Tuesday, May 07, 2002

I love the Hegel quotation I posted on May 3rd. There is a Goethe quotation that I believe is equivalent: "The history of science is science itself". That is, science is not merely mankind's current solutions to problems that nature has posed. Instead, science is the whole development through time of mankind's interaction with nature, and discarded theories and hypotheses are just as significant a part of that history as are the theories that we currently hold dear. A tree is not merely its current form in the present, but is instead understood better as its entire development from acorn to maturity.

Positivists will dismiss my description as naive pre-Darwinian 19th-century optimism, or as Spencerian social darwinism. Instead, it is the inner aspect of Darwinism. Darwin described how evolution looked from the outside--the objective view. Hegel describes how it appears from the inside--the subjective view. And the inner, subjective appearance is just as valid, and just as important as the outer, objective view.

Everything that exists has an inner reality. Every object is also a subject. And this fact does not create a mind-bending labrynth of subjectivities, as in Rorty's view, because all of the inner subjective realities emerge from a single subjectivity. Just as all objects are ultimately made of similar stuff, so inner reality is ultimately made of a single consciousness.

Adding these irreducible perspectives together helps create what I referred to earlier as a modern cosmology which is at least as complex, as complete, and as beautiful as the views of Dante, Plotinus, Homer, Hesiod or Ovid, and therefore has no need of religious myth or scientific dogma.

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