I have always had a love affair with philosophy.
There is something about it that captivates me. I do not refer just to the pre-Socratics, but also to the field as a whole. So it saddens me to see that there is a certain disdain for philosophy among science majors and pre-med undergraduates. If you bring up philosophy in a conversation, it's not unlikely that you will encounter at least a handful of students who scoff at the idea that, yes, philosophy is still relevant.
I understand the increased drive to reach unadulterated empiricism. It is a reaction to the rampant anti-intellectualism that grips many Americans, such as those who still deny the science supporting climate change.
Science, I am sorry to say, does not have all the answers. Just like every other field, it has its limits. We cannot derive everything from experience, and philosophy is not dead.
For example, science cannot determine human values. Empiricism cannot determine why we ought to act morally, nor why we ought to value human happiness over human misery. We cannot create an experiment that tests the nature of Truth or the obtainability of knowledge.
Moreover, there is a utilitarian benefit to answering those "unanswerable" questions for which philosophy is infamously known. While it is very true that we may never reach a consensus about what the meaning of life is (if there is any), such questions give us the tools we can use to critically think about other problems that have more immediate pragmatic effects. These questions also reveal a lot about the way human beings think. If we never posed these questions, we would be missing out on a critical part of human nature as it can be explored through philosophy alone.
And finally, we have the ever-necessary field of ethics. As we perpetually encroach the field of biomedical enhancements, we find a range of ethical problems associated with their implementation. More immediately we find that doctors and scientists need to act ethically, or determine why they ought to act ethically. These are questions in the realm of philosophy and not in that of science.
Philosophy will never become irrelevant. It is about asking questions, exploring the universe and ourselves, and looking closely at Reason that, somehow, so binds the universe together.
How could we not value that? This search is at the heart of every good scientist.