Society and God
An Inquiry into the Foundations of the Human World
A Course of Lectures with Professor Thomas Patrick Burke
Our investigations in the spring followed two lines of argument. One was concerned with the nature of science, the other with the nature of the phenomenon of life. We began with the story of Socrates and his distinction between mechanistic and teleological explanation, or explanation in terms of purposes, and his consequent teleological conception of science, which was adopted by Aristotle and governed science for some two thousand years, but which proved eventually to be barren and futile. It was not until science gave up teleology in 1600 with the groundbreaking work of William Gilbert on magnets and settled on mechanistic explanation that it began to make progress. But we also saw that modern science subscribes to the philosophy of mechanicism, according to which there is only one kind of causation in the universe and it is mechanistic, only as a methodological or heuristic presupposition, and not because it has discovered it as an objective truth about the world, which it has not.
In the concluding lectures of the spring series we saw that, since the universe harbors the teleological phenomenon of life, the universe itself as a whole must be considered teleological, and we asked what its purpose or the ultimate goal could possibly be that would justify an intelligent being in creating it. We proposed that the highest value is moral value, and it is a plausible theory that the purpose of the universe is to bring forth human or rational beings who live and act in accordance with moral value. We ended, therefore, on the threshold of the further question as to what kind of reality we must think of as underlying the universe and as bringing our world into existence for the purpose of creating moral goodness. This is the question of God.
Location: Howard Center, Room 105,
Date:Tuesday, January 2013
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $10.00 per lecture.
The lectures will be broadcast via webinar. The cost is the same.
Registration is necessary. You can register for each lecture individually or for the series. Register by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 610-642-2563.
Lecture 1: Intdoduction: Purposes and Teleology
Lecture 2: The Question of God