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11/10/2016 4:58 am  #1

Scientific resources for aspiring philosophers

I was just wondering what everyone thinks are useful scientific resources for those of us mostly interested in those areas where science most has relevance for philosophy, especially theoretical physics, biology, and psychology/neuroscience/cognitive science?

By useful I particularly mean those that give the best information in the clearest and easiest ways to digest, and, dare I say it, with the least work involved. For myself, I don't have the time to acquaint  myself with masses of intricate scientific details, but there are areas where more knowledge would be useful for the sake of philosophical interests, but I'm keen to get the most from the least work and reading. After, all many of these disciplines are very large and complex.

I suppose one could also include mathematics and statistics here. One could even include human sciences and humanities.


11/10/2016 5:05 pm  #2

Re: Scientific resources for aspiring philosophers


Thanks, I own Feynman's Six Easy Pieces, though I haven't read it, and obviously I learnt a general knowledge level of science in secondary school. I certainly have no desire (or at least I can't imagine a time where I wouldn't have other things to learn and do first) to learn anything that is not useful for an aspiring philosopher. I wonder how much a philosophically inclined person should know of science. Obviously, I realise some of it depends on your interests. If you're not that interested in philosophy of mind, for example, then you probably wouldn't need much acquaintance with neuroscience or psychology.

     Thread Starter

11/10/2016 5:40 pm  #3

Re: Scientific resources for aspiring philosophers

I'd say mathematics is indispensable. Mathematics trains logic and abstract thinking. Geometry trains sense of proportions. Topology trains a dynamic sense of analogy. These are the things that metaphysics is made of. In my view, philosopher is first and foremost a metaphysicist. Everything else is secondary.

A science book that greatly inspired me in my early philosophical years was Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, particularly the first three chapters of it. I haven't touched his later co-authored books and that's been probably a good idea.


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