Heidegger, Anaximander and Science

Posted by Edward Willatt on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 Under: Architectonics

A reading of Heidegger’s The Beginning of Western Philosophy: Interpretation of Anaximander and Parmenides (trans, Richard Rojcewicz, Indiana University Press, 2015) raises some important questions about the role of science in his thought.  I am concerned with evaluating the apparently negative and unproductive role science seems to have in Heidegger’s work. 

Heidegger seems to dismiss science in his interpretation of Anaximander:

‘Indeed, what is not decisive is the magnitude in number
or scope of the beings we explicitly know; and how we scientifically know is utterly inconsequential’ (4).

How is science being defined here?  Does this represent a rejection of scientific disciplines
per se or rather of a dogmatic, totalising and reductive view of science (what we might call scientism or reductionism)?  Is this to close down any scope for architectonics, for positively defining and locating disciplines such that dynamic, reciprocal and creative relations may arise and develop?  Is Heidegger’s relation to science entirely negative?

I
n continuing to interpret Anaximander, Heidegger is once more dismissive of science.  He identifies genuine ‘presence’ with what we call appearance, something to be distinguished from the causal sequences studied by science and from our perception of things.  In these lectures he is attempting to elaborate a pre-Socratic concept of appearance and this is not to be found in science:  ‘Not to be sought in the abstract, arid, and sparse field of so-called chemistry and physics!’ (10).  We have a reference to the pastoral, rural and agricultural (arid and  sparse field) which has many echoes in Heidegger’s thought but also a reference to ‘so-called’ chemistry and physics.  Are these not the true or genuine chemistry and physics?  Would the genuine chemistry and physics need to be philosophical or philosophically grounded (as Aristotelian and Kantian sciences are)?

W
e also have an apparent argument against architectonics: 

‘… [I]n antiquity
individual regions of beings were not at all separated out yet.  The delimitations arose for the most part only in connected with the rise of the sciences and had the effect of diverting and making murky the original comprehensive view of beings as a whole’ (12).

It would seem that there is a loss of original unity, something Heidegger finds in the pre-Socratic concept of appearance as non-sequential and in ‘that which is’ as a non-numerical whole of Being.  Is this an argument against the formation of disciplines?  Is
Heidegger seeking to return to such a pre-disciplinary state? 

More questioning and thinking to come ...

In : Architectonics 



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Heidegger, Anaximander and Science

Posted by Edward Willatt on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 Under: Architectonics

A reading of Heidegger’s The Beginning of Western Philosophy: Interpretation of Anaximander and Parmenides (trans, Richard Rojcewicz, Indiana University Press, 2015) raises some important questions about the role of science in his thought.  I am concerned with evaluating the apparently negative and unproductive role science seems to have in Heidegger’s work. 

Heidegger seems to dismiss science in his interpretation of Anaximander:

‘Indeed, what is not decisive is the magnitude in number
or scope of the beings we explicitly know; and how we scientifically know is utterly inconsequential’ (4).

How is science being defined here?  Does this represent a rejection of scientific disciplines
per se or rather of a dogmatic, totalising and reductive view of science (what we might call scientism or reductionism)?  Is this to close down any scope for architectonics, for positively defining and locating disciplines such that dynamic, reciprocal and creative relations may arise and develop?  Is Heidegger’s relation to science entirely negative?

I
n continuing to interpret Anaximander, Heidegger is once more dismissive of science.  He identifies genuine ‘presence’ with what we call appearance, something to be distinguished from the causal sequences studied by science and from our perception of things.  In these lectures he is attempting to elaborate a pre-Socratic concept of appearance and this is not to be found in science:  ‘Not to be sought in the abstract, arid, and sparse field of so-called chemistry and physics!’ (10).  We have a reference to the pastoral, rural and agricultural (arid and  sparse field) which has many echoes in Heidegger’s thought but also a reference to ‘so-called’ chemistry and physics.  Are these not the true or genuine chemistry and physics?  Would the genuine chemistry and physics need to be philosophical or philosophically grounded (as Aristotelian and Kantian sciences are)?

W
e also have an apparent argument against architectonics: 

‘… [I]n antiquity
individual regions of beings were not at all separated out yet.  The delimitations arose for the most part only in connected with the rise of the sciences and had the effect of diverting and making murky the original comprehensive view of beings as a whole’ (12).

It would seem that there is a loss of original unity, something Heidegger finds in the pre-Socratic concept of appearance as non-sequential and in ‘that which is’ as a non-numerical whole of Being.  Is this an argument against the formation of disciplines?  Is
Heidegger seeking to return to such a pre-disciplinary state? 

More questioning and thinking to come ...

In : Architectonics 



null

 

 
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