Science and Metaphysics

Debates around the philosophy of science fascinate me, since science is so spectacularly useful, while scientists are often such bad philosophers. So, Roger Trigg’s Why Science Needs Metaphysics is right in my wheelhouse:

Those who say that science can answer all questions are themselves standing outside science to make that claim. That is why naturalism—the modern version of materialism, seeing reality as defined by what is within reach of the sciences—becomes a metaphysical theory when it strays beyond methodology to talk of what can exist. Denying metaphysics and upholding materialism must itself be a move within metaphysics. It involves standing outside the practice of science and talking of its scope. The assertion that science can explain everything can never come from within science. It is always a statement about science.

Another good quote:

The intelligibility and intrinsic rationality of reality cannot be taken for granted. Even the greatest scientists, such as Einstein, have seen that the intelligibility of the world is a mystery. He famously remarked that “the eternally incomprehensible thing about the world is its comprehensibility.” Like the way in which mathematics seems to map the intrinsic rational structure of the physical world, this is presupposed within science and cannot be given a scientific explanation. It appears to be a metaphysical fact, and the explanation for which, if there can be one, must come from beyond science.


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