A Case of Human Reason’s Liberation from its Positivist Self-Limitation The Return of Philosophy Through the Solution of a Problem of Physics is a Flanking Aid to Evangelization
Volume 50, Issue 6 (2020), pp. 104–129
Pub. online: 2 February 2021 Type: Article Open Access
2 February 2021
2 February 2021
The idea of human reason’s positivist self-limitation is used by Benedict XVI and others to characterize an aspect of the long-lasting intellectual situation of Western technological-scientific civilization. Liberating human reason from its positivist self-limitation requires, in general, an overcoming of the historical process of Natural Science’s drifting away from Philosophy. In the case of Physics, it requires a point where both physics and philosophy have to deal together with the same problem. This paper first identifies a problem caused by specific reductionisms in Physics. These reductionisms cause certain deformations of physical knowledge, which in turn makes it desirable for physicists to dispose of an assessment of them. The paper then proposes specific steps in philosophically assessing these reductionisms. Such an assessment in turn is based on common experiential knowledge which is not restricted by any reductionisms. That excludes experiments and, thus, cannot be done with physical means, but only with philosophical ones. All this already constitutes a grain of sand of human reason’s liberation from its positivist self-limitation. It is not any imposition from outside physics, but a desideratum from inside physics. The second purpose of this paper is to briefly present the main ideas of that assessment. Implementing its consequences would bring about an epistemological mindset in Physics as a whole that is open to natural theology. Furthermore, it is suited to mitigate, or even eliminate, a certain quasi-contradiction in a physicist’s mind and professional work. To show that is the third purpose of this paper. Precisely these two issues offer a certain flanking aid to, though not a part of, the Evangelization. More specifically, that flanking aid consists in offering the epistemological mindset of Natural Realism and can be circumscribed by four aspects: the first is a general corroboration of the stance that Natural Realism is the true form of man’s relationship to reality; the second is a sort of contemplative mindset; the third is the elimination or the mitigating of the quasi contradiction referred to in the preceeding paragraph, and which can be called ‘unity of life’. The fourth aspect is a ripe fruit of the three aforementioned: an uncommon quietness and serenity of the spirit.