Tuesday 10th November 2020
Professor Lance Butler asks, ‘Is a new Enlightenment possible?’
The 18th century Enlightenment, the one involving the Rise of Science and the Age of Reason, has given us a very great deal. The world has been utterly transformed by rational thinking, by science and technology. But it has come at a cost. Galileo’s programme (which has been called ‘Galileo’s error’) involved seeing mathematics as the basis for all truth and measurability as the criterion by which to judge all things. This left to one side such things as subjectivity and personal experience, and of course it dismissed all serious discussion of the spiritual and paranormal. But these things have returned in the last century and are now more present in philosophy, psychology and physics. A new intellectual enlightenment is possible. This would be based on the other meaning of the word: Buddhist enlightenment, the wisdom of the still mind and the unity of all things.
Professor Lance Butler
Future Chair of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Centre
Lance Butler taught literature, literary theory and stylistics at the Universities of Stirling in the UK, and Pau in France before retiring to Edinburgh recently. He is the author of books on Samuel Beckett and Philosophy, on Thomas Hardy, on the Victorian Loss of Faith and on Stylistics.
Since discovering the Scientific and Medical Network in the 1980s he has been researching the question of ‘life after death’ and what is known about the possibility of the Survival of Consciousness beyond our final moments.
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