The questions that were purely in the realms of philosophy are now beginning to be answered by science. The second Venice Conference on Cosmology and Philosophy explores the anthropic principle which states that the Universe has the conditions we observe because we are here. Out of all possible universes we can only experience the restricted class that permits observers. This realization has profound implications for cosmology, philosophy and theology; all of which are explored in this (...) book by thirteen contributors who gathered to discuss and share their theories within the context of science. The result is a unique collection of papers of great value to professional astronomers and philosophers interested in the role of observers in the Universe. (shrink)
I argue that two components of Thomistic philosophy of nature (specifically, hylomorphism combined with a relational ontology of space) entail a core claim of big-bang cosmology. I then consider some implications of this fact for natural theology.
Analytical reflections on tasks and functions of philosophy in the modern world, as well as, efforts deriving novel vision of practically all areas of the philosophical thought may become sound only after consideration of the innovations with which modern natural science has crossed the 20—21 centuries boundary. Discoveries in astrophysics at the end of the 20th century offer new and unprecedented perceptions of our world. In this world only 4% of the total Universe energy is attributed to the known (...) forms of the matter, 20% constitutes “dark matter” and 76% is in “dark energy”. The first decade of the 21st century will go on record inhistory of the civilization as the one associated with breakthrough experiments shedding light on the nature of the mysterious types of the matter, and construction of the unified theory of field. It is safe to regard modern science to be on the verge of profound transformations. These changes are bound to alter our outside world comprehension, redefining human being’s place in it. That advances a set of new serious requirements to philosophy as a science that must present ability to adapt to provide adequate and meaningful methodological interpretations to anticipated discoveries. This article addresses the characteristic features of modern conceptual knowledge of the world, with an attempt of offering their philosophical and methodological comprehension. (shrink)
The cosmos exists just because of the ethical need for it We, and all the intricate structures of our universe, exist as thoughts in a divine mind that knows everything worth knowing. There could also be infinitely many other universes in this mind....It may be hard to believe that the universe is as Leslie says it is--but it is also hard to resist his compelling ideas and arguments.
This paper explores the extent to which the Confucian concept of ren (humaneness) has application in ways that are comparable tocontemporary versions of environmental virtue ethics. I argue that the accounts of self-cultivation that are developed in major texts of the Confucian tradition have important direct implications for environmental thinking that even the Neo-Confucians do not seriously entertain.
Part I: Archaeology and Anaximander's cosmic picture : an historical narrative -- Anaximander, architectural historian of the cosmos -- Why did Anaximander write a prose book rationalizing the cosmos? -- A survey of the key techniques that Anaximander observed at the architects building sites -- An imaginative visit to an ancient Greek building site -- Anaximander's cosmic picture : the size and shape of the earth -- The doxographical reports -- The scholarly debates over the text and its interpretations -- (...) The archaeological evidence -- Anaximander's cosmic picture : the homoios earth, 9, and the cosmic wheels -- The doxographical reports -- The scholarly debates over the text and its interpretations -- The archaeological evidence -- Anaximander's cosmic picture : the bellows and cosmic breathing -- The doxographical reports -- The scholarly debates over the text and its interpretations -- The archaeological evidence -- Anaximander's cosmic picture : the heavenly circle-wheels and the axis mundi -- The doxographical reports -- The scholarly debates over the text and its interpretations -- The archaeological evidence -- Anaximander's cosmic picture : reconstructing the seasonal sundial for the archaeologist's investigations -- The doxographical reports -- The scholarly debates over the text and its interpretations -- Reconstructing the sundial for the archaeologist's explorations -- Objecting arguments and summary -- Part about the origins of philosophy -- The problems : archaeology and the origins of philosophy -- The problem of philosophical rationality and cultural context -- The problem of archaeology and Greek philosophy -- What is the archaeologist theoretical frame when inferring ideas from artefacts from artifacts? -- A short historical overview of theoretical archaeology -- How is archaeology relevant to a philosopher's mentality? -- A synoptic overview of archaeological theory -- Post-processual or interpretative archaeology -- Some conclusions about archaeological interpretation -- The interpretative meaning of an object : grounding historical narratives in lived-experience -- The imaginative meaning of an artefact -- Philosophical strategies for making sense of the real -- The embodied ground of abstract and speculativethought -- The matter of mind : an archaeological approach to ancient -- John Dewey and William James on the context of consciousness -- Thinking through metaphor and the body of knowledge -- Archaeology and future research in ancient philosophy : the two methods -- The method of discovery -- The method of exposition -- The application of archaeology to ancient philosophy : metaphysical foundations and historical narratives -- The realism in narrative accounts -- The hopelessness of metaphysical realism -- Crafting a case for experiential realism : the argument of part II -- The presence of the past and the problem of the supracelestial thesis. (shrink)
Part of our fascination with the Maya can be attributed to the fact that they were literate . . . that is, the Classic Maya possessed a visible language that consisted of letters and a grammar, and one of the products of their literacy was the book. (Aveni 1992b, p.3).
