The Science of Unknowable and Imaginary Things

Jack David Eller

Vol. 1, No. 2

Fall 2019

Pages: 178-201

The Science of Unknowable and Imaginary Things

DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2019.vol1.no2.04

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Abstract

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Position Paper

Jack David Eller, Science, Metaphysics, Theology, Exegesis, Cultural Comparison

In this paper, I address the question of whether metaphysics and theology are or can become science. After examining the qualities of contemporary science, which evolved from an earlier historic concept of any body of literature into a formal method for obtaining empirical knowledge, I apply that standard to metaphysics and theology. I argue that neither metaphysics nor theology practices a scientific method or generates scientific knowledge. Worse, I conclude that both metaphysics and theology are at best purely cultural projects—exercises in exegesis of local cultural and religious ideas and language—and, therefore, that other cultures have produced or would produce radically different schemes of metaphysics or theology. At its worst, metaphysics is speculation about the unknowable, while theology is rumination about the imaginary.

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