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Can Science Be Consistent with Faith and Virtue? Roger Bacon, the originator of the Scientific Method thought so…

In Special Topic on October 15, 2012 at 7:12 am

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It would seem that virtue and faith are really not that important to science.  Such ideas seem to be guided by a much more simple time, the Middle Ages perhaps or earlier, but it seems that many Modern scientists couldn’t imagine being encumbered by the principles of a religious institution or the societal cultural mores thereof.  So, it wouldn’t seem likely that Modern science wouldn’t have any future interest in faith or virtue either because it appears irrelevant now.  Rather, it seems that what drives science’s success sometimes is its “cutting edge” research and venture capital occasionally led by the pragmatic maxim that “If it is possible, then it is necessary, therefore moral.”  Faith and virtue would seem contrary to and obstructions to these goals of science.

Science and Virtue?

Well, Roger Bacon, the 13th Century English theologian, philosopher and scientist had a different notion of how science should progress.  Firstly, Roger Bacon, who is considered the earliest founder of the scientific method based upon Aristotle’s logic, said the following in his Sixth Part of the Opus Majus on Experimental Science “For this reason true philosophers have labored the more in morals for their integrity of virtue, concluding among themselves that they can not see the causes of things unless they have souls free from sins.”(Selections From Medieval Philosophers Vol II. Ed. Richard McKeon.  Charles Scribner’s Sons: NY. 1930. p.76)  Bacon thought it essential for the philosopher-scientist to be free from faults, free from vices, free from selfishness or evil, in a word: holy.  Why?  Well, he said, “Virtue, therefore, clarifies the mind that man may understand more easily not only moral things, but scientific things.”(p.77)  A clear mind, a mind that is able to apprehend the truth in moral reasoning spiritually, will have an advantage discerning the truth in scientific reasoning mentally about what he is sensing in his judgement in the world.  Bacon said, “For this reason the Scripture says, Wisdom will not enter into an ill-disposed soul.  For it is impossible that the soul repose in the light of truth while it is stained with sins, but it will recite like a parrot or a magpie the words of another which it learned by long practice…”(p. 77) In other words, the character, the disposition, the virtue of the scientist matters to his science.  He is not a disembodied objective Cartesian mind without a body, soul and personality, but a whole person.  The Presocratic philosophers or “philosophers of nature,” from Thales, Democritus, Pythagoras, and Anaxagoras, among many others, were really the first Western scientists, but it was common for most of them to have works on the nature of the soul, ethics and religion, and this certainly continued into the Middle Ages in Europe.  Roger Bacon is an example of this tradition.

Science and Faith?

What about science and faith?  These two things are often considered inconsistent with each other today and therefore incompatible.  Well, Roger Bacon says that “…[scientific] experience does not suffice man, in that it does not certify fully concerning corporeal things because of its difficulty, and it touches on nothing at all of spiritual things.”(p.75)  In other words, when the scientist wonders about nature and attempts to understand the essence or nature of a thing, he encounters various difficulties intellectually, resources, time among other material needs.  But, the scientist is also a person, and experimental science has nothing to say about “spiritual things” to him.  What Bacon seems to be implying in the coupling of these two shortcomings of science is that the scientist not only has to overcome his material difficulties in his research but also needs the help of faith to answer his wondering.  He says, “Therefore it is necessary that the understanding of man be aided otherwise, and therefore the holy patriarchs and prophets who first gave the sciences to the world, received interior illuminations and were not dependent only on sense.  For the grace of faith illumines greatly and divine inspirations likewise not only in spiritual but in corporeal things and in the sciences of philosophy, according to what Ptolemy says in the Centilogium, that the way to come to a knowledge of things is twofold, one by the experience of philosophy, the other by divine inspiration, which is far the better he says. (p.75)  Bacon suggests that from the earliest times in history, the holy patriarchs and the prophets, who also practiced science, did not depend solely on their external senses for knowledge but actively sought it out spiritually in their contemplative prayer.  The famous Second century astronomer and geographer, Ptolemy, thought that divine inspiration was a superior source of knowledge of things,  not to the exclusion to the experience of scientific knowledge, but in addition to it.  Bacon said wisely, “And, therefore, he who acts contrary to the truth, must necessarily be ignorant of it, although he may know how to put together very elegant phrases and to quote the opinion of others…”(p. 76) In other words, the inspiration from faith and scientific reasoning together stretch the imagination of the mind in order to discover the creativity and complexity of nature in a way that is not possible when they are separated from each other.  If the scientist does this, he’ll have new ideas, new knowledge, new discoveries, breakthroughs, instead of parroting back his teachers’ teachings.

