Physicists Should Stop Saying Silly Things about Philosophy | Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll says that Physicists Should Stop Saying Silly Things about Philosophy, but physicists are not the only culprits.

Some of the best philosophers have been at least as critical of "philosophy" as the most strident of physicists. And some of the seemingly objectionable quotes from physicists come in response to the loud claims by some (often unemployed) philosophers that we "need" their expertise for some reason or other. Although I enjoy and see value in the study of how our understanding of various "deep" questions has evolved (or not) over time, I do not need the advice of a professionally trained philosopher to help me decide even moral questions - let alone issues of natural philosophy. In my opinion, the discipline of philosophy would be better served by an attitude common among my mathematical physics colleagues - namely pride in the belief that what we do is "useless" from a crudely materialist perspective but still of great aesthetic value to those who appreciate it.

P.S. I don't think it was fair to elide "completely useless" into "uninteresting or unimportant". And the most famous comment re usefulness was in fact (intentionally) open to a wide range of interpretation since many species of birds would now be extinct but for the interest of ornithologists (even though those birds need neither ornithologists (nor aerodynamicists) in order to actually fly).

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