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The Daily Logos VI

“At the same time it is obvious that it is not mathematics, but humanistic studies that are important here.  For what could the new methodology of the seventeeth century mean for the human sciences?  One has only to read the appropriate chapters of the Logique de Port-Royal concerning the rules of reason applied to historical truths to see how little can be achieved in the human sciences by this idea of method.  What comes out is pretty trivial, when e.g., it says that in order to judge an event in its truth one must take account of the accompanying circumstances.  With this kind of argument the Jansenists sought to provide a methodical way of showing to what extent miracles deserve belief.  They countered an uncontrolled belief in miracles with the spirit of the new method and sought to legitimate in this way the true miracles of biblical and of church tradition.  The new science in the service of the old church–that this situation could not last is only too clear, and one can imagine what inevitably happened when the Christian presuppositions themselves were questioned.  When the methodological ideal of the natural sicnecs was applied to the credibility of the historical testimonies of scriptural tradition it inevitably led to results that were catastrophic for Christianity.  The distance between the criticism of miracles in the style of the Jansenists to historical criticism of the bible is not far.  Spinoza is a good example of this.  I shall show later that a logical application of this method as the only norm for the truth of the human sciences would amount to their self-annihilation.”
-Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method

In the practical results-driven world, the human sciences, incapable of being verified by the methodological execution that is applied to the natural sciences, are greviously misunderstood as obsolete.  This obsoletion, Gadamer here demonstrates, is thoroughly lacking in a solid grounding.  The idea that concepts and truths not limited to or existing within a material existence, to a quantifiable dimension, could be measured or validated by the material, the measures of a quantifiable dimensions.  A fishing net cannot be used to collect water; nor can it be used to collect ideas, thoughts, or universal truths.  Of particular danger in this inverted mentality, that the material determines the immaterial, is its application to religion, and most especially to the deposit of faith.  Really – “My kingdom is not of this world.”

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