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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Feyerabend on the giants

I was struck by the following comments of Paul Feyerabend in For and Against Method. They appeared in a 1969 letter to Feyerabend's Berkeley philosophy chair Wallace Matson, which is reproduced in Appendix B of the book.

The withdrawal of philosophy into a "professional" shell of its own has had disastrous consequences. The younger generation of physicists, the Feynmans, the Schwingers, etc., may be very bright; they may be more intelligent than their predecessors, than Bohr, Einstein, Schrodinger, Boltzmann, Mach and so on. But they are uncivilized savages, they lack in philosophical depth -- and this is the fault of the very same idea of professionalism which you are now defending.

The entry on Feyerabend in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is fascinating.

Further discussion of this topic by Sean Carroll and Lubos Motl. Lubos links to the excellent essay Against Philosophy by Steve Weinberg (chapter from his book Dreams of a Final Theory).

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