In sum, philosophy is not science. For it employs the rational tools of logical analysis and conceptual clarification in lieu of empirical measurement. And this approach, when carefully carried out, can yield knowledge at times more reliable and enduring than science, strictly speaking. For scientific measurement is in principle always subject to at least some degree of readjustment based on future observation. Yet sound philosophical argument achieves a measure of immortality.He seems to think that philosophy is not a science because
- Philosophy is essentially rational inquiry (i.e., based on logical and conceptual analysis).
- Science is essentially empirical inquiry (i.e., based on empirical measurement).
Do you think that these premises are true? Is it the case that scientists do not use logical analysis and clarify concepts? Friedland himself gives the example of theoretical physics. Arguably, some theoretical physicists try to clarify concepts, such as space, time, and causality. If Friedland is right, then it seems we would have to say that theoretical physicists are philosophers, not scientists. Does it seem correct to say that theoretical physics is philosophy rather than science? Moreover, some professional philosophers use empirical methods. If Friedland is right, then it seems we would have to say that these philosophers are actually scientists. Does it seem correct to say that these people are really scientists rather than philosophers?
Friedland has another argument for the claim that philosophy is not a science:
- Philosophical knowledge is reliable and enduring.
- Scientific knowledge is always subject to change.
Do you think that these premises are true? Friedland seems to think that philosophical knowledge is reliable and enduring because it is based on logical deductions and "logical deductions are timeless." But logical deductions are as good as the premises on which they are based. For example:
- If light bends when it passes around a massive object, then light follows the curvature of spacetime.
- Light bends when it passes around a massive object.
- Therefore, lights follows the curvature of spacetime.
Finally, what should we make of the claim that scientific knowledge is always subject to change? Here's a piece of scientific knowledge: "human beings and chimpanzees shared a common ancestor." Is it likely to change?