This book is the first comprehensive attempt to explain Ibn ‘Arabî’s distinctive view of time and its role in the process of creating the cosmos and its relation with the Creator. By comparing this original view with modern theories of physics and cosmology, Mohamed Haj Yousef constructs a new cosmological model that may deepen and extend our understanding of the world, while potentially solving some of the drawbacks in the current models such as the historical Zeno's paradoxes of motion (...) and the recent Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox (EPR) that underlines the discrepancies between Quantum Mechanics and Relativity. (shrink)
This thought-provoking classic investigates how the Renaissance spirit fundamentally questioned and undermined medieval thought. Of value to students of literature, political theory, history of religious and Reformation thought, and the history of science.
A study of problems, all revolving around the subject of intellect in the philosophies of Alfarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes, this book starts by reviewing discussions in Greek and early Arabic philosophy which served as the background for the three Arabic thinkers. Davidson examines the cosmologies and theories of human and active intellect in the three philosophers and covers such subjects as: the emanation of the supernal realm from the First Cause; the emanation of the lower world from the transcendent (...) active intellect; stages of human intellect; illumination of the human intellect by the transcendent active intellect; conjunction of the human intellect with the transcendent active intellect; prophecy; and human immortality. Davidson shows that medieval Jewish philosophers and the Latin Scholastics had differing perceptions of Averroes because they happened to use works belonging to different periods of his philosophic career. (shrink)
Most scientists would hold that science has not established that the cosmos is physically comprehensible – i.e. such that there is some as-yet undiscovered true physical theory of everything that is unified. This is an empirically untestable, or metaphysical thesis. It thus lies beyond the scope of science. Only when physics has formulated a testable unified theory of everything which has been amply corroborated empirically will science be in a position to declare that it has established that the cosmos is (...) physically comprehensible. But this argument presupposes a widely accepted but untenable conception of science which I shall call standard empiricism. According to standard empiricism, in science theories are accepted solely on the basis of evidence. Choice of theory may be influenced for a time by considerations of simplicity, unity, or explanatory capacity, but not in such a way that the universe itself is permanently assumed to be simple, unified or physically comprehensible. In science, no thesis about the universe can be accepted permanently as a part of scientific knowledge independently of evidence. Granted this view, it is clear that science cannot have established that the universe is physically comprehensible. Standard empiricism is, however, as I have indicated, untenable. Any fundamental physical theory, in order to be accepted as a part of theoretical scientific knowledge, must satisfy two criteria. It must be (1) sufficiently empirically successful, and (2) sufficiently unified. Given any accepted theory of physics, endlessly many empirically more successful disunified rivals can always be concocted – disunified because they assert that different dynamical laws govern the diverse phenomena to which the theory applies. These disunified rivals are not considered for a moment in physics, despite their greater empirical success. This persistent rejection of empirically more successful but disunified rival theories means, I argue, that a big, highly problematic, implicit assumption is made by science about the cosmos, to the effect, at least, that the cosmos is such that all seriously disunified theories are false. Once this point is recognized, it becomes clear, I argue, that we need a new conception of science which makes explicit, and so criticizable and improvable the big, influential, and problematic assumption that is at present implicit in physics in the persistent preference for unified theories. This conception of science, which I call aim-oriented empiricism, represents the assumption of physics in the form of a hierarchy of assumptions. As one goes up the hierarchy, the assumptions become less and less substantial, and more and more nearly such that their truth is required for science, or the pursuit of knowledge, to be possible at all. At each level, that assumption is accepted which (a) best accords with the next one up, and (b) has, associated with it the most empirically progressive research programme in physics, or holds out the greatest hope of leading to such an empirically progressive research programme. In this way a framework of relatively insubstantial, unproblematic, fixed assumptions and associated methods is created, high up in the hierarchy, within which much more substantial and problematic assumptions and associated methods, low down in the hierarchy, can be changed, and indeed improved, as scientific knowledge improves. One assumption in this hierarchy of assumptions, I argue, is that the cosmos is physically comprehensible – that is, such that some yet-to-be-discovered unified theory of everything is true. Hence the conclusion: improve our ideas about the nature of science and it becomes apparent that science has already established that the cosmos is physically comprehensible – in so far as science can ever establish anything theoretical. (shrink)
The topic of this book is 'creation'. It breaks down into discussions of two distinct, but interrelated, questions: what does the universe look like, and what is its origin? The opinions about creation considered by Norbert Samuelson come from the Hebrew scriptures, Greek philosophy, Jewish philosophy, and contemporary physics. His perspective is Jewish, liberal, and philosophical. It is 'Jewish' because the foundation of the discussion is biblical texts interpreted in the light of traditional rabbinic texts. It is 'philosophical' (...) because the subject matter is important in both past and present philosophical texts, and to Jewish philosophy in particular. Finally, it is 'liberal' because the authorities consulted include heterodox as well as orthodox Jewish sources. The ensuing discussion leads to original conclusions about a diversity of topics, including the limits of human reason and religious faith, and the relevance of scientific models to religious doctrine. (shrink)
