virus: Scientists and Philosophers

Reed Konsler (
Tue, 9 Feb 1999 11:22:40 -0500

>One doesn't have to put on a lab coat and safty glasses in order to
>scrutinize an argument. Practicing research scientists are often
>contemptuous of the philosophy of science because most philosophers of
>science are philosophers rather than scientists. "What do they, who have
>never carried out any experiments of their own, know about science?"
>Imagine a bank robber leveling this same criticism agains a
>criminalogist. "What do you know about crime? You've never even
>held up a liquor store."

I agree. One of the reasons that scientists ignore philosophers is that scientists are often made to feel like criminals violating some grand rules of "the Method". Experimentalists, especially, get uptight becuase they recognize intuitively that what they are doing is a social and faith based exercise. That's acceptible becuase science is about generating efficient models to help get things done, not creating truth or making arbitrary rules to find "truth".

Scientists hate rules. The only thing a scientist hates more than a rule is not getting to happen what they want to happen. Every rule in science ought to be traced to avoiding a pitfalls or catastrophe. Every rule beyond that makes the scientist uncomfortable. A philosophers job is to generate rules.

A philosopher of science generats rules that they never, themselves, need to follow.

"No taxation without representation" know what I mean?


  Reed Konsler