Questions related to Modern Philosophy
Horkheimer and Adorno and Foucault see progress as a kind of trap in which we ensnare ourselves. Can this have any relation to the modern contradiction/condition? And if so, what have the postmodernists said about it?
Whitehead's "Process and Reality" dates from 1929.
In it, he argues – among many other things – that "It has been a defect in modern philosophies that they throw no light whatever on any scientific principle." (Pt.2, §IV, IV).
Does his own philosophy ("the philosophy of the organism") stand up to that requirement when confronted with contemporary scientific knowledge?
Walter Kasper and Schelling
The interest of the young Kasper, who took as his basis of reference and discussion the philosophy of the second Schelling, follows by and large the path that was opened up by Drey. The latter had drawn the lines of a theology conceived as a positive science by adapting in an original manner a number of Schelling’s ideas on the methodological and encyclopaedic plane. It was ‘a topic tied to Tübingen’ where Kasper had learned ‘to reflect more deeply on Schelling’s thought’.
As he himself writes in the Preface to his The Absolute in History, ‘the impulse to theological research on German idealism occurred to me on the basis of my familiarity with the rich theological world of the Tübingen School of the nineteenth century, into which I was introduced in my studies by my esteemed teachers, Prof. Dr. J. R. Geiselmann and Prof. Dr. F. X. Arnold.’
The commitment and the goal that Kasper set for himself were exceptional, since the literature on Schelling’s Philosophy of Revelation and on his system of positive philosophy in general were, and are still, ‘the object of contradictory judgments, mostly unfavourable’. Schelling himself, after all, in his lectures on the philosophy of revelation (Berlin 1841/42) quickly disappointed the expectations and hopes of those, above all theologians, who expected in his programme a synthesis of philosophy and religion. ‘The success of curiosity continued for some time. But the malicious campaigns of his opponents, […] the growing exhaustion among the students, the anachronism of a philosophy that went against the currents of the time […] put an end to this late glory.
For all this difficulty, the young Kasper took the task seriously and dedicated to the philosophy of the second Schelling ‘a well-researched work leading to the recognition not only of his theological value but also of his contemporary perspective.’ In particular, the thesis for his habilitation intends to respond to a dual task: 1) to offer a robust and close reconstruction of the text in the sense of historiographical faithfulness, but at the same time 2) elucidate the impulses, the stimuli, and the orientations which theology received in the Catholic Tübingen School from Schelling’s philosophy and which it can appropriate today for a renewal of theological method no longer content with the repetition of the traditional formulations of so-called baroque Scholasticism. In this way, the second Schelling came to be seen as a forerunner of the positive theology of our own time. In fact, Kasper approaches Schelling convinced that ‘problems and systems are open to each other. The question we must ask ourselves is whether the particular presentation and the form of Schelling’s thought can facilitate categories for the elucidation of aspects of Christianity which in the tradition expressed in a more scholastic manner have remained mostly obscured. This applies above all to the historicity of Christianity on which Schelling constantly insists. On this point, the possibility of an encounter with a biblically oriented theology could be greater than is generally admitted.’
The extent to which Kasper accentuates common aspects that were dear to the Tübingen School can already be seen from the title of his work: The Absolute in History according to Schelling’s late philosophy. It deals with a topic which ‘accompanies Schelling’s reflections throughout practically the entire arc of his development; it is essentially tied to the religious problematic with which the philosopher from Leonberg wrestled, in various ways, in all phases of his research. […] A profound metaphysical thinker such as Schelling, entirely captivated by the problem of the relationship between the infinite and the finite, between Absolute being and becoming in human consciousness, could not avoid being constantly confronted with the topic of history, specifically history in metaphysical perspective (first) and (subsequently) in that of positive theology.’
John Dewey (1917) writes in his article "The need for recovery of philosophy" - in the book "Creative intellegence: Essays in the pragmatic attitude") that philosophy is useless unless it is about real problems of men. He writes: "Philosophy recovers itself when it ceases to be a device for dealing with the problems of philosophers and becomes a method, cultivated by philosophers, for dealing with the problems of men."
Often we use the term alterity and its connotation seems to refer to empathy and vice versa. It remains to understand what foundations each term expresses within the scope of modern philosophy.