The spiritual geography of Russian cosmism. General characteristics ; Recent definitions of cosmism -- Forerunners of Russian cosmism. Vasily Nazarovich Karazin (1773-1842) ; Alexander Nikolaevich Radishchev (1749-1802) ; Poets: Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov, (1711-1765) and Gavriila Romanovich Derzhavin (1743-1816) ; Prince Vladimir Fedorovich Odoevsky (1803-1869) ; Aleksander Vasilyevich Sukhovo-Kobylin (1817-1903) -- The Russian philosophical context. Philosophy as a passion ; The destiny of Russia ; Thought as a call for action ; The totalitarian cast of mind -- The religious and (...) spiritual context. The kingdom of god on earth ; Hesychasm: two great Russian saints ; The Third Rome ; Pre-Christian antecedents -- The Russian esoteric context. Early searches for "deep wisdom" ; Popular magic ; Higher magic in the time of Peter the Great ; Esotericism after Peter the Great ; Theosophy and anthroposophy -- Nikolai Fedorovich Fedorov (1829-1903), the philosopher of the common task ; The one idea ; The unacknowledged prince ; The village teacher ; First disciple: Dostoevsky and Tolstoy ; The Moscow librarian ; Last years: Askhabad: the only portrait -- The "common task" ; Esoteric dimensions of the "common task" ; Fedorov's legacy: projectivism, delo, regulation -- The religious cosmists. Vladimir Sergeevich Solovyov (1853-1900) ; Sergei Nikolaevich Bulgakov (1871-1944) ; Pavel Aleksandrovich Florensky (1882-1937) ; Nikolai Aleksandrovich Berdyaev (1874-1948) -- The scientific cosmists. Konstantin Edouardovich Tsiolkovsky (1857-1935) ; Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky (1863-1945) ; Alexander Leonidovich Chizhevsky (1897-1964) ; Vasily Feofilovich Kuprevich (1897-1969) -- Promethean theurgy. Life-creation ; Cultural immortalism ; God-building ; Re-aiming the arrows of Eros ; Technological utopianism ; Occultism -- Fedorov's twentieth century followers. Nikolai Pavlovich Peterson (1844-1919) and Vladimir Aleksandrovich Kozhevnikov (1852-1917) ; Svyatogor and the biocosmists ; New wine and the universal task ; Alexander Konstantinovich Gorsky (1886-1943) and Nikolai Alexandrovich Setnitsky (1888-1937) ; Valerian Nikolaevich Muravyov (1885-1932) ; Vasily Nikolaevich Chekrygin (1897-1922) -- Cosmism and its offshoots today. The N.F. Fedorov museum-library ; The Tsiolkovsky museum and Chizhevsky center ; ISRICA - Institute for Scientific Research in Cosmic Anthropoecology ; Lev Nikolaevich Gumilev (1912-1992) and neo-eurasianism ; The hyperboreans ; Scientific immortalism: Igor Vishev, Danila Medvedev ; Conclusions about the Russian cosmists. (shrink)
Drawing on a half century of scholarship, of Polish studies of Copernicus and Cracow University, and of Copernicus's sources, this book offers a comprehensive re-evaluation of Copernicus's achievement, and explains his commitment to the ...
In books such as The World Within the World and The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, astronomer John Barrow has emerged as a leading writer on our efforts to understand the universe. Timothy Ferris, writing in The Times Literary Supplement of London, described him as "a temperate and accomplished humanist, scientist, and philosopher of science--a man out to make a contribution, not a show." Now Barrow offers the general reader another fascinating look at modern physics, as he explores the quest for a (...) single, unifying theory that will unlock nature's secrets. Theories of Everything is more than a history of science, more than a popular report on recent research and discoveries. Barrow provides a reflective, intelligent commentary on what a true Theory of Everything would be--its ingredients, its limitations, and what it could tell us about the universe. Never before, he writes, have physicists been so confident and so eager in the hunt for this "cosmic Rosetta Stone," as he calls it: "a single all-embracing picture of all the laws of nature from which the inevitability of all things seen must follow with unimpeachable logic." He lays out eight essential ingredients for a Theory of Everything and then explores each in turn, tracing how our knowledge has developed and how scientific discovery relates to our changing philosophy and religious thought in each area. Some of these ingredients are obvious--the laws of nature must be explained, for example, as well as its organizing principles--but others may be surprising, such as broken symmetries and selection biases. A Theory of Everything must account for the fact that the universe is "messy and complicated," he tells us, and for the limitations imposed by the questions we ask and the information we can obtain. The key lies in the remarkable capacity of mathematics to express the fundamental workings of the physical world--a language that the human mind is uniquely equipped to understand and manipulate. Barrow examines what mathematics actually is and describes how it makes the universe intelligible and provides a path to the underlying coherence in nature--which has led, in fact, to arguments that the universe itself is a vast computer. Yet even the most complete theory, even the most comprehensive mathematical explanation, cannot account for the uncomputable varieties of human experience and thought. "No non-poetic account of reality," he writes, "can be complete." In a field where the authorities converse in equations and mathematical notations, John Barrow speaks with the voice of thoughtful and knowledgeable humanist. Written with eloquence and expertise, Theories of Everything establishes a new perspective on humanity's efforts to explain the universe. (shrink)
Zi xu -- Di 1 zhang yu zhou san yuan: xin, wu, neng -- Di 2 zhang jin dai wu li xue de zhe xue yi yi -- Di 3 zhang xin wu neng de ji ben te xing yu yu zhou ji ben fa ze -- Di 4 zhang yu zhou san jie -- Di 5 zhang yu zhou de sheng cheng bian hua -- Di 6 zhang zong jie yu ying yong.
