Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association

Volume 91, 2017

Philosophy, Faith, and Modernity

Christopher O. Blum
Pages 51-62

Nature and Modernity
Can One Philosophize about Nature Today?

A conspicuous feature of modernity has been the rejection of nature as an authoritative ground of intelligibility and value, a position once defended by nearly all Catholic philosophers. Since Fr. Ernan McMullin’s 1969 article, “Philosophies of Nature,” however, the philosophy of nature has been eclipsed by the philosophy of science in mainstream Catholic philosophy. After examining McMullin’s reasons for setting aside the philosophy of nature and Thomas Nagel’s recent re-affirmation of the possibility of a philosophical reflection upon nature prior to the claims of empirical science, this article responds to McMullin’s critique and defends the viability of an Aristotelian understanding of nature today.