Roger Bacon, the preeminent theologian, philosopher and scientist, laid the foundation for the modern Scientific Revolution with his contributions to the establishment of the scientific method from his study of Aristotle 400 years before Francis Bacon, Sir Isaac Newton and Rene Descartes’ refinement of the method.  It is ironic that the most prestigious prize in all of science, The Nobel Prize, only exists because the preeminent scientist who invented dynamite, Alfred Nobel, at the end of his life really regretted the possibility of having an immoral legacy for inventing the very thing that would cause so many people to die.  Instead, Nobel changed his life and left his immense earnings in a trust to be conferred as prizes for those scientists who would create a new legacy in science (among other fields) for discoveries and inventions with the greatest benefit of mankind.  It seems that if every scientist is truly concerned about his or her own legacy as well, he or she would consider seriously how faith and virtue informs their science and life, for the benefit of all mankind.

Edith Stein On the State and Religion

In Special Topic on October 1, 2012 at 1:10 am

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It would seem that the topic of the relationship between the state and religion has no new insight to be had since it is such an old topic.  The role of the state in Western societies has long been the topic of many historic philosophers from Socrates in Plato’s works, to Aristotle to John of Salisbury and Thomas Hobbes, to modern theorists, except, many people probably haven’t heard what one of the first female phenomenologists, Edith Stein, who studied under the famous founder of phenomenology Edmund Husserl and worked with Martin Heidegger, has said about this relationship which she witnessed first hand.  Stein was from a Jewish family, became an atheist in her teenage years, converted to Roman Catholicism becoming a nun and was later killed with the millions of Holocaust victims during World War II, and declared a saint in 1998.  Stein explains the inherent conflict between the state and religion and the possibility of compromise between the two if and when possible.

In her book, An Investigation Concerning the State (Trans. Marianne Sawicki. ICS Publications: Washington, D.C. 2006), Stein first shows the structural conflict in the person between loyalty to one’s religion and loyalty to the state.  Stein says, “First and foremost, every human being stands under the supreme sovereign, and no earthly relation of sovereignty can change anything about that.  If the believer receives a command from God…then he must obey, whether or not he defies the will of the state in doing so.”(p. 185)  What is interesting about this statement is that she says “every human being,” seemingly implying believers and non-believers, atheists, agnostics, cynics, skeptics alike, still are subject to the sovereign omnipotence, omniscience and will of God.  This reality affects all persons and therefore those in positions of authority in government, whom are mortal persons too.  It is also a nice reminder that she says “…no earthly relation of sovereignty can change anything about that,” meaning that no matter how hostile a regime may become, the regime has no power or authority over the cosmic justice of God over all things.  Socrates and Edith Stein both died with the assured belief that the regimes that had power over their earthly lives, had no control whatsoever over their next lives.  So, it makes sense that Stein would say, “If the believer receives a command from God…then he must obey, whether or not he defies the will of the state in doing so,” this idea can remind us too of the courage of believers who have confronted government’s unjust laws of state sanctioned slavery, racial segregation and abortion (which is the “death penalty” for innocent unborn persons, totally hidden from public view, which Michel Focault fails to mention in his Discipline and Punishment) for example, among many other important issues.  Socrates believed that he was following the will of God in pursuing wisdom no matter where it led him, whether questioning those politicians in power, the poets or the craftsmen.  Edith Stein heroically met her death by the Nazi regime, like millions of other persons in the tragedy of the Holocaust.

It is also the case that the state can uphold the laws that the believer believes,when there is concordance between positive law and the natural law.  However, when governments go against the natural law, Socrates says in the Gorgias that even the sovereign himself still must answer to God.  Stein says, “Therefore it’s entirely understandable if the state treats the individual believer, but above all the church–with distrust and occasionally with open hostility.  Conversely you can understand that the among believers the conception of the state as an Antichrist would emerge again and again.”(p.185)  Jean Jacques Rousseau pointed out a similar conflict in The Social Contract that there is an inherent conflict internally in the believer and in his patriotism to the state.  However, Stein is wise to use the word “distrust” here, that the state though sovereign on earth is not omniscient, and therefore fallible; as a consequence, it cannot always be trusted because of that very fallibility.  Whereas, as she points out, believers who do believe in the infallibility of the Church’s teachings are simultaneously aware of the limitations of the state while also aware of the state’s immediate authority over them and therefore she says, “There is no solution in principle for the conflict arising from the properties of the civil and religious spheres.” (p. 185)  This is a very difficult compromise to live and a regular tension between the church and state.  But, she follows, “Only a factual compromise is possible…through the word of the Lord: Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.  This indicates that the state and obedience with regard to it are willed by God or at least permitted by God.” (p. 185)  In other words, just as Jesus Christ taught to tolerate the just demands of the state, regarding taxes, therefore, by implication  the other necessary duties of the state for its self-sustenance.  Since the Magna Carta of 1215, in the West, it has been necessary to acknowledge the compromise of the co-existing, parallel dual sovereigns of the church and the state, separation of church and state.  So, it is possible for the two to live together in mutual distrust unfortunately, which is a reminder that this life is not the life, fortunately.

