So I said I wanted to study philosophy and lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how can I make philosophy useful?
I think that can be possible by combining it with science!
However, I have no background in science….
Do you think it would be impossible?? How long does it take to gain some good background in science (physics, biology, neurology, maths..) Is there anybody here who is a science major and pretty good at it?
Do you know where can I start?
@kidvisions, Hmm.. Study philosophy or be a philosopher? The first takes alot and the second you could have done years ago. I think any philosophy rooted in science is no longer a philosophy but a fact of science.. Just sit around and come up with ideas, then ask other people what they think about those ideas. They may say you are crazy but thats the only way any real philosophical gains can be made. All new ideas seem out there until they arent so far out there anymore..
First and foremost, you should have a good foundation in critical thinking, and a solid understanding of the scientific method and basic mathematics (e.g., algebra).
DON’T OVERWHELM YOURSELF, especially when you first start. You should get the foundation down first.
– It’s amazing how many people don’t understand the scientific method (e.g., how peer review works, falsifiability, etc.). You NEED this foundation. You need to know how scientists gather their information.
– Critical thinking.
Math. I don’t mean “plugging and chugging.” Aim for an intuitive understanding. Even if you’re not sure about some arithmetic concepts, go back and learn them.
Right on! We need more and more scientist as we proceed into the future and the final frontier of space and the deepest ocean expanses are explored!
I study rocks right here on earth. I’m 3/4 of the way to a degree in geology. Geologist use a multitude of sciences: chemistry, physics and biology in a number of ways to come up with answers about why the Earth is the way it is.
Like @conpassione mentioned, a background in the basics is essential for grasping more detailed scientific studies. I often see my peers struggle with subject matter because they were not properly prepared in the background sciences and mathematics.
If your in school now look into what science you think would be best for you and see if they have elective courses that you could take that cover theory. These can be great tools for narrowing down a specific subject to study. Also take some intro chemistry and math classes.
Just know that science fields are challenging. Talk to as many people as you can and try and get honest answers as well. If you have any specific questions feel free to ask.
Best of luck!
@pwhalen, I am afraid my only source is the internet.
Teachers are not very enthusiastic about helping non-scientists and we follow the French system of education in my country where people specialize in something in high school and from there, there is no turning back…. I don’t want to give up though!
@kidvisions, YEs as conpassione said – solid foundation in algebra, followed by calculus.
Then start to diverge into physics, I would say, as physics is the core of our reality. It explains things that are so mind-blowingly “How the hell do they know that?” kind of stuff.
I love it!
@kidvisions You can always use sites such as coursera.org or khanacademy.org for self improvement. But first of all, imho, you should decide which field of philosophy you are interested in. And know that philosophy of science and actual sciences are very different things to study…
@aldy, Here is what I want to do: I want to study analytic philosophy, cognitive linguistics and neurology. I want to study language and thought both philosophically and scientifically. Does that make sense?
I also need to know some physics, for better understanding sounds and also because I love knowledge!
@kidvisions, You don’t actually need any physics for that but it’s still cool to learn ;) Language and thought are both very important themes especially in the late 19th and early 20th century philosophers from bergson to heidegger so you may try starting from there. But you would need a basic understanding of Kant for both and some Hume also won’t hurt.
My actual advice for you is to gain some general opinion about how the ideas flow through the historical process. “From the Presocratics to the Present: A Personal Odyssey” by Daniel Kolak might be the one, it was the book for our History of Philosophy book and it summarizes(1 to 4 pages at most) about 80 philosophers and thinkers, also it’s fun to read :)
For scientific aspect of things I recommend linguistics rather than physical sciences because we are not interested in ‘language’ but more of how the wave function behaves under certain influences, and unfortunately a basic grasp of algebra is not necessarily enough for most of the concepts.
@aldy, Yes! I am thinking about linguistics, but I also want to learn some things in the hard sciences because as I said I love knowledge. What do you mean byunfortunately a basic grasp of algebra is not necessarily enough for most of the concepts.
@conpassione, Thank you! I love Pinker! I’ve seen some of his lectures and it’s amazing!
@kidvisions, Well sure, depends on your determination.
I would say buy books… don’t get text books, get interesting books. Get books by famous writers like
These are really good ways to get into science without boggin yourself down.
@kidvisions, most people copy, thoughts and philosophy to create an original idea of somesort. It takes years or just a crazy moment to create such an original idea.
You could for example mingle future philosphic research thinking with creating a new approach on something you feel is imminent for change. http://www.iftf.org/our-work/global-landscape/work/future-work-skills-2020/
this shows research on future working skills, behaviour and innovation. Adapting this study and creating your own mindset on it, could give you an advantage against your critical thinking.
@winslow, “I think any philosophy rooted in science is no longer a philosophy but a fact of science” You forget the origins of science are found in philosophy.
@kidvisions, If you’re intrinsically motivated then all you need is the resources and time.
I’m actually about to check out that khan academy website to try and improve my horrendous mathematic incapabilities haha.
Of course you could do it on your own. I mean look at Leibniz, Franklin or Faraday they did it on their own.
On the other hand the list of self taught individuals is compellingly short and for good reason, were social beings.
Learning is a process of gathering knowledge and sharing or using it. Sharing what you know is one of the best ways to reinforce your understanding.
You could get a mild understanding of various topics but to what end are you learning these subjects? That’s the real question you should ask yourself. As well as these: Why am I doing this? What’s the purpose of learning this? Do I really have time to dedicate to learning these things? Do I know exactly where I want to go with this?
Best of luck!
@ijesuschrist, Thanks for the tip. I agree that textbooks are not always the best option.
@spiraltouch, hanks for the link. What I want is to learn as much as I can, I am not worried about creating something absolutely fascinating, I just want to learn and use what I learned to help others.I just want to do something interesting and mind stimulating and also useful to others.
@pwhalen,You could get a mild understanding of various topics but to what end are you learning these subjects?
For more ideas, to understand the world better?
Why am I doing this? Because I know that I don’t know and I want to try to know as much as I can. :) I also want to take the GRE exam, and I guess I need to know math?
What’s the purpose of learning this? the purpose of learning cognitive linguistics and neurology is to understand thought and language more. Analytical philosophy is also important in order to understand how thought and language work together.
Do I really have time to dedicate to learning these things? For now, I don’t think I have time for physics, but I need to find time for math for the GRE.
Do I know exactly where I want to go with this?
Yes, I want to publish books about it and become a professor.
@ehsan, best of luck!
There is no need for a reason to learn…
Learning is the most fruitful endeavor.
@kidvisions, What I meant was, to work on(or understand what it means) a “cool” kind of wave eqn. you need to be able to solve at least a second order linear differential equation, which requires a ‘nice’ amount of experience in calculus. You can learn it, of course, but it’s mainly the boring and tiring parts of physics so I wouldn’t recommend it. Just know the common formalism and try to understand why is it done that way, you don’t need to actually learn how to do it in order to understand its outcomes ;)
And for general background on how science ‘clicks’, you may check out books of Carl Sagan or Roger Penrose. Also neil degrasse tyson is a fun and educating guy to watch.
1. Studying philosophy is useless at a university or in an academic environment. Do it on your own. You are just as qualified to be a great philosopher as anyone else with a brain.
2. It’s never too late to learn science and you should do it! Start with the basics of bio, chem, and physics. From there you will learn how much you don’t know and what you are interested in, then go from there.
3. As far as how to do it, look up the textbooks used in the basic classes at big universities (USC, Penn State, Florida…) then read the books. It’s that simple.