Re: The chosen systematization ? ( was Science & Religion)

Matthew S. Tomaso (Tomaso@MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU)
Sat, 14 Oct 1995 14:15:19 -0500

Tibor Benke provides an interesting commentray on the matters of religion
and science:

>All attempts to define what science is are neccessarily doomed to failure,
>because any such definition is bound to be either too narrow and - to use a
>Popperian term - 'essentialist' or - due to considerations that Kurt Godel
>brought to our attention - will result in "formally undecideable

To be completely blunt - so what?
Any attempt to use language to systematize anything is doomed to failure if
our criteria for acceptance are as purely formal as mathematics. Do we
stop calling ducks 'ducks' because the word 'ducks' will always be an
essentialist reductionism of all that is duckness? Has Godel's conundrum in
some way eviscerated formal mathematics (which is also dependant on
essentialization and symbolic forms of expression)? I think not on both counts.

>If anthropology is to be scientific at all, it must adopt as a
>methodological dogma that it must treat science as just one of the human
>systematizations it must elucidate. To do anything else, would be to
>introduce an unverifiable assumption. It would be to privilege a chosen
>systematization - a religious act if there ever was one.

Is there some reason why we _shouldn't_ attempt to explain and interpret
science scientifically? Who exactly is it that you see advocating an
approach that treats science as somehow more important as a unit of study?
What exactly makes you think that science is exclusively western? Is all
ideology in non-western culture which is scientifically constructed (as in
decided by experience/experiment/observation/trial and error) to be
differentiated from science simply because we westerners didn't formalize it
in our own language? Is western culture somehow more scientific than other

just curious,

"How has it been possible to believe in the amorality of life?"
Jose Ortega y Gasset. _The Revolt of the Masses_.
Matt Tomaso.
Anthropology. University of Texas at Austin.
Phone/Fax 512-453-6256