Architectonic Wisdoms in Our Cosmos

Indeed: “Modern liberalism and modern science are two sides of the same coin.” To address the current crises they face, however, one must first look to what was rejected by the philosophical founders of the early modern age, that expectant tradition of theoretical wisdom handed on to us from the Stagirite.

Science and Skepticism?

With their essay “Skepticism, Experience, and Science,” Glenn Ellmers and J. Eric Wise have done us all the great service of bringing to the public forum a long-forgotten question about the nature and importance of architectonic knowledge. Indeed, I will call it a great public service despite the fact that it is dangerous, on liberalism’s terms, to suggest that the public square might need such a thing.1 For their part, Ellmers and Wise defend the claim that this ruling knowledge is “the skeptical political philosophy that originated with Plato and Aristotle” and was lately recovered by Leo Strauss, while acknowledging the alternative views of “Jewish, Islamic, and Christian thinkers who approach the ancients through various mediaeval texts with a primarily theological orientation.” In response to their essay, I offer a defense of one of these alternative claims, exemplified in St. Thomas Aquinas’s reception of the Aristotelian philosophical project.

There is much with which to agree in Ellmers and Wise’s essay. We agree, for instance, that “the marriage between the scientific and political revolutions is not a match made in heaven,” and that this union was “driven by one impulse: to bring the natural world, including mankind, under control by reducing all phenomena—including political phenomena—to their material components.” We agree that “numerous signs indicate that the scientific and political revolutions that have shaped our world are faltering.” We also agree that “what many scientists deny, but what common sense immediately perceives, is that it is possible to speculate intelligently about [the ends or flourishing of kinds of living things] and to rank them.” Finally, and most importantly, we agree that “natural science needs the architectonic discipline,” and that it is philosophy that “provides guidance how research must be done,” and that consequently the “modern-day heirs of Plato and Aristotle should be ashamed of themselves for voluntarily opting out of these conversations,” namely, the “current debates about the intersection of reality, time, being, mind, and consciousness.” Philosophy is too serious a matter to be left to the scientists. Here, Husserl’s distinction is relevant: “If natural science actually speaks, then we listen eagerly and as apprentices. But natural science does not always speak when natural scientists speak.”2

In this way their essay has drawn attention to the question of a “comprehensive science of nature”3 and what this could mean to the veritable fen and bedlam that is modern academe, modern politics, and the modern project of the mastery and possession of nature. However, it is not the case that there is “a single discipline” that can and must rescue and revise these projects, much less is this single discipline by which natural science must be advised “rational political thought,” or (equivalently in their terms) “philosophy” or “skeptical political philosophy.”

Rethinking the Founding Myth of Modernity

The noble lie at the heart of the modern project—modernity’s “throwing forth”—is this: Promethean man can and must break his chains, escape the Cave, and bring back the light of the Sun to dispel the darkness inside humankind’s natural dwelling.4 Philosophy thus capitulates to the poets by becoming a type of poiesis: the erotic appetite for truth is harnessed by the thumetic appetite for power, for that mastery and possession of nature lauded in Part VI of Descartes’ Discourse on the Method. The highest virtue in such a political order is technologically beneficial, scientific largesse.5 This is why the scientific high priest of The New Atlantis has “an aspect as if he pitied men,”6 and why, “in place of love and honor,” liberalism and science

swore forever the dominion of a purposeless world. Over the last century and a half, liberalism and science have denied that any inherent purpose or order exists in nature and human beings except that which our arbitrary will imposes on ourselves and the whole, all while giving us increasing power over the material world.7

In order to properly understand this typical tale, however, we must look more closely at two key aspects of “the modern turn.”

The first has to do with the stance of the mind towards nature. The veritable dêmiourgos of modern science, Isaac Newton, inaugurated a new manner of thinking about nature in his Principia. Just as political secularism, when it comes to public disputes about the nature of good and evil, or the noble or ignoble, no longer need invoke ultimate metaphysical or religious foundations, so also Newton’s physico-mathematical secularism, when it comes to the public practice of mathematical physics, no longer need appeal to the ontological character of things or dispute about the “physical causes and seats”8 of the forces of nature.9 This stance is enabled by the ability of the human mind to homogenize heterogeneities in its acts of speculative thought, a species-neutral grasp of nature: “The algebraicization of science thus entails the homogenization of our thoughts and therewith a certain detachment of the resulting concepts from things.”10 Consequently, if Ellmers and Wise are correct in drawing our attention to the “emergence” of true heterogeneity and even finality in not only the biological but also the cosmological order,11 does this not imply that we must look for a proportionately adequate manner of thinking about such an order?

