Living in this vast world that is by turns kind and cruel, and gazing at the immense heavens above, people have always asked a multitude of questions: How can we understand the world in which we find ourselves? How does the universe behave? What is the nature of reality? Where did all this come from? Did the universe need a creator? Most of us do not spend most of our time worrying about these questions, but almost all of us worry about them some of the time.
Traditionally these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead. Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics. Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.
[Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design]
I don’t necessarily disagree, I just believe its a matter of semantics
Scientists are, in fact, modern philosophers, just specialized in a particular field. As we discussed before, these fields possess a paradigm that is difficult to out think.
We need these specialists to exhaust the bounds of these paradigms, to extract as much information and data from them as possible through experimentation and testing.
However, we need philosophically minded scientists to evolve paradigms, and to question these unquestioned assumptions comprising them that seem so obvious to those who possess them.
Philosophers, as Socrates described them, are like a gadfly.
They are annoying and disruptive. But they push the bounds of understanding. Therefore, they are essential. And scientists NEED to possess this philosophical attitude to progress human understanding, and not just the paradigm they’re most comfortable operating within.