OT: Speed of light [was Re: Why not a Python compiler?]

Ron Provost ron.longo at cox.net
Sat Feb 9 21:51:09 CET 2008

The division between philosophy and science can be fine indeed.  Philosophy and science are the two rigorous methods of inquiry into the fundamental nature of things (other methods include religion and superstition).  Because of it's process, science limits itself to those questions which can be tested expermientally.  Philosophy is left to address the remaining questions which can be examined through reason (mostly deduction).  Of many of the questions which were thought to be only answerably via philosophy, often someone finds a way to test some of them.  This is very often the case in areas of philosophy studying the fields involving the mind and nature.  Thus whold chunks of philosophy slowly become the realms of psychology, lingustics, logic (Which as a whole became the realm of the theoretical science of math around), and many of the questions about the nature of the universe, existance and time have become the realm of physics.  In this way philosophy may be thought of as the cutting edge of science.

Similarly science itself has uncovered new questions which currently can only be addressed through the methods of philosophy.  One of the most interested and recently practical have been investigations into the foundations of science.  For example, Karl Popper was interested in the process of science and what constitutes a scientific theory vs. non-scientific theory.  His answer:  A scientific theory is falsifyable via the techniques of science (that is experimentation).  This is practical today, because it excludes the whole "intelligent design" theory from science, little if any of which is falsifyable.

Thus the line that divides philosophy and science is fine.  The two disciplies in fact need oneanother.  Science uncovers new information used by philosophy to build new philosophical theories while philosophy spends a huge amount of time questioning or judging the practices of other fields such as science in much the same way as the US supreme court is supposed to work to check on the other branches of the government.
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