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Peter Harrison 彼得-哈里森

The Paradigm Shift: A New Vision of Science and Religion with Peter Harrison

Updated: Feb 20 已更新:2 月 20 日

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Introduction  导言

Peter Harrison is one of the leading scholars of science and religion. The former Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University, he is Professor Emeritus at the University of Queensland and the Co-Director of our Meanings of Science Project. I have been a long-time admirer of Peter’s work, and my own work builds on his scholarship.

So I was thrilled to get the chance to sit down with Peter. We discussed how science relates to philosophy, religion, and history, the role of cultural imperialism in Western scholarship, and the huge question, what is truth? I began by summarizing my sense of Peter's work and its significance, and asking him about his intellectual journey. This is part one of our conversation.
因此,我很高兴能有机会与彼得坐在一起。我们讨论了科学与哲学、宗教和历史的关系,文化帝国主义在西方学术中的作用,以及 "真理是什么 "这个巨大的问题。我首先总结了我对彼得作品及其意义的看法,并询问了他的思想历程。这是我们谈话的第一部分。


Welcome, Peter. It is my privilege and honor to be working with you as the co-director of the Meanings of Science Project and Symposium, funded generously by the Templeton World Charity Foundation.
欢迎您,彼得。我很荣幸能作为 "科学的意义 "项目和研讨会的联合主任与您共事,该项目和研讨会由邓普顿世界慈善基金会慷慨资助。

I’m really excited to interview you, and I want to share a brief summary of how I see your work for the people listening and watching this. I think it’s fair to say you’ve revolutionized three fields that, before your work, were thought of, as much more separate than you’ve shown them to be, and those are, broadly speaking: the history of theology, the history of modern philosophy, and the history of the natural sciences. You were decades ahead of what has now become a trend in religious studies when you wrote your first book, 'Religion' and the Religions in the English Enlightenment (Cambridge), on the emergence of the concept of religion, and I’d love to talk about this when we discuss your intellectual development. Then you wrote an extraordinary book, The Bible, Protestantism, and the Rise of Natural Science (Cambridge), in which you engage the major historiographical theses about the origins of modern science and religion; and you really did challenge and modify many of them. In particular, you argued that there was a very profound connection between the way in which the Protestant Reformation changed how people read the Bible and then how they read the world. And that book is how I found your work, and I thought it was just an utterly extraordinary argument in terms of its significance. I learned so much from it.
我很高兴能采访您,我想向收听和收看节目的人们简要介绍一下我是如何看待您的工作的。我认为可以公平地说,您彻底改变了三个领域,在您的工作之前,这三个领域被认为是相互独立的,而您的工作则将它们区分开来,概括地说,这三个领域是:神学史、现代哲学史和自然科学史。当您写第一本书《英国启蒙运动中的 "宗教 "与宗教》(剑桥大学出版社)时,宗教概念的出现已经成为宗教研究的一种趋势。之后,您又写了一本非凡的书《圣经、新教和自然科学的兴起》(剑桥),在这本书中,您论述了有关现代科学和宗教起源的主要史学论点;您确实挑战并修改了其中的许多论点。特别是,你认为新教改革改变了人们阅读《圣经》的方式,进而改变了他们阅读世界的方式,这两者之间有着非常深刻的联系。我就是在那本书中发现你的作品的,我认为就其意义而言,这本书的论证完全不同凡响。我从中学到了很多。

And then you published a book of particular excitement for me personally, because I’ve always been interested in the fall—maybe like a heretic, as Augustine says—The Fall of Man and the Foundations of Science (Cambridge), which we can discuss in detail, but it’s really an extraordinary book because you challenged the entire meta-story about the origins of science, and you tell a radically new story about the origins of experimental science.

