By James E. Faulconer, Richard N. Williams
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Thus for Hume, the self knows that it is predicating, and it knows those things of its own invention (like mathematics), but it can know nothing else. Founded in a search for certainty, modern metaphysics ends up in skepticism. To recapitulate: modern philosophy reduplicates the fatal division of ancient and medieval philosophy. The ancients and medievals divided the divine from the world, centering reality in the divine, and ended up skeptical of the ability to speak meaningfully about the divine.
In this alternative, either the possibility of the world and the self is given in transcendent objects, like "laws," or that possibility is found in the objects of the world themselves, where they are given transcendent status as objective empirical data rather than particular events. 12 The dangers of this first alternative are most commonly recognized. There are numerous writers who tell us of the terrible alienation brought by scientism, the rise of technology, and various other objective phenomena, like public institutions and social organizations.
The center for virtue is now human being rather than the divine, which seems only fitting considering that human being has taken the position in the metaphysical system that was previously occupied by God. However, at the same time that we discovered freedom of the self-with the invention/discovery of the self-we also discovered determinism. For there are two things moving through the history of modem thought, both results of the notion of the self-defining individual, and neither entirely compatible with the other.