1. Which field is closer to the truth? Philosophy or science?

  2. What is the position of philosophy in human civilization now? Is it something like classical music now — we never invent, we just play the previous guy's works?

  3. If 2 is true, then why? is it because we are relatively incapable of developing new philosophy now? Or we no longer have time to think of them?

  • 2
    "Classical music" is dead because we call "classical music" the music produced before 20th Century... In general, music is alive and well. Jan 12, 2017 at 8:48
  • 1
    "Philosophy" is not dead: contempoarry philosophy is quite "active" : Rorty, Nagel, Foucault, Deleuze, Habermas,... Jan 12, 2017 at 8:49
  • "which field is closer to the truth?" In general, the question makes little sense... Science has nothing to sat about, say, the ngood, the beautiful, etc, and at the same time it is quite hard to imagine to design the landing on Mars using some philosophiocal theory. Jan 12, 2017 at 8:53
  • i'm agree that music is not good metaphor, yes nowadays there is still philosophy lesson in the college, i am the one which stuck in the previous philosophers. so , what is the answer of the last question
    – SKLTFZ
    Jan 12, 2017 at 9:12
  • 4
    I'd just like to point out that classical music is very much alive: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contemporary_classical_music
    – E...
    Jan 12, 2017 at 17:13

3 Answers 3


Both will help you to find the truth. Science will help you to find conventional truths. Philosophy will guide you to find the Ultimate Truth. But the path must be right. Even Philosophy can only show you the path. For the Ultimate Truth you should help yourself.

See the Bhagavad Gita 6.5

Though the verses in this link is science as per the Gita (I also like to treat so), for the main question, it is better to consider them as part of philosophy. The implication of the main question compels me to treat so.

I don't know, but believe that the words of Jesus Christ — “Knock and the door will be opened to you” convey the same meaning.

  1. Philosophy can make up (or it is for making up) the limitations of science. So philosophy is closer in finding the Ultimate Truth (as well as conventional truths).

  2. I don't know the present state of classical music in all countries. But it is perfect in some countries (Eg. India). In India, "the previous guy work" was scientific and precious. So I would like to say 'Yes'. I have heard about its miracles. For some basics, read about Indian classical music.

  3. It is not because of lack of time. Some philosophers have termed that knowledge as Vedanta — means "the end of knowledge".

So one who realizes it knows that it is the end of knowledge. Otherwise some great philosophers of that category would have changed that term.

  • what is the meaning of "ultimate truth"? is it the truth of everything? if yes, is it possible to be understood by a single person. if no, then how can someone can define the previous philosophy as the end of knowledge (he properly is not capable to do so except he is the one who reached the end). in my opinion ultimate truth isn't very possible to be understood by someone as it is definitely state of affair. it should be changing according to different prospective and knowledge that someone has, i don't it is possible to know it entirely.
    – SKLTFZ
    Apr 5, 2017 at 3:46
  • in my opinion truth for human is something similar as color for human, kinda objective but there is definitely a real object color exists. just human unable to has the ability or receiver or indicator to say 1. rather or not the color we knew is the color of the real color "ultimately", 2. rather what we know is the real color of the object, 3. rather or not we knew the entire spectrum of colors, 4. rather or not the color is blurred or transparent which could also affect our prospective of the object itself
    – SKLTFZ
    Apr 5, 2017 at 4:02
  • should say that as human is limited by human itself, i do believe thought can be unlimited, but it is still very objective and i highly doubt it can be someone capable to define "the end of knowledge" for something "ultimately".
    – SKLTFZ
    Apr 5, 2017 at 4:04
  • Sorry. I saw your question only today. 'What is the meaning of "ultimate truth"?' ~ All the truths we understand with the help of our senses, intellect etc. can only be conventional truths; and they will change. The truth which can never change only is the ultimate truth. He who realizes it realizes that it can never change and is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. So no problem arises. The usage -- 'satcitananda' indirectly indicates that it is the ultimate -- the end of knowledge. Oct 7, 2021 at 15:27

Hegel in one of his books mentioned that in his time there was a 'rage' for poetry, and then a 'rage' for philosophy; strangely enough, in his Phenomenology there is a good deal of theorising about chemistry; interesting too, because Newton pursued Alchemy; which suggests that it was a bearer of philosophical thought in way that it isn't today.

Intellectual pursuits are as much beholden to fashion, as fashion is; except of course in different ways ie modalities.

Having said this, there has been a break in the Western tradition (according to Adorno and Arendt), and philosophy (and science) as a result has suffered; Heidegger thought philosophy would be pursued with a small p.

Much science today, is Big Science; pursued with a big S; its end is practical rather than theoretical - which is no bad thing as we live in a Big Society; I mean, complex and sophisticated. Science, in the sense of going behind that appearances of things has always been fraught and difficult (what is the appearance of things in every age and epoch is different).



Philosophy.SE is a strange place. Many people seem to come here with a certain preconception about what it is that philosophers do. Many people come to SE sites like Stack Overflow or Mathematica looking for answers, and so they come here to Philosophy.SE expecting the same. That's often a mistake.

I Get Grandiose

Philosophy isn't in the business of giving answers. It's not even in the business of asking questions. It's really no business at all.