The second aspect has to do with the stance of the heart towards nature. In his seminal essay “The Principle of the New Order,” Charles De Koninck writes:

Political science and prudence are practical in that they direct toward an end, according to right reason. But this presupposes that we know the nature of that which is to be directed and of the end, in other words, the rectitude of practical regulation presupposes the rectification of the speculative intellect. Therefore, if, per impossibile, practical regulation were independent of speculative truth, then what things are or should be, such as man, society, and the human good, would be merely what we wished them to be. Practical science would no longer even be a science. . . .  On this hypothesis, then, man would be the measure of all things, and there could be no other measure.12

This argument holds even if we were to act as if there were no pre-existing natural ends available to speculative thought by which political science or prudence could be measured. Because of this, modern politics-with-science is an art of transforming nature. It claims: “The end of our foundation is the knowledge of causes, and secret motions of things; and the enlarging of the bounds of human empire, to the effecting of all things possible.”13 Consequently, if it is the case, as Ellmers and Wise claim, “that modern science does not refute cosmic teleology but simply as a methodological matter excludes it—or claims to,”14 does this not imply that we must reexamine what such an order in nature and human nature—to private or even common goods—might commit and obligate us to say and do?

There is therefore at the heart of the modern turn a deep metaphysical claim regarding natural order and the stance of mankind, intellectually and volitionally, towards that order. The nature of this claim is such that a skeptical, rational political philosophy may not be enough to “revise and rescue” what good it might still have. The parameters of rethinking the founding myth of modernity indicate a need to reflect on the nature and extent of the truth and the good. It obliges us to search for a type of knowledge adequate to such a task.

Whose Architectonic? Which Wisdom?

Such a knowledge is surely an architectonic knowledge. But what is such a thing? What does searching for it even mean? Part of the challenge is that the very parameters of the modern turn make the search for architectonic knowledge an act nearly alien to human nature. So what follows will—as noted by MacIntyre about appeals to a particular understanding of virtue—sound like the shrill cry of a bizarre, partisan philosophy.

In his own dialectical search for this architectonic knowledge, Aristotle proposes six marks by which its possessor, the wise man, would be known. The wise man in some way knows all things, and things difficult to know, and knows them with certainty; he can teach about them because he knows their causes, and he has such knowledge for its own sake, for this knowledge is of a superior or noble type.15 Aristotle identifies first philosophy with this sort of wisdom; it is a knowledge especially of God or especially God’s own knowledge.

However, Aristotle also speaks of architectonic types of knowledge elsewhere in his writings. On the one hand, in his Ethics, he says that knowledge of the highest good of human action “would seem to belong to the most authoritative science or capacity and that which is truly the most architectonic. And politics appears to be of this nature.”16 On the other hand, and in the same book, Aristotle argues that “it would be out of place to think that politics or prudence is the best, since man is not the best thing in the cosmos.”17 The hierarchy of architectonic knowledges follows upon a hierarchy in things. If man were his own ultimate end—the best thing in the cosmos—then the politically wise direction of his actions and passions would constitute his highest happiness.18

Yet perhaps it is not that simple. Commenting on the former passage from the Ethics just quoted, Aquinas writes:

It should be known that politics is said to the most principal knowledge not simply speaking but among the practical sorts of sciences, which are concerned with human things and whose ultimate end politics considers. For the ultimate end of the whole universe is considered by the divine science, which is the most principal with respect to all things.19

The nature of divine science and its architectonic office is further considered by Aquinas in the opening chapter of his Summa contra Gentiles. In the first chapter, he opens with an argument by analogy to concrete, practical affairs: The architects or master artisans are those who order all things under them to an end, yet whoever orders all things under them to an end are wise. Thus, these men are wise. Still, they are not wise without qualification: “The name of the absolutely wise man, however, is reserved for him whose consideration is directed to the end of the universe, which is also the origin of the universe.”20 He then proposes the following argument in support of that claim: The absolutely wise man studies the end-goal of the universe. However, the telos of the universe is truth. Why? Because the telos of any thing is that which is intended by its author, and the author of the universe is an intellect, and the good intended by an intellect is truth. So, the absolutely wise man studies the telos of the universe, namely the truth, and especially Truth itself.