The average man in our time has an underground, unconscious vision of the world, which absorbs from the media, the family and school. The concept of material, with which a sense of reality is based, has been modified over time and today emerges as a vague concept, evanescent and virtual, nourished by the suggestions of computer science. Epistemological awareness is necessary to understand and unmask representations "swallowed" unconsciously , which have become a priori the categories with which we interpret the world. Such awareness is a decisive step toward the conquest of freedom and needs a profound look on the origins of concepts and representations used by science: concepts that in our time dominate the visions of the world that the individual deceives himself as having created autonomously and freely.
The materialism of West has no more to do with the philosophy and ideologies. It has to do with the loss of the pathos of image of the world that has origin from ignorance, i.e. from non-truth. And the loss of the concept of form was for centuries after the Renaissance the first sign of this poverty, since the form represents the supreme manifestation of being. Heidegger had tried to give an answer to the question of the poet Hölderlin located in the elegy Brot und Wein: "which is the task of the poet in time of poverty?". No time has suffered from poverty as our present time.
WHAT are the main distinctions between Modern thought and ancient Greek traditions of philosophy. What is our progress based on? How different is our modern tradition compared to ancient assertions in argumantative form. What are the main schools of thinking that have emerged either as a result of ancient Greek thinking or as a result of other cultural influences? IE Sumarian Philosophy, Jewish Philosophical traditions, Chinese Philosophical traditions etc. etc.
Has there been a reading of Kant's transcendental aesthetic (particularly the trans. ideality of space) that makes use of our latest empirical findings on the matter? Anything from Visual Phototransduction to Relativity and everything in between.
While using empirical data to justify an argument from first principles seems incoherent, the debate screams for reconciliation.
Rationalism, beginning with Descartes, underlined the ‘concealing’ character of feeling; empiricism has instead emphasized the revelatory one. Based on this observation, it also presents the opportunity to penetrate more deeply the meaning of some clichés on these two forms of philosophical thought. It is usually said that rationalism based knowledge on reason, and that instead empiricism founded learning on experience. First of all, what does it mean here "know"? The "knowledge" is just knowing that was problematized by modern philosophy. It needs a "base" or "foundation" - and the "reason" and '"experience" are intended to be just such a foundation that is - precisely - the knowledge of external reality
Knowledge can not be reduced to the simple certainty of our ideas, but captures the authentic structure of the external reality, the reality in itself. The "knowledge" is therefore what goes beyond our representations; Also: it is the set of our representations as it is able to grasp the reality outside.
What does it mean to say that rationalism base of knowledge is the "right"? You can answer this question using the distinction between function revealing and concealing function of human sensitivity.
Rationalism is conscious of the concealing character of sensitivity: to know what is beyond our sensitive representations - this is the specific viewpoint of rationalism - we can not and we will never have to rely on our sensible representations. To know what is beyond the experience we can and we should never rely on the experience
The construction of "knowledge" will then be based on principles not drawn from experience. As such, the principles are called "a priori" or "innate". It is the path opened by Descartes, where the knowledge of external reality of bodies is based on the idea of innate God and proof that this idea corresponds to a real content; and such demonstration is in turn based on a principle - "nothing does not produce anything" - which is not drawn from experience, that is valid in itself, independently of it.
Contrary to what may seem, the knowledge "a priori" knowledge is not that you turn your back to reality and it is closed in on itself to develop its own content. In contrast, for the rationalism knowledge "a priori" (or "innate") is the "bridge" that bypasses the experience and leads in contact with the external reality.
The rationalist metaphysics is precisely this bridge, the overcoming of our sensible representations, which, precisely because it is able to cross them, is not derived from them. In pre-modern philosophy, the "metaphysics" is a move "beyond" of "physical things." Physical things are bodies ‘becoming’. Metaphysics goes beyond them, in the sense that, first, it asks whether there are other bodies in addition to those ‘becoming’, and then demonstrates the existence of the immutable beyond entity, ‘becoming’.
If the problem of modern philosophy is "how to go beyond our representations," and because, in them, the appearance is sensitive to rationalism concealing element (that is responsible for the difference between representations and external reality), it follows that the overcoming of the situation in which our performances are so certain, but not yet true - will only happen as they do not take as sources of truth our sensible representations.
