Is it really that important to be considering philosophy when we are discussing science? Isn’t this something of a sideshow for those with a special interest in such things? Emphatically not! Thinking about philosophy before we interpret scientific data is in fact vital, since our presuppositions will colour what kind of explanations are regarded as acceptable. For example, if we tried to detect X-rays using only an optical light detector, then we would conclude that X-rays do not exist – but we’d be wrong. Similarly, if we restrict our explanations to material ones alone then we may be missing something, especially if material explanations fail on principle to deliver a satisfactory explanation – for example in explaining the origin of information.
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