Xavier Zubiri entiende que el tema del mundo, a pesar de tener una noble prosapia en la historia de la filosofía, ha sido desatendido por la mayor parte del pensamiento reciente. Posiblemente fue Descartes el último gran filósofo en escribir un tratado dedicado temáticamente al problema del mundo. Es como si la atención a las cosas que hay en el universo hubiera hecho que se perdiera de vista el problema del universo mismo. Por supuesto, no faltan filósofos contemporáneos que hayan (...) hablado del mundo. Pero Zubiri entiende que esos filósofos lo han hecho de una manera unilateral, atendiendo únicamente al diálogo con las ciencias humanas, y desarrollando de esta manera conceptos del mundo en los que no caben las aportaciones de las ciencias naturales. Ahora bien, ya en el año 1960 Zubiri señalaba que no sólo la historia humana, sino también los nuevos descubrimientos en ciencias tales como la astronomía o la biología exigían que la filosofía se volviera a enfrentar sistemáticamente con la cuestión filosófica del mundo. Esto es lo que Zubiri hizo en este curso, impartido en la Cámara de Comercio de Madrid, y que ahora presentamos a los lectores. Sin duda, el medio siglo transcurrido desde entonces haría necesaria una actualización de las informaciones científicas que Zubiri manejaba. Sin embargo, muchos de los conceptos desarrollados por él en aquellas lecciones, precisamente por su novedad, por su radicalidad, y por su apertura a una concepción abierta y dinámica de la ciencia, siguen siendo relevantes en el presente. No sólo eso. En una última y extensa lección Zubiri se planteó una cuestión crucial para la filosofía: la de un posible fundamento del mundo. También aquí su profundo conocimiento de la historia del pensamiento, su rigor y al mismo tiempo su originalidad filosófica, siguen siendo inspiradores para los lectores contemporáneos. (shrink)
Time’s arrow is necessary for progress from a past that has already happened to a future that is only potential until creatively determined in the present. But time’s arrow is unnecessary in Einstein’s so-called block universe, so there is no creative unfolding in an actual present. How can there be an actual present when there is no universal moment of simultaneity? Events in various places will have different presents according to the position, velocity, and nature of the perceiver. Standing against (...) this view is traditional common sense since we normally experience time’s arrow as reality and the present as our place in the stream of consciousness, but we err to imagine we are living in the actual present. The present of our daily experience is actually a specious present, according to E. Robert Kelly (later popularized by William James), or duration, according to Henri Bergson, an habitus, as elucidated by Kerby (1991), or, simply, the psychological present (Adams, 2010) – all terms indicating that our experienced present so consists of the past overlapping into the future that any potential for acting from the creative moment is crowded out. Yet, for philosophers of process from Herakleitos onward, it is the philosophies of change or process that treat time’s arrow and the creative fire of the actual present as realities. In this essay, I examine the most well known but possibly least understood process cosmology of Alfred North Whitehead to seek out this elusive but actual present. In doing so, I will also ask if process philosophy is itself an example of the creative imagination and if this relates to doing science. I conclude Whitehead's process philosophy falls short of allowing for the actual creative spontaneity of a dynamic (eternal) present. (shrink)
In Process and Reality and other works, Alfred North Whitehead struggled to come to terms with the impact the new science of quantum mechanics would have on metaphysics.This ambitious book is the first extended analysis of the intricate relationships between relativity theory, quantum mechanics, and Whitehead's cosmology. Michael Epperson illuminates the intersection of science and philosophy in Whitehead's work-and details Whitehead's attempts to fashion an ontology coherent with quantum anomalies.Including a nonspecialist introduction to quantum mechanics, Epperson adds an (...) essential new dimension to our understanding of Whitehead-and of the constantly enriching encounter between science and philosophy in our century. (shrink)
