Mission impossible

November 25, 2010

I'm afraid Martin A. Mills is deluded ("A grand unified theory of man", 18 November). Such a theory is neither possible nor desirable, because it could never accommodate the natural and social sciences on equal terms. It is a fantasy specific to science and ultimately scientism, so any "success" would come at the cost of the integrity of the humanities and the social sciences. That integrity depends on - and indeed, should celebrate - precisely the pluralism, perspectivism and limits that such a theory would necessarily exclude.

Furthermore, the modern quest for a grand unified theory has an unmistakably religious provenance in monotheism, whose authoritarian mode it retains. This should also give one pause.

Patrick Curry, London.

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