This guest post by Richard Russell, with input from Arthur Jones, looks at the way scientific knowledge grows out of philosophical and ultimately religious roots.
Christian philosophy in diagrams
Where does science come from? Historically, the predecessor of what we now call the sciences was natural philosophy, which was, evidently enough, a branch of philosophy. But when we study science at school and university, it's rare to hear much mention of any continuing dependence on philosophy. We seem to study lots of scientific "facts": about the universe, the solar system and the earth, about impacts and reactions, about microbes, plants and animals, and about humans and society. We gradually get introduced to experimental methods as ways of testing hypotheses and perhaps to demonst
'Science' means 'knowledge' according to its Latin root, and that is what the pursuit of science is popularly supposed to deliver.
Picking up my series on Christian philosophy in diagrams, I want to share an idea that really excites me at the moment - inspired by Andree Troost's "What is Reformational Philosophy?", which I've just finished reading. Perhaps not everyone finds diagrams as wonderful as I do, but they have a great ability to present complex ideas all at once, in the simultaneity of a page or screen.
This installment of "Christian philosophy in diagrams" outlines the relationship between what is unique and what is universal, as a way of seeing scientific thinking in the light of the word of God.
Reductionism is a key issue in many Christian critiques of other ideologies. Claims that the rich diversity of life as we know it can be explained by a single fundamental kind of reality often sound authoritative and sensational, but fundamental substances that are supposed to underlie what we experience are thereby attributed with a kind of occult power.
Our “Christian philosophy in diagrams” series began with an ontology: things in relation over time. After ontology (what there is), philosophy typically looks at epistemology (how we know). This week I want to share a proposal based on the following diagram:
Last Saturday Faith-in-Scholarship hosted a workshop about Christian philosophy with Dr Jeremy Ive. Having asked what “Christian philosophy” might be, I’m now going to share the basics of a proposal concerning the structure of our experience. For now this framework is presented in Jeremy’s thesis awaiting publication… so remember, you heard it here first!