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3 Brave New World: An Introduction to Part Two

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Chapter Summary

The chapter details the author's approach to Peter Bowler's work on the relation between science and religion in the early twentieth century. For Bowler, "religion" really refers to Christianity, and the new natural theology he portrays is essentially a liberal Christian reform movement. The chapter argues that some of the "liberal Christian" theologies postulated in this context made use of natural-theological arguments that were deeply heterodox when viewed against the canon of mainline Christian theology. The focus in this chapter is on debates concerning causality and determinism in physics and chemistry. Debates, spanning biology, psychology and philosophy, may easily be juxtaposed through a synchronic focus on the problem of disenchantment, especially in the form of the relation between mechanistic materialism and teleology. There is a clear focus on conceptual controversies that relate to the problem of disenchantment.

Keywords: Christian reform; mechanistic materialism; Peter Bowler; teleology



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