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Unifying knowledge?

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• Is the world eternal? YES
• Do humans have contra-causal free will (i.e., can humans do otherwise)? NO
• Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? YES
• Do humans have souls? YES
• Are there natural rights? YES
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• Can humans know reality as it is in itself? YES
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• Can art be created accidentally? NO
• Can we change the past? NO
• Are numbers real? NO
• Is it always better to know the truth? YES

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Here is an interesting article by Massimo Pigliucci on several questions relating to the unification of knowledge. I find it sensible, though it’s written from a naturalistic perspective, so of course I would. The conclusion:

This isn’t a suggestion to give up, much less a mystical injunction to go ‘beyond science’. There is nothing beyond science. But there is important stuff before it: there are human emotions, expressed by literature, music and the visual arts; there is culture; there is history. The best understanding of the whole shebang that humanity can hope for will involve a continuous dialogue between all our various disciplines. This is a more humble take on human knowledge than the quest for consilience, but it is one that, ironically, is more in synch with what the natural sciences tell us about being human.



  1. Sandi says:

    Great post, I enjoyed it immensely and I agree that dialogue is the key to furthering human understanding. The goal need not be reducing all existing knowledge into a single tidy package but rather to examine the common ground in relationship to the distinctions of each discipline; not so much a meta-discipline as a mega-discipline. Or perhaps they are one in the same…


    • Sandi says:

      However…I do take issue with “There is nothing beyond science.” This assumes that the progression from Myth to Philosophy to Science is somehow linear–which paradigm demands the inferiority of Philosophy and Myth. The real dialogue begins when we allow for the possibility that Myth (and intuition and insight) can yet inform Science and Philosophy and that Philosophy still has the impotence to spawn Scientific discovery. And I would add, in a way that science alone can not do.


      • Sandi says:

        I realize I am thinking out loud and saying too much, but…I guess I was trying to point out that while I agree that nothing lies “beyond science” in a the-next-thing kind of way, it is worth considering that Myth and Philosophy may stand right beside if we can strip away the limitations of post-modern, utilitarian judgements.


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