So you started off working on the concept of religion; then you did very major work on the history of theology, textual interpretation, the Protestant Reformation, and the emergence of modern science; then you developed that work into The Fall of Man and the Foundations of Science in a revolutionary reassessment—building on some existing work, of course—of the question “Where did experimental philosophy come from?” We now take experiments for granted, but one of the things you show in the book is that experimental science is a radically novel thing. And so it raises deep questions about why anyone would have done this, and what their reasons were, and you show, I think very persuasively, the reasons were theological, and they had a lot to do with the revival of Augustine in Protestantism.
所以,你一开始研究宗教的概念;然后你在神学史、文本解释、新教改革和现代科学的出现方面做了非常重要的工作;然后你把这些工作发展成《人的堕落与科学的基础》,在一些已有工作的基础上对 "实验哲学从何而来?"这一问题进行了革命性的重新评估。我们现在认为实验是理所当然的,但你在书中展示的其中一件事是,实验科学是一种全新的事物。因此,这引发了一些深层次的问题:为什么有人会这样做? 他们的理由是什么? 我认为你非常有说服力地指出,理由是神学的,而且与新教中奥古斯丁的复兴有很大关系。

And then, as I chart the trajectory of your work, you brought together the insights of your entire career and advanced them in your book The Territories of Science and Religion (Chicago). The first three books were published by Cambridge, and this book was published by the University of Chicago in 2015, and it was based on your Gifford lectures. In it, you have advanced a point that no one who’s in the field of science and religion can turn back from: that is, you show that the entire field of science and religion, productive and interesting as it is, is in a very deep sense a kind of anachronism, especially if we don’t recognize that the categories of “science” and “religion” are themselves much more recent than anyone has ever realized. And, of course, that book builds on your earlier work on religion and on the prior two books on science.
然后,当我描绘您的工作轨迹时,您将自己整个职业生涯的见解汇集在一起,并在《科学与宗教的领地》(芝加哥)一书中加以推进。前三本书由剑桥大学出版,这本书于2015年由芝加哥大学出版,它是根据您的吉福德讲座改编而成的。在这本书中,你提出了一个科学与宗教领域的人都无法回避的观点:也就是说,你表明,整个科学与宗教领域,尽管富有成果而且有趣,但在非常深刻的意义上,是一种不合时宜的东西,尤其是如果我们不承认 "科学 "和 "宗教 "这两个范畴本身就比任何人所意识到的都要新得多的话。当然,这本书是建立在您早先关于宗教的著作以及之前两本关于科学的著作的基础之上的。

I know you’re also working on a major project on secularization. I could not be more delighted and honored to speak to you, and in light of this incredible body of work, and in light of the fact that we’re both YDS alums, I would love to hear how you got into this extraordinary program of research. What led you into your first academic interests? You obviously have a command of the history of modern philosophy, theology, and science. But did you start off with those interests? How did you get into this work?
我知道您还在做一个关于世俗化的重要项目。我非常高兴也非常荣幸能与您交谈,鉴于您所做的这些令人难以置信的工作,也鉴于我们都是 YDS 的校友,我很想听听您是如何进入这个非凡的研究项目的。是什么让你产生了最初的学术兴趣?很显然,您对现代哲学、神学和科学史颇有研究。但你一开始就有这些兴趣吗?您是如何开始这项工作的?


Well, thanks for that very generous introduction. I’m glad to know that you’ve appreciated my work.

As with any historical story, there are a lot of contingencies involved in how I got to where I am, and to some extent, I feel really fortunate that the things I’ve worked on over the years just seemed to fall into place in terms of ways of relating to each other. But if I go back, my initial undergraduate training was in the natural sciences. I studied the biological sciences mostly, although since I was destined for a teaching career, I had to gain some basic competence in chemistry and physics. So I was initially interested in the sciences. For several years after graduation I taught science and mathematics at secondary school, which I really enjoyed, but always retained an interest in the broader issues about what science is, what it means, how we arrived at it. And so I eventually went back to university and did a part-time undergraduate degree in arts—mostly religious studies. And at that point, I also had some theological interests, so I wrote a small thesis on the Swiss theologian, Karl Barth. Barth has some interesting things to say about the concept of religion. In the field of Religious Studies there was already some discussion about the concept of religion, but there was also a matching discussion going on in theology, largely under the influence of Barth, who was very critical of certain conceptions of religion. So my early interest in the conception of religion came then, with science still in the background.

And so, after my PhD—there was an interlude at Yale, as you’ve mentioned, where I studied philosophy