A l'écoute de l'autre : Philosophie et Révélation by Bruno Forte

By Bruno Forte

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As Bynum puts it ‘The hierarchical scala naturae would have an inherent sympathetic appeal to men (sic) who were used to thinking about their own social relationships in hierarchical terms’ (1975: 6). Similarly, those towards the bottom of the Chain were expected to defer to those higher in the social order and consider their often unpleasant experiences as the inevitable result of their god-given position. On the other hand, the Chain contained a number of assumptions. And, particularly from the seventeenth century onwards, ideas which had been made The Great Chain of Being ‘The Courtier disdaineth the citizen; The citizen the countryman; the shoemaker the cobbler.

But even Einstein oscillated between a notion of truth as based on underlying causal mechanisms which were not necessarily observable and a notion of truth based on verification through observation (Norris 2000). Frankel even goes so far as to suggest that Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity was ‘equivalent to solipsism, or the view that each individual can only be certain of his/her own sense data’ (2003: 39). Making a firm connection between Einsteinian physics and currents in relativist philosophy is a little dubious.

Like the planets and the comets, they too were made of the same stuff and therefore deserved to be treated in an equal way. Furthermore, the cosmos was no longer seen as fixed and enclosed but was viewed as infinite and even expanding. The end of mediaeval social relations and the spreading of a Western society in the form of voyages on a global scale both matched and mirrored the new view of the universe as itself open and expanding. Indeed, astronomy was further developed towards a very specific end, that of colonizing the globe.

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