Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association

Volume 93, 2019

A Perennial Philosophy of Nature

Anselm Ramelow
Pages 71-100

A Perennial Theology of Nature

However much scientific paradigms shift, the shifts are not so arbitrary that we would relinquish without need the simpler, more economic and elegant theories for more complicated ones. This is not just a matter of convenience but implies an objective fact about the universe, namely a reliable perfection that can only be assumed on the basis of the intelligent design of a benevolent creator God. Earlier thinkers may have been more aware that this is an assumption (e.g., Kant) and presupposes God’s benevolent intentions (Leibniz). This assumption of a unified order of reality in general constitutes itself a perennial consensus through the ages, whether in Aquinas, Leibniz, the German Idealists or American Transcendentalists. Dissenters such as William James or Nietzsche serve to highlight the assumption as theological—an assumption that is fortunately confirmed by our best available evidence, as well as by the way we do science and live our lives.