Essays on the Roots of Secularization
Since Parmenides’ dichotomy of One and Many, the One of the ancient cosmogonies has been reduced to a pole of our thought, a sterile identity which has been identified with truth but cannot bring forth nor give order to the Many. The author reflects on how the Parmenidean dichotomy has led, for many centuries after Parmenides, to the metaphysical attempts to reduce the Many to the One, causing unsolvable epistemological problems, and to the metaphysical dissolution of the One in the Many of time, causing the moral crisis of the West. Further, this study analyses the epistemic and spiritual impasse of the West and shows a possible solution to this problem: to unearth the forgotten dichotomy, the key to understand millenarian philosophical problems, such as consciousness, movement and causality, which are deadlocked because they all stem from the reduction of temporal phenomena within the framework of a rational thought which is unable to account for the non-identical.
Essay IV: The Return of the One to Thought 113
113 Essay IV: The Return of the One to Thought Introduction Descartes’ project of giving solid foundations to scientific knowledge did not come out of the blue, of course, but it followed the development of mathematical and scientific thought in the centuries before him and the growing need to replace a contemplative meta- physics engaged in defining the essential categories of a theoretical physics with a speculative framework able to satisfy the need for foundation of a science that is now directly engaged in reading the book of nature without reassuring intermediaries. This need had reached its apex, few decades before Descartes, with Galileo’s manifesto in the dialogue The Assayer in which the divorce of faith and reason is spelt in unmistakable terms. Under the pressure of these developments and a growing desire for clarity, Descartes’ discovery of the Cogito that asserts the simple identity of thought and so its necessity, is not the result of a sterile intellectual exercise, but is the logical counterpart of the certainty of the mathematical One, and it registers, once again, as it did for Parmenides at the dawn of philosophical thought, the withdrawal of the One from the onto- theological realm, where it had been held in place by the overwhelming influence of Christian thought and Aristotelian metaphysics, back to man’s thought where it is now going to establish itself as the tool of rational knowledge and mathematical certainty. The Cogito, then, is another expression of the One, the necessary identity of thought...
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