Mentor: Dr. Willem deVries, UNH Department of Philosophy
The Death of Man: Re-Evaluating Ourselves in Light of Empirical Science
The progress of modern science is a double-edge sword. On one hand, it is able to explain and predict empirical events and processes very accurately; but on the other hand, it paints a world that strongly contrasts with our own perception of reality and, ultimately, ourselves. This unveiling of a new reality could lead to our own “death”, that is, we lose our own conception of what it means to be a person and identify ourselves as a system of entities postulated by the sciences. The Naturalist position accepts this new identification. Even though science is the best way to comprehend reality, it does not mean our “death” is lurking in the shadows of future scientific discovery. To do this, certain aspects of the naturalist position must be rejected without hindering science’s epistemic authority. Drawing from Wilfrid Sellars, a 20th century American philosopher, I will use his concepts of the Manifest and Scientific Images to argue for the preservation of our identity in light of further scientific innovation.