Nouveaux entretiens sur la pluralité des mondes. Essai de cosmologie sauvage à l'usage des profanes
By Yvon Gauthier, Coédition Presses de l'Université Laval et Hermann Éditeurs, Québec/Paris, 2017, 252 pages, ISBN: 978-2-7637-3531-3
This new book by Professor Yvon Gauthier is an essay in cosmology in the manner of Fontenelle's Entretiens sur la pluralité des mondes, published in1686, with an update in contemporary cosmology written for a wide audience. Yvon Gauthier has been professor of formal logic and philosophy of science at the Université de Montréal for over forty years.
In the author's own words, with this cosmological essay he is not addressing marquises and abbesses, as his predecessor Fontenelle did in his days - Gauthier's public is profane and immediately rejects the learned ignorance (docta ignorantia) of metaphysicians and mystics, erudite women or gullible spirits. His public is equally aware of the mystifications that scholars and scientists sometimes cherish, as well as of the inventions of science-fiction writers, but often listens to worried poets, writers, and philosophers.
Is cosmology or the theory of the universe possible, and is it not limited by the horizon of the visible or observable? To imagine anything beyond the horizon is the task of speculative cosmology which has replaced metaphysics and which uses mythology to produce the scene of the ocean. This original water, found in Thales in Greek pre-Socratic philosophy, is not so distant from the fluctuations of quantum vacuum, whereas the myth of the ocean can be seen as the cosmogonic matrix. The question is, will it ever approach the shores of the origin? The anterior limit of the origin meets the limit of the horizon: both are recessive and one can conceive the universe only as a sphere, that another pre-Socratic thinker, Parmenides, had seen. It is in this sphere that the local observer stands and holds together the origin and the horizon to measure the span of the universe, with the Earth at its center.
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