PREFACE

Science and technology are the greatest achievements of western civilization, but they have not been an unmixed blessing, as one is vividly reminded when driving out of New York City during the evening rush hour. Some of the most dramatic breakthroughs of the modern age threaten us with possibly catastrophic side effects. Vast improvements in heating, refrigeration, sewage, and transportation have brought with them life-threatening pollution of air and water. Biomedical advances have increased longevity but have also produced overpopulation and an alarming drain on public resources. Mass media and rapid communication have made possible totalitarian control over large populations. Nuclear energy has created the dangers of core meltdown and thermonuclear holocaust. Developments in molecular biology such as genetic engineering may produce new and uncontrollable microorganisms. But all these dangers, serious though they are, can, one may hope, be kept under control by the very scientific and technological procedures that engendered them. What is not so easily controlled by science itself is the philosophical vision of the world distinctive of the modern age, which science and technology have inspired. It is the mechanistic vision of things that seems to me to pose the greatest danger of all, threatening not our bodily survival but our spiritual well being.

Western civilization engendered science and philosophy, out of which emerged three cosmic visions that characterize its three main epochs: ancient, medieval, and modern. The ancient Greek vision of the world articulated by Plato and Aristotle was organicist and

-xiii-

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Lawless Mind - Vol. 19
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xiii
  • 1 - Two Concepts of Cause 1
  • 2 - Agency and Responsibility 11
  • 3 - Where the Buck Stops and Why 41
  • 4 - Extra Credit and Discredit 57
  • 5 - Healing Sick Souls 69
  • 6 - The Myth of Mental Science 89
  • 7 - Youth and Other Excuses 101
  • 8 Wittgenstein's Challenge 115
  • 9 - The Challenge of Artificial Intelligence 131
  • 10 - Keeping Mind and Body Together 149
  • Notes 179
  • Bibliography 197
  • Index 203
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