The ambition of this volume is twofold: to provide a comprehensive overview of the field and to serve as an indispensable reference work for anyone who wants to work in it. For example, any philosopher who hopes to make a contribution to the topic of the classical-quantum correspondence will have to begin by consulting Klaas Landsman’s chapter. The organization of this volume, as well as the choice of topics, is based on the conviction that the important problems in the (...) class='Hi'>philosophy of physics arise from studying the foundations of the fundamental theories of physics. It follows that there is no sharp line to be drawn between philosophy of physics and physics itself. Some of the best work in the philosophy of physics is being done by physicists, as witnessed by the fact that several of the contributors to the volume are theoretical physicists: viz., Ellis, Emch, Harvey, Landsman, Rovelli, ‘t Hooft, the last of whom is a Nobel laureate. Key features - Definitive discussions of the philosophical implications of modern physics - Masterly expositions of the fundamental theories of modern physics - Covers all three main pillars of modern physics: relativity theory, quantum theory, and thermal physics - Covers the new sciences grown from these theories: for example, cosmology from relativity theory; and quantum information and quantum computing, from quantum theory - Contains special Chapters that address crucial topics that arise in several different theories, such as symmetry and determinism - Written by very distinguished theoretical physicists, including a Nobel Laureate, as well as by philosophers - Definitive discussions of the philosophical implications of modern physics - Masterly expositions of the fundamental theories of modern physics - Covers all three main pillars of modern physics: relativity theory, quantum theory, and thermal physics - Covers the new sciences that have grown from these theories: for example, cosmology from relativity theory; and quantum information and quantum computing, from quantum theory - Contains special Chapters that address crucial topics that arise in several different theories, such as symmetry and determinism - Written by very distinguished theoretical physicists, including a Nobel Laureate, as well as by philosophers. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. Introduction: does information matter?; Paul Davies and Niels Henrik Gregersen; Part I. History: 2. From matter to materialism ... and (almost) back Ernan McMullin; 3. Unsolved dilemmas: the concept of matter in the history of philosophy and in contemporary physics Philip Clayton; Part II. Physics: 4. Universe from bit Paul Davies; 5. The computational universe Seth Lloyd; 6. Minds and values in the quantum universe Henry Pierce Stapp; Part III. Biology: 7. The concept of (...) information in biology John Maynard Smith; 8. Levels of information: Shannon-Bolzmann-Darwin Terrence W. Deacon; 9. Information and communication in living matter Bernd-Olaf Küppers; 10. Semiotic freedom: an emerging force Jesper Hoffmeyer; 11. Care on earth: generating informed concern Holmes Rolston; Part IV. Philosophy and Theology: 12. The sciences of complexity - a new theological resource? Arthur Peacocke; 13. God as the ultimate informational principle Keith Ward; 14. Information, theology and the universe John F. Haught; 15. God, matter, and information: towards a Stoicizing Logos christology Niels Henrik Gregersen; 16. What is the 'spiritual body'? Michael Welker; Index. (shrink)
Possibly the most comprehensive collection of essays on Descartes' scientific writings ever published, this volume offers a detailed reassessment of his scientific work and its bearing on his philosophy. The 35 essays, written by some of the world's leading scholars, cover topics as diverse as optics, cosmology and medicine. The collection looks at Descartes' work in the sciences as an aspect of his natural-philosophical agenda and discusses: the central place of medicine in Descartes' overall project; the connections between (...) his investigations of specific psychological capacities and his ethics of self-government; and the debates and controversies into which he had his followers were drawn, and their role in shaping Cartesian natural philosophy; and other issues. Contributors: Peter Anstey, Jean-Robert Armogathe, Gordon Baker, David Behan, Annie Bitbol-Hespe;riès, Desmond Clarke, Betsy Decyk, Dennis Des Chene, Ve;ronique Fóti, Daniel Garber, Stephen Gaukroger, Peter Harrison, Gary Hatfield, Trevor McClaughlin, Peter McLaughlin, Katherine Morris, Alberto Guillermo, Timothy Reiss, Peter Schouls, John Schuster, Dennis Sepper, Peter Slezak, John Sutton, Yashiko Tomida, Klaas van Berkel, Theo Verbeek, Catherine Wilson, Celia Wolf-Devine, John Wright, John Yolton. (shrink)
A. A. Long, one of the world's leading writers on ancient philosophy, presents eighteen essays on the philosophers and schools of the Hellenistic and Roman periods--Epicureans, Stoics, and Sceptics. The discussion ranges over four centuries of innovative and challenging thought in ethics and politics, psychology, epistemology, and cosmology.