Edmund Husserl On Common Sense

In Special Topic on August 16, 2012 at 7:08 am

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It would seem that everyone has “common sense” and that a philosophical consideration of the term has no purpose.  The term itself, “common sense” doesn’t seem to mean anything specific, but rather just a vague term about some sort of “common knowledge.”  However, when one considers the term more closely as the founder of phenomenology Edmund Husserl did, one might ask, “How would one define such term for obvious knowledge?”  It seems to be a fairly vague, even a subjective term almost, that never seems to get explained but people agree to know what each other is meaning when something is referred to as “common sense.”  Well, if common sense is so obvious, what is its definition?  Also, how is it that it is said that some people don’t have “common sense”?  If this is so, but “common sense” is what is ‘common to all,’ how is it that some people do not have it? And, how are we better off for having “common sense” as opposed to esoteric or elite knowledge that makes some people “special” or experts, do they not have common sense anymore? There seems to be a certain unappealing, very basic sort of “lowest common denominator” connotation to “common sense” that makes it almost embarrassing for anyone to claim to know it with any sort of pride.  Why is that?

In his book The Crisis of the European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology (Trans. David Carr, Northwestern University Press: Evanston, 1970), Edmund Husserl makes some interesting statements about common knowledge.   He says, “Along with his [man’s] growing, more and more perfect cognitive power over the universe, man also gains an ever more perfect mastery over his practical surrounding world, one which expands in an unending progression.  This also involves a mastery over mankind as belonging to the real surrounding world, i.e., mastery over himself and his fellow man, an ever greater power over his fate, and thus an ever fuller “happiness” —“happiness” as rationally conceivable for man.  (p.66)  Here, one might think that this is a Renaissance humanistic type of attitude, even Machiavellian, that man is ever the master of nature through education, science and technology.  However, Husserl is probably making a different point here, that as man grows experientially by dint of his education, and the progress of science and technology, he makes sense of his own world better and then the world or universe better, thus growing in the horizon of the possibility of more happiness.  In other words, one could say that common sense is necessary for happiness because of the plain fact that you know more. At the same time, one needs to understand subjectively how the objective life-world works for oneself experientially for this to happen.  The informal, non-institutional, pedagogy of “life-experience” which taken aggregately amounts to what we call “common sense,” dispels the confusion about how life works over time, how one’s own micro-societies work (family and friends), and how one functions within different societal institutions and even in the global society at large.  Using quotidian terms, we can think of “common sense” as the difference between being “book smart,” only having theoretical knowledge, as opposed to “street smarts” or “worldly-wisdom,” having experiential knowledge.  For growth in happiness, one should have both worldly-wisdom or “common sense” and “artful” education or theoretical knowledge. Aristotle makes a similar epistemological distinction in his Metaphysics using the example of the experienced doctor as the most preferred option for a patient, because he or she has the combination of theoretical and experiential knowledge, but the experienced nurse is still preferred to the inexperienced doctor.

