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.
Philosophy of science is seen by most as a meta-discipline – one that takes science as its subject matter, and seeks to acquire knowledge and understanding about science without in any way affecting, or contributing to, science itself. Karl Popper’s approach is very different. His first love is natural philosophy or, as he would put it, cosmology. This intermingles cosmology and the rest of natural science with epistemology, methodology and metaphysics. Paradoxically, however, one of his best (...) known contributions, his proposed solution to the problem of demarcation, helps to maintain the gulf that separates science from metaphysics, thus fragmenting cosmology into falsifiable science on the one hand, untestable philosophy on the other. This has damaging repercussions for a number of issues Popper tackles, from the problem of induction to simplicity of theory and quantum theory. But his proposed solution to the demarcation problem is untenable. Metaphysical assumptions are an integral part of scientific knowledge, inherent in the persistent acceptance of unified theories against the evidence. Once this is appreciated, it becomes obvious that natural philosophy, a synthesis of science and philosophy, is both more rigorous and of greater intellectual value than the two dissociated components we have today. What Popper sought for could come to full fruition. Problems that Popper tackled, from the problem of induction, to the problem of unity of theory, problems of quantum theory, and problems concerning the scope and limits of physics, all receive more adequate resolution within the new, fully-fledged natural philosophy. (shrink)
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.
The terminology tianxia has both historical evolution and cultural and philosophical connotations. This concept not only denotes a geographical and spatial meaning, but also implies the moral construct of metaphysics. A systematic study of its historical and cultural repercussions can show that the evolution of the meaning "tianxia" not only embodies the cosmological construction, moral belief and self-identity of the Chinese nation, but also manifests the historical processes of modern China evolving from "tianxia" to a modern nation-state. Meanwhile, the deconstruction (...) of the tianxia cosmology has shattered the old Chinese concept of a single united tianxia, or the whole world under one Heaven. Also, "Confucian China" has been increasingly losing its vitality and strong hold on the people, while the concept of nation-state has gained its way into people's consciousness, which has added more diversity and open-mindedness to the concept of tianxia. (shrink)
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.
We discuss a number of fundamental aspects of modern cosmological concepts, from the phenomenological, observational, theoretical and epistemic points of view. We argue that the modern cosmology, despite a great advent, in particular in the observational sector, is yet to solve important problems, posed already by the classical times. In particular the stress is put on discerning the scientific features of modern cosmological paradigms from the more speculative ones, with the latter immersed in some aspects deeply into mythological (...) world picture. We finally discuss the principal paradigms, which are present in the modern cosmological studies and evaluate their epistemic merits. (shrink)
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 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.
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)
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)
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 ...