In the post-Newtonian world motion is assumed to be a simple category which relates to the locomotion of bodies in space, and is usually associated only with physics. Philosophy, God and Motion shows that this is a relatively recent understanding of motion and that prior to the scientific revolution motion was a much broader and more mysterious category, applying to moral as well as physical movements. Simon Oliver presents fresh interpretations of key figures in the history of western (...) thought including Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas and Newton, examining the thinkers' handling of the concept of motion. Through close readings of seminal texts in ancient and medieval cosmology and early modern natural philosophy, the book moves from antique to modern times investigating how motion has been of great significance within theology, philosophy and science. Particularly important is the relation between motion and God, following Aristotle traditional doctrines of God have understood the divine as the 'unmoved mover' while post-Holocaust theologians have suggested that in order to be compassionate God must undergo the motion of suffering. Philosophy, God and Motion suggests that there may be an authentically theological, as well as a natural scientific understanding of motion. (shrink)
This radical reinterpretation of the formative stages of Chinese culture and history traces the central role played by cosmology in the formation of China's early empires. It crosses the disciplines of history, social anthropology, archaeology, and philosophy to illustrate how cosmological systems, particularly the Five Elements, shaped political culture. By focusing on dynamic change in early cosmology, the book undermines the notion that Chinese cosmology was homogenous and unchanging. By arguing that cosmology was intrinsic to (...) power relations, it also challenges prevailing theories of political and intellectual history. (shrink)
The Spiritual Dimension offers a new model for the philosophy of religion, bringing together emotional and intellectual aspects of our human experience, and embracing practical as well as theoretical concerns. It shows how a religious worldview is best understood not as an isolated set of doctrines, but as intimately related to spiritual praxis and to the search for self-understanding and moral growth. It argues that the religious quest requires a certain emotional openness, but can be pursued without sacrificing our (...) philosophical integrity. Touching on many important debates in contemporary philosophy and theology, but accessible to general readers, The Spiritual Dimension covers a range of central topics in the philosophy of religion, including scientific cosmology and the problem of evil; ethical theory and the objectivity of goodness; psychoanalytic thought, self-discovery and virtue; the multi-layered nature of religious discourse; and the relation between faith and evidence. (shrink)
The book's contributors tackle perennial problems in philosophy of religion by referring to relevant findings and theories in cognitive science, anthropology, developmental psychology, decision theory, biology, physics and cosmology.
The first task of the philosophy of nature -- The problem of elementarity -- The philosophical myth of creation : the Platonic philosophy of nature -- Aristotle's Physics -- Aristotle's method of cosmological speculation -- Descartes' mechanism -- Isaac Newton and the mathematical principles of natural philosophy -- The world of Leibniz : the best of all possible worlds -- Immanuel Kant : the a priori conditions of the sciences -- The romantic philosophy of nature -- (...) The cosmology of Whitehead: the universe as process -- Popper's open universe -- Science as philosophy -- Problems and methods of the philosophy of nature. (shrink)
The Metaphysics of Experience styles itself as "a Sherpa guide to Process and Reality, whose function is to assist the serious reader in grasping the meaning of the text and to prevent falls into misinterpretation." Although originally published in 1925, Process and Reality has perhaps even more relevance to the contemporary scene in physics, biology, psychology, and the social sciences than it had in the mid-twenties. Hence its internal difficulty, its quasi-inaccessibility, is all the more tragic, since, unlike most metaphysical (...) endeavors, it is capable of interpretating and unifying theories in the above sciences in terms of an organic world view, instead of selecting one theory as the paradigm and reducing all others to it. Because Alfred North Whitehead is so crucial to modern philosophy, The Metaphysics of Experience plays an important role in making Process and Reality accessible to a wider readership. (shrink)
v. 1. Mathematical expression of the main categories of philosophy and logic -- Kinematics and dynamics of exchange -- v. 2. Structure of space of the universe -- electrostatic and electromagnetic fields -- Particles and exchange in the electromagnetic field -- v. 3. Atomic structure of matter-space-time and physical properties of substance -- Physics and philosophy.
