Professor Stephen Hawking’s famous claim that “philosophy is dead”, brutally forced into the reader without any form of foreplay whatsoever right from the first page of his 2010 book “The Grand Design” (co-written with Leonard Mlodinow), is still causing philosophers to moan in pain in academic boudoirs all over the world. This generalized disgruntlement among philosophers, which found themselves so suddenly confronted with the very real possibility of losing their cozy grants and thus having to step into the untold dangers lurking outside their faculties to hunt for a real job, has overshadowed the true service that Professor Hawking has paid Philosophy. Far from killing it, what he in fact did was revolutionize it. And we at The Philosophical Times would be grossely remiss if we let such a revolution slip unnoticed.
One must begin by putting Hawking’s earth-shattering claim in context. For while it is true that he did claim that philosophy is dead, it is also true that he immediately sprang (the only way he can, of course, which is metaphorically) into all-out philosophical speculation immediatly after doing it. Just to skim over this issue very briefly, let us remember that his “model-dependent realism” theory, unoriginal and common-place among philosophers and physicists as it is, is still nothing more than epistemology, which last time we checked remained strongly embedded in that particular field of thought which should by now, according to Hawking’s view, be just another corpse rotting in the common grave of Humanity's most embarrassing mistakes, such as alchemy, heliocentrism and disco.
Moreover, it must be noted that Hawking spends quite a bit of time in his book arguing that M-theory is the most likely candidate for becoming a viable “theory of everything”. The thing is, while Hawking admits that it is unclear what the “M” in “M-theory” stands for, it is quite obvious that it must stand for “Metaphysical”. This is a fair assumption since all that Hawking does in proposing it is to take good old-fashioned metaphysics, dress it up in drag and call it “elegant theoretical physics”. The problem with this attempt - heroic as it undoubtedly is - is that metaphysics is far too old to fool anyone just because somebody managed to fit it into a sparkling mathematical mini-skirt. Quite simply put, it may impress gullible physicists drooling over it and frantically trying to make it dance a little more boldly by stuffing peer-reviewed papers in its bra, but for anyone with a minimal amount of philosophical training, well… we can see its balls hanging.
What this means is that instead of losing their tempers and raising their feeble fists in anger against Hawking, what every philosopher in the world should be doing is praise the man endlessly. For in effect, what he did was not “kill” philosophy as he leads the unnatentive reader to believe, but rather to gracefully unite it with physics and, in doing so, bring a priori philosophical contemplation into the XXI century. Now, thanks to Hawking, the time of the old armchair philosophy is finally over and a new era has dawned: the era of the electronic wheelchair philosophy. Well done, sir. Well done.