The Relevance of Philosophy to Physics

Part of the Studies in the Foundations, Methodology and Philosophy of Science book series (FOUNDATION, volume 4)


My thesis, that philosophy is relevant to physics, is unfashionable, to say the least. This minority view gives me some strange bedfellows: for example, some people with particular regions views who are anxious to make science agree with theology (although primarily their interest is in geology and biology, rather than in physics) [32]. I prefer the company of those philosophers who have been influenced by Sir KARL POPPER’S almost lone defence of the meaningfulness of non-scientific statements — lone, in the sense that POPPER fought in the interests of science [2,10,13, 34, 35]. By contrast, the majority view is either a deliberate rejection of philosophy, especially metaphysics, as false (or meaningless or irrelevant), or a simple ignoring of the problems of which philosophy has traditionally been the study. Nevertheless, neither rejecting philosophy nor ignoring it imphes that solutions to philosophical problems are not adopted. On the contrary, it is customary for the majority to adopt a stance which is a mixture of various solutions to a number of still puzzling philosophical problems but which interferes as little as possible with scientific work [39]. Furthermore, it is customary to fend off all attempts at serious discussion of those problems in case such discussion should have mischievous effects on the progress of science.


Physical Theory Inductive Logic Moral Consideration Philosophical Problem Critical Debate 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin · Heidelberg 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

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