Every Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!
The Failure of Scientism
Edward Feser is a profoundly brilliant scholar. Every time I read something he writes–even if I disagree–I realize I must contend with his argument. In his latest book, Scholastic Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction, he provides a robust look at the ways in which Scholastic philosophy and Thomism may be applied to the modern day. He touches on any number of important and interesting topics, including scientism–the notion that the physical sciences are the only way to know anything. But he doesn’t have much nice to say about scientism:
[T]he glib self-confidence of its advocates notwithstanding, there are in fact no good arguments whatsoever for scientism, and decisive arguments against it… First, scientism is self defeating… Second, the scientific method cannot even in principle provide us with a complete description of reality. Third, the ‘laws of nature’ in terms of which science explains phenomena cannot in principle provide us with a complete explanation of reality. Fourth, what is probably the main argument in favor of scientism–the argument from the predictive and technological successes of modern physics and the other sciences–has no force. (10)
Now of course this is quite a bit to swallow, and Feser expands on these points over the next several pages, arguing that each of these points demonstrates the failure of scientism.
I’m still going through the book, but it has been a fantastic read so far.
Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)
Edward Feser, Scholastic Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction (Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Books; Editiones Scholasticae, 2014).