From Physics to Politics: The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Philosophy

From Physics to Politics: The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Philosophy

by Robert Trundle

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Mass ideology is unique to modern society and rooted in early modern philosophy. Traditionally, knowledge had been viewed as resting on metaphysics. Rejecting metaphysical truth evoked questions about the source of -truth.- For nineteenth-century ideologists, -truth- comes either from dominating classes in a progressively determined history or from a post-Copernican freedom of the superior man to create it. In From Physics to Politics Robert C. Trundle, Jr. uncovers the relation of modern philosophy to political ideology. And in rooting truth in human nature and Nature by modal reasoning, he resolves the problem of politicized truth. Our concepts of scientific truth, logic, and necessity are essentially connected. Modern philosophy restricts our understanding of necessity to the political dreams and aspirations of Enlightenment intellectuals. As a result, these intellectuals refuse to acknowledge as factual or meaningful whatever is not intelligible within the practical goals of establishing science as a system of enlightened ideas. The effect of these ideas is that in our time metaphysical principles, speculative truths, our understanding of science, and the nature of logic have become subordinated to ideological dreams. Fascism, Nazism, Marxism, political correctness, and moral relativism are not historical aberrations but essential consequences. Trundle's work is groundbreaking and daring, and his underlying thesis demonstrates why scientific truth demands a modal defense. The defense not only integrates science, ethics, and politics, but shows how -truth- may be ascribed to moral and scientific principles in contrast to a modern philosophical tradition. Since this tradition is the origin of political ideology, it has led to an irrational politicization of truth. The book will appeal particularly to those interested in political history, histories of philosophy, the philosophy of sciences, and ethics.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781351518529
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 07/05/2017
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 190
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Robert C. Trundle, Jr. is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences and the Scientific Research Society of Sigma Xi, an affiliate scholar for Idealistic Studies, and has served as reader for University de Laval's Laval Theologique et Philosphique. His publications include over three dozen articles in Res Publica, Logique et Analyse, Thought, Philosphy in Science, and New Horizons in the Philosophy of Science. His books include Beyond Absurdity (with R. Puligandla), Ancient Greek Philosophy, and Medieval Reasoning. He is currently professor in the department of social sciences and philosophy at Northern Kentucky University.

Table of Contents

Author's Prefacexi
1Introduction: Enlightenment's Paradigm Physics1
From Metaphysics to Physics3
Physics: Paradigm for Philosophy5
Philosophy and Anti-Metaphysics6
Metaphysical Dilemmas9
Dilemmas of Politicization12
2Physics and a Metaphysical Rationalism19
Second Thoughts on the Enlightenment?20
Doubt and Science23
The Senses24
Evil and Rationality27
Science and Certainty29
Idea of the Self30
Idea of a Perfect God34
Idea of an External World36
Empirico-Theoretical Challenges37
3An Empiricist Metaphysics of Skepticism41
First-Level Skepticism: Sense Impressions vs. External Reality43
Scientific Truth: Correspondence to Sensations?44
Sensations and 'Phenomena Themselves'47
Second-Level Skepticism: Cause and Effect48
Causality as a Principle of Association49
Causality With One Hand; Taking it Back50
An Anomalous Logic of Causality52
Third-Level Skepticism: Problem of Induction55
Induction and Uniformity of Nature56
Nature of 'Inductive Deductions'58
From Self-Refuting Inductions to Skepticism61
4Skeptical Shift: From an Ideal of Physics to Politics67
The Shift in Response to a Problem69
Enlightenment and Reformation69
Turning to a Scientific Paradigm70
Practical and Theoretical Consequences71
Practical Import: 'Critical Thinking' a Euphemism73
Theoretical Import: Rational and Irrational Interpretations75
Swan Song of Copernican Interpretations82
Interpretive Categories From a False Judgment?84
False Judgment Underlying Physics?87
Physics Without Metaphysics92
From Denying Metaphysics to Politics96
5Political Answers to 'Whence Comes Truth?'103
Post-Kantian Backdrop to Open Societies104
Metaphysics: Ontologically and Epistemologically106
Overlapping Metaphysical Assumptions107
Assumptions of Science and Politics109
Ideological Slide to Closed Societies111
Nature of Ideology112
Marxian Ideology and Determinism113
Nietzschean Ideology and Freedom119
If not from Metaphysics, Truth from Dominatimg Classes or Supermen?125
Self-Reinforcing Circular Reasoning125
Weltanschauungen for Shaping Truth128
6Truth From Nature: Getting it Right135
Complementariness of Freedom and Determinism136
Modal Defense of Moral Truth137
Modal Defense of Scientific Truth139
Both Truths Grounded in Nature140
Nature's Cause: Its Forgotten Basis in Modal Logic142
The Logic Strengthened by Modal Scientific Truth146
The Truth and Revelation150
Further Import of Nature's Cause152
Reasoning to the Cause and Modern Pessimism155
7Afterword: Nature's Cause Stubbornly Resisted161
A Core Pessimism about Science162
Scientific Success and Politics163
Politicio-Scientific Truth165

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