Two very different questions, and the second question has two parts that have different answers. First, the first part of your second question: "Are Stephen Hawking and Lawrence Krauss right when they say that philosophy is dead..." Clearly this is a opinionated statement suggesting that science has replaced philosophy in many aspects, perhaps meant as a nod to Friedrich Nietzsche's famous "God is Dead" statement. Has science replaced some areas where people used to turn to philosophy? I would say so. Just like science has replaced religion when it has filled our gaps of the unknown, science has done the same for more secular philosophical ideas such as some moral questions dealing with our propensity to risk our lives for others. The second part of the question, "...and science is the best method in understanding the universe?" I would also agree, but with a caveat that I will explain in a bit.
"Does philosophy have anything useful to offer in the 21st century?" Of course. Don't forget that science is based on "the philosophy of science," in other words, the foundation of science itself is a philosophy. In addition, there are still many questions that are beyond the scope of scientific inquiry. Without philosophy, what's left? Religion, which, is in itself a philosophy, so technically that isn't even left. Some people argue that even moral issues can be determined scientifically—I strongly disagree. Science can inform morality, but not the underlying philosophy. How do we define morality? What is the best-possible world? How do we handle moral dilemmas? The list of questions go on, and this is just on the topic of morality. Science may be the best method for understanding the universe, but only for scientific issues and that does not mean we can get rid of philosophy.
Philosophy is not dead. It may have been overshadowed by science as of late, but it is alive and kicking, and in my opinion, will continue to kick for the foreseeable future.
Bo Bennett, PhD
My Latest Book: https://www.uncomfortable-ideas.com
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