May 20, 2014

Thoughts on Tyson's Dismissal of Philosophy

While I share some of the frustrations Neil DeGrasse Tyson has with those who endlessly debate inane philosophical points, l a bit am wary of those dismiss all philosophical inquiry or ethical questions as pointless inhibitions on the road to progress. Such admonitions bring to mind the utopian efforts of the eugenicists, a group who surely were not questioned enough about the details and implications of their premises, objectives and methods.  Those involved in the experiments upon Albert Stevens and others could have benefitted from "asking deep questions". Elsewhere, similar avenues of research, divorced from any inhibiting tendencies that philosophical reflection and debate might have produced, resulted in Buchenwald. 

Thus, as much awesome as he exudes in popularizing science, Tyson's statement that students should actively avoid any philosophy courses and that any questions along philosophical lines are a waste of time is rather worrisome. His argument is superficially utilitarian...the irony of which is no doubt lost on Dr Tyson, but somewhere David Hume and Jeremy Bentham are amused....but unimpressed. 

A much more articulate and literate take on this can be found here.  (via Borepatch)

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 05:48 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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