This is a high mark to meet: Aristotle’s claim against political science as the highest of human knowledges, the architectonic one, can only be born out by a positive theoretical insight, a speculative demonstration, which puts man in his place in the cosmos. It is no wonder then, that the possession of such knowledge “might be justly regarded as beyond human power; for in many ways human nature is in bondage, so that according to Simonides ‘God alone can have this privilege’, and it is unfitting that man should not be content to seek the knowledge that is suited to him.”21 Our biological, sensate, and appetitive natures instead draw us towards what we can make with our own hands and thereby know: to the technological, the political, and the fine artistic creation.22

Furthermore—following Aquinas’s own criteria for the nobility of a virtue—one might wonder if political science is indeed best. Any virtue, of which knowledge is an instance, is nobler than another either because of its nobler object (or aim), or the superior character of the very acts by which it achieves its aim.23 However, that virtue and knowledge which is regulative of an individual life able to contemplate God is surely prudence (and thus moral wisdom is morally necessary for complete intellectual excellence),24 and its public version, directive of the various activities of life to the common good, is political prudence—the art of the true statesman. Thus even the philosophers who contemplate the divine and whose discourse is the punishment of atheists and agnostics in Plato’s Laws benefit from and are under the direction of the political art, for they are assigned such a place in the regime, the politeia. Politics will direct and therefore rule even the contemplative philosopher, for politics is directive of the activities necessary, in public and in private, to achieve the end of contemplation as a part of public order.

Here the reader will cry, “Enough! This loose talk of such a ‘politics’ is even less believable than the speculative philosopher to which it is supposedly a competitor.” Indeed, Aristotle’s politikê or Plato’s statesman who concerns himself with the care of his citizens souls are claims made in a tongue belonging to a former age of the world that is now long past. Yet this is the great benefit the Straussian school and their fellow travelers have provided: resurrecting in a secular vernacular the claims made by pre-Enlightenment texts. The degree to which we cannot take seriously the idea of a politician who cares for souls or the philosopher who seeks knowledge of nature without technological designs upon her belies our belief in modernity’s noble lie. The ancient texts and their teachings show the self-referential tension with and the metaphysical character of the Promethean cry at the birth of modernity—a single “I” that is clearly a part dubiously claims priority over the whole. Once this is unmasked, are we not free to return to these old debates? This seems especially true if even modern science is not exempt from a cross-examination that “depends on the understanding of the common noun ‘man’ and its position in a whole (the universe) between the divine and the animals.”25 Nor is such an option out of bounds if there must “always be some few who attend to first principles.”26 The question merely becomes what sort of meta-scientific or meta-political philosopher do we need?

We must attend to the ancients’ words. We have found in their texts not a single wisdom but many wisdoms, and they fall out not in an order established by human convention but in answer to the order of the cosmos. Either human beings are the best thing in the cosmos or they are not. If they are not, this might be because the notion of “the best thing in the cosmos” is philosophical nonsense—but on such a suggestion we join in rejecting, with our interlocutors, an alienating dualism or humiliating materialism that would be required to sustain such a claim.27 If we are not the best thing in the cosmos in some other, meaningful sense, this is surely a metaphysical claim that, at its limits, decries Nietzsche’s madman who heralds the death of God.

Let us then propose not an actual account of a modern world without the modern turn, but a rhetorical hypothesis. Let there be sound arguments that return man to his status as a mere creature. Let there be a new analysis of human nature that reveals normative grounds for our conduct. Then we can grant political philosophy a certain pride of place. For surely this analysis of human nature will reveal that the personal and private good cannot be supreme but must be measured and indeed ennobled by its participation in the common good of political order—justice and peace. Here politics is indeed architectonic. But is it skeptical? Is it not, rather, confident in its ability to grasp the certainties of human desire and happiness?

