- …and the modern virtues don’t work either 22/03/2019
- Nowadays, even the sins don’t work properly 18/03/2019
- Bonjour, France 16/03/2019
- The tree in Berkeley’s square (no nightingale) 13/03/2019
- Predictability, reproducibility and determinism in chaos 09/03/2019
Category Archives: Philosophy
George Berkeley is most famous for his immaterialist view of reality, which is nicely, if incompletely, summed up in Monsignor Ronald Knox’s limerick:
In my last post I drew on George Berkeley in the context of probability theory, to show how western thought’s tendency to make abstractions from reality actually leads to a misleading view of the world. The generalisations of science are particularly prone to the reification of abstract notions.
I’ve been dipping into George Berkeley’s philosophy recently, mainly because his mind-only view of reality resonates with some other thinkers whose ideas on the matter of matter have impressed me over the years, such as Arthur Eddington, Werner Heisenberg and William Dembski.
A quick thought here, based on a heads-up to me on Peaceful Science on a thread that, for some reason, doesn’t give me the ability to reply. No matter, because I have more space to reply here.
In my recent piece about Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis, I mentioned how Bacon, supposedly the staunch supporter of methodological naturalism, included both a scientificcally detectable miracle and a providential answer to prayer in an apologetic for the new science that is only 22 pages long. He would appear to cut the world-cake rather differently from many of a scientific bent now, who divide the world sharply between the “natural” and the “miraculous.”
A thread at Peaceful Science tosses around the usual argument-suspects about Intelligent Design. It was set up in an unhelpful way by the common ID argument contrasting Mount Rushmore (a large statue in America, m’Lud, in the form of a carved mountain) with Mount Everest, a “natural” mountain.
Francis Bacon produced what I suppose one would call a “Utopian Novelette,” unfinished at about 22 pages, just three years before he died. It seems to have been intended as a kind of manifesto for the new scientific project he had, to a great extent, initiated, and so it is worth looking at retrospectively in the light of that project’s enormous success. The Kindle edition is also free, which is another incentive.
Here’s some theological musing inspired by the discussion we’ve had on “final causes” connected with the last couple of posts.
Support for the suggestion in my last post, that we are likely to be missing significant biological truths by not recognising Aristotelian formal and final causation, comes from a philosophical direction in a recent article by Thomist analytic philosopher Ed Feser .
In a Peaceful Science thread continuing the discussion of the view mentioned in my last post, John Harshman criticises what he calls the incoherence of the very idea of free will.