The Enigma Of The Universe : Limitation of Science

Published: 18.12.2014
Updated: 13.01.2015

The weakest factor of Eddington's philosophy is that it is based on modern physics, which has not yet been able to answer some of the most fundamental questions concerned with the essence of matter, such as 'what is the ultimate unit of matter and what is its actual structure? '

Eddington himself seems to accept this limitation of science thus: "I certainly do not regard the entities of the physical world as the sole objective reality. As to whether atoms and electrons are objectively real, I divide my answer into two parts. Firstly, I do not think it is very important whether or not we use a particular phrase "objectively real", which nobody seems able to define. I have tried to explain the relation of atoms and electrons to the data of human experience. I think that the reader may be inclined to call whatever has this relation to experience "real"; but if he considers that it is an insufficient qualification for reality, I shall not demur. It is purely a question of definition. Secondly, since atoms and electrons are the subject of quantum theory which is still in course of development, their scientific status is still subject to some uncertainty, and this naturally affects their philosophical status."[1] The italicised wordings clearly endorse our view that on the basis of present-day knowledge of atomic science, it is not possible to describe the metaphysical character of the ultimate particle of matter.

In modern science, the natural phenomena are explained generally by using abstract symbols, the ultimate nature of which is left unexplained. For example, we may take the phenomenon of colour. We have already seen how the modern science tries to explain it; but 'what is light-is it in the form of wave or in the form of particle?', 'what is the ultimate cause of the absorption of particular wave-lengths by the different objects?'[2]-in answering all such questions satisfactorily, the modern science has not been successful. At present, the scientists seem to be divided regarding the exact nature of such phenomenon-some scientists believe that colour is an objective attribute, while others consider it as a mere mind-spinning. Unless and until the ultimate unit of matter is fully comprehended by the scientists, it seems improbable that such controversy would be resolved.

The Jain view is based on the comprehension of the ultimate particles (the paramāṇus) of matter, through the perfect transcendental perception. Thus, the assertion of the Jain philosophers that the quartet of colour, odour, taste and touch exists objectively in matter-in paramāṇus as well as skandhas- is based on the direct perception of the ultimate reality.


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Title: The Enigma Of The Universe Publisher: JVB University Ladnun English Edition: 2010 HN4U Online Edition: 2014

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  1. Eddington
  2. Paramāṇus
  3. Quantum Theory
  4. Science
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