• Xtrix
    831


    Surely. But I'm emphasizing (vis a vis Heidegger) phusis as "emerging, abiding sway," the presence of an entity disclosed to us in aletheia (truth, unconealedness). This was the Greek sense of "being."
  • jacksonsprat22
    99


    ontos just means "thing"
  • Xtrix
    831
    ontos just means "thing"jacksonsprat22

    Yeah, or "entity" or "being." What's the relevance?
  • jacksonsprat22
    99


    You brought it up. Was it irrelevant to you?
  • Xtrix
    831
    You brought it up. Was it irrelevant to you?jacksonsprat22

    I never brought up ontos.
  • jacksonsprat22
    99


    You did. But...clearly you want no discussion. Have a good evening.
  • Xtrix
    831
    You did. But...clearly you want no discussion. Have a good evening.jacksonsprat22

    Where? Here's what I said, to which you responded about ontos:

    Surely. But I'm emphasizing (vis a vis Heidegger) phusis as "emerging, abiding sway," the presence of an entity disclosed to us in aletheia (truth, unconealedness). This was the Greek sense of "being."Xtrix

    Not one mention of "ontos." Yes, the word "being" (as in A being, an entity or a "thing") is "ontos," but that's not phusis, which is the Greek sense of the being of entities (beings).

    It's not about not wanting a discussion, it's about not drifting into irrelevance. If you care to explain what you meant, by all means. Otherwise, yes: good evening indeed. I have no time for nonsense.
  • Xtrix
    831
    Heidegger contradicts de Beistegui in a number of ways.
    — Xtrix

    Trying to figure out why you think this.
    StreetlightX

    Which I explained. Take one example: the supposed opposition of Parmenides and Heraclitus. Heidegger rejects this.

    There was also no metaphysics in Aristotle.

    In any case if I knew you only wanted to read things that agreed with your preconceptions then I ought not to have posted anything.StreetlightX

    Then go pout somewhere else about it, by all means.

    What I’m interested in is not lengthy quotations which have nothing to do with the OP, but insights into the Greek meaning of being as phusis.
  • StreetlightX
    5.4k
    What I’m interested in is not lengthy quotations which have nothing to do with the OP, but insights into the Greek meaning of being as phusis.Xtrix

    No you're not. You're interested in elaborations on the Heideggarian party line.
  • Xtrix
    831
    What I’m interested in is not lengthy quotations which have nothing to do with the OP, but insights into the Greek meaning of being as phusis.
    — Xtrix

    No you're not. You're interested in elaborations on the Heideggarian party line.
    StreetlightX

    No, as I've demonstrated over and over again -- from the OP onwards -- that the issue for analysis and discussion is phusis.

    "Elaborations on the Heideggarian party line" is gibberish. You're not fooling me or anyone else into believing you have read Heidegger. (And no, scrolling over PDFs you've found on the Internet to find something you think supports one of your pretentious, superficial "opinions" is not the reading I mean.)

    Easily demonstrated by the following question: What "party line" are you talking about, exactly?

    I won't hold my breath for an answer.

    Feel free to try Twitter next time.
  • Xtrix
    831
    Easily demonstrated by the following question: What "party line" are you talking about, exactly?Xtrix

    Oh tell me more of what Heidegger-daddy said!StreetlightX

    Exactly. Like I said: try Twitter.
  • fdrake
    3.6k
    Scientists rarely engage with nature as its own concept, right? You don't need to think of nature as its own thing to have a predictive theory. Maybe if the scientist sought to explain why the theory is predictive, they would have recourse to nature as a concept.

    It seems to me that scientific practice rarely requires meditation upon the fundamental nature of nature; it's contextualised and regionalised. So in that regard, any conception of nature as its own thing (in toto or in itself) does not seem to be a requirement of doing science.

    I guess that leaves questions of transcendental priority; can someone conceive of any particular predictive understanding of nature without using something like phusis? If it's a ground for science, it's not going to be a ground of scientific practice, it'll be a ground in terms of conceptual/logical priority.

    I would also guess that it's commonplace to treat metaphysics regarding nature as descriptive rather than explanatory; given (bunch of science stuff), how should we think about it? EG: what constitutes a function of a component of an organism?

    So it seems to me if the analysis of phusis takes a central place in science, it only does so as a transcendental ground, and needs only behave that way given the stipulations of interpreting it that way. Maybe Deleuzians would put difference at the center, maybe Schopenhaurians would put will there.
  • Xtrix
    831
    It seems to me that scientific practice rarely requires meditation upon the fundamental nature of nature; it's contextualised and regionalised. So in that regard, any conception of nature as its own thing (in toto or in itself) does not seem to be a requirement of doing science.fdrake

    I agree -- but no one is arguing that.

    I guess that leaves questions of transcendental priority; can someone conceive of any particular predictive understanding of nature without using something like phusis? If it's a ground for science, it's not going to be a ground of scientific practice, it'll be a ground in terms of conceptual/logical priority.fdrake

    Maybe. But perhaps not even that. It's not that scientists have to even understanding their sense of "being" (as nature) or even question it, it's that it permeates everything they do as a background premise. How do we know it's a background premise? Because whenever they speak of the "universe," or the "physical," of laws of nature, forces of nature, "matter" (atoms and molecules), etc., there is embedded a very definite understanding of being in general (nature), of human being (the rational animal, or in current formulation the "primate with language"), of subjects and objects, of "bodies" and "objects" (beings), of "mind and matter," and so on. Whether they're Christian or Muslim or Hindu or atheist or part of "scientism," scientists are human beings who have to operate with some kind of picture of the world. No person is without philosophy or religion, in this sense. So it doesn't matter if they can articulate it, question it, or even know it -- just as many "Christians" walk around never questioning their specific meaning of "God." But it does seem that one they do articulate it, or are questioned about it, "nature" or the "physical" is usually what vocalized at some point.

    Thus it's worth asking about this word and its origin (in phusis).

    So it seems to me if the analysis of phusis takes a central place in science, it only does so as a transcendental ground, and needs only behave that way given the stipulations of interpreting it that way. Maybe Deleuzians would put difference at the center, maybe Schopenhaurians would put will there.fdrake

    I don't know what the last examples have to do with. Put "difference" and "will" at the center of what? Phusis?

    Regardless, I wasn't advocating putting phusis as the "central place in science," I'm saying it is a basis for science if and only if it bears some connection to the current ontology of science (which I contend is a naturalism or physicalism). Just the uncontroversial etymology of the words "nature" and "physics" will immediately show you there is.

    So then we ask, "What was phusis to the Greeks?" Turns out, something very different than what we mean. In Heidegger, the emphasis has become more and more about "substance," about presence. Science turns out to be one iteration of the metaphysics of presence since the Greek inception of philosophy.
  • fdrake
    3.6k
    I don't know what the last examples have to do with. Put "difference" and "will" at the center of what? Phusis?Xtrix

    As a, or the, central explanatory category for the unfolding of nature considered as its own thing.

    Regardless, I wasn't advocating putting phusis as the "central place in science," I'm saying it is a basis for science if and only if it bears some connection to the current ontology of science (which I contend is a naturalism or physicalism). Just the uncontroversial etymology of the words "nature" and "physics" will immediately show you there is.Xtrix

    So the connection goes: phusis -> naturalism, naturalism -> scientific practice? In what regard is phusis a basis for scientific practice if it bears some connection to the current ontology of science?

    Being a "basis" is quite a lot different from "bearing some connection", right? So I interpreted that you were doing the Heideggerian move of putting "phusis" as the general concept that "allows nature to reveal itself to scientists in the way they reveal it", despite being "more primordial" than that style of disclosure.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.8k
    Let me know when you conduct this experiment. I wish you the best of luck, but I won't hold my breath. Personally I think it's a waste of time. But in any case, the point stands: there's no evidence for your claim. So why say it? That's not scientifically sound either.Xtrix

    Why ask me for an appeal to authority when you can just dismiss it as an appeal to authority?

