Truth in the making: creative knowledge in theology and philosophy

New York: Routledge (2004)
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Truth in the Making represents a sophisticated effort to map the complex relations between human knowledge and creative power, as reflected across more than half a millennium of philosophical enquiry. Showing the intimacy of this problematic to the work of Nicholas of Cusa, Bacon, Galileo, Descartes, Hobbes, Leibniz, Vico and David Lachterman, the book reveals how questions about creation apparently diluted by secularism in fact retain much of their potency today. If science could counterfeit or synthesize nature precisely from its smallest nuts and bolts, as Descartes and Hobbes implied and as modern science increasingly suggests, would it create an identical world to that we live in now Robert C. Miner offers a precise genealogy of modern thought on truth and creation: from medieval theology's identification of human creativity with divine initiative to the radical Leibnizian contention that human ideas are 'not little copies of God's', and may at once exceed mimesis and produce things new, unpredictable and unseen. He considers how the theological importance given to creation interacts historically with the secularisation and instrumentalisation of modes of discovery and method, and asks how knowledge is understood between different disciplines, from the allegorical discipline of poetry to the constructible field of mathematics. The book is an eloquent reminder of the ways in which theology continues to fling a wild card at philosophical understandings of reality, countering theories of metaphysical equivalence of the 'real' and 'artificial' with theologies in which human making is always fallible, and strives only for approximate participation in divine truth. As a strenuous and informative breakdown of leading theories of knowledge, Truth in the Making shows the continuing influence of theological questions upon philosophical, scientific and aesthetic disciplines, whilst raising topical questions about the ultimate nature of our reality and our freedom to modify and define it.



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