IPC Presentation

For those interested, the final draft version of my presentation at the recent IPC Colloquium in Paris, celebrating the 50th anniversary of that institution, can be found at this link.

IPC-Paris

A portion of the introduction follows:

In his 1941 essay «Are the Experimental Sciences Distinct from the Philosophy of Nature?», Charles De Koninck argued that the philosophy of nature and the natural, experimental sciences are not formally distinct. Rather, the experimental or positive sciences are the natural, dialectical extensions of the philosophy of nature. He developed this qualified continuity thesis throughout the remainder of his career. While it yet has some adherents, today De Koninck’s view seems to be in the minority. It seems more frequent to find Thomists maintaining that the philosophy of nature is a part or a mode of metaphysics, and at any rate distinct from the natural sciences. The great difference in education or training, vocabulary, and even social circles seems to reinforce and even to lead to this conclusion. What indeed does Athens have to do with Stockholm? Are there good reasons to continue to defend De Koninck’s continuity thesis? What difference does it make for understanding the principles of natural philosophy? Might De Koninck’s thesis help us to understand the philosophy of nature and the natural sciences as integral parts of one habitus of speculative knowledge? The following paper will defend De Koninck’s qualified continuity thesis. This view maintains that the experimental sciences—such as physics, chemistry, and biology—are the dialectical extensions of the Aristotelian-Thomistic philosophy of nature. I will also suggest, following some of De Koninck’s students and learning from the opponents to this view, various ways in which De Koninck’s account can be strengthened and furthered.

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