This short essay here deals with a further essay by philosopher Stanley Fish and a book by Steven Smith. All three bring up great points. The issues discussed go to much of the conversation swirling around this blog post by Eric Reitan.
In the context of Eric’s post and ensuing conversation, what the writer and these others note in the link provided is that secular discourse (including scientific discourse as thought of by the materialist) is impossible without philosophy/theology or as noted the “counter-constructed worlds of metaphysics and religion.” To suggest that there is science (or something called the “secular”) apart from metaphysics is absurd and…impossible.
Secular discourse (including scientism) is entirely parasitic and must borrow from metaphysics that which it cannot produce itself. A perfect example is when we hear someone rant on and on about how existence is intrinsically meaningless, purposeless, and entirely consisting of the material only to then tell us that life is a “gift.” Really? From whom? How? It is not a “gift”- it just is. But no one can live that way. So they must smuggle into their conversation the word “gift” with all its metaphysical/theological content.
What the philosophical naturalist cannot bear is that he must live in a world constructed by those holding completely contrary views. He must use their language, he must use their history, their science, and their works of literature, art, and music. All around he is surrounded by a world and imagination created by those he thinks are completely wrong about everything fundamental. And yet, no one wants to live in the world he imagines. I can see how this would be very frustrating.
If we were to draw a circle symbolizing that which would encompass the universe we could note such as our meta-narrative and “science” or any other compartmentalized area of specialized knowledge would be like a planet contained within the universe of the meta-narrative.
Fish sums it up nicely:
Smith does not claim to be saying something wholly new. He cites *David Hume’s declaration that by itself “reason is incompetent to answer any fundamental question,” and Alasdair MacIntyre’s description in “After Virtue” of modern secular discourse as consisting “of the now incoherent fragments of a kind of reasoning that made sense on older metaphysical assumptions.” … (In “The Trouble With Principle” I myself argue that “there are no neutral principles, only principles that are already informed by the substantive content to which they are rhetorically opposed.”)
But no matter who delivers the lesson, its implication is clear. Insofar as modern liberal discourse rests on a distinction between reasons that emerge in the course of disinterested observation — secular reasons — and reasons that flow from a prior metaphysical commitment, it hasn’t got a leg to stand on.
* Speaking of David Hume, this looks like a good book.