Spirituality and rationality

A. Voin


   In today's world there is much talk about the spirit, the loss of spirituality of Western civilization as a major cause of global crisis of modern mankind, the need for the revival of spirituality. Representatives of religion claim that the cause of the loss of spirituality is the secularization of Western society, which took place in the Modern Times in connection with the development of rational science. At the same time they identify spirituality as a purely religious spirituality. They are joined by a number of modern philosophers. Take, for example, wrote by the Templeton Prize winner of 2007, Charles Taylor:
   «We have somehow to break down the barriers between our contemporary culture of science and disciplined academic study (what the Germans
gather in the term "Wissenschaft") on one hand, and the domain of spirit, on the other. The divorce of natural science and religion has been damaging to both; but it is equally true that the culture of the humanities and social sciences has often been surprisingly blind and deaf to the spiritual ».
(From his speech when he received his award Templeton.)
     There are calls to establish contact, to build bridges, find common ground between science and religion, between different religions, confessions and ideologies, but on appeal it is not going. However, significant progress in this direction are ascribed to the said Charles Taylor and a group of philosophers, close to
him, such as A. Maklntayer, etc. (This is the progress in this direction Taylor awarded Templeton Prize). But, paying tribute to the good intentions of Taylor and his colleagues, I believe that their work is based on false premise and therefore can not lead them to the desired result.
     In his work «Overcoming Epistemology» (Philosophical Arguments, Harvard University Press, 1995) Charles Taylor writes that the main cause of discord between the modern human
ities, philosophy, in particular, and spirituality is the fact that the secular philosphy of Modern Times is dominated by a epistemology or theory of cognition, based on the achievements of natural science. And the way to a revival of spirituality he sees in overcoming the domination of epistemology in modern philosophy (Overcoming Epistemology).


    I agree with Taylor that real modern epistemology up to the present day as a basis secularized philosophy, across a variety of specific theories and trends in it, helped to expel the spirit of this philosophy and other humanities, and in such a way helped to non-spirituality of contemporary Western society. But I do not agree that the way to a revival of spirituality is through deprivation epistemology of its basic role in philosophy. The sad part of epistemology in exile from spirituality in Western society is not connected with the fact that it is the foundation of secular philosophy, but with the fact that, despite the huge number of directions in it, none of them could not still give the correct answer to the question of how relate our knowledge (scientific, especially) with the reality described by it. That is, there was not  still a correct epistemology. But rejectionion the epistemology of its basic role in the philosophy leads us, as I said, to the result opposite to that sought by Taylor. Because the common language between members of different religions, ideologies, traditions, etc., finally between science and religion, only epistemology can give. Only starting from the correct idea about how our knowledge relate to the reality described by it (including the spiritual reality), we can formulate a method of justifying the true knowledge, whether scientific theory or spiritual teachings. This method and only he can serve the common language that will allow supporters of different natural scientific theories, theories of humanitarian or religious doctrines
agree on which theory or doctrine is true, and which - confusing.
     This method was developed
by natural science in the process of its development and in it he more or less successfully applied. It is through this method representatives of natural sciencis have a common language, and sooner or later agree by the entire international community to accept some hypothesis as true, proven theory, and another hypothesis be rejected. But among scientists of humanities and the representatives of religion this method is still not known. So they have no common language and, despite endless calls to find a common language between different denominations of Christianity and with representatives of another religions (like Islam, Judaism, etc.), the number of denominations and sects multiplied exponentially, and the gap in their understanding of the Christ’s Teaching (despite the fact that all acknowledge that God is one and the truth is one) grows to infinity. The situation is similar in philosophy, psychology and other humanities, but there instead of confessions - the endless and continue to multiply number of schools and directions, between which there is no common language, and there is no real dialogue.
    In this situation, what good is that, Taylor believes that the understanding of the teachings of Jesus Christ
by the Catholic Church is incorrect and opposes to it the understanding of new churches, Methodist, in particular. He does not have a tool to convince the Catholics and representatives of many other denominations. Some mistakes of the past, such as the Inquisition, holy wars, etc. the Catholic Church recognized without the aid of Taylor, just under the pressure of circumstances. But instead, it makes new mistakes today. History of priests pedophiles and Pope's reluctance to condemn them - evidence of this. But among the new churches is the churches specifically for gays and lesbians. Is this the correct understanding of the Bible which directly prohibits the perversion? Is this the revival of spirituality?
     We return to the epistemology and its negative impact so far on spirituality. The question is, why natural science
have developed a general method of substantiation of its theories, have a common language and thus have made significant progress and lead to tangible results, and epistemology, which claims to generalize the experience of natural science and its method, could not endure this method in the humanitarian sphere, has not led to a common language in her, and even assisted in the initial expulsion of the spirit of it? The fact that a general method of substantiation, worked out by the natural sciences, was not yet presented explicitly and existed only at the level of stereotype thinking of scientists naturalists. For them it was enough (and then - for the time being, it is now not). But for the transfer of this method in the humanitarian sphere, it was necessary to provide this method explicitly. This is the task of epistemology, but it it still did not manage. Moreover, in modern epistemology dominated position is seized by schools, of the  post positivists especially (Quine, Kuhn, Feyerabend, Popper, Lakatos and others), relativized scientific cognition, denying, in particular, that it contains, in principle, a general immutable method of justification of theories. In addition to the rejection of a general method of substantiation modern epistemology has given a simplified understanding of rational knowledge, not left a place for spirit. This explains its role in the lack of spirituality of modern Western society and accepted today in it and in the world in general opposition of the spiritual and rational.
     In my philosophy, which I call neorationalism or spiritual rationalism, I
developed my own theory of cognition (epistemology), contrasting it to all pre-existing. (Neorationalism, Kiev, 1992, Part 1). Based on this theory I have described (introduced explicitly) the general method of substantiation of scientific theories, constracted by the natural sciences during their development (Articles in Философские Исследования, 2000-2002, and on the Internet, for example www.philprob.narod.ru). I also showed the possibility of applying this method in the humanitarian field (with appropriate adaptation), in particular in the analysis of Marxism, the current state of bioethics, the Judeo-Christian teachings, etc., and demonstrated that the use of many papers (Побритие бороды Карла Маркса или научен ли научный коммунизм", Kiev, 1997; "Bioethics or the optimal Ethics, the Internet, "От Моисея до постмодернизма. Движение идеи", Kiev, 1999, etc.).


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