Bronnen bij Filosofie, lijst: zin en onzin

19 dec.2006

Uit: J. Bronowski, The Ascent of Men:

We are here face to face with the crucial paradox of knowledge. Year by year we devise more precise instruments with which to observe nature with more fineness. And when we look at the observations, we are discomfited to see that they are still fuzzy, and we feel that they are as uncertain as ever. We seem to be running after a goal which lurches away from us to infinity every time we come within sight of it.
...   But Gauss pushed on to ask what the scatter of the errors tells us. He devised the Gaussian curve in which the scatter is summarised by the deviation, or spread, of the curve. And from this came a far-reaching idea: the scatter marks an area of uncertainty. We are not sure that the true position is the centre. All we can say is that it lies in the area of uncertainty, and the area is calculable from the observed scatter of the individual observations.
    Having this subtle view of human knowledge, Gauss was particularly bitter about philosophers who claimed that they had a road to knowledge more perfect than that of observation. Of so many examples I will choose one. It happens that there is a philosopher called Friedrich Hegel, whom I must confess I specifically detest. And I am happy to share that profound feeling with a far greater man, Gauss. In 1800 Hegel presented a thesis, if you please, proving that although the definition of planets had changed since the Ancients, there still could only be, philosophically, seven planets. Well, not only Gauss knew how to answer that: Shakespeare had answered that long before. There is a marvellous passage in King Lear, in which who else but the Fool says to the King: 'The reason why the seuen Starres are no mo then seuen, is a pretty reason'. And the King wags sagely and says: 'Because they are not eight'. And the Fool says: 'Yes indeed, thou woulds't make a good Foole'. And so did Hegel. On 1 January 1801, punctually, before the ink was dry on Hegel's dissertation, an eighth planet was, covered - the minor planet Ceres.

Red.:   Het is sneu voor de filosofen, maar daarmee is een groot deel van hun inspanningen en ideeŽn wel zo'n beetje op de vuilnisbelt gegooid. Daarmee wil niet gezegd worden dat hun inspanningen op zich zinloos of nutteloos zijn, maar dat de manier waarop ze het tot nu toe (grotendeels) ingevuld hebben zinloos en nutteloos is. Een groot deel van de filosofie is zich op hetzelfde terrein gaan bewegen als de literatuur: de vorm is belangrijker dan de inhoud. Als je dan al als zeer abstracte wetenschap weinig contact met de concrete wereld hebt, is het gevaar van isolatie van die concrete wereld zeer groot. Waarvan Hegel dus een voorbeeld is.
    Een ander voorbeeld is Heidegger, zoals geciteerd in Hayakawa (Martin Heidegger, "The Way Back into the Ground of Metaphysics," in Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre, trans. and ed. Walter Kaufmann (1957), pp. 214-15.):

  The being that exists is man. Man alone exists. Rocks are, but they do not exist. Trees are, but they do not exist. Horses are, but they do not exist. Angels are, but they do not exist. God is, but he does not exist. The proposition "man alone exists" does not mean by any means that man alone is a real being while all other beings are unreal and mere appearances or human ideas. The proposition "man exists" means: man is that being whose Being is distinguished by the openstanding standing-in in the unconcealedness of Being, from Being, in Being. The existential nature of man is the reason why man can represent beings as such, and why he can be conscious of them. All consciousness presupposes ecstatically understood existence as the essentia of man - essentia meaning that as which man is present insofar as he is man. But consciousness does not itself create the openness of beings, nor is it consciousness that makes it possible for man to stand open for beings. Whither and whence and in what free dimension could the intentionality of consciousness move, if instancy were not the essence of man in the first instance?

Hier is natuurlijk heel weinig gehakt van te maken, behalve dan te wijzen op het feit dat het bewustzijn van de mens hoogstwaarschijnlijk een vorm van zelfbeschouwing en zelfreflectie is, cirkelprocessen dus  , en dat die cirkelprocessen de heer Heidegger ernstig in de war hebben gebracht - voor de analyse van Hayakawa, zie hier  . Typisch genoeg biedt dus juist de weg die Hayakawa is gegaan, die van het zoeken van contact met de werkelijke wereld via semantische analyse, de mogelijkheid om wel vooruitgang in de filosofie te boeken - de reden dat op deze website de plaats die normaliter aan filosofie toevalt, aan de Algemene semantiek is gegeven.

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