Esgrid Sikahall (BSc MSc)

Thesis title: Religion and Science in the Thought of Hans-Georg Gadamer

Background

With a background in Engineering and having taught undergraduate Mathematics in Guatemala for five years, I'm interested in understanding the kind of knowledge that the different sciences are able to apprehend and the cultural and individual meshes in which this knowledge is obtained and shared.

Given that the notion of 'science' and associated terms like objectivity, scientific method, reason, knowledge, etc., are a part of specific historically shaped narratives (e.g. narratives of Enlightenment, of Secularisation, of Progress, etc.), I want to make sense of scientific knowledge within its historical contexts and in the narratives that use it and the associated terms as sources of cognitive legitimation and authority. 

This has led me to pay close attention to the history of science and as current work in the history of science suggests, to the religious roots of the modern sciences and of modernity as a whole. Religion, another historically-shaped category, is inevitably a term shaped by western Christianity. If we are to understand western modernity (and its influence in non-western modernities) in its distinctively 'secular' self-perception we are driven to look at the ways in which Christian theology/philosophy as a complete background of imagination and action in its medieval and modern varieties has shaped our contemporary situation.

My PhD work is on the German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer, in particular, his perspective on modernity, science and method, especially in relation to religion as described above. Given the all-pervasive nature of the reality of knowing and the contemporary primacy given to science as a privileged source of knowledge, I'm interested in a close reading of the history and philosophy of science, attending at the way scientific knowledge is communicated and the narratives it is a part of.

Qualifications

BSc (Civil Engineering; Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, 2012)

MSc (Science and Religion; University of Edinburgh, 2017)

PhD (Candidate) (Science and Religion; University of Edinburgh, 2021)

Research summary

  • Hans-Georg Gadamer
  • Philosophical hermeneutics and philosophy of science
  • History of science and religion and history of knowledge
  • Consciousness as experience and its evolution through history
  • A metaxological reading of philosophical hermeneutics and a hermeneutical reading of metaxological thinking
  • William Desmond
  • Owen Barfield as a philosopher of nature
  • The boundary between science and scientific discourse
  • The role of language as the medium of both science and scientific discourse

Current research interests

I'm currently working on my PhD, focusing on Hans-Georg Gadamer's reading of modernity, especially in relation to science and the role of method in understanding. I'm also interested in the multiple critiques and transformations of modernity and late modernity and how these critiques are being narrated historically, philosophically and theologically.