Site menu:


Science and logic

Wanting to believe only what they see, scientists condemn themselves to seeing only what they believe; logic for them is their desire not to see what they do not want to believe. Scientism in fact is less interested in the real as such -which necessarily goes beyond our limitations - than in what is non- contradictory, therefore in what is logical, or more precisely, in what is empirically logical; thus in what is logical de facto according to a given experience, and not in what is logical de jure in accordance with the nature of things.

In reality the "planimetric" recording of perceptions and the elimination of the apparently contradictory only too often give the measure of a given ignorance, even of a given stupidity; the pedants of "exact science" are moreover incapable of evaluating what is implied by the existential paradoxes in which we live, beginning with the phenomenon, contradictory in practice, of subjectivity.

Subjectivity is intrinsically unique while being extrinsically multiple; now if the spectacle of a host of subjectivities other than our own causes us no great perplexity, how can it be explained "scientifically" - that is, avoiding or eliminating all contradiction - that "I alone" am "I"? So-called "exact" science can find no reason whatever for this apparent absurdity, any more than it can for that other logical and empirical contradiction which is the limitlessness of space, time and the other existential categories. Whether we like it or not, we live surrounded by mysteries, which logically and existentially lead us towards transcendence. [From the Divine to the Human, p. 141].

Even if the "scientists" could observe the non-contradiction of all possible objective phenomena, there still would remain the contradictory enigma of the scission between the objective universe and the observing subject, not to mention the "scientifically" insoluble problem of that flagrant contradiction which is the empirical uniqueness of a particular subject, to which problem we have just alluded; and even if we limit ourselves to the objective world, of which the limitlessness precisely constitutes a contradiction since it is inconceivable according to empirical logic, how can we believe for an instant that the day will finally come when we can put it into a homogeneous and exhaustive system?

And how can we fail to see the fundamental and inevitable contradiction between scientistic logic - which is moreover intrinsically deficient since it lacks sufficient data - and the infinity and complexity of the real, which scientism sets itself out to explore, to exhaust and to catalogue? The fundamental contradiction of scientism is to want to explain the real without the help of that first science which is metaphysics, hence not to know that only the science of the Absolute gives meaning and discipline to the science of the relative; and not to know at the same stroke that the science of the relative, when it is deprived of this help, can only lead to suicide, beginning with that of the intelligence, then with that of the human, and in the end, with that of humanity.

The absurdity of scientism is the contradiction between the finite and the Infinite, that is, the impossibility of reducing the latter to the former, and the incapacity to integrate the former into the latter; and also the inability to understand that an erudition which cuts itself off from initial Unity can lead only to the innumerable, hence to the indefinite, to shattering and no nothingness... [From the Divine to the Human, 141-142]

Pure and simple logic amounts only to a very indirect manner of knowing things; it is, before all else, the art of coordinating data (whether true or false) according to a given need of causal satisfaction and within the limits of a given imagination, so much so that an apparently faultless argument can yet be quite erroneous in function of the falseness of its premisses; the more elevated the order of the thing to be made known, the more vulnerable will be the mind in that case.

What one is criticizing here is not the exactitude of science, far from that, but the exclusive level imposed on that exactitude, whereby this quality is rendered inadequate and inoperative: man can measure a distance by his strides, but this does not make him able to see with his feet, if one may so express oneself. Metaphysics and symbolism, which alone provide efficient keys to the knowledge of supra-sensible realities, are highly exact sciences -with an exactitude greatly exceeding that of physical facts - but these sciences lie beyond the scope of unaided ratio and of the methods it inspires in a quasiexclusive manner... [The essential writings of F. Schuon, p. 338]