The Science of Philosophy
Alfred Mele: Yeah I think so. It’s definitely a growing trend. There’s always been a connection between philosophy and science. In fact, in the beginning, there was not distinction. So, Aristotle was a philosopher, he was also a biologist, he was also an economist, and in a way he was also a physicist. So, yeah. But it coming closer together again. And I think the reason for this is that scientists are studying things of great interest to philosophers. Like the scientific study of free will. That really got going not until the 1980’s when these Libet experiments that I talked about started up. There’s been a lot of good social/psychological work on things like weakness of will and self-deception for, well, more than decades. And I’ve been interested in that stuff since I was young. It is growing I think, yeah, because there’s more scientific work done now on these philosophical topics. I don’t know what else, it might be that people are thinking, well traditional philosophical methodologies have been around for a long time and it has gotten us to a certain place, and that’s good, but we can get even further, faster by bringing more onboard. You know, scientific results.
I actually do a lot of work with scientists. In fact, I think I can mention this now. I’m about to receive a $4.8 million grant to start a free will project at Florida State University, where I am. And the granting agency is the John Templeton Foundation. Now, most of the money will go out in grants to scientists and others who make proposals on free will; $2.8 million is going to go out to the science of free will. What I’d like to see happen is that we have teams of neuroscientists, social psychologists, and philosophers working together to design free will studies and then write up the papers, analyze the results, and so on. So, for me, this is a really exciting time at the intersection of science and philosophy.
And this thing called experimental philosophy which didn’t really exist until ten years ago, has really taken off. I was up here in New York City last Monday to be in a session on experimental philosophy. There was a big audience and lots of excitement. So, in ten years it’s gone from nothing to something pretty exciting.
Interviewed\r\n by Austin Allen
Why the two disciplines are intersecting now more than ever.
The tactics that work now won't work for long.
Great ideas in philosophy often come in dense packages. Then there is where the work of Marcus Aurelius.
- Meditations is a collection of the philosophical ideas of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
- Written as a series of notes to himself, the book is much more readable than the dry philosophy most people are used to.
- The advice he gave to himself 2,000 years ago is increasingly applicable in our hectic, stressed-out lives.
By working together, and learning from one another, we can build better systems.
- Many of the things that we experience, are our imagination manifesting into this physical realm, avers artist Dustin Yellin.
- People need to completely rethink the way they work together, and learn from one another, that they they can build better systems. If not, things may get "really dark" soon.
- The first step to enabling cooperation is figuring out where the common ground is. Through this method, despite contrary beliefs, we may be able to find some degree of peace.
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