"Dear Neil deGrasse Tyson, don’t be stupid about philosophy"
I stumbled upon this interesting op-ed about a recent statement by scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson. He seems to discredit philosophy, though many consider him to be a great philosopher himself. I have included the most interesting points of the piece as well as a link to the full article.
"Sometimes extremely intelligent people say extremely foolish things. To equate philosophy as asking what sound one hand makes clapping is akin to equating evolution as just a theory. Both are cringeworthy to those who understand the subject matter.
In a recent podcast, Tyson dismisses a Philosophy Major as something that can “mess you up”. This is because it involves asking too many questions, including definitions of definitions. From a practicality standpoint, Neil is right. If all we do is ask questions, and ask questions about questions, we’ll be trapped in never ending paralysis through analysis. But he’s missing the major contribution that philosophy has given us. The contribution that all science depends upon. The challenge of dogmatism. The remarkable notion that everything can be questioned.
For Tyson, absurd misrepresentation of philosophy is inexcusable, as he himself is a philosopher, and a damn good one at that. Science gives us verifiable evidence as to what is true in nature. Philosophy allows us to take that knowledge and apply it to our relationship with each other and the universe in a profound way.
Science vs. philosophy rhetoric is misguided nonsense. Philosophy and science are the great tag team in the battle of reason over superstition. They are both to be cherished and celebrated.
“Knowing how to think empowers you far beyond those who know only what to think.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson