In a message dated 19/07/2003 05:16:00 GMT Daylight Time, crifasi@xxxxxxxxxxx
Subj: Re: Devastating Confusion of Heidegger? Date: 19/07/2003 05:16:00 GMT
Daylight Time From: crifasi@xxxxxxxxxxx (Anthony Crifasi) Sender:
owner-heidegger@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Reply-to: heidegger@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Ok. forget the passion bit - [I'll come back to that later] that leaves us
with the scientists who are UTTERLY absorbed and INTENSELY interested in the
subjects of their study bit - what about that?
That is not part of the scientific rigor of the subject. The scientists'
degree of fascination, interest, or involvement with the subject is SCIENTIFICALLY
irrelevant to the objective results or methodology of a properly done
Thank you for your well-explained resume of the relative positions of
Heidegger and Husserl on this matter. However, there is a suggestion here, with your
choice of the terms: 'properly done' and objective', that a scientist who was
fascinated, interested, and involved with the subject of his enquiry might
render the experiment non-rigorous, non-objective and not properly done - how can
this be so? How for example can the emotional state of a scientist who mixes
together two compounds affect the nature of their chemical interaction? How
can the fact that an animal biologist who feels a heightened interest or concern
or affection for a certain chimpanzee, affect the performance and outcome of
that individual as part of an experimental breeding-pair?
In fact, experiments are designed to filter out all possible external factors
which could skew the results, including a scientist's personal bias.
We are not discussing bias here, [a different though equally interesting
subject] but rather the absorption and interest shown by the scientist in the
phenomena which is most familiar to him as the scientist, as in your original note
on what Heidegger says on this question. Here it is again.
'How does he say that the phenomena are most familiar to us? Insofar as we
are absorbed and interested in them, not in the detached mode of knowing or
If someone who is completely fascinated and interested in the subject matter
does an experiment, and someone else who couldn't care less does the same
experiment, they should get exactly the same result.
This is true - so why is it necessary for a scientist not to be absorbed and
interested in the subject of his experiment? What benefit can a detached mode
of knowing or a deliberate disinterest in the object of study or the outcome
of the experiment provide? Is not Heidegger confusing interest and absorption
with INTERVENTION by the scientist for personal reasons, designed to skew the
procedure and apparent results? [By interference with equipment, methodology,
materials, data etc.,] Heidegger's agenda appears to depict scientists as cold,
disassociated, remote, disinterested automatons, who robot-like mix powders
and potions, adjust screws and tighten nuts without caring one way or the other
what the outcome of their tinkerings might be? Now come on Anthony, have you
EVER met a scientist like that?
That is what both Husserl and Heidegger mean when they say that science is
objective and detached - the factual content is supposed to be independent of
any subjective disposition on the part of the scientist or anyone else.
But we are not talking about THE FACTUAL CONTENT we are talking about the
demeanour of the people who carry out the experiments, it is THEY who experience
the absorption and interest in the factual content - the factual content is
incapable of feeling anything, [unless it be a biological experiment] ammonium
chloride and oligosaccharide feel no emotions whatsoever?
Are phenomenologists allowed passion in their observations where it is
forbidden to scientists? If so why?
Husserl held that phenomenology must be scientific and dispassionate.
Surely he meant that phenomenologists must be scientific and dispassionate?
How can a noun which describes a philosophical doctrine proposed by Edmund
Husserl based on the study of human experience in which considerations of
objective reality are not taken into account be scientific and dispassionate? And why
if what you say or Heidegger says is true, that if someone who is completely
fascinated and interested in the subject matter and does an experiment, and
someone else who couldn't care less does the same experiment, they should get
exactly the same result, why then does it matter if a scientist curtails and
suppresses any interest and absorption in his subject?
In order to approach the phenomena objectively, he said that the
phenomenologist must first do what he called the epoche or phenomenological reduction,
which suspends what he considered the primary prejudice of our absorption in the
world - our naive assurance that what we experience exists independently of us
(after all, he says, it might all be a dream...).
But surely if Husserl urges us to suspend our absorption in the world,
[complete attention; intense mental effort - the mental state of being preoccupied
by something,] he is in fact urging us not to be interested in phenomenological
enquiry at all, for how is one expected to conduct a phenomenological enquiry
if we are not to be interested in whether the object of our observation
actually exists or not? If this is to be the case, why bother with observing real
objects at all? Why not simply dream up objects in the mind and observe only
imaginary phenomena, and [after suspending our primary prejudice and absorption
concerning their apparent existence or non-existence] not bother a hoot
whether they were the objects of our mind or real objects which had been
materialised by some mysterious process of our non-absorbtion?
If Husserl meant what he said, that we should suspend our absorption and
interest in the world, why bother doing phenomenology at all - why not simply
bracket oneself out and crawl into a corner and [leaving oneself free of any
prejudice] comport oneself towards death that way? At least, if Husserl wasn't
convinced that he really existed in the world in the first place, he could at
least dream himself up to be any entity he wished - perhaps a teapot on
Heidegger's dining-table? That is of course if Husserl was convinced that there
were indeed such things in the world as teapots - or a dining tables - or a
man called Heidegger to own a dining table - or a man called Husserl who had
crawled into a corner?
The phenomenological reduction is simply the suspension of that belief in
world-existence, leaving the phenomena free of any prejudice on our part, and
therefore scientifically objective.
But [following Husserl] does not the suspension of that belief in
'world-existence' also include the observing phenomenologist who is also part of
'world-existence?' And if we correctly follow his methodology we would be also
suspending our belief in our own existence, and not to do so would be not to free
ourselves from any prejudice on our part, therefore rendering the
phenomenological experiment valueless and place us in a position, [if indeed we existed in
order to be placed in a position] where we remained unsure as to whether we or
the phenomena or the world actually existed in the first place?
As a consequence, however, Husserl's entire analysis was limited to the
phenomena as present to consciousness, forever cut off from any analysis of beings
as they are in themselves
But how could he embark on such an analysis if he wasn't sure whether he and
the world existed or not, or whether his consciousness or imagined
consciousness, or the phenomena he imagined, or didn't imagine to be present to his
assumed consciousness to be cut off from any analysis of beings as they are in
(belief in which is suspended by the reduction), which is why Husserl himself
called his own phenomenology "transcendental idealism." THAT is what
Heidegger escaped, by basically questioning Husserl's assumption that the phenomena
must be approached scientifically and objectively in the first place.
If what you are now saying is that Heidegger's wheeze was to urge people to
approach phenomena non-scientifically and non-objectively, well that would be
perfectly in tune with the general tenor of Heidegger's approach, for if
Heidegger also banned the involvement and interest of the human enquirer he would
also be abandoning his little ontological box of tricks Dasein.
But if Heidegger objects to the scientific method, then he must object to
being absorbed and interested in the objects of his enquiry, for being absorbed
and interested in the phenomena of their research is part and parcel of being a
scientist and participating in the scientific method, and that is what
compels them to become scientists in the first place. If they were not interested
in the objects and processes of what they were involved with we wouldn't have
any scientists, and we wouldn't have any phenomenologists either, for
according to Heidegger phenomenologists ought to be absorbed and interested in the
objects and processes of what they were involved with - and that is plainly a
scientific characteristic, as explained above? Heidegger and Husserl just cannot
have or have not their imagined cake, and imagine themselves eating it - or
not eating it.
Jud Evans - ANALYTICAL INDICANT THEORY.
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