Jeremy Fox often publishes interesting blogposts like today’s. I’m “reblogging” straight from his site as an experiment.
Originally posted on Dynamic Ecology:
Someone* once said that scientists need to study philosophy of science about as much as birds need to study ornithology. And there’s definitely some truth to that, as evidenced by the fact that plenty of scientists do plenty of good science without any philosophical training.** But in this post I’ll argue that it’s not entirely true. There are reasons why scientists might want to read some philosophy of science.
Disclaimer: I am by no means a professional philosopher of science. I had several philosophy classes as an undergrad. My favorite two profs were both philosophers, so I took as many classes with them as I could. None of my classes were in philosophy of science, though. Since then, I’ve perhaps read a bit more philosophy of science than the average ecologist has; I’m not sure. But my reading is haphazard, not systematic. I also attend the philosophy seminars at Calgary when the topic of the talk interests me. I’m not saying I know a massive amount, but I have found what little I know to be valuable. There’s an old saying that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing–but as long as you recognize that you only know a little philosophy, I think knowing a little is worth a fair bit.
Disclaimer #2: I just went back and re-read this post and thought “Man, I really sound like I’m talking up my own philosophical chops here, what with all these links back to my own posts!” Sorry, I honestly didn’t mean this post to come off like that. It’s just that, when I was searching my memory for examples, I kept thinking of ones from my own posts. I’m too short on time to go back and rewrite the whole thing with different examples. So I’m just going to leave it as is. And if you want to make fun of me in the comments for apparently not being able to recall anybody’s blogging but my own, well, I can’t say I blame you.