• Peter Kupisz

Stephen Hawking Got Philosophy of Science Wrong

In his book The Grand Design, Stephen Hawking stated that “philosophy is dead” because it “has not kept up with modern developments in science.” This is ironic because Hawking spent a great deal of the book philosophizing and, unfortunately, doing it quite poorly. Furthermore, some of this poor philosophy was directed against the existence of God.


Although Stephen Hawking was a brilliant scientist, he was deeply ignorant of the current state of philosophy. The truth is that philosophers of science are very well informed of advancements in science. Some philosophers, such as David Albert, even have a doctorate in physics. Tim Maudlin, a philosopher of physics, points out just how wrong Hawking was.


Hawking is a brilliant man, but he's not an expert in what's going on in philosophy, evidently. Over the past thirty years the philosophy of physics has become seamlessly integrated with the foundations of physics work done by actual physicists, so the situation is actually the exact opposite of what he describes. I think he just doesn't know what he's talking about. I mean there's no reason why he should. Why should he spend a lot of time reading the philosophy of physics? I'm sure it's very difficult for him to do. But I think he's just . . . uninformed.

Given how Hawking failed to understand the true state of philosophy, his arguments against the existence of God should be taken with a grain of salt. Arguments for and against the existence of God are, after all, primarily philosophical issues and not scientific ones.


Reference

Ross Andersen, “What Happened Before the Big Bang? The New Philosophy of Cosmology,” The Atlantic, January 19, 2012, https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/01/what-happened-before-the-big-bang-the-new-philosophy-of-cosmology/251608/.

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