    You're asking for me to show you the ultimate scientific authority, but the rub is that science eschews ultimate authority. When pressed, scientists say things like "nature", by which they mean experimental evidence (observations of nature).

    I haven't once said anything remotely like that, because before we can "couple" non-science with "science," we have to know what "science" is.Xtrix

    Huh? You opened the post by bringing up an ill-defined anecdote about how scientists say their god is nature (do you need me to quote everything line by line?), and then you stated that Descartes framework of natural philosophy "dominates every other understanding in today's world".

    This is just bad reasoning. What do you think scientists meant by "nature" and "god", and why is that relevant to why natural philosophy dominates every other understanding in today's world?

    Isn't it possible that modern science is not dominated by Cartesian or natural philosophy?


    No one can offer a definition that shows Aristarchus wasn't doing science but Galileo was, for example, so who cares?Xtrix

    Why do you get to get to ask me to prove an unending series of negatives? First you'll goad me into showing Aristarchus wasn't doing science, then you can just keep pulling random names out of a hat until I get too tired to carry on... If some ancient philosopher based their epistemological framework around the predictive power of their mathematical or explanatory models, then maybe they employing the modern scientific method to some extent. But really, who cares?

    You, on the other hand, have repeatedly tried to demarcate science, ignoring evidence that doesn't fit. Also not scientifically sound. I can make guesses as to why this is, psychologically, but otherwise it's not very interesting to me.Xtrix

    You're just making veiled ad hominems and appeals to character with this. Accusing me of ignoring evidence that doesn't fit is just an allusion that you have relevant evidence that I have not addressed (just state the evidence concisely and clearly so that at the very least other readers can see how poor a job I am doing), and mentioning my psychological state is a fallacious appeal to character bordering on ad hominem.

    The experimental evidence is in our face phenomenon... — VagabondSpectre


    That's not what you said. You said:

    You're looking at it backward actually. QM and GR are "in our face" phenomenon that we cannot deny. — VagabondSpectre


    So quantum mechanics and general relativity are "experimental evidence" now? That's completely meaningless as well.
    Xtrix

    I'm having a hard time comprehending what you're trying to say here. "In our face phenomenon" refers to the experimental observations that force us to accept GR and QM as strong models. If you think you have a "gotch'ya" here, you don't. You're just be semantically obtuse or else misunderstanding. Calling things "meaningless statements" in a vacuum is non-persuasive.

    No, you contrasted "rationality" by conflating it with "rationalism" (hence why you mentioned Descartes) which is completely wrong. Inductive reasoning already assumes reason (it's right there in the word), and hence rationality - ratio is Latin, which translates as "reason."Xtrix

    Have you ever heard of the "etymological fallacy"? It's sort of similar to equivocation; definitely an excellent source of wanton misinterpretation...

    To be fair to Descartes, the first two meditations are pretty interesting. He lays out groundwork for the utility of falsification, and also that our ideas are shaped by our available senses, but if I recall correctly he went on to just assume a bunch of random nonsense. Merely doubting senses and applying skepticism is not the more fully fledged conception of science that is based around experimental predictive power.

    You're trying to win the argument by somehow showing that I am technically incorrect, when you have not seem to understood or addressed the statement I have made. Even if my critique of Descartes has been unfair (not giving him enough credit as a scientist, I guess), you're still not actually addressing my position; you're just rejecting it out of hand.

    Once again, just to be clear, modern science employs an inherently inductive method to actually confirm and usefully deploy its models in the real world; that's what has let it advance so much compared to less strictly focused schools
    .
    We have reliable computers because the models and understanding that were used to create the underlying hardware focused on precision and accuracy in their anticipation of how systems unfold. (even in computer "science", predictive power ("robustness" in terms of an application or program) is still the major standard that drives development. We want programs that can do more, and can do it quicker, and to do that we require more reliable (or more efficient with no reliability loss) low level algorithms).

