Monday, August 01, 2005

Science and philosophy


I was discussing philosophy with a friend of mine, who pointed out a difference between science and philosophy. In science, it is often possible to identify luminary thinkers, people whose ideas and work massively advanced human knowledge.

In single steps, people like Faraday, Descartes, Newton etc were able to gain new insights which were quite stunning.

In philosophy, the great thinkers reached their goals less through insight, and more as a result of dogged hard work, in small increments. Often, the better progress is made through the re-interpretation of those new ideas by those that came later. The better philosophy is often an interpretation of Plato, rather than Plato himself, or a critique of Nietzche rather than the man himself.

I'm sure some will disagree, but I think it's an interesting divide. Philosophy is not advanced by revolution, but by evolution.



Anonymous RdR said...

Maybe... but could it also be that really major philosophical breakthroughs spin off into fields of their own? I'm thinking of physics and psychology as examples.

8/01/2005 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger MelbournePhilosopher said...

Good point.

8/01/2005 02:22:00 PM  

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