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archive: new robust definitions of modernity/secularism

July 24th, 2017 · No Comments

The challenge: new robust definitions of modernity/secularism
June 7th, 2015 ·

The crisis of so-called ‘secularists’ is to define modernity. It is remarkable that this simple task eludes them. And it leads to endless efforts to press religion into the failures of scientism. And that simply muddles the issues even more. The failure to define modernity is endemic and we see the first failures in the wake of the collapsing Hegelian movement. The rise of positivism colored everything and we have had the failures of historical materialism, darwinism, and economic theory, and much else. The problem lies in the stupefying complexity of the modern transition from the sixteenth century onward. From Reformation to Revolution suggests the complexity of the modern transition, defining the secular, which includes religion.

Instead now we find a very oversimplified Spinozist pastiche adopted by minds competent in advanced physics, or reductionist biology (darwinism), and this applied to all forms of knowledge, and the result is a culture with a flat tire. And the distance now from the early modern makes it all the harder to produce a correctly balanced rendition of modernity. And the cadres of narrowly trained devotees of scientism make discussion almost impossible.

But there’s the problem to be solved: new and more faithful renderings of the meaning(s) of modernity and secularism. Scientists are hard of hearing here and often stupidoes hiding behind science knowhow.

History gives us a good example of the difference: the darwinists versus the teleomechanists at the dawn of biology. The former is the classic case of scientism replacing the more nuanced complexity of the innovations of the early modern.

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