Chapter 4: Some Points from Epistemology and Philosophy of Science To Help Us Think

How can we know what we’re talking about?: Drawing on epistemology and philosophy of science to better address the topic of religion and the environment


In this chapter we finish our discussions of definitional questions about “religion,” “environment,” “values,” and “America”– wrestling with some of the possible meanings and implications of these terms, and focusing on what sort of conversation we think is possible and responsible about these topics. Underlying the intersection of these terms is the more basic and potentially challenging relationship between religion and science. If science and religion are going to be discussed in the same conversation, we’ll want to take a close look at what we think we mean by “science,” and what we think we mean by “religion,” and what we think anyone can say with any authority or reliability about these subjects. Doing so may uncover some often-ignored barriers to better understanding, and will help us lay a firmer foundation as we move forward to discuss the key concepts and questions of religion and the environment.

“It just speaks to a universal pull and blessing of nature when we have time to lie down and contemplate in the stillness of nature,” says photographer Andres Arnalds. (Another blessing: photos submitted with captions to the Religion-Environment Photo Gallery that are complementary to the philosophy of science.) Central Highlands, Iceland.

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Science         Belief         Philosophy         Knowledge


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Religion and Environmental Values in America Copyright © 2019 by Gregory E Hitzhusen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.