PhilSci Archive

Why science needs philosophy

Laplane, Lucie and Mantovani, Paolo and Adolphs, Ralph and Chang, Hasok and Mantovani, Alberto and McFall-Ngai, Margaret and Rovelli, Carlo and Sober, Elliott and Pradeu, Thomas (2019) Why science needs philosophy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116 (10). pp. 3948-3952.

[img]
Preview
Text
Laplane-Mantovani-Pradeu_et al_Why science needs philosophy_PNAS_Online version.pdf

Download (383kB) | Preview

Abstract

\textgreater A knowledge of the historic and philosophical background gives that kind of independence from prejudices of his generation from which most scientists are suffering. This independence created by philosophical insight is—in my opinion—the mark of distinction between a mere artisan or specialist and a real seeker after truth. \textgreater \textgreater Albert Einstein, Letter to Robert Thornton, 1944 Despite the tight historical links between science and philosophy, present-day scientists often perceive philosophy as completely different from, and even antagonistic to, science. We argue here that, to the contrary, philosophy can have an important and productive impact on science. Despite the tight historical links between science and philosophy, hearkening back to Plato, Aristotle, and others (here evoked with Raphael’s famous School of Athens), present-day scientists often perceive philosophy as completely different from, and even antagonistic to, science. To the contrary, we believe philosophy can have an important and productive impact on science. Image credit: Shutterstock.com/Isogood_patrick. We illustrate our point with three examples taken from various fields of the contemporary life sciences. Each bears on cutting-edge scientific research, and each has been explicitly acknowledged by practicing researchers as a useful contribution to science. These and other examples show that philosophy’s contribution can take at least four forms: the clarification of scientific concepts, the critical assessment of scientific assumptions or methods, the formulation of new concepts and theories, and the fostering of dialogue between different sciences, as well as between science and society. ### Conceptual Clarification and Stem Cells. First, philosophy offers conceptual clarification. Conceptual clarifications not only improve the precision and utility of scientific terms but also lead to novel experimental investigations because the choice of a given conceptual framework strongly constrains how experiments are conceived. The definition of stem cells is a prime example. Philosophy has a long tradition of investigating properties, and the tools in use in this tradition …


Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Laplane, Lucie
Mantovani, Paolo
Adolphs, Ralph
Chang, Hasok
Mantovani, Alberto
McFall-Ngai, Margaret
Rovelli, Carlo
Sober, Elliott
Pradeu, Thomas
Keywords: Philosophy of science; philosophy-science interactions; biology; physics; stem cells; cognitive science; immunology
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Science Education
General Issues > Values In Science
Depositing User: Thomas Pradeu
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2020 19:46
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2020 19:46
Item ID: 18233
Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Official URL: https://www.pnas.org/content/116/10/3948
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Science Education
General Issues > Values In Science
Date: March 2019
Page Range: pp. 3948-3952
Volume: 116
Number: 10
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18233

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item