Is philosophy dead?

In my Contemporary European Philosophy class, I often remark that Nz’s declaration of the death of god (and Foucault’s sequel, the death of the subject) turned out to be, shall we say, rather premature.  The death of philosophy has been oft declared, and all who have declared it dead are now long dead while philosophy continues to plug along.

Many of our blog readers are likely aware of Stephen Hawking’s new book, in which he declares that “philosophy is dead” (you guessed it, science killed it).  But this response from John Haldane is worth reading.  He responds to several arguments (multiverse, spontaneous creation) raised in Hawking’s new book, and concludes:

“As Hawking and Mlodinow occasionally seem to recognize, far from philosophy being dead, having been killed by science, the deepest arguments in this area are not scientific but philosophical. And if the philosophical reasoning runs in the direction I have suggested, it is not only philosophy but also natural theology that is alive and ready to bury its latest would-be undertakers.”

Author: Kleiner

Associate Vice Provost and Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Utah State University. I teach across the curriculum, but am most interested in continental philosophy, ancient and medieval philosophy as well as Catholic thought, all of which might be summed up as an interest in the ressourcement tradition (returning in order to make progress). I also enjoy spending time thinking about liberal education and its ends.

2 thoughts on “Is philosophy dead?”

  1. It is all too common for scientists, and physicists especially, to do a little reading in philosophy or none at all and then feel confident either to claim that philosophy is dead or to claim that they have figured out what all philosophers have failed to figure out (or sometimes they make both claims). Then they go on to unwittingly illustrate how little reading they have done. It’s really irritating to me, since I (hope I) would never do the same thing in physics. Hawkings is often guilty of this, and it’s worse because for some unfathomable reason his intellect is widely admired. (I’m not saying he’s a poor physicist; but I have little reason to think he’s smart about anything else.) Also, he seems to be quite an opportunist, calculating what to say about God to make his books sell.


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