The cognitive scope of physico-mathematics according to Maritain. Some clarifications


  • María Angeles Vitoria Pontificia Università della Santa Croce


The epistemological status of mathematical physics remains an object of debate. Jacques Maritain (1882-1973) is among the authors who strove to clarify the scope of scientific knowledge in a period when the polemical tone of the discussions and the revolutionary character of the new scientific theories made him difficult to understand. Although judgments differ, Maritain is usually located within the orientation that understands mathematical physics as fundamentally hypothetical and lacking in cognitive force. In this work I propose to show that he held a delicately and subtly balanced position: he understood that the complexity of this science is not adequately expressed in terms either of naïve realism or pure instrumentalism. He can be said to hold a moderate realism, in which epistemological analysis plays a fundamental role. Present scientific developments, specifically those of quantum mechanics, seem to confirm Maritain’s correctness on this point.



How to Cite

Vitoria, María Angeles. “The Cognitive Scope of Physico-Mathematics According to Maritain. Some Clarifications”. Acta Philosophica 15, no. 2 (September 30, 2006): 287–316. Accessed December 4, 2023.




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