Philosophy is bunk

I recall that Richard Feynmann, one of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century, made a remark about philosophy along these lines. A quick Google search brought up this quote from his talk, here made into a book: “The Pleasure of Finding Things Out.”

My son is taking a course in philosophy, and last night we were looking at something by Spinoza and there was the most childish reasoning! There were all these attributes, and Substances, and all this meaningless chewing around, and we started to laugh. Now how could we do that? Here’s this great Dutch philosopher, and we’re laughing at him. It’s because there’s no excuse for it! In the same period there was Newton, there was Harvey studying the circulation of the blood, there were people with methods of analysis by which progress was being made! You can take every one of Spinoza’s propositions, and take the contrary propositions, and look at the world and you can’t tell which is right.

The Pleasure of Finding Things Out 1st Edition by Richard P Feynman, Jeffery Robbins, Freeman Dyson ISBN 8601300108087

I’m afraid that I agree with him. We cannot detach our reasoning from the rigours of testing against observation. This just seems so obvious to me. Anything else is just speculation.

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