All philosophers (well, most— there are exceptions to every rule) started out as a subset of the many people who, at some point in their lives, saw something, or were told something, or read something, and immediately thought to themselves "that can't be right." The ones who are in the business of philosophy, took that nagging feeling and made it their career. We're not happy with letting things being stated we feel are wrong or incorrect go unaddressed. We get so irritated that we argue with everyone about it and write about it and do our damnedest to prove why that just can't be true.

Sure, it may seem like Spinoza or Wittgenstein have tried to explain the whole world from the bottom up, but what they were really trying to do was to refute ... well, everyone. This is why, by the way, most 101 classes like to begin with Descartes. He's really good at giving people that same itchy feeling that he's dead wrong, and (supposedly) reasonably easy to refute, as bait for new students.

What Was Your Question, Again? Oh, Right.

In the respect that philosophy is taught, what education focuses on is understanding two things:

First, how that feeling of being misled could be the result of your simply having failed to grasp what set you off in the first place.

Second, having confirmed you understand the opinion or situation that seems wrong, how to prove it.

Does this help us get at the truth? Sort of. It may help us recognize that when we think we've grasped the truth and we're wrong, we (ought to) know better how to disabuse ourselves of the notion. It may improve our ability to express why some ideas or opinions are incorrect. If there is a truth "out there" in the world, then chances are that by rejecting everything wrong, we'll get there eventually. Or not; it depends on the assumption that there is some grand truth in an absolute sense which could possibly be revealed sometime. It's also entirely possible that the hunt is endless, and we'll be whittling away at our conceptual mistakes until the end of time, or at least the end of us.

But "science" and scientists are, by and large, concerned with a very different sort of itch. Rather than being led by the sense that something's wrong, they're led by wanting to know how the world works. The scientific method measures this knowledge in a clearly defined and very reasonable way: by making predictions. If you can make predictions based on reasons, and abandon your reasons when the prediction fails, you're doing science. If you think the reasons aren't credibly connected to their predictions— that would be philosophy again.

Too Long, Didn't Read

So which pursuit is more concerned with the truth, Science or Philosophy, based on all that? There's the answer to your question.

Yes, the header was false. Sorry about that.

Some Parting Advice and Supporting Materials

If you want to understand how the universe works, study astrophysics. How government and power works? Study political science. How to live a good life? Find a mentor. What the human condition is? Anthropology and economics. Business? Entomology. (I kid)

If philosophy can be categorized a study at all, I happen to like Paul Redding's definition best (published in that bastion of academia, The Guardian 16 Dec 2013):

As a first, crude attempt, I’ll describe philosophical work as work with and on "concepts". Philosophers are concerned with concepts in the same rigorous sort of way that, say, a pathologist is concerned with diseases, or a mathematician with numbers. [..]

Concepts are not the contents of so-called thought-bubbles. They are the hinges or links of reasoning processes. They describe those aspects of thought that enables it to make the right connections: connections with the rest of the world; with other thoughts; and with actions. I use the word "right" here to indicate the possibility of getting these connections wrong. (emphasis mine).

That Second Part of Your Question I Nearly Glossed Over

The reason we see so much prior philosophy in training isn't because we make no progress, but because they're proven training materials.

There is no yardstick to measure what counts as progress in philosophy by. We're not really in the business of inventing new ideas (that would make us artists), and certainly not in the business of making new predictions. If there's any progress in philosophy at all, it's individual. Progress for a philosopher can best be measured by every new perspective he or she can bring to bear on any concept.

But insofar as humanity comes up with new false concepts, such as linking race with behavior, or justice as the majority opinion, or pain and joy as unreal— we'll be there. Not so much defending something known to be true, but tearing down everything false.

Just don't blame us if we pull down everything wrong in the world, and then find out there's nothing left behind it.

  • if philosophy is something like you mentioned such as "it is individual", "it separates and no bonding between science","you should not include practical thing to philosophy like science, economic, anthropology" , in these cases, i think you are trying to isolate philosophy from the entire world. your state of affair in this model of philosophy is very narrow and possible to have breakthrough.
    – SKLTFZ
    Jan 15, 2017 at 5:22
  • i am not trying to find the answer in philosophy SE. philosophy for me has only 1 purpose, which is thinking, i asks for opinions, in order to enhances my knowledge (especially in philosophy SE, it never gives actual benefit). and i do not understand how to isolate philosophy from my knowledge base. i always trying to find the associations or traits, and conclude reasons among science, philosophy, chaos theory, physics, machine learning and game theory. and yes, it is not philosophy according to you.
    – SKLTFZ
    Jan 15, 2017 at 5:28
  • i believe. all complexities that generate from the actual world, is because the changing of the state of affairs, as we are in the 4 dimensions, we will be affected by time. and the truth is the initial algorithms of the object itself. in the above sentence, it includes multiple domain of knowledge. but the entire sentence is philosophical explaining complexity ( i think). instead of some redefinition of terms
    – SKLTFZ
    Jan 15, 2017 at 5:33
  • @SKLTFZ If you know the answer, why ask the question?
    – Ryder
    Jan 17, 2017 at 14:43
  • no, i dont think i knew the answer, i just described my thought.
    – SKLTFZ
    Jan 17, 2017 at 18:54

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