The Likely Story: Science and Explanation (Timaeus)

Eidos | 10/22/2018 | Staff
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The oldest working clock (15th century). Churches were a center of technology.

The truth is out there, but knowing the truth requires work. That is the delightful labor that God has given people. Even when it comes to the unchanging realm of ideas, numbers, and the Divine we only seem dimly. The shadows of reality, the marvelous material world, are much harder to capture, because they are always changing.

Platonism - Conjunction - Christianity - Scientific - Revolution

Platonism in conjunction with Christianity helped produce and sustain the Scientific Revolution. Platonism made mathematics and mathematical modeling central to scientific inquiry over against the secular tendency to ignore “abstractions” such as numbers. Experimentation, however, was not ignored by Christian Platonism. In the doctrine of the Incarnation, Christianity overcame a tendency of “intellectuals” to look down on the natural world. God became material so the material could be sanctified for all time. The combination of mathematical modeling and experimentation was intellectually explosive: the language and the methods of science coming together.

Just as important was the provisional nature of discussions about the cosmos. God reveals Himself, but the cosmos is ours to explore. The ideal is perfect, but our theories are provisional. Plato called them “likely stories.” Here is the astronomer and philosopher Timaeus in Plato’s Timaeus:

Socrates - Accounts - Gods - Accounts - Mind

Don’t be surprised then, Socrates, if it turns out repeatedly that we won’t be able to produce accounts on a great many subjects—on gods or the coming to be of the universe—that are completely and perfectly consistent and accurate. Instead, if we can come up with accounts no less likely than any, we ought to be content, keeping in mind that both I, the speaker, and you, the judges, are only human. So we should accept the likely tale on [d] these matters. It behooves us not to look for anything beyond this.

As usual Plato has acted...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Eidos
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