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Does science have all the answers? Can it even deal with abstract reasoning beyond the world we experience? How can we be so sure that the physical world is sufficiently ordered to be intelligible to humans? How can mathematics, a product of human minds, unlock the secrets of the physical universe? Should all such questions be ruled out as inadmissible if science cannot settle them?

Metaphysics has traditionally been understood as reasoning beyond the reach of science, sometimes even claiming realities beyond its grasp. Because of this, metaphysics is often contemptuously dismissed by scientists and philosophers who wish to remain within the bounds of what can be scientifically proven. Yet scientists at the frontiers of physics unwittingly engage in metaphysics, as they are now happy to contemplate whole universes that are, in principle, beyond human reach.

Roger Trigg challenges those who deny that science needs philosophical assumptions. Trigg claims that the foundations of science themselves have to lie beyond science. It takes reasoning apart from experience to discover what is not yet known and this metaphysical reasoning to imagine realities beyond what can be accessed.

“In Beyond Matter, Roger Trigg advances a powerful, persuasive, fair-minded argument that the sciences require a philosophical, metaphysical foundation. This is a brilliant book for new-comers to the philosophy of science and experts alike.” —Charles Taliaferro, professor of philosophy, St. Olaf College

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“In Beyond Matter, Roger Trigg advances a powerful, persuasive, fair-minded argument that the sciences require a philosophical, metaphysical foundation. This is a brilliant book for new-comers to philosophy of science and experts alike.” —Charles Taliaferro, PhD, professor of philosophy, St. Olaf College

“A highly engaging and lucid exploration of the complex relation of science and philosophy. Warmly recommended.” —Alister McGrath, PhD, Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Oxford

“The relationship between philosophy and reality has been debated for thousands of years. This debate changed character firstly with the scientific revolution, secondly with subsequent philosophical discussions such as those centered on the Vienna circle, and thirdly more recently in the light of debates on the one hand on the sociology of science and postmodernism, and on the other of new understandings on the biological basis of the brain and its evolutionary origins. These debates have been characterized by the rise of the supremacy of science, with claims of the irrelevance of philosophy, even while some scientists have been making ever more philosophical claims in the name of science. Roger Trigg’s book, Beyond Matter: Why Science Needs Metaphysics, gives a thoughtful and up-to-date view of these debates that will be valuable to all who wish to be well informed on them. It is a welcome counter to more superficial discussions.” —George Ellis, PhD, emeritus distinguished professor, University of Cape Town

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Preface / ix

Chapter 1: Is Science the Sole Authority? / 3

Chapter 2: Science and Reality / 25

Chapter 3: World and Mind / 49

Chapter 4: Is the World Intelligible? / 73

Chapter 5: The Unity of Science / 101

Chapter 6: The Success of Science / 127

Notes / 149

Index / 159

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“In this important book, the philosopher Roger Trigg sets out to honour the sciences by not letting them be shouldered with burdens they cannot bear, such as being the arbiter of all truth. Trigg opposes scientism, arguing that we cannot ‘arbitrarily’ dismiss ‘swathes of human reasoning and experience,’ reflected in disciplines such as literature or theology, simply because they are not physics.” —Andrew Davison, Times’ Literary Supplement

“Trigg is an eminent philosopher and now Senior Research Fellow at the Ian Ramsey Center at Oxford. If you’re concerned about the ‘science only’ approach . . . this one is a helpful corrective.” —Jim Stimp, BioLogos

“This book, for newcomers to the field of philosophy of science and those already immersed in the debates, is superb.” —CHOICE

“Thoughtful and well-reasoned. . . . Beyond Matter has the potential to transcend academia, thanks to its friendly tone and willingness to address atheism in a noncombative way—a rarity in works along the science-philosophy divide. In an age when belief and research seem pitted against one another, this book is a welcome window of bipartisan sanity. Ideal for researchers and thinkers, but also a good pick for interested armchair philosophers.” —Anna Call, Foreword Reviews

“As always, Trigg’s writing is clear and his argumentation easy to comprehend. He introduces a number of philosophical debates in science without getting too entangled in details.” —Lari Launonen, ESSSAT News and Reviews

“Roger Trigg shows no philosophical reluctance or diffidence in raising and answering fundamental philosophical questions. In Beyond Matter: Why Science Needs Metaphysics he argues powerfully against an ‘underlabouring’ view of philosophy, at least in relation to science.” —Booknotes in Philosophy

“Impressively well written and exceptionally well presented, Beyond Matter: Why Science Needs Metaphysics is as informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking. Very highly recommended for both community and academic library Philosophy collections in general, and Metaphysics supplemental studies lists in particular.” —John Taylor, Midwest Book Review

“Here is Roger Trigg at his most incisive and succinct as he returns to his examination of where the limits of the modern scientific enterprise might legitimately lie. He makes a clear and persuasive case for the validity of explanations in metaphysics, ethics, and theology, against both the reductive stance we have inherited (through various permutations) from positivism and the abnegation of universal truth claims of post-modernism.” —John Maxwell Kerr, SOSc., Network Review

Beyond Matter is a response to the claims often made by scientists that questions beyond the reach of science are not worth asking and are only ‘pseudo problems.'” —Nick Mattiske, Journey

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