    So what is the point of this thread again? I know you feel you have been amply clear, but just indulge me. Did you just want to wax about the hidden nature of the physical universe without needing to actually entertain scientific models?

    Why didn't you call the thread "basis for ancient science"?
  • StreetlightX
    5.4k
    So what is the point of this thread again?VagabondSpectre

    To present warmed over Heidegger and ask if anyone has an oven to warm it up a little more.
  • Xtrix
    831
    So the connection goes: phusis -> naturalism, naturalism -> scientific practice? In what regard is phusis a basis for scientific practice if it bears some connection to the current ontology of science?fdrake

    Ontological basis. You're right, that may not have been clear initially, but that's what I'm talking about. Not scientific practice.
  • Xtrix
    831
    Let me know when you conduct this experiment. I wish you the best of luck, but I won't hold my breath. Personally I think it's a waste of time. But in any case, the point stands: there's no evidence for your claim. So why say it? That's not scientifically sound either.
    — Xtrix

    Why ask me for an appeal to authority when you can just dismiss it as an appeal to authority?
    VagabondSpectre

    That's why I said an authority that provides evidence which I could check.

    You opened the post by bringing up an ill-defined anecdote about how scientists say their god is nature (do you need me to quote everything line by line?),VagabondSpectre

    As I've shown repeatedly, that's not what I said. I mentioned someone once saying "I believe in God, I just call it nature" to demonstrate the place "nature" plays in modern science. It wasn't to be taken literally as scientists believing in a "God of nature."

    What do you think scientists meant by "nature" and "god", and why is that relevant to why natural philosophy dominates every other understanding in today's world?VagabondSpectre

    Natural philosophy is what science used to be called. The point is that nature is what science studies. So the question is a good one: "What is nature" (or what is meant by "nature)? That's exactly what I'm exploring here.

    Isn't it possible that modern science is not dominated by Cartesian or natural philosophy?VagabondSpectre

    Cartesianism, sure. But science is natural philosophy, so I don't see how it could or couldn't be "dominated" by it.

    No one can offer a definition that shows Aristarchus wasn't doing science but Galileo was, for example, so who cares?
    — Xtrix

    Why do you get to get to ask me to prove an unending series of negatives? First you'll goad me into showing Aristarchus wasn't doing science, then you can just keep pulling random names out of a hat until I get too tired to carry on...
    VagabondSpectre

    "Unending"? I keep bringing it up because you continually fail to address it, and it's important. As far as "random names":I've mentioned Aristarchus over and over again. That's not random name-dropping. It's a simple question: Was he doing "science" or not?

    If some ancient philosopher based their epistemological framework around the predictive power of their mathematical or explanatory models, then maybe they employing the modern scientific method to some extent. But really, who cares?VagabondSpectre

    Exactly: who cares? Thus, who really cares about a fuzzy "modern method" in the first place? If it's modern, yet Aristarchus was doing it, is it still modern?

    The experimental evidence is in our face phenomenon... — VagabondSpectre


    That's not what you said. You said:

    You're looking at it backward actually. QM and GR are "in our face" phenomenon that we cannot deny. — VagabondSpectre


    So quantum mechanics and general relativity are "experimental evidence" now? That's completely meaningless as well.
    — Xtrix

    I'm having a hard time comprehending what you're trying to say here. "In our face phenomenon" refers to the experimental observations that force us to accept GR and QM as strong models.
    VagabondSpectre

    So experimental observations, not GR and QM themselves -- which is meaningless. That's fine. But take a look at what you said: you said "QM and GR are 'in our face phenomenon.'" If that's just a poorly worded sentence, not a big deal. But why continue to argue it?

    If you think you have a "gotch'ya" here, you don't. You're just be semantically obtuse or else misunderstanding.VagabondSpectre

    It's not semantics or a misunderstanding, it's a simple fact of what you said, which is completely meaningless. To repeat, again: "QM and GR are 'in our face phenomenon.'" That's MEANINGLESS. To say the data, the evidence, the observations and experiments are "in our face phenomena" is one thing -- to say the theories themselves are is meaningless.

