Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Just do it, nevertheless

All else being equal, that is all I want to say in this blog, the conclusion I would have liked to draw from the last blog apply, willy nilly, to all the avante garde phenomenological enquiries. Some people might be tempted to go for the philosophy-as -phenomenological-enquiry-alternative once the philosophy-as conceptual-analysis-alternative is unavailable.
Temptation apart, that option is also not available to try out is the main point of this blog.All the three points mentioned in the previous blog applies to the as-as -phenomenological-enquiry-alternative, also. Further, there are three more points, the broadened "intuition", the superficial nature of that enterprise and the unavoidable inconsistencies.Phenomenology, it is said, is oriented towards "the things themselves", towards "what is given immediately in intuition (Anschauung)".
Phenomenology, which is "an apriori science of the essences of all possible objects and experiences", doesn't philosophize essences, on the contrary, it "grasps them directly in immediate 'intuition'". Husserl takes the word "intuition" in a very broad sense (unlike Kant's methodical, insightful, and narrow use of the same TERM ANSCHAUUNG which is in resonance with the findings of cognitive science) beyond the purely sensuous as in "intuiting a conflict or a synthesis".
To broaden the idea further, Husserl introduces a new notion of categorical intuition a genuine and non-sensuous form of intuiting, overlooked by philosophical traditions of all hues, it is said. For Heidegger Anschauung/Gegebenheit is the "magic word" of phenomenology.Be that as it may, all that intuition can, at it best, yield is contingent claims only. So as mentioned in the last blog it is difficult to see how one can have "an apriori science" of phenomena or concepts.
Secondly, the superficial nature of the game, even if we grant that intuition results in contingent claims, as a philosophical enquiry this is just the beginning of that enquiry. The interesting part of the philosophical part of it deals with issues like
  • how we come to have these claims? What is the nature of it?
  • What is the relation between these claims and the related world? What are the distinguishable feature of it and how it is represented?

The orientation towards "the things themselves", and "letting something show itself" is the beginning of revisionary metaphysics, if it is metaphysics, to use a Strawsonian term, and the first step in logical analysis, to avail of a Searlian critical remark.Inconsistency in the approach in question is the third point.

Phenomenological epistemologists are "engaged in a foundationalist enterprise" and are "trying to find conditions of knowledge and certainty....[or] intelligibility". These engagements grope after ontology, in one manner or the other. One can't have the cake of scientific realism and eat it too, in a phenomenological fashion. Either real world (whatever that means!) or phenomenological "revelation" of that.
  • An aside: See the differing notions of "intentionality" in use in varied phenomenologies. Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty all lead their people to "new [and different] land[s]", through their "concepts" of intentionality and the like.
Read along the line that Husserl cherished "characterizing himself as a Moses leading his people to new land of what he came to call....transcendental subjectivity". Commenting on Husserl's and Heidegger's notions of intentionality, Searl makes it clear that "these are more or less irrelevant to getting an adequate theory of the logical structure of the intentionality of the biological brains encased in biological bodies".
J. N. Mohanty, admits this point when he says, "non-phenomenological philosophers and philosophies which are oriented after the natural sciences......may not solve the problem.. [Of objective body and objective mind] with a finality, but they at least know what to do with it. For here, they have the problem of correlating or identifying, or distinguishing between, two identifiable things, each with its own property or properties".
SO, if phenomenology, also, is not available as an option to DO philosophy, beyond the initial steps of characterization and description, is there a way to DO it? And all that I did say in this blog is this: Both philosophy-as-conceptual-analysis and philosophy-as-phenomenological-exercise are in the same boat, in so far as the result, the tool and the methodology adopted are concerned, all else being equal.
[Sailing is all that matters; the sailor, the experience of sailing and the results are immaterial! Any boat is good enough to this end. Thus spoke an upright Buddhist.] # A paper titled "Phenomenology as a science from square one" (draft) available on request for comments. posted by mks @ 4:48 AM 4 comments Friday, March 24, 2006 Ceteris Paribus

1 comment:

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