E.O. Wilson: Science, not philosophy, will explain the meaning of existence


Well, in remarks that I’m pretty sure are guaranteed to rile up philosophers, E.O. Wilson, who apparently has a new book out on the meaning of human existence, disses both philosophy and religion, saying that scientists will provide the meaning of of existence.

I can agree with a lot of what Wilson says in this video.  Many insights into who and what we are will come from evolutionary biology, paleontology, archaeology, brain sciences (neuroscience and psychology), and AI and robotics.  (I do find it odd that Wilson dismisses molecular biology since it seems increasingly evident that life is a molecular, and at times quantum, phenomena.)  I also can agree that astrophysicists are often eager to prognosticate on meaning while typically having little more insight than educated laypeople.

But Wilson’s blanket dismissal of philosophy strikes me as lazy pigeonholing of a vast array of intellectual activity based on its worst examples.  Sure…

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