What of the arguments that relocate man as a creature in a created cosmic order? Strauss famously claimed that “the issue between the mechanical and the teleological conception of the universe is decided by the manner in which the problem of the heavens, the heavenly bodies, and their motion is solved.”28 Yet if the question hinges upon the teleology to be found in the heavens, then perhaps we might consider—and here in agreement with Ellmers and Wise—that while Newton’s arguments cut down the celestial to the measure of the terrestrial, our contemporary cosmology and biology might raise the terrestrial to a celestial measure. In fact, we add, “Strauss is not quite right to say that ‘modern followers of Thomas Aquinas’ have accepted the anti-teleological conception of the heavenly bodies—not all them have.”29 Here, I have in mind the grand vision of De Koninck’s Cosmos.30 Yet such arguments, if they are sound, could only be the purview of a knowledge beyond political wisdom, since the order considered is beyond all human volition, whether public or private.

Is There Hope for Metaphysics?

The modern turn and the Enlightenment show to a world-historical certainty that metaphysics cannot be a public ruling knowledge if claims about revealed theology are excluded from the public square, for metaphysics of its nature issues no practical commands. From such a certitude it does not follow, however, that metaphysics is of no practical importance. That this is true can be shown in two ways.

First, by example. Arguments could be made that a philosophy of nature—not political philosophy—is the architectonic knowledge needed by the natural sciences. However, the need for a “natural philosophy” that guides scientific reflection is already recognized. For instance, it is recognized by the cosmologist Lee Smolin in his recent book coauthored with the political philosopher Roberto Unger.31 A guiding philosophy for cosmology is also recognized by the cosmologist and mathematician George Ellis.32 In this vein—much like Carlo Rovelli’s claims noted by Ellmers and Wise—scientists are not all in agreement with the late Stephen Hawking’s claim that philosophy is dead.33 Some scientists are the new Heracliteans.34 Some are newly minted Parmenideans.35 Some are the new Pythagoreans.36 This variety illustrates the metaphysical “secularism” described above—but now it’s no longer a private affair? Are we not, philosophically speaking, forced to arbitrate between these competing views?

Ellmers and Wise stave off an objection by noting that “the guiding discipline did not require the philosopher to be a master shipwright or bronze-worker; but only to ensure that the development of technology is not left to the interests of shipwrights and metalworkers.”37 So also I say that speculative philosophy does not tell the specialist how to conduct his craft. Rather, natural philosophy—or better, metaphysics, if one can attain it—judges the results of the particular sciences in light of the whole of human knowledge, defends the assumptions they make, uses their results to inform other areas of inquiry, and orders their considerations to attaining a more complete knowledge of the cosmos. In the practical order of directing, permitting, and protecting the activities required to sustain persons and public institutions that seek such a cosmic vision, the statesman is surely needed. Yet to command an act is of a different nature than to enjoy the object of that act.

Second, we can follow the example of Carlo Rovelli in his discussion of the divide between philosophy and science.38 Rovelli, for his part, cites the author of the Protrepticus to defend philosophy, who shows by retorsion philosophy’s inevitability. Let us imitate this style of argument. Making the claim that man is the highest being in the cosmos, just like claiming that man is endowed by nature with certain inalienable rights, is to adopt implicitly a particular philosophy. To maintain in some roundabout way that, even if he is not the highest being, there are no practical consequences of this fact is to commit oneself again to a philosophy (and surely an odd one at that!) where one’s practical activity need not heed pertinent realities. To further maintain that even if there are consequences of adopting such an odd stance but that these occur only in private life and have no ramifications for the public sphere is surely a claim that the nature of politics and political life is indifferent of its nature and not by mere happenstance or in a pragmatic way, and therefore that the political is closed and not merely neutral to higher-order goods, whatever they may or may not be. Yet such is a distinctively modern claim: cuius regio, eius religio—or: there is all the practical relevance in the world that you are a mere private, mortal man before God, but when you band together through your private will in political union with your fellow mortals you escape this realm altogether. If it is not a metaphysical insight that defends such a conclusion, then what is left but a brute act of cosmic rebellion? And surely such rebellion is unwise?

Even though it issues no commands to action, then, metaphysics or a first philosophy which is purely speculative is inevitable, and inevitable as a speculative architectonic. Still we must recognize that as the intellect needs the will, so also metaphysics needs political wisdom.

Athens and Jerusalem?