Just viewing the world as a physical object full of other physical objects, we take for granted as a given, all of the physical objects as part of the life-world in which we operate.  In an essay that covers this topic more extensively in the Cambridge Companion to Husserl (“Common Sense” eds. Barry Smith and David Woodruff Smith. University of Cambridge Press: 1995), the author appears to say that Husserl claims that common sense world is real and reality is organized around things and have networks of causal dependence (p. 398).  In other words, people make sense of the world by constantly inducing the causes of things in an attempt to understand the operation of the system in which they find themselves.  In other words, “common sense” is knowing “the that” but not “the why” of a system of knowledge.  Common sense requires experience of the life-world, from experiential knowledge the abstract universal is induced thence deducing the cause of the experience.  Scientific knowledge or skilled theoretical knowledge is specific knowledge of the causes of things in a system.  Husserl uses regularly throughout The Crisis the examples of geometry and mathematics as sources of objectively known knowledge of the world that are consistently true with precision and commonly held to be universally true knowledge about the pre-given, extra-scientific real world which is the ultimate test case system of theoretical truths for any scientist and the non-scientist assumes knowledge of this knowledge of geometric shapes all of the time.  One might say, “If it doesn’t work out there (the real world), it doesn’t work in here (meaning on the chalkboard or whiteboard or one’s own head).” It seems that someone who lacks common sense is someone who is so engrossed in his or her own head that they lose touch with the life-world, in certain circumstances, such as the “absent minded professor” (or anyone wearing earphones). The absent minded professor finds himself or herself contemplating his or her subjective-relative world of knowledge disproportionately to the way in which the life-world is presenting itself to him or her in his present.  So, an absent minded professor walking down a busy street, may be dangerous to himself or others because he is not paying attention to the other system (transportation system of cars and people) in which he traverses down the street, but is more focused on the life of his thoughts and his own world.  As a consequence, one might say, “That professor lacks ‘common sense’ as he walks down the street,” in that, this imbalance of undue attention to his own thought-world in the wrong context (the system of transportation) rather than in the right context (the academic system, in his office, for example) is a hazard to his physical self and others because of his lack of “presence of mind” to be consistent with the metaphysical realities of the objectively real life-world of cars, buses, trains and persons bustling up and down city streets.  The sauntering professor probably lacks “common sense” whereas a fast-paced taxi driver going down the same street probably does not.

“Common sense” or “worldliness” or “knowledge of the world” is important for happiness but not necessarily being “of the world.” Husserl says, “For he [man] can also know what is true in itself about values and goods.  All this lies within the horizon of this rationalism as its obvious consequence for man.  Man is thus truly an image of God.” In other words, what perhaps Husserl is saying here is that as “truly an image of God” man has a special likeness to God, and as such, just as he uses his rational nature to make sense of the physical world’s order put there by God (whom he calls “Absolute Being”), then man can also make use of his rationality to “know what is true in itself about values and goods” in the world of morality and the function of things put there by God. In other words, man can personally discover experientially the essential worth of things, in and of themselves.  What Husserl may mean here is that not only can persons use their rationality to grow in “common sense” cosmologically but also cosmogonically, thereby glimpsing the transcendental meaning of being.

Husserl makes a similar “common-sensical” distinction about the two types of knowledge that man can acquire, (experiential and theoretical).  He says, “The sciences build upon the life-world as taken for granted in that they make use of whatever in it happens to be necessary for their particular ends.  But to use the life-world in this way is not to know it scientifically in its own manner of being.”(p.125)  He goes on here to give an example that even Einstein’s knowledge took for granted everything required for his predecessor Michelson’s experiments to be true, such as the measurements, the scales, the room in the institution where the investigations were carried out, the people involved and many other variables which could be studied in and of themselves.  In other words, the “common sense” here is the life-world, or the world which we all take for granted when investigating something specific out of necessity.  It is the mental bracketing or phenomenological reduction which Husserl calls the “subjective-relative” knowledge in one’s own head that one must do in order to gain knowledge about something specific, the objective life-world must be taken for granted at that moment.  This is common sense, the knowledge of the existence of the rest of the world outside of one’s own subjective-relative analysis of it.  Husserl says, “The idea of objective truth is predetermined in its whole meaning by the contrast with the idea of the truth in pre- and extra scientific life.  This latter truth has its ultimate and deepest source of verification in experience which is “pure”…in all its modes of perception, memory, etc.” (p. 124) In other words, this truth about the knowledge of the world which is full of stuff, in which we find ourselves, is the experiential aspect of life that everyone comes to know for and by themselves sensorily and metaphysically from conception in the womb.  Husserl says, “What is actually first is the ‘merely subjective-relative’ intuition of prescientific world-life.”(p.125) So, before any scientist does any science, he or she has all of his previous experiential knowledge of his or her own life already in his or her disposal in mind and already knows it to be objective and true because it is the stuff that he or she comes to the laboratory table already knowing prior to any theoretical analysis.  It is this pre-scientific knowledge that Husserl is calling “pure” because it is known for sure by this individual person personally about the world and is affirmed in his or her own mind as true.  In other words, it is this subjective knowledge that is personally verifiable above and beyond the theoretical truths that scientists have to believe as true knowledge from their intellectual predecessors while having no certainty now or in the future whether or not a Kuhnian style paradigmatic shift could debunk what they currently hold as true since a new discovery, technological advancement or scientific insight could deem their current knowledge as the “old science” which is no longer true.  One of the points of Husserl’s book is that the European scientists have a significant crisis on their hands because they are constantly groping to say something objective about the world but are unwilling to affirm anything in the mind as true and coming to be affirmed with and from the objective world (whereas Modern philosophers have no problem making such claims).  This is why Husserl says, “The disdain with which everything ‘merely subjective relative’ is treated by those scientists who pursue the modern ideal of objectivity changes nothing of its own manner of being, just as it does not change the fact that the scientist himself must be satisfied with this realm whenever he has recourse, as he unavoidably must have recourse, to it.”(p.125)  Things as simple as knowing one’s own name, or knowing who one’s parents are, or knowing when one is hungry or tired, or aware of one’s own feelings or mood et cetera, all very personal knowledge, all “pure” “common sense” knowledge that each and every scientist already knows as true and pre-given as true for himself or herself or personally a priori.  It is this sort of “common sense” intuitive knowledge of the pre-scientific world-life that we know to be true experientially and bring to all theoretical inquiry before any subjective-relative inquiry takes place.  Husserl’s point seems to be that it is this sort of “common sense” knowledge that needs analysis the most by academia because it is the most taken for granted by the sciences as already known to be true, which is why he is proposing transcendental phenomenology as a solution.

