Getting Past Scientism

Philip Kitcher presents a fascinating essay on the limits of knowledge and our commonplace scientism, and with it a pleas for the humanities

Philip Kitcher: The Trouble With Scientism | The New Republic
To derive one’s notion of human knowledge from the most striking accomplishments of the natural sciences easily generates a conviction that other forms of inquiry simply do not measure up.

But there’s more too. If we approach all our science as finite beings with finite perspectives, what are the larger narratives we need if not to see the whole, then at least to touch on what is transcendent.  Abraham Heschel had a lot to say about that:

The greatest hindrance to knowledge is our adjustment to conventional notions, to mental clichés.

Standing eye to eye with being as being, we realize that we are able to look a the world with two faculties–with reason and with wonder. Through the first we try to explain or to adapt the world to our concepts, through the second we seek to adapt our minds to the world.

[p. 11, Man is Not Alone]


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