I had an interesting discussion with a good friend of ours who recently moved back to Texas about scientific advances and the effects they had on philosophy. When asked for an example of the phenomenon, he responded that the shift from a geocentric view of the solar system to a heliocentric view influenced the idea that the universe no longer quite literally revolved around us. This shift has placed humanity as just another part of creation, mere atoms and energy, pitifully insignificant in light of the vastness of space. I agree that the shift from geocentric to heliocentric had a huge impact on philosophy- however, I feel that the impact did not re-orient philosophy in the right direction, but rather pushed it further away from the nature of truth.
Logically, the idea that the universe no longer revolves around the earth should cause man to look outside himself to see what it is he is revolving around. But according to the thought of my friend, as well as the rest of the post-modern intelligentsia, the idea of a heliocentric universe has not shifted man’s focus from himself to something outside himself, but rather caused him to focus even more on himself and his finite, perspectival, subjective experience of the world. This is indicative of all philosophy since the Enlightenment- the focus of man is still man, albeit in a way that is infatuated with his limits and inability to gain an objective vantage point from which truth can be objectively known. The trajectory of this anthropocentrism has landed us in a deconstructivist’s playground, where the nature of words in texts do little more than point to signs that point to signs that point to signs ad infinitum, ad nauseam, with no real meaning out there, just more signs pointing to more signs. According to the pragmatic ethos of society, this anthropocentrism should have been jettisoned long ago, because it doesn’t work- no body lives like this, nor can they without creating an absence of meaning, a black hole in the experience of man that not even the light of life can escape from. It is this philosophy that has been the dialog partner of theology for years, and it has for the most part been on philosophy’s terms.
Perhaps the shift towards a heliocentric view of the solar system should have ushered in a theocentric view of existence instead. Sure, this is old hat for most of us, but perhaps we should flesh this idea out a little more. Perhaps the terms of the dialog should be from a theocentric point of view. But in order to do this, we must come up with the terms, and invite philosophy to enter into discussion with us on the basis of said terms. We need to shift our epistemology from the subject-object perspective to the Subject-communicates-object-to-subject perspective. But how to do this?! I don’t know, but we should try to figure this out. I don’t like the way philosophy is going, and we should probably do something about it.