Yet, neither virtue is ultimate. So also is neither knowledge ultimate. For Aquinas, there exists an architectonic knowledge higher even than metaphysics, one that he wrote about as at once both speculative and practical. It is sacra doctrina, the sacred teaching or holy wisdom of revealed theology.39 Further still, he wrote, even that wisdom is but a participation in God’s own knowledge of Himself, for, as even the Stagirite saw, “the science which it would be most meet for God to have is a divine science,”40 and God’s inner life is an eternal contemplation of His own Logos—thought thinking itself. If the possibility of recognizing this architectonic is excluded from the scope of our discussion, we are now in a position to question why. Robert Maynard Hutchins claimed that theology can no longer serve as the architectonic discipline, and yet, we must add in reply to his alternative, little hope is left for unity from academic metaphysics.41 From what quarter, then?

It is here that the wisdom of Aristotle—if one could achieve it—must ever be expectant, awaiting. Faith is an ubiquitous reality in human life. Natural, human belief is necessary on a daily basis. Supernatural belief—at least in the apophatic sense, where human reason gropes in the dark for truths above itself—has also always existed. Homer gives Achilles the revelation that there is life after death when he sees the soul of his friend Patroclus (The Iliad, 23). Plato has Socrates—pondering the mysteries of the human soul—realize the inadequacy of his theories and note that we must “sail through the dangers of life as upon a raft, unless someone should make that journey safer and less risky upon a firmer vessel of some divine doctrine.”42 In another place, Socrates observes that a man who could make other men virtuous “would, as far as virtue is concerned, here also be the only true reality compared, as it were, with shadows.”43 There are places and moments, then, that reason finds itself out of room to run. It reaches a door and can feel the fire eternally burning in some space beyond, but can neither see its light, feel its warmth directly, nor satisfy itself fully in wondering about its nature. That we might attain, if we a given it, this final and ultimate one of the architectonic wisdoms in our cosmos!


1 As long as such a compliment—recalling the gadfly Socrates—does not run them any public risks! However, I am neither Anytus nor Meletus, and would join my interlocutors to face such accusers.

2 Edmund Husserl, Ideas for a Pure Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy: First Book, trans. by D. O. Dahlstrom (Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing, 2014), 38.

3 The main theme of Larry Arnhart’s response to Ellmers and Wise: “Strauss, Darwin, and the Pursuit of a Comprehensive Natural Science.” To avoid a philosophical Mexican standoff between our views, I must restrict my own comments to passing mentions of Professor Arnhart’s substantial response.

4 See Allan Bloom’s “Interpretive Essay,” in Plato, The Republic Of Plato, trans. by A. Bloom, 2nd ed. (New York: Basic Books, 1991) 403.

5 Such is Descartes’s notion of la générosité, the architectonic self-control of one’s passions that enables knowledge, scientific progress, and its political largesse: “Descartes’ Promethean philanthropy is an essential corollary to the wisdom of the generous man. . . .  The wisdom of generosity teaches him the pscyhodynamics of man with respect to his total environment; the prescience of favor leads him to take whatever steps he can to ensure that sentient individuals will as some future date feel joy when they come to live in a state that is well disposed to receive them.” From Richard B. Carter, Descartes’ Medical Philosophy: The Organic Solution to the Mind-Body Problem (Baltimore/London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983), 248. See also Richard Kennington, “René Descartes,” in On Modern Origins, ed. P. Kraus and F. Hunt, (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2004), 191.

6 Francis Bacon, The New Atlantis, in Francis Bacon: The Major Works, ed. by B. Vickers (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 478.

7 Ellmers and Wise, “Skepticism, Experience, and Science.” URL: <>.

8 Isaac Newton, Sir Isaac Newton’s Principia, ed. by W. Thomson and H. Blackburn, Reprint of the Latin 3rd Edition (Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 1871) 5, my translation.

9 The notion of physico-mathematical secularism is explained by Richard F. Hassing, “Modern Turns in Mathematics and Physics,” in The Modern Turn, ed. by M. Rohlf, 60:131–82, Studies in Philosophy and the History of Philosophy (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2017), 169ff; this is an expanded version of his essay “History of Physics and the Thought of Jacob Klein,” The New Yearbook for Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy 11 (2012): 214–48.