    There's no "gotchya" here. I get what you mean now, but before it wasn't at all clear. All that's required in that case is to simply say "I typed that wrong" and move on. Yet since you continue to argue it, I'll continue to as well: the statement was meaningless. Quantum mechanics is not "in your face phenomenon," it's an explanatory theory.

    No, you contrasted "rationality" by conflating it with "rationalism" (hence why you mentioned Descartes) which is completely wrong. Inductive reasoning already assumes reason (it's right there in the word), and hence rationality - ratio is Latin, which translates as "reason."
    — Xtrix

    Have you ever heard of the "etymological fallacy"? It's sort of similar to equivocation; definitely an excellent source of wanton misinterpretation...
    VagabondSpectre

    There's no misinterpretation. You're simply conflating the two terms.

    You're trying to win the argument by somehow showing that I am technically incorrect, when you have not seem to understood or addressed the statement I have made. Even if my critique of Descartes has been unfair (not giving him enough credit as a scientist, I guess), you're still not actually addressing my position; you're just rejecting it out of hand.VagabondSpectre

    What argument?

    Science uses reason, rationality, logic, etc. That's not a controversial or "technical" point and it's not trying to "win" anything. I doubt anyone is reading any of this, and I don't care about "winning" anyway -- it's a silly way to look at conversations.

    Your argument has been that science is special, especially modern science, and is distinct from other activities by use of the "inductive method." I've heard this argument many times before -- it's not unreasonable. It has a long history. But you're hardly making a strong case, I'm afraid. This isn't ad hominem.

    It's especially difficult to explore that position when I get bogged down in corrections which I shouldn't have to correct -- whether about rationality or about data/theory or about Aristarchus's science.

    Once again, just to be clear, modern science employs an inherently inductive method to actually confirm and usefully deploy its models in the real world; that's what has let it advance so much compared to less strictly focused schoolsVagabondSpectre

    So this is how you present an argument, by simply repeating yourself over and over without evidence? Fine. I've already shown, multiple times, why the above statement is completely wrong. Obviously you don't agree, and that's fine. Like I said before, I don't care if there really turns out to be a special method or not. Maybe someone will show me one day that there is.

    If I were you though, in the future I'd watch words like "advance" and "progress." That's value-laden. We've advanced as a species quite a lot, in many ways. So if it's a matter of rate, how do we measure this? You've proposed some experiments to find out, and I welcome you to it. In the meantime, it's just empty, unconvincing statements.

    So what is the point of this thread again? I know you feel you have been amply clear, but just indulge me.VagabondSpectre

    I don't feel that way, no. You prove me wrong over and over again in that respect.

    The point of this thread is to explore the Greek understanding of being ('phusis') and to trace the evolution from this soil to the modern world (and the ontology of modern science).

    "Nature" and "physics" have their etymological roots in the word "phusis." Science in Galileo's time was called "natural philosophy" (the philosophy of nature). Modern scientists often claim (though it's true this is only from what I've heard and read, not based on a survey of any kind) that they study nature (which I didn't think was a controversial point) and so it's worth asking what that means now as well.
  • Xtrix
    831
    Getting back to the discussion after many digressions and diversions from the OP:

    _______________

    Phusis is the basis of modern science. Why? Because modern science's ontology is one of naturalism, a kind of physicalism, and these ideas have their roots in Greek ontology.

    We take naturalism for granted in the sciences, and oppose it to the "metaphysical" (and thus philosophy and religion). These are well-worn ideas.

    But "science" and its naturalism sprang from the philosophy of nature (the "Natural Philosophy" of Newton and Galileo). This naturalism (or physicalism) is a picture of the world, which rests on a set of axioms -- the first and "obvious" is that the universe (nature) is "made" of matter (atoms) in space, follow laws like causality, and abide by the forces of nature (gravitation, electromagnetism, strong and weak forces).