The history of rationalism is the story of attempts to build the metaphysical parable that is able to conduct from our representations to the outside world. While in the pre-modern philosophy metaphysics determines the truth that we believe is originally owned by the thought, in the history of rationalism metaphysics has the task of leading to that unification of certainty and truth, which is the point of departure of the traditional way of philosophizing . The starting point thus becomes the point of arrival: metaphysics becomes, in rationalism, the instrument by which the problem of the value of knowledge is resolved. The solution of the problem is the metaphysical foundation of the solution of the problem of knowledge.
At this point, reconnecting us to the foregoing (reason, Popper, falsification, scientific theory, etc.), we conclude citing the ‘critical rationalism’ that is an expression coined by Popper and indicating the belief that reason, in the field of empirical knowledge, can not have a function strictly demonstrative, but only a critical task.
Reason does not legitimate, in fact, the truth of a theory, but it should be used to criticize the theory itself. Based on the principle of falsifiability, which states that a theory is scientific only if amenable to control possibly able to falsify it (by deduction of facts of experience from basic assertions), Popper assigns to reason the task of identifying the possible errors that lie in the theory under consideration. If the basic statements do not conflict with experience, that is, if the attempts of falsification coordinated by reason have no outcome, the theory is considered "supported", but never "verified", being verified only provisionally, given that other basic claims, in the future, may falsify the theory.
Naturalistic fallacy is an expression found for the first time in Principia Ethica, a work published in 1903 by the English philosopher George Edward Moore. According to it, the concept of good which is at the basis of moral discourse is a simple concept and can not be further defined.
When you claim to identify it with some natural property, such as useful or pleasant, it falls into the naturalistic fallacy, which includes both the naturalistic ethical theories and the ethical metaphysical theories. The choice of a solution can not entirely exclude the other ones.
It is possible to escape this contradiction by adopting the intuitionistic solution by Moore for which the good is sensed as the yellow color: in this way, you will know what it is and there are no alternative solutions. Moore soon realized that his solution, by virtue of intuitionism, could lead to subjectivist drifts: he pleaded this risk by focusing on the fact that the good is absolute, it expresses an intrinsic and universal value.
In this way, any possible subjectivism is reset at the start. However, a new problem showed up: given that the good is universal, absolute and independent, which is its nature? Certainly, it cannot have an empirical nature, because if it did it would fall into the naturalistic fallacy; but neither can it be metaphysical, because otherwise you would re-awaken the metaphysical fallacy. The solution is then advanced by Moore in recognizing that ‘good’ has an ontological status equal to that of Platonic ideas and numbers, which are absolute and objective without being either empirical or metaphysical: in this sense, the ‘good’ is just as number four.
In later writings, Moore would soften his position, by arguing that the good depends on the intrinsic nature of things; in this way, he will approach Aristotelianism from Platonism... ".
In the explanation of the onset of the 'naturalistic fallacy', one moves from 'having to be' which is the term used by Kant to indicate what is required by the moral law, regardless of any condition of fact and the entire order of nature. The moral law is an expression of reason in its practical use, that is, determining the will. The duty to provide what the law says to man, be reasonable but finite, exposed then to the empirical influences of subjective motives and subjective inclinations, is expressed in the imperative form.
Therefore, the ‘need to be' indicates "the relationship between the objective laws of the will in general and the subjective imperfection of the will."
Then, since the moral imperative is not subject to any end, nor is placed by the faculty of desire, it addresses people in categorical terms, that is unconditioned, and then it is intended: "because you have to."
It is by virtue of this duty that the possibility of action properly human is deducted: not the physical possibility to act, which belongs - as Kant says – to the order of causes and effects, but it is the moral possibility to fullfil the moral law or not, that qualifies man as a moral entity. Between the world of being - that is, of what is the way it is, according to the laws of nature - and the world of 'having to be'- that is of what is required by the moral law - an absolute hiatus opens up, the same as Hume had pointed out, denouncing the naturalistic fallacy which is to take prescriptive propositions, that is related to having to be, from descriptive propositions, related to what it is .
