In 1862, the British philosopher Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) published this preamble to a planned series of publications on biology, psychology, sociology and morality. In it, he states that religion and science can be reconciled by their shared belief in an Absolute, and that ultimate principles can be discerned in all manifestations of the Absolute, particularly the general laws of nature being discovered by science. Spencer divides his text into two parts. Part I, 'The Unknowable', discusses early philosophical ideas that human knowledge is limited and cannot meaningfully conceive of God; faith must be the bridge between human experience and ultimate truth. Spencer refutes this as he examines religion and science in detail. In Part II, 'Laws of the Knowable', Spencer argues that religion and science can be reconciled in the underlying unity from which the visible complexity of the universe has evolved.
Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication:
Series: Cambridge Library Collection - Science and Religion
24 September 2009
Professional and scholarly
Preface; Part I. The Unknowable: 1. Religion and science; 2. Ultimate religious ideas; 3. Ultimate scientific ideas; 4. The relativity of all knowledge; 5. The reconciliation; Part II. Laws of the Knowable: 1. Laws in general; 2. The law of evolution; 3. The law of evolution (continued); 4. The causes of evolution; 5. Space, time, matter, motion and force; 6. The indestructibility of matter; 7. The continuity of motion; 8. The persistence of force; 9. The correlation and equivalence of forces; 10. The direction of motion; 11. The rhythm of motion; 12. The conditions essential to evolution; 13. The instability of the homogeneous; 14. The multiplication of effects; 15. Differentiation and integration; 16. Equilibration; 17. Summary and conclusion.