I. General introduction to philosophy, by Cardinal Mercier. Cosmology, by D. Nys. Psychology, by Cardinal Mercier. Criteriology, by Cardinal Mercier. General metaphysics; or, Ontology, by Cardinal Mercier. Appendix to Cosmology, by D. Nys.--II. Natural theology; or, Theodicy, by Cardinal Mercier. Logic, by Cardinal Mercier. Ethics: General ethics, by A. Arendt (based on Cardinal Mercier's notes); Special ethics, by J. Halleux. History of philosophy, by M. de Wulf. Synopsis in the form of the principal theses. Glossary of (...) scholastic terms, by G. Simons. (shrink)
You Are Here is a dazzling exploration of the universe and our relationship to it, as seen through the lens of today's most cutting-edge scientific thinking. Christopher Potter brilliantly parses the meaning of what we call the universe. He tells the story of how something evolved from nothing and how something became everything. What does a material description of everything and nothing look like? What is it that science does when it describes a reality that is made out of something? (...) In between nothing and everything is where we live. Here, for the first time in a single span, is the life of the universe, from quarks to galaxy superclusters and from slime to Homo sapiens. The universe was once a moment of perfect symmetry and is now 13.7 billion years of history. Clouds of gas were woven into whatever complexity we find in the universe today: the hierarchies of stars or the brains of mammals. Potter writes entertainingly about the history and philosophy of science, and he shows that science advances by continually removing humankind from a position of primacy in the universe, but the universe responds by placing us back there again. With wisdom and wonder, Potter traverses the cosmos from its conception to its eventual end—while exploring everything in between. (shrink)
Philosophers have postulated the existence of God to explain (I) why any contingent objects exist at all rather than nothing contingent, and (II) why the fundamental laws of nature and basic facts of the world are exactly what they are. Therefore, we ask: (a) Does (I) pose a well-conceived question which calls for an answer? and (b) Can God's presumed will (or intention) provide a cogent explanation of the basic laws and facts of the world, as claimed by (II)? We (...) shall address both (a) and (b). To the extent that they yield an unfavourable verdict, the afore-stated reasons for postulating the existence of God are undermined. As for question (I), in 1714, G. W. Leibniz posed the Primordial Existential Question (hereafter ‘PEQ’): ‘Why is there something contingent at all, rather than just nothing contingent?’ This question has two major presuppositions: (1) A state of affairs in which nothing contingent exists is indeed genuinely possible (‘the Null Possibility’), the notion of nothingness being both intelligible and free from contradiction; and (2) De jure, there should be nothing contingent at all, and indeed there would be nothing contingent in the absence of an overriding external cause (or reason), because that state of affairs is ‘most natural’ or ‘normal’. The putative world containing nothing contingent is the so-called ‘Null World’. As for (1), the logical robustness of the Null Possibility of there being nothing contingent needs to be demonstrated. But even if the Null Possibility is demonstrably genuine, there is an issue: Does that possibility require us to explain why it is not actualized by the Null World, which contains nothing contingent? And, as for (2), it originated as a corollary of the distinctly Christian precept (going back to the second century) that the very existence of any and every contingent entity is utterly dependent on God at any and all times. Like (1), (2) calls for scrutiny. Clearly, if either of these presuppositions of Leibniz's PEQ is ill founded or demonstrably false, then PEQ is aborted as a non-starter, because in that case, it is posing an ill-conceived question. In earlier writings (Grünbaum , p. 5), I have introduced the designation ‘SoN’ for the ontological ‘spontaneity of nothingness’ asserted in presupposition (2) of PEQ. Clearly, in response to PEQ, (2) can be challenged by asking the counter-question, ‘But why should there be nothing contingent, rather than something contingent?’ Leibniz offered an a priori argument for SoN. Yet it will emerge that a priori defences of it fail, and that it has no empirical legitimacy either. Indeed physical cosmology spells an important relevant moral: As against any a priori dictum on what is the ‘natural’ status of the universe, the verdict on that status depends crucially on empirical evidence. Thus PEQ turns out to be a non-starter, because its presupposed SoN is ill founded! Hence PEQ cannot serve as a springboard for creationist theism. Yet Leibniz and the English theist Richard Swinburne offered divine creation ex nihilo as their answer to the ill-conceived PEQ. But being predicated on SoN, their cosmological arguments for the existence of God are fundamentally unsuccessful. The axiomatically topmost laws of nature (the ‘nomology’) in a scientific theory are themselves unexplained explainors, and are thus thought to be true as a matter of brute fact. But theists have offered a theological explanation of the specifics of these laws as having been willed or intended by God in the mode of agent causation to be exactly what they are. A whole array of considerations are offered in Section 2 to show that the proposed theistic explanation of the nomology fails multiply to transform scientific brute facts into specifically explained regularities. Thus, I argue for The Poverty of Theistic Cosmology in two major respects. Why is there something rather than nothing? 1.1 Refined statement of Leibniz's Primordial Existential Question (PEQ) 1.2 Is it imperative to explain why there isn't just nothing contingent? 1.3 Must we explain why any and every de facto unrealized logical possibility is not actualized? 1.4 Is a world not containing anything contingent logically possible? 