Okie dokie, let’s get it on. Regarding this idea of “exactness,” do you think there is a way that inexactness could be of benefit to exactness? Godel, a celebrated mathematician, suggested that the greater truths are arrived at primarily through intuition, after which we apply our exacting methods to make sense of them or ready them for practical use. Of course, his theorem also demonstrated there is no formal system in which every mathematical truth is provable. So maybe ultimately there is no such quality as perfect “exactness” in reality (which seems confirmed by quantum behaviors). So here we are, and we have a website where we can trade ideas and learn. Your suggested criterion for types of forums is “exactness.” Why is that? Is it that inexact methods of thinking have no place in the world of science? Or is it that you personally like things neat and tidy, decided, without openings, without variation . . . ? If so, is that because that’s what’s best for being a good thinker, or is it because precision helps you feel more secure or competent or some other personal-comfort preference? It is common for people who've specialized in an area of knowledge to evaluate egocentrically. Sometimes they justify their views by giving a brilliant account of their own position juxtaposed against some superficial account (at best) of what they are viewing with disdain. Tell the truth, how much exactly do you know about philosophy, or even how it has shaped the practice of science which you esteem? Maybe you've only been exposed to poor philosophy. If I got my science from my friends at my racquetball club, I'd think science was everything from psychic phenomena to time travel. It seems strange to me that you are concerned about philosophy being “open to a lot of possible discussions.” If you step out of your world of physics and look around, you can see the vast majority of people are engaged in activities other than science. But I'd bet you would agree that most people would be better off, and the world too, if they did know more science. How do we get science more infused into the general population? I think two things are needed. The first is that people need to see the relevance of science to their everyday lives. Toward this end our growing dependence on technology, as well as efforts by the media for the last decade, have been helping substantially. Some of the Nova, National Geographic, Discovery Channel etc. specials, along with newspaper and magazine articles, help to make science both more palatable and demonstrate its relevance to our everyday lives. The second thing I believe that needs to happen is where philosophy can play a role, and that is people need to understand how to reason with an empirical mind. Just being realistic about this, most people are not going to study science much beyond what’s required to graduate from school, or think about it as much as they do what it takes to live. In everything they do, and that includes work, raising children, diet and exercise, religious issues, socializing, voting, etc., they have to think. How do they make decisions? Do they know how to think about the variety of issues in their lives using facts and reason together? Do they know how to decide what is genuine evidence? Do they understand the force their own psychology, social conditioning, competitive pressures, etc. can have on objectivity? We have the scientists busy in their laboratories, and we have a world population roaring along using what science discovers but without the intellectual skills that were employed to develop those tools. We can take that technology and decimate a country in months or even days, but have we employed good thinking in deciding to do so? Getting back to philosophy, in the past philosophy has been rationalistic, meaning people believed one could arrive at truth by reason alone. They thought some truths were self-evident, and that just by virtue of existing we could understand reality if our reason was correct. When empirical concepts hit the philosophy world, the fate of the old rationalistic approach was sealed. IMO it never contributed much to human knowledge to begin with (other than logic and to practice thinking “outside the box”), so the contrast to achievements through empirical methods exposed rationalism’s impotence. There are still plenty of “formally” rationalistic believers around, they show up at PF periodically (if you want to see a site packed with them, try philosophyforums.com). Also, I believe the average person is “informally” rationalistic in that they think too much with what’s in their head, and without sufficient reference to reality. It has been my personal goal (unauthorized to be sure) to fight it here because I think it is a dead end. I think we have an opportunity at PF to elevate philosophy to new standard, one where philosophies are linked to evidence. I admit my standard for evidence is broader than most scientists. I’d allow any consistently reported experience to serve as the empirical aspect from which to philosophize (e.g., certain “inner” experiences), while scientific empiricism is based solely on sense experience. You are right, that is far from the “exactness” of the practice of science, but so what? Don’t you want to see people’s ideas for this planet more influenced by evidence-based thinking? I am suggesting that the clannish empirical thinkers at PF come out of their “exact science” cave and join humanity with all its inexact issues which nonetheless need (in some cases, desperately) clearer thinking and better decision-making.