Just as there really is precision and unity in science, Husserl discusses geometry’s predictability mathematically and the use of things having shape which confirms our knowledge of objects in the world, so too in the infinite variety of phenomenological reductions possible by all persons, there exists a common sense morality of values and the good of goods for each and every situation that the person finds himself or herself. This is where it is up to the free will of the person to judge the transcendental value of things and persons or to deny their value by saying either nothing in the mind is true or nothing in the world is true, and common sense tells us that such a denial is not true experientially in either way.  However, such a denial is convenient for epistemological particularists who sometimes extend such a relativist principle to the realm of morality. The issue here maybe that such an extension is a universal claim, that particularism in quantum physics coincides with moral particularism, however such a claim proves universals and is a logical fallacy, to argue from particular to particular.  One possible example might be, that just as Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle suggests that the precise location of a certain particle of matter may not be known exactly, there still exists a range of its location or activity.  Analogously, in a Husserlian sense, just as the quantum physicist could say that there is a range of the physical location of the particle (a common sense of the particle, so to speak), so too is there a range of the best possible of actions and reactions by persons who could affirm universal moral values given the particular contingencies of every moment and circumstance of every unique and unrepeatable human life while also considering the whole range of possible human behaviors if the person denies those universally held values as well.  This is “common sense.”  Just as according to the Heisenbergian principle that the exact location of the quantum particle is not now able to be measured, this doesn’t preclude that in the future it may be known precisely and exactly with the possibility of a new technology or means of measuring or scientific discovery.  So, given this current uncertainty and future uncertainty of the locate-ability of the quantum particle which is a fundamental theorem of physics, the individual physicist still knows better his or her subjective-relative knowledge in his or her own mind about himself or herself which he knows from life experience to be true (such as one’s own ability to see, or hear or touch and knowing that it is himself or herself, seeing, touching or hearing but also morally, he or she knows many standards of cultural and moral behaviors such as appropriate behavior in the laboratory, common professional courtesy for the sake of cooperation in research, or a childhood memory, all of which are a priori sources of knowledge and extra-scientific for each physicist yet more certain than the objective knowability of a particles location now or in the future).  In other words, just as there is a range of behavior of the particle there is a range of behavior for the person with one very significant difference, the particle must follow the laws of physics, like Brownian motion, whereas the person has innumerably more freedoms when behaving in the life-world in each of the contingencies of life, physically, emotionally, rationally, dispositionally and spiritually.  Consequently, because of this vast panoply of options man must use all of his creativity, all of his intellect and his experience to its highest degree to act most morally in every circumstance of life, unlike the deterministically led particle that must follow the sometimes ambiguous “laws” of physics.  There couldn’t be a greater metaphysical gulf between the value of a particle and the infinite intrinsic value of the person, to compare the two beings couldn’t be more philosophically erroneous. It does not follow that uncertainty about the location of a particle, and therefore the constitution of all matter, that therefore, there is uncertainty in all of morality.  Saint Augustine says in the City of God that God allows for order and chaos in nature but there is always order in morality.  Even what Augustine called “chaos” in nature we know now that there is an abundance of calculable order in all of nature, it is just that following the causes of things quickly becomes a reductio ad absurdum because of the seemingly infinite regression of causes of things, the dynamic of the present and the unknown future of matter, but one can rely on the omniscience of God to know all of these things.  Still, Husserl’s point is that there are many unknowns and uncertainties and disputations over many foundational principles in the “hard sciences” at the highest levels.  Take the Higgs boson, the best physicists in the world using the most highly advanced nuclear accelerator in the entire world can track the existence of the particle’s existence for a billion of a billionth of a second.  