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Is philosophy dead?

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• Is the world eternal? YES
• Do humans have contra-causal free will (i.e., can humans do otherwise)? NO
• Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? YES
• Do humans have souls? YES
• Are there natural rights? YES
• Is it morally permissible to eat meat? NO
• Is the unexamined life worth living? NO
• Is truth subjectivity? YES
• Is virtue necessary for happiness? YES
• Can a computer have a mind? YES
• Can humans know reality as it is in itself? YES
• Is hell other people? YES
• Can art be created accidentally? NO
• Can we change the past? NO
• Are numbers real? NO
• Is it always better to know the truth? YES

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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.”



  1. Huenemann says:

    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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