Woit contemplates the end of physics because whether our universe is a simulation “has become a serious line of theoretical and experimental investigation among physicists, astrophysicists, and philosophers.”
What scientists need, at times, is for someone to open a window. That window is called philosophy, the science of thinking about how we think, and why we should think that way.
See also: In search of a road to reality
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