RE: virus: Faith, Logic and Purpose

Robin Faichney (
Fri, 21 Nov 1997 20:22:19 -0000

> From: Wade T.Smith[]
> >Wasn't that just because it was useless? ("42")
> Well, as DT told them- you really need to ask the _right_ question....
> This is where, IMHO, science succeeds and philosophy fails.
OK, Wade, now I know where you're coming from.
You really think that THHGTTG is a serious book,
and that philosophers really ask questions like
"What's the meaning of life, the universe, and

And our recent discussion re philosophy, in which
I said things like "philosophy is all about clear
thinking, which is absolutely essential in developing
testable hypotheses", went in one ear and out the
other, didn't it?

Actually, I'd say philosophy does exactly what
DT advised: taking the motivation for questions
like "What's the meaning...", it then thinks and
thinks until it finds a genuinely meaningful
question. Which may well be answerable via
science. But we'd never have gotten to that
point, either in general, historical terms, or in
any individual case, without philosophy. It is
precisely about finding the right questions.

Some of the initial, motivating questions just
vanish when they're subjected to
philosophical techniques -- they're the sort
that only need to be unasked -- and the
others, once suitably refined, can be passed
to science, or some other discipline.

I think you make a fundamental mistake in
seeing philosophy and science as competing.
They are, in fact, perfectly complementary,
philosophy forming the questions, and science
answering them. DT doesn't say "do science
instead of philosophy", it says "do philosophy