How many of these particles have existed in the history of the universe, the present and future of the universe?  Again, Husserl’s point, “The sciences build upon the life-world as taken for granted in that they make use of whatever in it happens to be necessary for their particular ends…The contrast between the subjectivity of the life-world and the “objective,” the “true” world, lies in the fact that the latter is a theoretical-logical substruction, the substruction of something that is in principle not perceivable, in principle not experienceable in its own proper being, whereas the subjective, in the life-world, is distinguished in all respects precisely by its being actually experienceable.” (p.128)  This doesn’t mean that everything true is in our head, but that, “The life-world is a realm of original self-evidences.”  In that, that stuff in the life-world has a “life” of its own.  He continues, “That which is self-evidently given is, in perception, experienced ‘the thing itself,’ in immediate presence, or, in memory, remembered as the thing itself; and every other manner of intuition is a presentification of the thing itself…All conceivable verification leads back to these modes of self-evidences because the “thing itself” (in the particular mode) lies in these intuitions themselves as that which is actually, intersubjectively experienceable and verifiable and is not a substruction of thought; whereas such a substruction, insofar as it makes a claim to truth, can have actual truth only by being related back to such self-evidences.”  Husserl is not saying that the world outside our head doesn’t exist or we can’t know it for sure, or that it should be doubted incessantly, rather it seems that what he is perhaps saying is that knowledge that we commonly sense “has the sense of an induction of something intuitable,” and that when we perceive things all of the time in the world, we do so prescientifically and naturally categorize them abstracting what we can about its knowability and make a judgment about the thing intuitively.  In other words, we get the form of the thing in our head as presented to us from the senses from the life-world and it is “that form of the thing in our head” which is from the self-evidencing of the “thing itself” on its own in the life-world which is real, which is then intersubjectively knowable, and is metaphysically verifiable back in the life-world.  Husserl is serious when he says, “It is of course itself a highly important task, for the scientific opening-up of the life-world, to bring to recognition the primal validity of these self-evidences and indeed their higher diginity in the grounding of knowledge compared to that of the objective-logical self-evidences.  One must fully clarify, i.e., bring to ultimate self-evidence, how all of the self-evidence of objective-logical accomplishments, through which objective theory (thus mathematical and natural-scientific theory) is grounded in respect of form and content, has its hidden sources of grounding in the ultimately accomplishing life, the life in which the self-evident givenness of the life-world has, has attained, and attains anew its prescientific ontic meaning.”(p.128)  In other words, laden within the objective theories of science is a more substantial truth about the world that the “self-evidence of things in the world” to our mind is much more true to us because we are constantly personally sensing the entire gamut of life-world “self-evidences” of things.  We always have lived in the life-world, always have and always will live in the life-world where we constantly know and test our knowledge personally and make judgments about it constantly, this is “common sense.” It is this pre-scientific “common sense” that is self-evidentially knowable to each person about the life-world which has the most truth ontically, more true than any theoretical postulate because all theoretical postulates refer back to the prescientific knowledge of the life-world we all already know to be true in our head, scientific theorems are substructions of that stuff that we know for sure: this is the true test of any theorem, if what Husserl is saying is here understood accurately .

So, when the smallest particle of matter bounces around, it still follows the laws of physics unautonomously, although the person inheres in a physical body, he autonomously choses how to react to all moments and circumstances of his life psychically, rationally, artfully, virtuously and spiritually, all of these multifarious freedoms bespeak of supernatural order, morality, human dignity and ultimately, hope.

Finally, a definition of “common sense” might be, “the balanced conscious awareness of the subjective-relative world of one’s own mind with the objective reality of the life-world coupled with the constant ability to learn and operate within each and between the two while always considering the transcendent meaningfulness of all things and all persons,” or just “naturalness.”