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Rediscovering the Integral Cosmos

Rediscovering the Integral Cosmos

Physics, Metaphysics, and Vertical Causality

By Jean Borella and Wolfgang Smith

180 pp

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About the Book

When a physicist who becomes a metaphysician, and a metaphysician who studies physics, join together to deal philosophically with science (quantum physics and cosmogenesis in particular), explosive results might well be expected—and this pivotal text does not disappoint. Co-author Jean Borella, professor of philosophy and metaphysics, also earned a degree in physics. And in co-author Wolfgang Smith we have a professor of mathematics and physics who became a metaphysician. Smith explores the implications of what he terms “vertical causality,” a hitherto unrecognized mode of causation which proves to be the missing ingredient needed to make sense out of quantum physics. He explains how vertical causality brings to light the long-forgotten fact that the integral cosmos replicates the corpus/anima/spiritus constitution of man; and, moreover, that this cosmic trichotomy proves essential both to a recovery of traditional cosmology and to the advancement of contemporary science. Finally, he shows on scriptural grounds that the trichotomous cosmology accords with the teachings of Christ. Still, it was necessary for philosophy to try to explain how and why science became atheistic in the first place; and this is just what Jean Borella has undertaken in his contribution: “Is Science Through with God?” Whether we follow Borella or Smith, we return to a Weltanschauung that can finally account for the world in all its dimensions, and, especially, find its meaning—a meaning weakened by several centuries of mechanical determinism.

About the Author

French religious philosopher Jean Borella (b. 1930) taught metaphysics and the history of ancient and medieval philosophy at the University of Nancy until 1995. His aim has always been to blend the concerns of philosophy with those of the Christian faith, its dogmas, as well as its symbolic expressions. Among his other books in English translation are The Crisis of Religious Symbolism and Christ the Original Mystery, both available from Angelico Press.

Wolfgang Smith was born in Vienna in 1930. At age eighteen he graduated from Cornell University with majors in physics, mathematics, and philosophy. At age twenty he received his Master’s degree in theoretical physics from Purdue University, and climbed the Matterhorn. After contributing to the theoretical solution of the re-entry problem as an aerodynamicist at Bell Aircraft Corporation, Smith earned his doctorate in Mathematics at Columbia University, subsequently embarking upon a 30-year career as a Professor of Mathematics at MIT, UCLA, and Oregon State University. Despite his impeccable credentials in physics, mathematics, and philosophy, Wolfgang Smith is at heart an outsider not only in regard to these academic disciplines, but more profoundly, in reference to the post-Enlightenment premises of our contemporary world. Finding himself, thus, irreconcilably at odds with the prevailing Zeitgeist, Smith decided to forego a professional career in the fields of his primary interest—i.e., physics and philosophy—in favor of pure mathematics: the one and only academic discipline, he avers, in which “political correctness” can find no foothold. And so he enjoyed the luxury of pursuing a respected university career while being at liberty, as he puts it, “to remain perfectly sane.” It is no wonder, then, that when he finally confronted the so-called quantum enigma, Smith perceived the issue in a very different light than his peers. The problem all along had actually not been “technical”! It was not a question to be resolved by way of differential equations, nor primarily a matter of finding something new—but one of jettisoning an entire Weltanschauung. And for Wolfgang Smith this posed no difficulty: he had in fact done so decades earlier, as can be discerned in his remarkable series of publications.

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