Doing some background reading in Einstein, I came across the following quotation which inspired this question:
Fundamental ideas play the most essential role in forming a physical theory. Books on physics are full of complicated mathematical formulae. But thought and ideas, not formulae, are the beginning of every physical theory. The ideas must later take the mathematical form of quantitative theory, to make possible the comparison with experiment. --Einstein and Infield, 1938, The Evolution of Physics, p. 277.
Are "thought and ideas" central and essential and the mathematics secondary and more important for experimental results?
Hume stated that the main principle of Modern science and philosophy “is the opinion concerning colors, sounds, tastes, smells, heat and cold; which it asserts to be nothing but impressions of the mind, derived from the operation of external objects, and without a resemblance to the qualities of the objects”. In this formulation, the mind appears as being a non-physical system that adds subjective “secondary” qualities (impressions) to external objects in the process of perception.
This kind of formulation had led to the famous Cartesian mind-body dualism (the theory that the conscious being is composed of two independent substances, the body and the thinking mind) and the related mind-body problem (how could an immaterial soul interact with the material body?), for which an acceptable solution (Descartes’ appeal to the pineal gland not withstanding) was not found yet and will probably never be, because of the way the issue was formulated.
A recent study (Buyse, 2013) has shown that Galileo, considered to be the original author of the distinction of primary and secondary qualities in Modern times, was not a mind-body dualist and possibly made a formulation of the problem that is different from Descartes and Hume, one that may inspire contemporary researchers to find a solution. Buyse writes: "The sky is not blue and roses are not fragrant. I just experience them to be so, or they appear to me – affect me – as being like that. The real, objective world is therefore the world of the primary properties, while the realm of subjective secondary qualities is the domain of animals and human beings", and quotes Galileo:" ‘I think that if one takes away ears, tongues, and roses, there indeed remain the shapes, numbers, and motions, but not the odors, tastes, or sounds; outside the living animal these are nothing but names’" (Buyse, 2013).
Buyse also discovered a frequent mistake in the translation of Galileo’s Italian originals: "In most cases, Galileo’s text is translated as meaning that secondary qualities exist only in the (immaterial) conscious mind of the observer, however: In the original text, Galileo nowhere writes that secondary qualities and emotions reside ‘in consciousness’. On the contrary, he writes that "they reside ‘in the sensible body’ [nel corpo sensitivo], or in other words, in the body of the perceiver, whether it be a human body or an animal body" (Buyse, 2013).
As far as secondary qualities are instantiated in the body of animals, and living systems are considered to be physical systems, there must be a physics of the conscious mind. Galileo would probably agree with this challenge.
Buyse F. (2013) The Distinction between Primary Properties and Secondary Qualities in Galileo Galilei’s Natural Philosophy. Talk given in September 28, 2012, at the Quebec Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy and in April 8, 2013, at the History of Science Collections in Bizell Libraries at the University of Oklahoma. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/6652802/The_distinction_between_Primary_Properties_and_Secondary_Qualities_in_Galileo_Galileis_Natural_Philosophy
There are two pillars of consciousness, that of intentionality, which includes thoughts, ideas, desires, motives and goals. The other side of consciousness is that of phenomena, which includes sensations, perceptions and feelings. These are troublesome for philosophy of mind philosophers because things such as color vision, the redness of red is not physical but is mental; the experience of a red rose is different from the physics of it all, this is related to the "Mary Problem" and what Goethe was pointing out, which is that Newtonian vision theory gives us everything about the theory of light but what we actually see and also perceive as beauty. Another example would be pain. One can pinch another and watch the physics and the biology of it all, but never will that observer 'feel' that other person's pain. The C Fibers can be watched and the damaged tissue, and the signals to the brain but one can't feel the pain of another. Also, ideas and other intentionalities aren't like tables and chairs that you can poke, prod and measure. They seem mental. like perceptions of color and feelings. Furthermore, reasons seem different than physical causes in that if you take a brain, blow it up to the size of a building and walk in what one would see is fat, protein and water, which translates into mostly dendrites, axons and synapses. No where do we "see" and idea. I don't want to debate my metaphysics or my epistemology though please.
However, what I want to know is if these two categories, that of intentionality and phenomena, as described above, fit into what Kant would call the noumenal realm.
Thank you ever so much for any help you may give.