Help me wrap my brain around this tweet. I can’t grok it.
Philosophers' historic failure to anticipate Darwin is a severe indictment of philosophy. Happy Darwin Day!
— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) February 12, 2014
Philosophers’ historic failure to anticipate Darwin is a severe indictment of philosophy. Happy Darwin Day!
John Wilkins isn’t helping.
— John S. Wilkins (@john_s_wilkins) February 12, 2014
Likewise, scientists’ failure to anticipate The Beatles is a severe indictment on science.
Don’t you mean Pink Floyd, John?
Also, since Charles Darwin’s grandfather Erasmus was a philosopher and poet, and since his work did anticipate (incompletely) evolution, couldn’t we say that a philosopher actually did anticipate Darwin, and he was a Darwin too? We could also declare that the poets got there first.
And since Darwin considered himself a natural philosopher, couldn’t we also say that a philosopher did more than anticipate, but actually came up with Darwin’s theory of evolution?
Darwin appreciated philosophy, but also thought it essential to include experiment and observation. In his Autobiography he actually praised his education in philosophy.
Again in my last year I worked with some earnestness for my final degree of B.A., and brushed up my Classics together with a little Algebra and Euclid, which latter gave me much pleasure, as it did whilst at school. In order to pass the B.A. examination, it was, also, necessary to get up Paley’s Evidences of Christianity, and his Moral Philosophy. This was done in a thorough manner, and I am convinced that I could have written out the whole of the Evidences with perfect correctness, but not of course in the clear language of Paley. The logic of this book and as I may add of his Natural Theology gave me as much delight as did Euclid. The careful study of these works, without attempting to learn any part by rote, was the only part of the Academical Course which, as I then felt and as I still believe, was of the least use to me in the education of my mind.
He also respected William Whewell, a philosopher (and a theologian. Christ, we’re screwed here!).
Dr. Whewell was one of the older and distinguished men who sometimes visited Henslow, and on several occasions I walked home with him at night. Next to Sir J. Mackintosh he was the best converser on grave subjects to whom I ever listened.
Whewell is also the guy who invented the term “scientist” to describe practitioners of a specific branch of…philosophy. I guess it was a philosopher who anticipated scientists.
And, apparently, Darwin’s shipmates on the Beagle called him “philosopher”!
The first Lieutenant, however, said to me: “Confound you, philosopher, I wish you would not quarrel with the skipper; the day you left the ship I was dead-tired (the ship was refitting) and he kept me walking the deck till midnight abusing you all the time.
So I am confused. How can anyone use Darwin Day as an excuse to indict philosophy? It’s as if I used my birthday as an opportunity to cuss out my dad.