The Philosophy of Science

Renyuan Dong
Renyuan Dong Author Interview

Rainstorm of Tomorrow shares your provocative philosophical insights on truth, ethics, and aesthetics. Why was this an important book for you to write?

“Philosophy is dead,” declared Stephen Hawking in agreement with many others. “As philosophers have not kept up with science, their art is dated.” However, if we refer to the history of how humans pursue knowledge, we will not find that different disciplines replaced one another in sequence. It is not that the wilt of religion gave rise to philosophy, or that the denouement of philosophy set the stage for science—nor is the world segmented into discrete, incompatible disciplinary fields. Every discipline is a language capable of encompassing all phenomena in the world. Each speaks with a unique voice. In practice, however, we rarely lean on one discipline alone to explain everything around us. For example, we are not likely to use the language of physics—despite its sufficiency—to restore psychological activities to the interminable and trivial interactions of physical particles, on account of its low efficiency and incapacity to provide us with a holistic view. With the advancement of disciplinary differentiation in today’s segmented and atomistic society, individual pieces of knowledge are often restrained to the little patch of his/her given specialty. For one to grasp the world in an all-encompassing picture, we need to weave the threads of different disciplines together. That tapestry is called the philosophy of science. I wish for my book to help by presenting this tapestry.

What is a common misconception you feel people have about ethical behavior?

Many people refuse to admit that human behavior is dominated by utilitarianism due to their misunderstanding of its deceptive principle of “gaining advantage and avoiding harm,” which is not mercenary or departs from ethics as it may intuitively sound. In reality, we often find that the behavior of people who thirst for quick success and instant rewards departs from the doctrines of utilitarianism, while other behavior that is seemingly absent of desires complies with the teachings of utilitarianism in unexpected ways.

The chapter The Conformity to Utilitarianism by Anti-Utilitarian Events and the Violation of Utilitarianism by Utilitarian Events elaborates on various misunderstandings of utilitarianism. To name a few:

I. The judgment of utilitarianism is not based on consequentialism. Nor is it founded upon the common misunderstanding of Hegelianism.

II. The dialectic of utilitarianism lies in the fact that some behavior and strategies that are unprofitable in the short term are ultimately utilitarian with regard to their far-reaching benefits; other behavior or strategies that arise from a desire for quick success and instant benefits are anti-utilitarian in the long term

III. Utilitarianism demonstrates the unity of opposites through the fact that most practices that deviate from mainstream values are utilitarian for the very reason of their scarcity.

What were some ideas that were important for you to explore in this book?

Rainstorm of Tomorrow: The Ever-Flowing Banquet of Philosophy dexterously weaves the storied philosophical themes of truth, ethics, and aesthetics together with the theories of relativity, quantum mechanics, neuroscience, epigenetics, social Darwinism, utilitarianism, evolutionary psychology, and modern art—from the soberest rationality to the wildest conjecture—to generate provocative or even alienating discourse on topics that readers might otherwise regard themselves as being familiar with and challenge them to re-think any settled positions that are taken for granted. Some key questions and provocative insights presented in this book include:

(I) Is the world knowable? – a metaphorical explanation by the tree growing into the soil with its roots buried in the air

(II) Does Utilitarianism overthrow free will? – the corralled “Free Will”

(III) Why do human of different cultural and ethnical backgrounds develop similar ideas and knowledge? – memory inheritance through “the encephalic waterpipe”

What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?

Do not hesitate at the brink of a step into the “unknown” when exploring the world.

The way that human civilization advances is sometimes described as the Red Queen’s race. In a room that is constantly rolling backward, “it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that.” While humans, as a front runner, satisfy themselves by being at the head of the room and exploiting the other livestock for their welfare, hardly anyone knows what happens to those who do run twice as fast and step outside the room. Maybe they broke into another room of greater elimination speed and fiercer competition. Embattled by endless challenges and triumphs, they may lose themselves in the heavy fog of nihilism. Nihility is a pack of opportunistic wolves lurking in the shadows, leaving restless hunters in ravenous hollows. To eat or be eaten, hunters set out on a journey that is at once futile, halfway, and paradoxical. They scaled a mountain and turned back halfway, not because the scenery on the summit lacked beauty, but because it is just as beautiful. They hailed the sea to find no answer. No answer is the answer. They sold a field of flowers flowers and told the world of misery miseries. They exploited every possibility the world could offer but did not indulge in any of them. Until then, they were banners for an epiphany: how narrow the world is compared to the immense potential of what life could be. A pity that most men, for fear of a wolf attack, curl themselves up inside a tin box named purpose and significance.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | B&N

Rainstorm of Tomorrow: The Ever-Flowing Banquet of Philosophy dexterously weaves the storied philosophical themes of truth, ethics, and aesthetics together with the theories of relativity, quantum mechanics, neuroscience, epigenetics, social Darwinism, utilitarianism, evolutionary psychology, and modern art—from the soberest rationality to the wildest conjecture—to generate provocative or even alienated discourse on topics that readers might otherwise regard themselves as being familiar with, and challenge them into rethinking any settled positions that are taken for granted. Such provocative insights are represented by the three parts on truth, ethics, and aesthetics respectively:
(I) A reversed worldview—the tree growing into the soil with its roots buried in the air.
(II) The complexity of ethical behaviors—the conformity to utilitarianism by anti-utilitarian events and the violation of utilitarianism by seemingly utilitarian events.
(III) The establishment of universal aesthetics—memory inheritance through “the encephalic waterpipe.”

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Posted on September 23, 2021, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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