Why Physics?

The question has come up in class, as it inevitably does in philosophy, what the relationship is between philosophy and physics. This seems relevant since most students who are taking a first philosophy course are surprised to find physics questions central to the beginnings of philosophy with the Greeks. Generally, the subject matter of philosophy includes all other subjects, including physics, while the individual subjects do not necessarily include philosophy. (One exception to this is the Sociology of Philosophies.) For example, in large departments of philosophy, there is usually a philosophy of religion course or program of study. There are, as far as I know, no courses offered on the religion of philosophy. This is a bit more complicated today, since William James wrote "The Varieties of the Religious Experience" to also study religion from a scientific point of view. So, today we have the psychology of religion, the scientific study of religion, the sociology of religion, and the anthropology of religion. (See for example Pascal Boyer's recent book "Religion Explained." Religion Explained)

Of course, the definition of physics has changed. Originally used by the Greeks it seems to be more what we call Nature in English today instead of the narrower science of physics.

Notice too the next level up would be chemistry. Then perhaps the gene? See the new book...


This page is maintained by William S. Jamison. It was last updated July 11, 2016. All links on these pages are either to open source or public domain materials or they are marked with the appropriate copyright information. I frequently check the links I have made to other web sites but each source is responsible for their own content.