METAPHYSICAL PROBLEMS IN HOMOLOGICAL SCIENCE: THE LEGACY OF THE ADOPTION OF NATURAL SCIENCE PARADIGMS

PHILIP ANTHONY PECORINO, Fordham University

Abstract

The major thesis of the dissertation is that the problems encountered by the sciences which study human behavior in their attempt to arrive at a comprehensive understanding of human phenomena are ultimately explicable in terms of the metaphysical presuppositions and assumptions embedded in the methods, models, and concepts which they utilize. Such problems are held to be irresolvable within the proper scope of the sciences. The study illustrates the need for a critical examination of the foundations of contemporary science and for a return to speculative philosophy and philosophy of nature in order to arrive at a more adequate base for the interpretation of experience and the integration of previous scientific findings.^ The study presents evidence in support of four separate minor theses which establish the major thesis. They are: (1) that the homological sciences have adopted and adapted methods, models, and concepts from the natural sciences; (2) that along with these adoptions they have inherited metaphysical views as to the ultimate nature of the reality being examined, its origin and structure, and how it would be known; (3) that the naive adoption of different conflicting sets of implicit metaphysical assumptions has for the homological sciences resulted in irresolvable difficulties that are of both an inter-and intra-disciplinary nature which prohibit the arrangement of a concordance of the scientific findings and the formation of any global view of the human reality; (4) that the only path for the resolution of these difficulties is through an examination of the metaphysical foundations upon which the discordant and inadequate scientific views rest and thus a return to a serious consideration of the various philosophies of nature associated with the various paradigms for science is indicated.^ The method of approach adopted to establish the four minor theses involves conducting an historical review of the development of a succession of paradigms for scientific inquiry and explanation since the seventeenth century and then undertaking an extensive historical survey of the development of modern homological sciences in order to elucidate the pattern of their naively adopting and adapting the paradigms of the natural sciences in their efforts to achieve the status of being considered as a science.^ Focusing on the treatment given by the various homological sciences to a single human phenomenon produces further evidence in support of the first two minor theses and the third minor theses in particular concerning the impossibility in arriving at a global view of the human reality from within the present bounds of scientific inquiry. The phenomenon chosen as the focal point is that of religion.^ Finally, a critical examination of each of the paradigms for science reveals violation of the rational criteria of consistency and coherency and the empirical criteria of adequacy and applicability. What would be needed for the formation of a more adequate yet not a perfect paradigm would be a meta-paradigm generated from a meta-theory for theories satisfying a basic set of criteria formulated by a well-developed axiology and a philosophy of nature formulated in response to or with a critical awareness of the underlying metaphysical issues found in contemporary science founded upon a more adequate conceptual scheme. It should generate the basic foundation for the paradigm and integrable theories and provide the basic hermeneutic for placing the previous scientific findings in perspective and thus foster the development of a concordance of them on the way to a formulation of a comprehensive or global view.^ The present work concludes with the suggestion that one possible metaphysical schema and axiology is to be found in the speculative philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. ^

Subject Area

Science history

Recommended Citation

PECORINO, PHILIP ANTHONY, "METAPHYSICAL PROBLEMS IN HOMOLOGICAL SCIENCE: THE LEGACY OF THE ADOPTION OF NATURAL SCIENCE PARADIGMS" (1980). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8012800.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8012800

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