OBJECTS OF KNOWLEDGE IN SCIENCE AND RELIGION

SPECIAL COLLECTIONS RESEARCH CENTRE, MORRIS LIBRARY, SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY CARBONDALE (2014)
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Abstract
If science disputes the validity or authenticity of religious knowledge it is because both the scientist and the rational man assume that every object of knowledge there is or can be exists as a material percept in time and space. If we assume that knowledge of material objects is definite knowledge – an assumption itself suspect considering that the latest WMAP data indicates that 95.4% of the total matter in our universe is dark matter and dark energy – all scientific knowledge (confined as it is to knowledge of 4.6% of the visible universe) is definite knowledge; but because it’s knowledge is confined to a miniscule fraction of all knowledge there is or can be had in our material universe, it can scarcely be said – as Sir Bertrand Russell claims – that all definite knowledge is scientific knowledge. There are other reasons why all definite knowledge is not in the domain of science. Parts of the universe are; the universe as a whole isn’t. The sentient body is; the Self that is clothed by that body isn’t. Analysis of both these wholes reveals the possibility of the existence of a third entity that is beyond scientific knowledge. This humanity calls God. A detailed investigation not conducted but outlined here reveals that (a) Russell’s claim that science holds a monopoly of definite knowledge is false: he probably meant that science has a monopoly of objectively verifiable knowledge; (b) as objective verifiability is contingent upon objectively real existence, science’s monopoly is over entities that are objectively real; (c) all objects of knowledge are not material objects in time and space: there are objects that, because they are not percepts, are not objectively verifiable. There is nothing indefinite about knowledge of such entities. There is nothing subjective about the knowledge of such entities either: so it is not open to science to dismiss knowledge of such entities as subjective, arising from the state of mind of the observer. Space and time are aspects of objective reality and not of subjective reality. The second part of this paper briefly examines the nature of dimensions. Space, time and Self consciousness are three types of dimensions considered. The third part of this paper speaks of a concept called immutable wholes. This is a logical culmination of the paper because dimensions are the state-giving norms of the wholes that these dimensions define and characterize. Spiritual seekers make these entities (sub specie aeternitatis) objects of their realization. Such entities as the Universe as a Whole, the Self, and God belong to this class of existents. If Universe as a Whole {not parts of it (study of which is in the domain of science), no matter how large those parts are, but the whole. Only a true seeker can tell science why the whole ≠ sum of all its parts – but that would be the subject of another paper}.
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