They serve to two different things, its like saying that airplanes replaced houses, science studies the reality from an objective and scientific (duh) point of view, while philosophy questions more moral, metaphysical and abstract concepts that science could never

No. We only know what science is because of philosophy. If that basis for science became science, then the truth of science would have to presuppose itself, a set of ideas that would be true in and of themselves, which is clearly fallacious.

Also, the sciences deal with descriptive reality. They say nothing about how the world should be or how we should act.

I hope so, and it’s sort-of the aim.

Hume and Locke’s writings are often on ‘Philosophy of Mind’ - a subject which wasn’t at the time anything like a science. Nowadays, lots of the mind is squarely under the purview of neuroscience, or psychology.

Utilitarianism was always a branch hoping to involve science, and eventually become law. Bentham - the originator - stated this should be the methodology for writing laws. Instead of vague moral debates, we should answer the single question ‘what would bring the most utility to people?’.

What makes you think moral debates are “vague”?

A master’s degree in Philosophy, specializing in ethical theory.

Take for example, the statement “he didn’t deserve that”. How do we find out if that’s true?

Or we can look at the lack of epistemological grounding. If I bet you €5 that some building is taller than another, we can go online, find out who’s right, and the money’s paid out.

Now imagine I bet you that fur clothing is always morally wrong. How could the money get paid out? What evidence would make a publicly available conclusion?

Cold Hotman

Moralism and ethics is difficult, but isn’t even the question “what would bring the most utility to people?” in the spirit of Bentham a subjective one depending on what one feels about something? What gives you happiness or benefit could cause me immense grief and put me at an disadvantage, no?

Right - the idea’s not to conclude with ‘tomatoes bring utility - let’s make tomatoes’. The idea’s to maximize total utility, given a population with different values.

Cold Hotman

I’m very interested in this topic, how would you define the maximal total utility for a group with different values? And is there a limit to optimization for a group before it starts coming at a cost for subgroups?

I understand that it’s easy to revert to an argument of a homogeneous group, but unless everyone is identical - even the slightest difference could lead to large splits. In a global perspective, the difference between i.e. catholics and protestants are comperatively small yet some experience a large divide.

I’m very interested in this topic, how would you define the maximal total utility for a group with different values?

I’ll try to condense what I’ve read with some bullet points:

  • Utilitarian theory has a lot to say about why this is possible in principle, but it’s not always possible in practice. It’s similar to physics, where everything has mass, but actual measurement is difficult (except Utilitarian theory isn’t nearly as developed as any branch of Physics).
  • Actual methodologies typically use Economics tools, such as Game Theory. There’s another hurdle to implementation - we can calculate a ‘fair’ wage for everyone in a corporation, depending on what they contribute, but the actual formula’s difficult to compute once you get beyond about 10 people (or at least 10 roles).

even the slightest difference could lead to large splits.

Yes - every difference in someone’s individual utility mappings can affect a given decision, but it’s not all that crazy once you look at real-world examples.

And is there a limit to optimization for a group before it starts coming at a cost for subgroups?

Yes - and utilitarians won’t add any suggestions on where to take the split.

5 people want to go to the cinema. 2 of them love Marvel, 1 hates Marvel. The currently playing films are ...

Mathematically, this example threatens to become insanely challenging, but we make these decisions every day, so clearly we’re making some attempt to maximize utility, even if we’re not 100% successful.

In a global perspective, the difference between i.e. catholics and protestants are comperatively small yet some experience a large divide.

This is an easy one - don’t take global perspectives when making decisions, unless it’s a question with a super-homogenous answer like ‘should people get stabbed by rabbid monkeys?’.

I think no one is being vague except for you. Before even saying “he didn’t deserve that”, anyone from a philosophical background would ask a thousand questions to you, starting with “he who?”, “what happened to him”, “he did what?”

So you’re saying speach about Ethics isn’t vague, because someone who’s studied philosophy would ask one thousand questions about the situation. Is that what you’re saying?

Those were like three basic questions that naturally come to mind when someone suddenly talks about justice… Dude please dont ever work in politics, please dont, please okay?

Why all the hate?

Because I dont take authority appeal and bad faith arguments lightly

It’s implausible. Epistemology (the theory of knowledge) is a branch of philosophy in which Science came to be born out of. Philosophy englobes Science, the scientific method is the creation of philosophers. Thus, Science cannot in any way whatsoever absorb Philosophy when in fact the inverse is the actual reality.


Definitely not. If nothing else, my view is that there’s a lot of questions that just cannot be scientifically answered because they’re not the sort of thing where there’s objective truth, but we as a society have to have a conversation and find what works. Think values.


Sciences are a subset of philosophy.

They ask different questions.

I’d say that science and philosophy serve distinct and complementary roles.

Science is focused on the objective. It provides us with the tools for developing empirical understanding of how the natural world works. Meanwhile, philosophy focuses on the subjective. It provides us with a framework for deciding on what should be done and why.

In other words, science provides us with the tools to take action while philosophy provides us with guidance on how to use these tools.

(sorry in advance for any typos)

Your idea isn’t necessarily wrong, but I want to take it a step further.