    What is "behind" this ontology? What does (and did) "nature" mean? It meant the disclosure of beings, the clearing of beings, the opening up and emergence of beings. This phusis is the word for this emergence, and is the Greek understanding of being. This word was translated into Latin as "natura," and also as "physics." It has gone through many iterations, but despite the apparent differences it has remained through and through Greek. Why?

    Because the Greek sense of phusis already had in it a privileging of an aspect of time: the present. When things appear to us in perception, when they emerge from unconcealment (as truth, as aletheia), when they are "disclosed" -- they are understood on the basis of time, and particularly the present. Beings come to being in the present -- this is the history of Western thought, which has dominated it ever since: presence.

    Being, phusis, means constant presence. As does ousia (or parousia) in Aristotle (often translated as "substance").

    This "metaphysics of presence" is the basis for not only modern science, but Christian ontology and dogma, for the philosophies of Descartes and Kant, for the scientific research of Copernicus and Galileo and Newton, and to the contemporary manifestations in Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, Brian Greene, Neil Degrasse Tyson, John Wheeler, and even Noam Chomsky.

    Why is this interpretation important? In the modern world, that means: How is this useful? How can it be monetized? But the answer to that can't be given. Philosophy is quite useless in this respect.

    Given our current age, where we have the capacities to destroy ourselves with our technology (nuclear weapons, fossil fuel consumption, biological weapons), where our understanding of being -- a technological-nihilistic understanding -- is coming to dominate all other understandings of being all around the globe, it may be well to ask these questions to shake some of the our certainties in our current "scientific" worldview. Perhaps scientism isn't such a good thing. Perhaps the "death of God" has led to a nihilism in the form of this "scientism," leading to a world where the merchants and manufacturers -- and thus the merchant class worldview -- have come to power.

    It is the business class, the merchants, who have gained rule. It is not governments and not the majority of people. Where does their power lie? In trade; in money. What is their philosophy? Capitalism. Maybe some believe in God, maybe some are atheists who believe in science. But none of these things -- not capitalism, not scientism, not atheism, not even Christianity any longer, offers us any real direction or hope for the future. If we continue on this path, we're finished.

    That being said, the connection becomes clear: modern science is one of the dominant forces in the world today, not just in its successes but in replacing what most people once believed (Christianity) with the "results of science," which has therefore become in many ways a kind of "religion." But it offers almost no guidance to live, no direction, no goal -- other than the endless quest for "truth" and "knowledge."

    This all therefore shades over in power, politics, economics, and morality. The most important people to read here are Marx (economics and politics), Nietzsche (morality), Chomsky (politics). All these men study power in its various domains.

    So where's the hope? Not in philosophers and scientists and priests, but in artists and poets -- as the vanguard of humanity and the hope for some new understanding of being.





    * On "metaphysics of presence." Being seems to be hidden and concealed in Heidegger, it's mainly absence. Our Western history has stressed presence. Thus to acknowledge the majority of what a human being does in average everydayness shows that more of our present-at-hand analysis, philosophy, science, etc., are all based on a highly minority activity -- a small part of the human being, which usually only occurs in school or when something breaks done. The majority of our lives are spent in skill, in habit, in "coping," in "engagement," in unconscious activity which is called "ready to hand", where traditional ideas of a theoretical, rational, logical subject which follows rules while dealing with "objects" which are "out there" and in which we deal with as present-at-hand facts (with extension, weight, mass, shape, etc).
  • fdrake
    3.6k


    This isn't entirely directed at you, but it's directed at years of realising the limitations of Heidegger after finding reading him one of the most profound, worldview changing, experiences of my life.

