Cosmos and Transcendence

Breaking Through the Barrier of Scientistic Belief

Wolfgang Smith

San Rafael, CA: Sophia Perennis, 2008.
180 pages
ISBN: 978-1-59731-080-2
Price: $17.50 US
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ISBN: 1-59731-084-0
Price: $19.96 US
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With elegance and clarity, Wolfgang Smith leads the reader, step by step, to the realization that the specifically ‘modern’ world is based intellectually, not indeed upon scientific facts, but ultimately on nothing more substantial than a syndrome of Promethean myths. And this ‘opening’ enables him to recover and reaffirm the deep metaphysical insights that have come down to us through the teachings of Christianity: having broken the grip of scientistic presuppositions, the author succeeds in bringing to view universal truths which had long been obscured.

Prof. Smith brings to this book a rare combination of qualities and experiences, not the least his ability to move freely between the somewhat arcane worlds of contemporary science and traditional metaphysics. Alongside Dr Smith’s imposing qualifications in mathematics, physics, and philosophy we find his hard-earned expertise in Platonism, Christian theology, traditional cosmologies, and Oriental metaphysics. His outlook has been enriched both by his diverse professional experiences in the high-tech world of the aerospace industry and in academia, and by his own researches in the course of his far-reaching intellectual and spiritual journeying. Here is that rare person who is equally at home with Eckhart and Einstein, Heraclitus and Heisenberg! Dr Smith is no obscurantist, rejecting well-attested scientific facts, nor a sentimental reactionary seeking to ‘turn back the clock’. He is a sober-minded scientist and philosopher who has confronted some of the most daunting issues of the age, refusing to surrender to the shibboleths and complacencies of modernity. In this book Wolfgang Smith excavates the very foundations of modern thought in order to explain the cracks and fissures that are everywhere appearing in what was thought to be the impregnable edifice of ‘science’. He also traces the pedigree of some of the most mesmerizing of modern prejudices (the belief in Progress, for instance) and analyzes the intellectual legacy of figures such as Descartes, Newton, Darwin, Freud, and Jung, all the while rendering the most abstruse ideas and principles into lucid and elegant prose, intelligible to any receptive reader. We stand in urgent need of the truths and insights yielded by Wolfgang Smith’s wide-ranging inquiry

Table of Contents

Foreword—Preface to Second Edition—The Idea of the Physical Universe—The Cartesian Dilemma—Lost Horizons—Evolution: Fact and Fantasy—The Ego and the Beast—The Deification of the Unconscious—'Progress' in Retrospect—Notes


From the vantage point of traditional metaphysics, theology, and cosmology, Wolfgang Smith launches a searching inquiry into the ideology of scientism and its consequences. This is an elegant work of profound insight and of the most urgent relevance to the contemporary world.
Dr Harry Oldmeadow, author of Traditionalism and Mediations

Cosmos and Transcendence is an excellent book, and would be an asset in any course dealing with science and philosophy, or the history of science. It is also most fascinating reading, and would be a welcome addition to any library.
Harold HughesdonThe Wanderer

We are astounded to see the revival of philosophical doctrines long thought dead in a scientific context. This book will repay study, especially its brilliant third chapter, 'Lost Horizons'.
John C. CaiazzaModern Age

Wolfgang Smith's chapter on 'The Deification of the Unconscious' is superb and totally destroys the pretensions of Jungian psychology.
Rama P. CoomaraswamyStudies in Comparative Religion

Having traced the degeneration of the mechanistic outlook into subjectivism and pseudoscience, Dr Smith concludes his book with a profound reflection on the fall of man and its implications for the pursuit of knowledge. This is a serious work which will repay close attention.
Robert P. RooneyHomiletic & Pastoral Review

About the Author

Wolfgang Smith ranks today as one of the foremost exponents of what many have called the sophia perennis, the traditional and timeless wisdom of mankind. After receiving a Ph.D. in mathematics from Columbia he taught at various universities, including M.I.T. and U.C.L.A. Since his retirement from academic life he has authored several books and numerous articles relating to the critique and interpretation of science from a metaphysical point of vantage. Sophia Perennis has also published his The Quantum Enigma: Finding the Hidden Key.