I've been reading a little bit of philosophy this week (Coppleston, I'm afraid). This, coupled with some recent comments by John Derbyshire on The Corner, reminds me of a thesis which I have long been convinced of. Let me explain briefly. Derbyshire has been responding to a number of emails from people about the subject of Intelligent Design. He has said publicly that ID has nothing to do with "science", at least the way he understands the two things. In responding to the emails he received about this, Derbyshire has stated that he has no training in, nor interest in philospohy. He has an interest in what scientists actually think and do, and based on that, thinks that ID is a side issue.
While I feel competely incompetent to argue about science/design/philosophy/theology issues (as they relate to each other), it reminds me of my thesis about philosophy as an acadmic practice. My thesis is that academic philosophers should be required to take on some sort of interest outside of philosophy proper with the idea of being able to make contributions to that field. While scientists (as one example) are certainly free to dabble in philosophy to their hearts content, I think it would still be valuable to the science community to have a very careful philosopher look at their field. It may often be the case that the conclusions scientists draw from their work are unwarranted, or that their starting theses are dependant on untenable premises.
The subject of cosmology/origins/design seems to be one particular area where I think a great deal of care and rigor would be valuable.