    (1) Let's say, with Heidegger, that analysing what people do with an unbiased eye for metaphysics or ontology allows you to ask profound metaphysical or ontological questions that unfold naturally from what people are doing.
    *
    (You might reject me calling Heidegger's work metaphysics, seeing as he sees himself as not doing it, rather doing ontology, but it fits in the broader sense of the term)


    (2) Let's further say, with Heidegger, that if you don't try and root things in what the practice does, and if you're not attentive to its nature, you will end up asking the wrong questions about it
    *
    Like readiness to hand ontology "undermining" present at hand metaphysics on the level of appropriateness of perspective/question formation.


    (3) Now, imagine that you've developed a very general concept that you think applies to all domains of human practice; everything people do. Imagine that it's even deeper than this, in that you think it constraints the potentials of things; what people can do, how people must think if they are to know the true nature of the world. It's a transcendental structure.
    Reveal
    Dasein's field of temporal ekstasis opening up a clearing in which entities are revealed/worlded
    .

    (4) In your later work, you make this transcendental structure historically and culturally dependent
    Reveal
    ("enframing" in The Question Concerning Technology and world-picture in "The Age of the World Picture")
    . That is even the transcendental seems to vary over the specifics of human behaviour.

    (5) For years and years after, there is academic work seeing science through the lens of (3) and (4), in practice echoing the maxim "Science does not think".

    Given (1), do you think it's appropriate to read off the "ontological basis" of science without considering how it's done on its own terms? I don't. That's using (3) irrespective of the way it was derived (a big Heidegger phenomenology methodological no-no).

    Given (2), do you think that applying (3) without checking its adequacy from a phenomenology of the domain in question (science) first is fruitful at all for understanding it? I don't, that's using (3) and going against the explicit advice in (1) and (2).

    Given (4), do you think it's sensible in general to transport transcendental structure from one practice to another? I don't, even within the assumptions of Heidegger's work, transcendental structure is culturally malleable.

    I've had similar conversations on the forum before, usually a rejoinder is something like "while surface level transcendental structure is historically contingent, the deep structure of Dasein is not"; my thoughts on the matter are: why would the deepest structure of human being have much to say about a type of practice so alien to mankind it allegedly took, of all our history, until Descartes' work for it to be codified? And until much after for it to be commonplace?

    I get frustrated with reasoning, or exploratory questions, that take the anti-reductive thought of Heidegger and reduce things to instances of it.
  • Xtrix
    831


    Appreciate the post, but I really don't know what you're asking me here. Perhaps you could be more straightforward. I think I've been fairly clear about my purposes.
  • fdrake
    3.6k


    Ah, sorry about that.

    Science uses concepts. A biologist will use concepts like organism, gene, structure and function. These concepts link up with predictions and experiments. Do you see any use of the concept of phusis by scientists in their theories or experiments? I don't, I've worked in universities, the only other person I've met in a scientific field that has any familiarity with Heidegger was a nurse studying prison populations and used phenomenology as a method from a subtle realist perspective. Scientists in general do not seem to think in those terms.

    Here's a quote from Being and Time's first introduction, where Heidegger's talking about the importance of paying attention to exactly what you're asking questions about when you're asking questions about it:

    Every inquiry is a seeking [Suchen]. Every seeking gets guided before- hand by what is sought. Inquiry is a cognizant seeking for an entity both with regard to the fact that it is and with regard to its Being as it is. This cognizant seeking can take the form of 'investigating' , in which one lays bare that which the question is about and ascertains its character. Any inquiry, as an inquiry about something, has that which is asked about [sein Gefragtes] . But all inquiry about something is somehow a questioning of something [Anfragen bei . . .]. So in addition to what is asked about, an inquiry has that which is interrogated [ein Befragtes\ In investigative questions — that is, in questions which are specifically theo- retical — what is asked about is determined and conceptualized. Further-
    more, in what is asked about there lies also that which is to be found out by the asking [das Erfragte]; this is what is really intended: with this the inquiry reaches its goal. Inquiry itself is the behaviour of a questioner, and therefore of an entity, and as such has its own character of Being. When one
    makes an inquiry one may do so 'just casually' or one may formulate the question explicitly. The latter case is peculiar in that the inquiry does not become transparent to itself until all these constitutive factors of the question have themselves become transparent.

