Date of Award
Master of Liberal Studies
Dr. Hoyt Edge
Dr. Robert Vander Poppen
Before the 19th Century, natural philosophers explored the inner workings of nature and humanity using many different modes of thinking such as logic, mathematics, physics, and metaphysics. The incorporation of these varied concepts brought about a comprehensive understanding of nature and how humans relate to nature. Theories were devised from incorporeal ideas, data was gathered from the human senses, and concrete evidence was pursued to support philosophy. However, through the years from ancient times to modernity, natural philosophy slowly limited its use of revelation and metaphysics, restricting the quest for knowledge to the methodical gathering of empirical data. Science, as humans now call this procurement of knowledge, relies strictly on observation and calculation. This thesis will argue that metaphysics, or the study of the fundamental nature of being, is a necessary component of natural philosophy in order for humans to understand and find meaning in nature. Metaphysics must be reincorporated within modern science so that science may better serve humanity through answering questions pertaining to how humans find meaning in nature. Modern science, stemming from mechanical philosophy, is problematic because it concentrates solely on the study of the physical world; it views everything—including humans and other living things—as a machine, and it neglects investigations into cause and purpose for existence. As humans are conscious of their own existence, they are inherently curious about why they exist and how they interrelate with nature. To ignore questions pertaining to meaning is to disregard purpose for humans and nature.
Stone, Justin, "Humans and Nature: Finding Meaning through Metaphysics" (2013). Master of Liberal Studies Theses. 42.