Posts tagged ‘phenomenology’

September 4th, 2012

The Nature of Alienation

by Max Andrews

Once the philosopher finds himself participating in and engaged with the world, he will also find himself in a state of alienation.  Alienation is primarily two-fold:  an alienation from the self and alienation from the world.  It is the philosopher’s goal and, as Hegel may agree, the purpose of the philosopher.  The separation of the Geist is really an underlying notion that plagues philosophical inquiry.  Philosophy… does not merely discuss alienation; it is a peculiarly significant manifestation of it.  With this very simple and subtle premise, the very notion and presence of philosophical inquiry entails a separation from absolute mind, Geist.  It is certainly consistent that the philosopher lives in a state of alienation and philosophizing is contingent upon being in a state of alienation, for if Geist were an actuality all reality would be understood. Hence, the philosopher’s attempt to provide a reconstruction of reality and thus providing a purpose and need to overcome alienation.

Alienation from others and from the world is ultimately an alienation from the self as well.  Human anthropology, according to Hegel, is a man-to-man function.  Participation in the world is participation in all of mankind and humanity.  Any action is for the contribution of man.  For Hegel, this was religion at its highest, a religion of Nature. 

June 18th, 2012

The Connection between Phenomenology and Existentialism

by Max Andrews

Perhaps the most important connection between phenomenology and existentialism is the philosopher’s role.  For the philosopher, the act of philosophizing is not a mere intellectual exercise that could exist solely in consciousness.  To the contrary, philosophy is a procedure and inquiry to the self, a “discovery and self-liberation.” The intellectual and cognitive acts of philosophy are participatory in their inquiry of the world.  This would be very similar to the understanding that Socrates is the philosopher. He not only taught and philosophized, but he understood that the very act of philosophizing was an act of engagement with the world and it was a way of life.  For the existentialist, there are more than thinking and thought experiments to philosophizing.  Philosophy is the very demonstration of participation.

To bridge the connection the philosopher must deny the phenomenologist’s transcendental ego.  When the philosopher denies the primacy of spectatorial knowledge he becomes an existentialist.  This is, perhaps, just as important as understanding the philosopher’s practical role because this provides an initial premise for participation in the world.  The existence of the philosopher, or human being, is more than a passive role of non-engagement.  A human being can and does engage and can be consumed in participating in and being a part of the world.[1]

May 1st, 2012

Scientific Theology and Evidentialism

by Max Andrews

I am approaching the world as a realist. (For a background of my epistemology please see: My Evidentialist Epistemology).  What I mean by this is that the external reality is how it appears to be to an observer making an epistemic inquiry, the measurements from science accurately depicts reality.  This is in contrast to instrumentalism, which suggests that our inquiry of the world, scientifically, do not accurately depict reality but as useful fictions.  An instrumentalist is more concerned about data fitting theories and predictions than with an accurate depiction of reality.

For the realist-evidentialist, the ontology of the world determines one’s epistemology.  They congruently correspond.  It is important to note the order of entailment.  Antecedently, reality determines our epistemology.  It would be illicit to reverse the term order and as Roy Bhaskar notes, it would be the epistemic fallacy.  I am not advocating a naïve realism where reality acts on the human mind without personal inquiry nor am I advocating postmodern anti-realism where one can construct whatever type of reality is desired.  I am advocating a form of critical realism.

Lorenzo Valla’s (1406-1457) interrogative (interrogatio) form of inquiry.  Valla’s mode of inquiry yield results that are entirely new, giving rise to knowledge that cannot be derived by an inferential process from what was already known.  Valla transitioned from not only using this method for historical knowledge but also applied it as “logic for scientific discovery.”[1] 

April 27th, 2012

Empiricism and Being in the Right Phenomenological Frame of Mind

by Max Andrews

What if it were the case that justification of our beliefs in propositions describing physical objects is always inferential and that it is always from propositions about the nature of our experiences that such inferences are made.? If this is true, there are two conditions that must be satisfied concerning inferential belief in physical objects:

(1) Statements about experience must count as reasons or evidence for statements about objects.
(2) Statements about experience must in some, no doubt rather obscure, sense be accepted by those who make statements about objects.

Maybe there’s reason to doubt  (1) and (2) by simply suggesting that that it is not always the case that most people are always in the “appropriate, sophisticated, phenomenological frame of mind.”  This is certainly true to an extent; so let us refer to this handicap as H.  It may be the case person S is intoxicated with alcohol and his phenomenological apprehension may be malfunctioning or that S realizes that his phenomenological apprehension of the external world is not as it should be and is capable of recognizing malfunction.