|Minimalism: A Bridge between Classical Philosophy and the Bahá'í Revelation|
By William S. Hatcher
ISBN: 988-97451-2-7 | Pages: 132
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License: Juxta Publishing Books for the World License.
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During the axial period of classical Greek philosophy (roughly 500-200 B.C.E.), philosophers posed virtually every question that it is possible to ask concerning the world, humanity, God, and the meaning of life. Different schools of philosophy gave different answers to these questions. Some of these answers have proved wrong (e.g., Aristotle's contention that rest is the natural state of motion of a physical body), some have proved true (e.g., Archimedes' principle) and some remain speculative (e.g., whether or not matter is infinitely divisible).
In the modern period, beginning with Descartes and his method, empirical investigation of the world replaced rational speculation about the world as the "prime mover" of philosophical (including scientific) thought. Empirical science is "bottom up," beginning with concrete observation and then moving inductively to general, abstract laws and principles, whereas classical philosophy and metaphysics are typically "top down," starting with certain abstract, general principles and then moving deductively towards application to the concrete.
However, empirical science has been increasingly mathematized, especially after the 19th-20th century discovery of the new and powerful logic of relations (classical, Aristotlean logic was only attributional, not relational). This highly mathematized empirical science now finds itself facing the same questions posed by classical philosophy.
Minimalism is the name given by Professor Hatcher to his method of applying modern relational logic retroactively to problems in classical philosophy such as the existence and nature of God. The answers obtained by a persistent application of this method are seen to coincide remarkably with the answers to these same questions found in the Sacred Scriptures of the Bahá'í Faith. Thus, with respect to fundamental issues of philosophy, Hatcher's minimalism seems to constitute an empirical/logical approach parallel and complementary to the exegetical study of the Bahá'í Writings themselves.
Reviews and Commentary about the Book
In "Minimalism," Dr. Hatcher presents a completely new philosophical approach to these concerns -- and then moves forward to create a new school of philosophical thinking. The approach offers new insights into the great questions of classical philosophers, such as whether there is a God, the nature of being, and the notion of good. The success of his method is revealed towards the end of this short book -- only 128 pages long -- where he offers a logical proof for the existence of God.
From a review by Brad Pokorny
Bahá'í World News Service
Minimalism is a beautifully simple book in the deep meaning of simple. Hatcher cogently explains how the formal method of minimalism avoids the Scylla of reductionism/positivism and the Charybdis of postmodern relativism. In a condensed, but readable style, he summarizes the work of the philosophy of science of the last century, while integrating the interests of philosophy and religion with that of science. He then powerfully presents and explicates a small set of metaphysical propositions that are empirically grounded, and yet have profound spiritual implications. His proof concerning the existence of a single, simple (non-composite), self-caused universal cause (God), builds on and then exceeds the groundwork set up by Aristotle and Avicenna, and is a new and unique application of non-modal logic to this crucial topic. Anyone that is engaged by rigorous logic, as applied to some of the most important issues in the philosophy of science, metaphysics and religion, will find this text profoundly meaningful. It was a "page-turner" for me!Rhett Diessner
Professor of Psychology & Education, Lewis-Clark State College
Chair of Psychology & Education, Landegg International University
Do you believe that 'mind' is more than 'brain chemistry'? Do you suspect that 'wisdom' and 'faith' are more than 'ideologies of ruling elites'? And have you ever allowed yourself to envision a world where Science, Religion and Art cooperate to produce a peaceful, just and beautiful Global Civilization?
There are many North Americans, both inside and outside academia, who sense that Reductionism in the sciences and Postmodernism in the arts and humanities are un-necessarily narrow and extreme views. They suspect that these two dominant outlooks are constricting at best, and they are blind alleys at worst. That is, there are many on this continent who believe that Reductionism and Postmodernism are false gods that have retarded humanity's intellectual and spiritual progress. I refer to people who have a kind of inner warning system that says: "Do not eliminate all ideas which have no empirical referent, and which cannot be quantified, nor made precise enough for a rigourous logical system. Nor should we abandon hope that progress can be made toward useful and improvable truths. Because there may be more things in heaven and earth than dreamt of by doctrinaire academicians, scientists and art critics. Surely Science, Religion and Art can be complementary in today's world, and some kind of moral-spiritual 'progress' is possible"!
I find many minds and hearts who wish to affirm that 'reality' is richer and grander than our technical reasoning powers, but 'reality' is also more accessible and public than skeptics and subjectivists assume. I count myself among those who respect science, but also know that we need solid ethical and spiritual values to give our lives meaning and to guide humanity into an ever more interdependent future.
For people with these healthy suspicions and moderate orientations, William Hatcher's "Minimalism" offers fresh intellectual and spiritual air, and provides a sound and creative 'middle way' between the various dogmas of 'scientism' and 'agnosticism'. Hatcher gives us some new tools of reasoning and appreciating for broadening the community of those who have never abandoned the search for Truth, Beauty and Goodness. He offers a fresh and insightful and long overdue critique of Reductionism and Postmodernism. He shows how Philosophy can be a bridge, not only between Science and Religion, but also between the classical rationalism that many Euro-North Americans cherish and the newest of the major world religions, the Baha'i Faith.
William Hatcher has discovered a method which assures progress in all fields... yes, I mean progress in all the highest areas of human endeavor. If his "Minimalism" were to become widely understood and implemented, and his "bridge" to Baha'I crossed, the walls between departments, and disciplines, and sciences, and humanities, and societies, and cultures, and nations, and religions would develop more doors, windows and welcome signs! Cooperation would increase and competition and hostility would decrease. Severe problems would eventually be solved. New challenges would be creatively addressed. Humanity would begin to rediscover its oneness and togetherness. We would embrace anew our creative potential and divine destiny. But please do not take my word for all this. Investigate his book for yourself.
Masters Degress in Philosophy, Education, Religion