Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10756/315306
Title:
A Particular Collision: Arendt, CERN, and Reformational Philosophy
Authors:
Johnson, Matthew E.
Abstract:
In this paper, I will explore how recent discoveries in particle physics that are part of the pursuit of a so-called “unified theory of everything” play into a worldview that has the potential to poison ethical life. I will explicate Hannah Arendt’s critique of modern science’s pursuit of knowledge by means of (what she calls) “acting into nature,” and I will place the groundbreaking experimental research at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland, as well as the theoretical search for a unified “theory of everything,” within the scope of Arendt’s critique. In order to maintain Arendt’s concept of unprecedented newness inherent in human action (or what she calls “natality”) as a response to a scientific reductionism that tends to accompany these claims and pursuits of theoretical physics and to expose what is at stake in Arendt’s critique, I will turn to the anti-reductionistic Reformational philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd and D. H. Th. Vollenhoven, which offers a model that resonates with Arendt’s critique of modern science, while also allowing for a potentially viable way forward for considerations of the scope of scientific knowledge. Finally, I will conclude with the implications of this Reformational anti-reductionism on Arendt’s concern that human action, with its power to create new and unprecedented historical situations and natural processes, must be held accountable by reflection. What is learned from Arendt and the Reformational philosophers is that giving ground to the possibility of a unified theory of everything carries with it a determinism that disallows the recognition of both newness and irreducible complexity, both of which are essential to the ethical life.
Affiliation:
Institute for Christian Studies
Citation:
Johnson, Matthew E. "A Particular Collision: Arendt, CERN, and Reformational Philosophy" (paper presented at the 2014 Society of Christian Philosophers (Midwest Region) and Society for Continental Philosophy and Theology Conference, Trinity Christian College, Palos Heights, IL, March 27-29, 2014).
Issue Date:
27-Mar-2014
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10756/315306
Type:
Presentation
Language:
en
Keywords:
Arendt, Hannah, 1906-1975; Particle physics; Natality; Knowledge, Theory of; CERN; Human action; Scientific reductionism; Reformational philosophy; Dooyeweerd, H. (Herman), 1894-1977; Vollenhoven, D. H. Theodoor (Dirk Hendrik Theodoor), 1892-1978; Anti-reductionism; Higgs boson; Theory of everything; Hart, Hendrik; Hawking, Stephen
Rights:
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Rights holder:
This Work has been made available by the authority of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private study and research and may not be copied or reproduced except as permitted by the copyright laws of Canada without the written authority from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections:
Conference Presentations

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorJohnson, Matthew E.en_GB
dc.date.accessioned2014-04-03T19:26:46Z-
dc.date.available2014-04-03T19:26:46Z-
dc.date.issued2014-03-27-
dc.identifier.citationJohnson, Matthew E. "A Particular Collision: Arendt, CERN, and Reformational Philosophy" (paper presented at the 2014 Society of Christian Philosophers (Midwest Region) and Society for Continental Philosophy and Theology Conference, Trinity Christian College, Palos Heights, IL, March 27-29, 2014).en_GB
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10756/315306-
dc.description.abstractIn this paper, I will explore how recent discoveries in particle physics that are part of the pursuit of a so-called “unified theory of everything” play into a worldview that has the potential to poison ethical life. I will explicate Hannah Arendt’s critique of modern science’s pursuit of knowledge by means of (what she calls) “acting into nature,” and I will place the groundbreaking experimental research at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland, as well as the theoretical search for a unified “theory of everything,” within the scope of Arendt’s critique. In order to maintain Arendt’s concept of unprecedented newness inherent in human action (or what she calls “natality”) as a response to a scientific reductionism that tends to accompany these claims and pursuits of theoretical physics and to expose what is at stake in Arendt’s critique, I will turn to the anti-reductionistic Reformational philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd and D. H. Th. Vollenhoven, which offers a model that resonates with Arendt’s critique of modern science, while also allowing for a potentially viable way forward for considerations of the scope of scientific knowledge. Finally, I will conclude with the implications of this Reformational anti-reductionism on Arendt’s concern that human action, with its power to create new and unprecedented historical situations and natural processes, must be held accountable by reflection. What is learned from Arendt and the Reformational philosophers is that giving ground to the possibility of a unified theory of everything carries with it a determinism that disallows the recognition of both newness and irreducible complexity, both of which are essential to the ethical life.en_GB
dc.language.isoenen
dc.rightsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Licenseen_GB
dc.rights.urihttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/en_GB
dc.subjectArendt, Hannah, 1906-1975en_GB
dc.subjectParticle physicsen_GB
dc.subjectNatalityen_GB
dc.subjectKnowledge, Theory ofen_GB
dc.subjectCERNen_GB
dc.subjectHuman actionen_GB
dc.subjectScientific reductionismen_GB
dc.subjectReformational philosophyen_GB
dc.subjectDooyeweerd, H. (Herman), 1894-1977en_GB
dc.subjectVollenhoven, D. H. Theodoor (Dirk Hendrik Theodoor), 1892-1978en_GB
dc.subjectAnti-reductionismen_GB
dc.subjectHiggs bosonen_GB
dc.subjectTheory of everythingen_GB
dc.subjectHart, Hendriken_GB
dc.subjectHawking, Stephenen_GB
dc.titleA Particular Collision: Arendt, CERN, and Reformational Philosophyen
dc.typePresentationen
dc.contributor.departmentInstitute for Christian Studiesen_GB
dc.rights.holderThis Work has been made available by the authority of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private study and research and may not be copied or reproduced except as permitted by the copyright laws of Canada without the written authority from the copyright owner.en_GB
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