    That goes for something like analysing hammering, it should also go for understanding the scientific practice of connecting theory, prediction and experiment, no? In that regard, it is extremely strange that people see things about the existential analytic of Dasein in the practice of science, when scientists make no regular practical use of those concepts. Nevertheless, granting the above paragraph, they are asking questions, they know the meaning of the beingS they are investigating in some preparatory manner. So why take recourse to the existential analytic of Dasein over phenomenologising about what scientists actually do?

    I think you get a much different metaphysical picture of nature if you take your imaginative background from scientific practice than if you take your cues from the existential analytic of Dasein. Why should Dasein in its average everydayness be the appropriate site for the question of the being of nature (physis) than the more restrictive and demarcated practice of scientists which have thematised nature in their questions already, rather than Dasein?
  • Xtrix
    831
    Science uses concepts. A biologist will use concepts like organism, gene, structure and function. These concepts link up with predictions and experiments. Do you see any use of the concept of phusis by scientists in their theories or experiments?fdrake

    No I don't. I don't think most scientists think about or really care about the underlying philosophical assumptions or systems of beliefs that they hold, any more than computer programmers know or care about logic gates and transistors or engineers about Euclidean axioms.

    Phusis is the Greek concept of being. ""Nature" and "physics" are therefore cognate.

    I'm only again pointing out this etymology because it connects with our modern meaning of being
    Reveal
    (although it's a veiled one which almost never gets questioned, whether by adherents of science or followers of some religion -- and not only neglected by these followers but by the religious and scientific thought leaders as well!)
    , so knowing something about this root word's meaning (phusis) is potentially enlightening. I've pointed out some ways why it is in fact enlightening to think about and question this concept.

    What Heidegger says is that both the Greek conception and our conception of "being" (and beings) has a temporal basis: the present.

    This "emerging" that the Greeks thought of as being is also tied to their conception of truth (aletheia - unconcealedness), phenomena (beings; φαινόμενον, from φαίνειν (phainein) "to shine, show, manifest"), substance (ousia), logos (gathering), and physics (phusike). Heidegger sees dasein (human being, the "there") as a "disclosure," a "clearing," or a "lighting" -- so we're unconceal-ers, truth-openers, where being is an "issue" for us. Our understanding of anything at all (being) is connected with our being, which is a temporal one.
    Reveal
    (This begins to sound like Kant a little, I know. But Heidegger mentions that although Kant emphasizes "time," he neglects both being and a phenomenological analysis of time with "being" as a guiding theme.)


    One particular mode of time gets privileged in the Greek understanding of beings: the present. And it's THIS that has persisted to the present day in philosophy and science (and our religion/spirituality!). Whenever we question the world reflectively, or try to understand anything at all "objectively" or "abstractly" we operate in the same mode of being we're in when things break down: the present-to-hand, which is a detached way of being, a "founded" mode which is the exception rather than the rule (the rule being ready-to-hand activity).

    We therefore do this philosophical and scientiifc analysis while "presencing," which is a mode of time (the present) and which thus transforms beings into "present-at-hand" entities (e.g., "objects," "substances," res extensa) -- as opposed to the ordinary, everyday mode of being we're in, which is a caring, concernful coping, reading-to-hand activity (which is also interpreted as temporality: past/present/future unity).
    Reveal
    [Being and Time, p 47 (German 24): "Entities are grasped in their being as 'presence'; this means that they are understood with regard to a definite mode of time-- the 'Present'."]


    This is why the Scholastics, Descartes, Galileo, Newton, Kant, Hegel, and up to the present day has lead to the "dead end" of nihilism: everything is interpreted as an "object" or resource, nature becomes a matter of calculation and thus, most importantly, human beings get interpreted as "subjects," "creatures of God," "talking apes," "ghosts in a machine," etc., with all of the epistemological problems generated from these variations, and leading to untold political and economic blind alleys and even outright harm.
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