Science and physical reductionism

The triumph of science is the triumph of Mind. As Hegel might have put it, Spirit is the telos of Nature, as it is through Spirit that Nature becomes aware of itself. To regard this triumph as evidence that everything is really just brute matter is a bizarre inversion of what really has occurred.

Consider my family trip to Niagara Falls. An automotive engineer could "explain" everything about our trip (at least until we got out of the car at the falls) in terms of the principles of automotive engineering. But it ought to be clear that such an explanation is no answer to the question, "Why did the Callahan family wind up going to Niagara Falls in August of 2011?"

Similarly, the fact that evolutionary biology can trace the biochemical processes that led up to modern human beings (a wonderful achievement!) does not mean that it offers any insight into questions like, "What is the purpose of human life?" or "How ought humans to behave?"


  1. You forgot the third one: economic reductionism.

  2. They will probably be able to say why humans believe in the what and how of they ought to behave, which may be a more profound question.

    1. Who is "they"?

      Did you decide your question was more profound on a scientific basis?


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