Monday, 30 June 2008

What next?

I've been contemplating the next direction to take in my masters. Through some curious administration constraints I am once again in a position to direct my own study towards the final goal. But ah-hah! we must ask what the goal is.

I've long said that I'm working towards a materialist theology. This much is true, but I need to define what I mean by that. First of all, this materialism is informed as much by physicalism as it is by Marx, perhaps a little more so. I am mostly convinced that everything supervenes on the physical. There are no phenomena that contradict the physical laws of the universe. That is not to say that the articulation of physical laws we use now is perfect or complete, but rather that these laws are fundamental to the universe. The influence of Marx builds on this, and suggests to me that the most powerful forces in human history are social, economic and political.

So what to do with theology? I think there are two possible paths for future research. One is to develop a metaphysical model of how God relates to a physical universe. This model must not contradict the laws of physics, and to really top it off, should try to supervene on them. That's a hard ask, and almost equivalent to proving how it is that we know the earth to be banana-shaped. The other possible path is to pursue an epistemological investigation into truth. It is one thing to propose the form of truth (Badiou) but it is quite another to argue how it is that something is true. Assertion is a problem, as is revelation. The problem is that God, by all traditional definitions, is intangible and vulnerable to speculation. Perhaps it is as Badiou suggests, that the correct answer is anti-philosophy: pure, militant assertion outside the realm of proof.

At this stage there are no answers, just a question about which way to direct my next research.
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