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The Journal of Philosophy, Science & Law

Volume 10, Issue 4, August 2010

Pierre Darriulat
Pages 10-25
DOI: 10.5840/jpsl20101047

Knowledge and Mystery
The Impact of Contemporary Science on Metaphysics

The article, meant to address philosophers and scientists as well as the interested layman, expresses the views of a physicist on the strong impact that contemporary science has on the traditional approach to metaphysics, implying an in-depth revision of many concepts that have been happily used for centuries. The implications of taking seriously the main message of contemporary neurosciences – there is nothing else than interacting atoms in our brains – are explored. Free will, and its reconciliation with scientific determinism, is used as an illustration. Contemporary science has shed new light on the circularity of knowledge and allows for a clearer separation between science and metaphysics, between knowledge and religious beliefs. At the same time it reveals the fundamental inability of knowledge at unravelling mysteries such as knowing why the world exists, rather than nothing.