''Teleology is a lady without whom the biologist cannot live but with whom he would not appear in public,'' quipped the German biologist E. von Brucke over a century ago. A prescient remark indeed, in light of the centrality of purposiveness noticed by leading critics of neo-Darwinian thought in the assumptions and methodology of its materialist adherents. Not least among the critics is Stanley Jaki, who shifts his emphasis from the history of science and evolutionary theory to an analysis of assumptions in philosophy, assumptions which shape the outcome of scientific and philosophical investigation (the message) while remaining undetected within the medium of investigation (the means). Jaki summarizes recent turns on issues such as causality, change, mind, ethics, miracles, free will, and God, and sets forth a powerful case for a frank admission of the role of purpose in science and philosophy, championing ''a realist epistemology fully open to metaphysics.'' Jaki's encyclopedic knowledge of his field and ruthless rigor in detecting illogic and inconsistency inform this provocative essay throughout. 233 pp.
An Eighth Day View:
Every philosophy is a message. For conveying that message there has to be a tangible means, such as a book. Therefore, for the sake of a minimum of consistency, the philosopher's message or system should account in full for the reality of the means.
This new book by Stanley Jaki aims at unfolding the consequences of this minimum for the main topics of philosophy. The necessary first topic is the objective reality of the means, or in general "objects". Any neglect of this will result, Jaki argues, in philosophical sleights of hand that endlessly breed one another. Jaki then removes some misconceptions about clarity, as usually identified with science, and demonstrates that science as such cannot account for the reality of the means that carries its message.
In keeping in focus the priority of the means over the message, Jaki takes up such further topics as free will, purpose, causality, change, and the mind. He thereby prepares the ground for discussing the universe, ethics, God, and miracles. Finally, he deals with history and with the question of whether humans are alone in the universe.
An important corrective to much of the work currently taking place in the field of philosophy, Means to Message provides a rigorous, highly original presentation of the claim that any consistent philosophical message must be steeped in a realist epistemology that is fully open to metaphysics.