Those who dare to enter here, beware! This book should come with a warning label. It is not for the faint-hearted, nor for those who rest comfortably in the conviction that they actually understand the nature and history of philosophy, science, and, especially, Thomism. Peter A. Redpath’s unconventional interpretation of these topics could (probably will) get some readers severely upset. Likely, some will have to rethink virtually everything they had previously thought they knew about these subjects.
Reading this book essentially altered my understanding of the nature and history of philosophy, science, and Thomism (subjects I have been studying for decades and thought I knew fairly well). If you are not up to changing the way you think, do not read this book. Put it down, and rest comfortably in your ignorance.
If you enjoy living dangerously, read on; even buy the book, if you have not already done so. You will be happy you did. It is a boon to philosophy, science, and just the elixir the Catholic Church and Western civilization need at this precarious moment in history.
The task Redpath undertakes in this monograph is monumental, something many intelligentsia today would consider impossible, absurd: to re-establish in an initial way the essential connection between philosophy and science, and science and wisdom, that started to become severed centuries ago around the time of the birth of “modern science.” As impossible and absurd as this goal might appear to some intellectuals today, by the end of this book, Redpath claims, beyond reasonable doubt, to have effected this reunion; and I agree with him.
In making this claim, Redpath does not pretend to show in precise detail how all the specific principles of different divisions of essentially-nominalistic, modern science are specific philosophical principles that explain the division and methods of what, borrowing a phrase from philosopher John N. Deely, Redpath calls science “falsely-so called.” Instead, he has written this book as the first volume of a wider project that he hopes, with the help of others, will be able to achieve this longer-term, specific goal.
Because the main goal of his volume entails reuniting in an initial way what most contemporary intellectuals claim are two really distinct natures, within the context of this monograph, Redpath understands that he must precisely explain what is this single nature of philosophy and science, how what appear to be two distinct natures are actually one. To do this he has to re-examine the general history of philosophy and science from the ancient Greeks up to the present day.
As he engages in this study, Redpath radically reinterprets the natures of philosophy, science, universals, and analogy. He challenges commonly-received scholarly opinions about the origin and nature of (1) the problems of the one and the many and universals, and (2) nominalism. Following Aristotle and St. Thomas, he maintains that logical and philosophical universals, genera, are not identical; and that, strictly speaking, philosophy, science, is an intellectual habit, not a body of knowledge. He denies that anyone can be a philosopher, scientist, without simultaneously, accepting theism, the existence of God, the human soul, habits, virtues, and the essential connection between science and wisdom. He completely overturns the prevailing interpretation of Descartes’s and Rousseau’s roles in Western intellectual history (especially in connection with the rise of modern, utopian socialism, upon which he claims, modern science is dependent as a substitute for a real, metaphysical first principle). He even goes so far as to claim that Rousseau is a neo-Averroist and that Rousseau’s political thought and contemporary, utopian socialism are rooted in analogous transpositions of teachings that, knowingly or not, Rousseau borrowed from Averroes.
Again, this work is not for the faint-hearted. Read it at your own risk.
Curtis L. Hancock
President, The Gilson Society