Percy's Theory of Man Summary

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When I first looked at "Is a Theory of Man Possible?" by Walker Percy, I was looking for reasons to believe that man (humankind) was indeed a unique phenomenon in the cosmos, and that there are discernable differences between man and the rest of the animal kingdom. I think Percy is successful in stirring one's interest and pointing you in the right direction. I will first take up the dyadic/triadic distinction. My first exposure to the dyadic/triadic distinction was in reading this essay. Turns out dyadic events are what we used to call physical and triadic are what we used to call mental. And since triadic events can't be reduced to dyadic events this eliminates the possibility that mere physical science will ever explain the unique mental qualities of man and God is restored to his rightful place in the universe or something of the sort. As it turns out there are quite a lot of physical triads out there in nature. Since triads correspond to physical structures and a logical system has been invented to deal with them, I conclude that a properly scientific account can be given of triadic phenomena. This scientific account will be part of a new triadic science and may not look much like the predominantly dyadic science we use today, such as sending things to Mars. The only real proof of this conclusion is to produce such a science, but it is my belief that we have plenty of reason to suspect that such a triadic science can be formulated. After all we are pretty clever at solving problems. As far as restoring God "to his rightful place in the universe" is concerned, I doubt that any amount of arguing, scientific or otherwise, will convince the skeptic or disuade the believer. In short there is no simple solution to the God question. Indeed, God is one of those central problems of constructing a theory of man. Even an atheist constructing a theory

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