Separating culture (here you said philosophy) and science, and in general, separating what is deemed to be objective from what is deemed to be the subjective, is typical of so called modern thought. But let’s take a step back and see this issue from another perspective where there’s no silver line separating the Subject from the Object, Philosophy from Science, Culture from Nature, the Human from the Non Human. If we take into account this illusion of purifying amd classifying the universe, an alternative conception of the world unravels; all entities would possess equal metaphysical value and development towards an objective end goal seems to lose all meaning (is techological development linear? Does it help us arrive at our ultimate goal?)

I think it’s fallacious to separate between the subjective and the objective and give each their own specific functions to oraganize our social constructions. That’s because beyond our insulated thought process, in the concrete world, the Subjective and Objective (Science and Philosophy, Science and Politics or whatever the separation may be) are being simultaneously employed, they are one and the same. How many times, when reading/watching news about scientific phenomenon (say an environmental issue) being, the scientific experts in the field would implicitly imply a political statement. It has always been in front of our eyes but it was about now that we can see how a statement that is deemed objective and factual may contain a subjective message embedded in its core.

I would argue that goals are inherently subjective. A decision to take a particular action or to achieve a particular result is fundamentally subjective. Whether something is desirable or not is ultimately in the eye of the beholder. People can agree on objective state of things, but disagree on whether the state of things is desirable.

However, the ideal of science deals with objective facts the truth of which is independent of our interpretations or desires. Science allows us to create models of the material world around us and to use these models in order to manipulate it. Science is simply a tool for analyzing and manipulating the world effectively.

The use of this tool is rooted in subjective desires that we have, and philosophy helps guide us in application of our knowledge that we derive from science. It is fundamentally a study of the subjective.

That said, you are correct that in practice we rarely draw a clear distinction between the objective and the subjective. In fact, people will often treat their subjective views as if they were objective facts.

However, the ideal of science deals with objective facts

Sure, we can have an ideal, but this is very far from what reality shows us. Science can’t be placed in an insulated bubble of disinterest and objectivity (Something unfortunate that liberal thought overgeneralized and was adopted by the global common sense). I fully disagree when people say “oh why yes science is a disinterested that can be used for both good and evil”, but it’s more than that because moral intent is inseparable from science. The scientific method itself was developed by solitary philosophers who sat for hours in their high towers isolated from their community. Subjectivity is in the core of the scientific method, which is why nasty terms like eugenics, racialism, parapsychology…etc. were considered sciences. This is why many “scientific experiments” affirmed the supremacy of one race over another, a gender over the other and so on. Let’s not forget as well Science’s discriminatory nature towards non human entities, mere objects that are “designed” to be exploited for the “common good”.

Science isn’t objective, it’s human. It’s the collective perceptions, thoughts and conclusions we as humans have made of Nature when we ourselves are an integral part of this nature. How we see the world around us is ewually valuable to how an animal or even a rock could maybe see it. Let’s forget the idea that we’re observing nature from the outside, because we’re in fact inside of it and reacting with it. Subjectivity shouldn’t be refuted (as it is the case tiday) or else we fall into delusion.

I don’t think we’re disagreeing here. As I said in my original comment, science and philosophy serve distinct and complementary roles. They’re two sides of the same coin because as you point out everything we do is inherently subjective. However, it is valuable to recognize which aspect focuses on the objective and which on the subjective.

The difference between objectivity and subjectivity is that objectivity is independent of our wishes and beliefs. If I subjectively convince myself that I can fly that isn’t going to make it so no matter what I happen to think.



…already was

In my opinion, this is a ridiculous question and demonstrates why we need better education in the humanities.

Why do you find the question ridiculous?

To me, philosophy is like the trunk of the tree that sciences form. So to me is kind of part of science. So your question is will this trunk eventually stop and the “tree” only grows outward. I don’t know, but if I had to guess, I think the trunk will go on forever.

(Yes, this is simplified and science is more a network than a tree, but its structure is not perfectly homogeneous and philosophy kind of act as a trunk to me.)

Yes, philosophy is the base

Science for the most part is applied and structured philosophy. Every science has philosophical implications to them. Knowledge generation will always have to interact with philosophical discourse given that nothing in this universe is a “given”. Everything needs to be and can be questioned in a manner that doesn’t work well with any currently structured framework or methodology of approach, whether it be in science or mathematics.

Aside from that, a lot of ethical and political problems in the world, by their nature, need to begin their studies in a philosophical fashion. Whether they ultimately use mathematics and science to conclude their framework is a different conversation as a whole.

@altair222 But religion, which is complete opposite of science and scientific method also stem from philosophy. Humanities, which may or may not involve science also stems from philosophy.

This makes philosophy not part of capital S “Science”.

As for @tomasz’s question, no, I don’t think so, not completely. Science is almost all-powerful, that’s true. But only almost. There are blind spots to it, sometimes it’s too strict for its own good, especially around the edges, where there’s either too much (think society) or too little (thinkpersonal, subjective stuff) data, the method starts to fail. So, treacheruos and dark arts-y it may be at times, there will still be room for philosophy and things like humanities.

What is capital s “science” per se? Do you mean academic research?

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