An interesting passage in a book I’m reading right now. This is from section 12 of Edmund Husserl’s The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology. I will present a snippet of the two paragraphs here, and then a sort of summary of them. I have edited the passage as much as I can to retain the sense, and hopefully made it more readable through changing some expressions.
I found this passage quite interesting, and I will attempt to give my own summary even though, I think, it speaks for itself. Husserl comments that once understanding reality became subsumed under mathematical pursuit (an idealized study), we (that is, mankind) became increasingly of the opinion that we could come to know reality (the universe) through a series of ever-expanding and ever-increasinly-accurate theories. By relating pure mathematics to reality, we have, then, a definitive end-point where, at a time infinitely distant in the future, all the particular ducks are put in a row and we can know reality for what it truly is. In this mathematization of the universe, then, comes the idea of this omniscience: the infinitely distant point where we have put all our ducks in a row. This omniscience, then, involves a mastery of the universe and knowledge of it. Thus, we can simultaneously not just idealize (through mathematics) the universe (that is, reality) itself, but we have a firm grounding for God and man, which become the same at infinity.
I do not intend to actually discuss Husserl here (see note 3) but I think this conception of science as “increasingly accurate” is so common as to nearly demand the conclusion Husserl reaches here. Not that it is not the point that there may indeed be practical limits on our knowledge. Indeed, since the time when God and man are the same is infinitely far we will never reach it, but the important point is that this becomes well-defined: the definition of God and the possibilities of man converge to the same point.
This isn’t meant to be a proof of God, of course. Husserl makes no point of saying God exists, and to say it is implied in the passage is quite a stretch. Merely that, given the conception of science as such through applied mathematics, we have an understanding of what it means to be God in an entirely different light.
1[sub]Husserl writes this at a time before Popper’s monumental work on the philosophy of science in which induction was removed as a method of knowledge aquisition and falsifiable deductivetheories were offered up instead in a manner which eliminated induction (perhaps only ostensively; Popper’s work is still debated over in intellectual circles).[/sub]
2[sub]Largely: the world of experience.[/sub]
3[sub]It should be remarked here that Husserl is presenting a popular conception of science, not strictly his own philosophy of science (which, indeed, is laid out elsewhere in the work).[/sub]