10 Hassing, “Modern Turns in Mathematics and Physics,” 150. Here, Hassing draw our attention to Jacob Klein’s description of this neutrality, see ibid.: “Klein describes this in an important passage of Greek Mathematical Thought and the Origin of Algebra: «[In the] ‘new’ science . . . nothing but the internal connection of all the concepts, their mutual relatedness, their subordination to the total edifice of science, determines for each of them a univocal [eindeutig] sense and makes accessible to the understanding their only relevant, specifically scientific content. . . .  Thus every one of the newly obtained concepts [e.g., quantity, body, mass, motion, velocity, acceleration, momentum, force, work, energy] is determined by reflection on the total context of that concept. Every concept of the “new” science belongs to a new conceptual dimension. The special intentionality of each such concept is no longer a problem: it is indifferently the same for all concepts; it is a medium beyond reflection [sie ist das allgemeine, von der Reflexion nicht mehr erreichte Medium], in which the development of the scientific world takes place.»”

11 See their reply to Larry Arnhart, titled “Cosmic and Biological Teleology,” URL: <>.

12 Charles De Koninck, The Primacy of the Common Good against the Personalists, Part 2, in The Writings of Charles De Koninck: Volume 2 (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2009), 110, 111.

13 Bacon, The New Atlantis, 480.

14 Ellmers and Wise, “Skepticism, Experience, and Science.” URL: <>.

15 See Aristotle, Metaphysics, I.1.

16 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, I.2, 1094a26–28 (Barnes ed.; translation slightly modified).

17 Ibid., VI.7, 1141a20–22 (translation slightly modified).

18 See St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, Ia-IIae, q. 3, a. 5, ad 3; URL: <>.

19 St. Thomas Aquinas, In Ethicorum, Book I, lect. 2, n. 31 (my translation); URL: <>.

20 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra Gentiles, I.1, n. 2; URL: <>.

21 Aristotle, Metaphysics, I.2, 982b28–32.

22 See also De Koninck, “Principle of the New Order,” 111–12.

23 See St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, Ia-IIae, q. 66, a. 3; URL: <>.

24 That this is the proper way to read Aquinas’s teaching ibid., q. 66, a. 5, is a claim I cannot justify here, pace Harry V. Jaffa, Thomism and Aristotelianism: A Study of the Commentary by Thomas Aquinas on the Nicomachean Ethics (Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1979), 31–32. I follow A. G. Sertillanges, O.P., The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods, trans. by M. Ryan (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1998) 242: “To love truth at the expense of prudence—that is, at the expense of the truth of life—is an absurdity.”

25 Ellmers and Wise, “Skepticism, Experience, and Science.” URL: <>.

26 Ibid.

27 In this we are in partial agreement with themes proposed by Larry Arnhart in his reply. This entire theme deserves more discussion, however. For a start, see the exchange between Richard Hassing and Larry Arnhart: Hassing, “Darwinian Natural Right?” Interpretation 27.2 (2000): 129–60; Arnhart, “Defending Darwinian Natural Right,” Interpretation 27.3 (2000): 263–77; and Hassing, “Reply to Arnhart,” Interpretation 28.1 (2000): 35–43.

28 Leo Strauss, Natural Right and History (Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 1965), 8.

29 Edmund Waldstein, O.Cist., “Freedom and the Philosophy of Nature,” Sancrucensis (blog), November 25, 2016, URL: <>, accessed 2 Dec 2018.

30 Available in Charles De Koninck, The Writings of Charles De Koninck: Volume One, ed. and trans. by R. McInerny (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2008).

31 Roberto Mangabeira Unger and Lee Smolin, The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time: A Proposal in Natural Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014).

32 George F. R. Ellis, “On the Philosophy of Cosmology,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 46 (2014): 5–23.

33 See the opening pages of Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design (New York: Bantam, 2012).

34 Such is Lee Smolin’s “proto-ontology,” which he adopts with Unger in their book.

35 Most physicists who defend a “block universe” view of relativity would fall into this category.

36 Consider Max Tegmark’s views about the “mathematical universe,” in Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality (New York: Vintage, 2014).

37 Ellmers and Wise, “Skepticism, Experience, and Science.” URL: <>, fn. 9.

38 See Carlo Rovelli, “Physics Needs Philosophy / Philosophy Needs Physics.” Scientific American Blog Network, accessed November 13, 2018; URL: <>. See also his “Physics Needs Philosophy. Philosophy Needs Physics,” Foundations of Physics 48.5 (2018): 481–91.

39 See St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, Ia, q. 1, in toto.

40 Aristotle, Metaphysics, I.2., 983a5.

41 See Hutchins, Robert Maynard. The Higher Learning in America. Piscataway, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 1945) 94–97.

42 Phaedo, 85d.

43 Meno, 100a.


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