Recent discussion at NewAPPS prompted an interesting reflection by Clark Glymour. [Thanks to Hannes Leitgeb for the pointer. I have two important criticisms of the piece: a) not all philosophy worth defending needs to be redeemed by science; b) there were very brave Continental philosophers [Camus, Jaspers, etc], so that part of the piece should be ignored. But about these some other time more.] What I like about Glymour's approach, and he says it very elegantly (one can almost miss it), is that philosophers also have a role as critic(s) of ongoing science but not the scientific ideal. Anyway, here's the final, very controversial paragraph of Glymour's piece:
"Salvation? Were I a university administrator facing a contracting budget, I would not look to eliminate biosciences or computer engineering. I would notice that the philosophers seem smart, but their writings are tediously incestuous and of no influence except among themselves, and I would conclude that my academy could do without such a department. (Phi Beta Kappa would protest, of course.) But not if I found that my philosophy department retrieved a million dollars a year in grants and fellowships, and contained members whose work is cited and used in multiple subjects, and whose faculty taught the traditional subject well to the university’s undergraduates. I am in such a department, and I will never again be a university administrator, but the time is here when many university administrators are in fact in the situation I imagine, and some of them may come to conclusions like mine."