Galileo

Episode Six – Questions About Dwayne, Ashna And The Show

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Dwayne
Yes, and Aristotle for providing a complete and largely rational philosophical system, the first in history. Plato was the first to present a complete philosophical system, but Aristotle presented the first rational one. Without the contributions of Aristotle, there would have been no Renaissance and likely no Ayn Rand.

I would also add to the list Aquinas for bringing the work of Aristotle back to the Western World during the Middle Ages. Thus making it possible for the West to rediscover reason and consequently make the Renaissance possible.

Aristotle bust

Not many men can lay claim to making the modern world possible. However, Aristotle can.

Ashna
And let’s not forget Thales for being the first known philosopher in the Greek tradition. As well as the “Father of Science”. He is the first known person to attempt to explain natural phenomena by appealing to non-supernatural explanations.

Granted, we no longer agree with all of his explanations, but I think we can cut the guy from about 2600 years ago some slack. He was the first to try, that is what really counts.

I must say, these are all inspiring individuals! But let’s talk about some of our least favorite figures in science and philosophy, to put it mildly.

Dwayne
Ah yes, putting it mildly indeed, as you will see. Unfortunately, I have far more of these than I would like. I will name some of my arch-enemies here.

To start off, Bohr was a devout disciple of Kant and believed that you cannot know physical reality, only mathematical appearances. Heisenberg essentially agreed and worked as a loyal disciple.

Ashna
Got to mention Einstein, who in his youth, was a major advocate of a kind of Kantian subjectivism and mathematical appearances and this taints his work, especially relativity.

Then there’s Hawking who is a fairly typical modern rationalist. Not to mention his fatalistic and silly ramblings about aliens, man destroying himself and other nonsense.

Dwayne
Max Tegmark is a supreme example of a Platonic rationalist. This guy seriously believes that existence is a special kind of multiverse. In his system, each different universe is a different kind of mathematical structure.

If it sounds like something from Plato’s Timaeus, that is only because that is probably where he stole that idea off from.

Ashna
What about the mathematicians?

Dwayne
Well, there’s Cantor for his awful work on infinity, which causes a lot of massive and horrible confusion to this day.

Ashna
And Kurt Gödel,  for his Incompleteness Theorems which are a senseless objection to the validity of mathematical principles and an attempt to justify the existence of unprovable truths.

Dwayne
Yeah, this seems like a pretty small list, with only two people. Several other mathematicians, mostly for their extreme rationalism, could go on this list. But, these two stand out for more interesting reasons.

Ashna
Also, some of the other mathematicians that qualify are already in the philosophy section. There are many philosophy figures that could go on the list of arch-nemeses.

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