Philosophy and science : never has the union of these two spheres of human knowledge been more promising, and more than ever is this union, lately broken in hemiplegic minds, necessary. Cut off from its rear by a too impetuous impulse, theoretical physics raises questions that do not exist, and encounters obstacles where it does not recognize itself. Philosophy, meanwhile, has begun to deprive itself from its eyes and ears, and if its contribution to science sometimes still wakes a reminiscence of phylogenetic respect, the reverse fertilization is dried up. But still !
Philosophy -- stem and root of the flower -- provides the terms, and even the language, to any scientific investigation. Of course, the « hard » sciences, that is to say, applied science -- and this is where most scientists belong -- the philosophical background is reduced to very little : a little epistemology and methodology, nothing that has been incorporated into habits to go unnoticed. This does not mean of course that this phenomenon of an almost Pavlovian calcification is an emancipation. But this blind navigation causes the avoidance of more treacherous shoals -- for the simple inglorious reason that the stakes are limited. But it is in the more fundamental domains -- and thus, those whose precedents are dependent -- where the greatest evidence appears of the irreducible impossibility of an orphan science, deprived of its ontological foundations : it is illusory -- even more, antithetical, to want to consider extra-philosophical issues such as those related to the whole universe, or the nature of time and space morphology. And scientific theories are not lacking in these areas; to enumerate only a few of the popular headlines like « Big Bang » (for that is the universe in its entirety), « irreversibility » (the nature of time), « curved space » or « continuum » (morphology of the space). Therefore, two hypotheses : either those are aberrant speculations at best within the epistemological pun, or we are dealing with pure metaphysical constructions. Needless to say, are the latter the most common ? Moreover : we should know beforehand where metaphysics currently resides -- metaphysics lives, because the death of metaphysics is as the end of the world : it is announced with rocking regularity.
Metaphysics certainly does not live in universities where academics are more versed in the history of metaphysics than in metaphysics, more ready to study the philosophers than to philosophize. On the contrary, it blooms in the spirit of the adventurers, who, relentlessly seeking to reinvent the theoretical frameworks of knowledge of the world, are brought to revolutionize the concepts of time, identity, location, spatiality, necessity. More than ever, metaphysics is μετα τα φυσικα.
This means, as we have said, consistently turns theoretical physics into farce when it is deprived of its ontological foundation: what can we answer to a theoretician of quantum mechanics who uses his mathematical model to claim that a cat remains half dead and half alive, as long as one had not the grace to look ?
But this also means that you cannot claim to be a metaphysicist and keep yourself away from the big ideas of science. They are not only a source of incomparable food for thought, they are also mandatory to acquire the necessary step back to some questions : we cannot read Epicurus now as before the time of Dalton and Heisenberg ; Aristotle as before the time of Galileo and Newton ; Kant as before the time of Minkowski and Einstein.
The philosopher became an editor who does not know how to read, so it is hardly surprising that he ruined his reputation. The scientist is himself an author who cannot write anymore. Having thus become useless to each other, we can say somewhat paradoxically that in their mutual ignorance and their mutual contempt fed by their respective impotence, they are made for each other…
Table of contents
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Tentative de reconstitution du passé dans Les Géorgiques de Claude Simon,
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Science et religion 1895,
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Addendum ou le secret en traduction,
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Le rêve interdit,
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Rideaux… suivi de Regard sur les regards et Le péché,
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Trans Culture par Yann Becker
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pages 11, 63, 77.