The Spirit and the Intellect: Lessons in Humility

Boyce discusses the limits of our knowledge in both the intellectual and the spiritual: “I have come to believe, after many a false start,” he admits, “that if I am honest and thorough in my approach to the gospel, and if I am honest and thorough in my approach to intellectual disciplines, there resides in each the imperative for a profound sense of humility. I discover in both of them that what we don’t know far outstrips what we do.” He then goes on to illustrate the limits of human knowledge by presenting three examples: Ludwig Wittgenstein, logical positivism, and the long theoretical debate in quantum physics between Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr. “These incidents from recent intellectual history,” writes Boyce, “suggest that significant intellectual matters are often less settled than the current orthodoxy implies, whatever that orthodoxy happens to be and in whatever field.” Even in spiritual matters, our current understanding may often be inadequate. “Beyond the certainties of the gospel,” Boyce concludes, “the only wisdom we can hope to acquire is the wisdom of humility. Humility is endless.”

Here is the supplemental material as noted in the article:

Einstein’s Challenge to Bohr
John Bell’s Approach to the Einstein-Bohr Debate

Published in BYU Studies Quarterly 50:4
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