1.5 Christian doctrine as an inspiration of PEQ 1.6 Henri Bergson 1.7 A priori justifications of PEQ by Leibniz, Parfit, Swinburne and Nozick 1.7.1 Leibniz 1.7.2 Derek Parfit 1.7.3 Richard Swinburne and Thomas Aquinas vis-à-vis SoN 1.7.4 The ‘natural’ status of the world as an empirical question 1.7.5 Robert Nozick 1.8 Hypothesized psychological sources of PEQ 1.9 PEQ as a failed springboard for creationist theism: the collapse of Leibniz's and Swinburne's theistic cosmological arguments Do the most fundamental laws of nature require a theistic explanation? 2.1 The ontological inseparability of the laws of nature from the furniture of the universe 2.2 The probative burden of the theological explanation of the world's nomology 2.3 The theistic explanation of the cosmic nomology 2.4 Further major defects of the theological explanation of the fundamental laws of nature Conclusion * Editorial note: Fifty-one years ago, Professor Grünbaum published his first paper in the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, in the issue for 1953. It was entitled ‘Whitehead's Method of Extensive Abstraction’ (British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 4, pp. 215–26). The Editor wishes to acknowledge Grünbaum's extraordinary achievement in philosophy of science and in particular the debt that this journal owes to so distinguished and productive an author. This essay originated in the first two of my three Leibniz Lectures, delivered at the University of Hanover, Germany, 25–27 June 2003. (shrink)
Unlike traditional Western philosophy, which places no special emphasis on the importance of family structure, traditional Chinese philosophy represented by Confucianism is a set of theories that give family a primary position. With family as the foundation, a complete framework of “human body → two genders → family and clan” is formed. Therefore, family in Chinese philosophy is existent, gender-interactive and diachronic. It should also be noted that family also plays a fundamental role in Chinese theories on (...)cosmology, religion, and many other subjects. In other words, Chinese culture as a whole is imprinted with reflections on family. Nowadays, as the value of family becomes less prominent, re-examining ancient Chinese philosophy will undoubtedly bear theoretical significance. Meanwhile, traditional Chinese philosophy can also offer an ideological framework for the re-construction of family values in the contemporary world. (shrink)
The compound “Hindu philosophy” is ambiguous. Minimally it stands for a tradition of Indian philosophical thinking. However, it could be interpreted as designating one comprehensive philosophical doctrine, shared by all Hindu thinkers. The term “Hindu philosophy” is often used loosely in this philosophical or doctrinal sense, but this usage is misleading. There is no single, comprehensive philosophical doctrine shared by all Hindus that distinguishes their view from contrary philosophical views associated with other Indian religious movements such as Buddhism (...) or Jainism on issues of epistemology, metaphysics, logic, ethics or cosmology. Hence, historians of Indian philosophy typically understand the term “Hindu philosophy” as standing for the collection of philosophical views that share a textual connection to certain core Hindu religious texts (such as the Vedas), and they do not identify “Hindu philosophy” with a particular comprehensive philosophical doctrine. -/- Hindu philosophy, thus understood, not only includes the philosophical doctrines present in Hindu texts of primary and secondary religious importance, but also the systematic philosophies of the Hindu schools: Nyāya, Vaiśeṣika, Sāṅkhya, Yoga, Pūrvamīmāṃsā and Vedānta. In total, Hindu philosophy has made a sizable contribution to the history of Indian philosophy and its role has been far from static: Hindu philosophy was influenced by Buddhist and Jain philosophies, and in turn Hindu philosophy influenced Buddhist philosophy in India in its later stages. In recent times, Hindu philosophy evolved into what some scholars call “Neo-Hinduism,” which can be understood as an Indian response to the perceived sectarianism and scientism of the West. Hindu philosophy thus has a long history, stretching back from the second millennia B.C.E. to the present. (shrink)
The problem of Philo's ambivalence about the physical world -- The context for Philo's ambivalence toward the physical world -- Philo's negative terminology for the physical world : [ousia, hylē, genesis, genētos] -- Philo's positive terminology for the physical world : [kosmos] -- Philo's positive terminology for the physical world : [physis] part 1 -- Philo's positive terminology for the physical world : [physis] part 2 -- Higher and lower approaches to God -- The ambiguity of the physical world : (...) a multiperspectival approach -- Conclusions. (shrink)
The paper distinguishes three interpretations of Kant’s so called ‘Copernican Revolution’: an epistemological, a hermeneutical and a scientific-theoretical or methodological one. It is argued that the ‘scientific-theoretical reading’ can be based on new historical evidence. Kant borrowed the metaphors ‘army of stars’ (‘Sternenheer’) and ‘spectator’ (‘Zuschauer’) from Johann Heinrich Lambert and used them in a context similar to Lambert’s. This suggests that Kant’s formula “first thoughts of Copernicus” (“den ersten Gedanken des Copernicus”) refers, again following Lambert, to the first 9 (...) chapters of Copernicus’ De revolutionibus, which contain a change from inductive geocentrism to deductive heliocentrism. This interpretation is itself no revolution: Johann Baptist Schad claimed in 1800 that metaphysics must be regarded as a deductive rather than an inductive science. Kant explicitly agreed. (shrink)
Chapter 1 An Essay on the Limits of Human Knowledge “I am you and you are I, and where you are, I also will be, and I am dispersed among all things. Where you choose you will find me, and, finding me, you will find yourself.