Recovering the forgotten discipline of Natural Philosophy for the modern world
This book argues for the retrieval of 'natural philosophy', a concept that faded into comparative obscurity as individual scientific disciplines became established and institutionalized. Natural philosophy was understood in the early modern period as a way of exploring the human relationship with the natural world, encompassing what would now be seen as the distinct disciplines of the natural sciences, mathematics, music, philosophy, and theology.
The first part of the work represents a critical conversation with the tradition, identifying the essential characteristics of natural philosophy, particularly its emphasis on both learning about and learning from nature. After noting the factors which led to the disintegration of natural philosophy during the nineteenth century, the second part of the work sets out the reasons why natural philosophy should be retrieved, and a creative and innovative proposal for how this might be done. This draws on Karl Popper's 'Three Worlds' and Mary Midgley's notion of using multiple maps in bringing together the many aspects of the human encounter with the natural world. Such a retrieved or 're-imagined' natural philosophy is able to encourage both human attentiveness and respectfulness towards Nature, while enfolding both the desire to understand the natural world, and the need to preserve the affective, imaginative, and aesthetic aspects of the human response to nature.
In my opinion, this is McGrath's most important work to date, and might even be a candidate of 21st century classics. * Michael Borowski, Reviews in Science, Religion and Theology * important and elegantly argued book by one of today's most prolific and engaging theologians...[McGrath's] clear and accessible style testifies to his skill as an exemplary communicator. * John Saxbee, Church Times * A significant scholarly contribution * David Lorimer, Paradigm Explorer * This book is a significant scholarly contribution to a wider and deeper worldview affirming science, philosophy, ethics and aesthetics within a reimagined natural philosophy. * David Lorimer, Journal Of The Scientific And Medical Network * In this book, Alister McGrath provides an intellectual history and critique of what is now referred to as natural science, as well as a proposed re-conception of science going forward...The book has two parts. In Part 1, McGrath successfully labors to give an accessible introduction to the historical conception and development of natural philosophy and its trajectory/transformation towards contemporary "science," followed in Part 2 by a proposed direction out of the
predicament which he and others see modern/postmodern science to be in. * Alexander Fogassy, DPhil Candidate, Oriel College, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK OX1 4EW., Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith *