In his failure to exercise modesty in his pursuit of scientific knowledge, Hawking makes a particularly startling claim - that "philosophy is dead". From Plato and Aristotle to Maimonides and Aquinas to Kant and Hegel, Hawking dismisses how the human mind across cultures and millennia has reflected on transcendence and humanity's place in a vast universe. Hawking's lack of humility before this endeavour is staggering. In her Absence of Mind, Marilynne Robinson rightly states that this approach to science excludes "the whole enterprise of metaphysical thought", despite metaphysical reflection being a defining characteristic of the human experience.
"My main objective was to be a jazz-playing clown. That kind of worked out."