Not content with being shown to be foolish once before, the Maistre-basher responds with a trivial post that cites a pejorative characterization from Encyclopedia Britannica, which I suppose is the old-fashioned version of being a Google pundit. The introduction to this translation of Maistre’s Examination of the Philosophy of Bacon contains the following details that are worth considering:
In 1784, when Joseph’s younger brother Xavier and some other young gentlemen in Chambery began organizing a project to launch Savoy’s first hot-air balloon…it was Joseph who was sent to Geneva to consult the celebrated physicist Benedict de Saussure on the technical details. He was also drafted to write the “Prospectus” to enlist subscribers to finance the project, which succeeded with a twenty-minute ascent in May 1784. From Maistre’s diaries we know as well that while in exile in Lausanne in 1793 he found time to take lessons in “experimental physics.”…As will be apparent to any reader of his mature works, including the Examination of the Philosophy of Bacon with its citations and references to an impressive number of figures in the history of science, Maistre became one of the most many-sided and best read men of his generation.
But because it flatters the prejudices of ignorant materialists, Maistre must have hated science because his politics and religious views are not the same as theirs. Never mind the foolishness of the claim linking modern American conservatsm to Maistre. Unfortunately, the American conservative admirers of Maistre can probably be counted on one hand, and in this we are not exactly representative of the contemporary movement.
Now it is true that Maistre apologetically attributed the rise of modern science to Christian culture, and believed in a harmonious relationship between theology and science, but in this he was espousing a long-standing Christian understanding of the complementary relationship between revelation and science. In calling him a philosopher of science, I may have given the impression that his entire career was concerned with such questions, and that would be misleading. Nonetheless, certainly he was a philosopher who was reasonably well-educated and interested in the modern science of his day and its moral and philosophical implications. Claims to the contrary are presumably the product of simple ignorance about the man in question.
P.S. Further in the introduction, the translator cites a study of Maistre by Larry Siedentrop, who said:
It is knowledge of science and its effect on philosophy that takes Maistre beyond the theories of Vico and Burke.