The Nature of Evil

The Nature of Evil

The Nature of Evil

The Nature of Evil

Excerpt

If we conceive of philosophy as man's cosmic orientation, contemporary thought reveals two strains rich in philosophical significance. On the one hand is the radical reinterpretation of cosmological ideas necessitated by the experimental and theoretical advance of physical science. By stimulating metaphysical interest in scientists and scientific discipline in metaphysicians, this advance has led to a healthy rapprochement between the two. On the other hand is the insistent demand for a philosophy of value that will be more than a conciliatory epilogue to stark naturalism: for an adequate account of value and of its rôle in nature. Both of these strains in modern thought concern intimately the problem of man's cosmic status: what is man, and how is nature mindful of him and of his values? Thus both natural science and man's own self-criticism are making contemporary philosophy increasingly significant and alive.

The critical constructive thought of today and of tomorrow cannot neglect the record of the facts of nature supplied in the amazing advance of the physical and biological sciences. But nature is not limited to what telescope and microscope and test-tube reveal: the career and the character of nature are disclosed likewise in the lives and thoughts of men, in man's devotions and ideals, illusions and tragic frustrations: these are all facts relevant to what we may be allowed to call the Higher Behaviorism. The resolve not to ignore them may save us from a too precipitate and narrow 'naturalism' in cosmology, and surely the study of them leads us into the laboratory of the science and the philosophy of value.

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