Consilience, by Wilson, Life is a Miracle by Berry and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Pirsig

5738 Words23 Pages
The Philosophy of Science in Consilience, by E. O. Wilson, Life is a Miracle by Wendell Berry and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig

Introduction

The plot where the fields of science, ethics and religion intersect is fertile for study, and the crops it yields often represent the finest harvest of an individualís mind. In our time, modern philosophers of science have tilled this soil and reaped widely differing and important conclusions about the nature of humankind, its relationship to the natural world and the role that science should take in the discernment process. Through the comparison and contrasting of three important worldviewsóas expressed in Consilience, by E. O. Wilson, Life is a Miracle by Wendell Berry and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsigóthe seeds of philosophy and faith can be sown in the budding scientistís psyche, and a bumper crop of beliefs cultivated.

History of the Philosophy of Science

The surest foundation for the origin of science in its practical form is to be found in the ìco–rdination and standardization of the knowledge of common sense and of industry.î[1] One of the first occurrences of this co–rdination can be traced back to 2500 BCE in the form of edicts from the ancient Babylonian rulers, who issued royal standards of length, weight and capacity. Non-Semitic Sumerians also laid down the elements of mathematics and geometry at that time, making use of fractions, decimals, circles and radial angles. But knowledge as we know it today was tightly woven with magical notions, and as both spread westward they instilled in European thought a reverence for ìspecial numbers, their connections to the gods and the application of geometrical diagrams to the prediction of the future.î[2] As well, the ancient Babylonians were fascinated by the heavens. They were the first to make a map of the stars and associate them with animals like the Ram, Crab and Scorpion, names that we still use to this day. They also realized the periodicity and reliability of astronomical movement and phenomena, and were soon able to predict many of them. Tablets have been found dating to the sixth century BCE that predicted the relative positions of the sun and moon, as well as forecasted the occurrences of eclipses.[3] Out of all this knowledge the Babylonians built up a fantastic system of astrology, through which the starsówhich were thought to fix and foretell the course of human affairsówould give up their secrets.

    More about Consilience, by Wilson, Life is a Miracle by Berry and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Pirsig

      Open Document