Philosophy Science

Does philosophy make better scientists?

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Probably but let’s hear it from one:

Philosophy has expanded my critical and creative thinking. Philosophical arguments often lead to imaginative edge cases and a dive into hypotheticals, which I frequently find creatively stimulating. For my philosophy thesis, for example, I wrote about the metaphysics of identity, the Ship of Theseus (a thought experiment that questions whether an object that has had all of its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object), general relativity and some of the philosophical implications of time travel.

Thinking creatively while maintaining a critical and methodical approach carried over into my research. For example, studying instrumentalism — the philosophical idea that science does not uncover fundamental truths about the world, but merely provides us with tools to help us navigate it — helped me to adopt a more fluid approach to research and look for useful tools wherever I could find them. One thing I’ve done is to repurpose ‘contamination’ in an organism’s sequencing data so that I could look for viruses in its blood.

I also learnt logic. Most of us have a foundational understanding in this area — but, as a philosophy student, I was required to take a structured course in logic. At the start, it was like taking a class in brain-teaser puzzles: A∨B is true if both A and B are true; A∧B is true if either A or B is true.

Rasha Shraim, “” at How philosophy is making me a better scientist Nature (April 23, 2021)

We have less to fear from people ranting from podiums if we keep those things in mind.

2 Replies to “Does philosophy make better scientists?

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    No. Rejecting federal funding makes better scientists.

  2. 2
    Querius says:

    Hah! Well put!

    -Q

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