Wednesday, May 9, 2018

716: What about Edmund Husserl.....?

Who was Edmund Husserl (1859 - 1938) and what about his philosophy, which he called phenomenology?

Philosophy, for Husserl, was not just his occupation. It was of the utmost seriousness to him. 
He spoke of it as some men speak of their call to the priesthood or others of their most sacred moral duties. 
Were he to waver in his devotion, he would be untrue to himself. Were he to lose faith in philosophy, he would lose faith in himself. 
Philosophy, as he committed himself to it, was first and foremost a science. 
His conception of this philosophical science changed more than once, but he never wavered in his convictio
that only a body of indubitable and objective truths deserves to be called "science.
The truths he sought do not concern this or that particular subject matter. He sought the truths on which all other human knowledge rests. 
Devoted to his pursuit with a moral fervor, he worked steadily throughout most of his long life , publishing eight books or long articles 
and writing 45,000 manuscript pages in shorthand, which were found after his death, some of it practically ready for publication, the rest in less finished form
His search was for the unshakable foundation of human knowledge, which he often referred to as the "Archimedean point.
Did he succeed in his efforts? Husserl was especially interested in the relation between consciousness and logic.
His main question was: does logic exists objectively outside us, or is it fundamentally depending on our consciousness?
In other words do logic and numbers exist in-depended of our consciousness  or are they generated by consciousness?
In fact it is a problem as old as philosophy. On the one hand you have the real external world. On the other hand you have our sensory experiences.
Through the ages many philosophers came to the conclusion that we can not know this external, material world, but only what shows up in our senses and in our mind.
So, the most extreme idea is that we only assume the external existence of a reality and that the real reality only is our consciousness of something.
Husserl did not deny the existence of an external reality, but to get to a rock bottom certainty of knowledge, 
we had to apply his method of analysis to what appears in our consciousness. He called it the transcendental phenomenological reduction.
He created an extensive philosophical theory about what happens in our consciousness and how we can derive absolute certainty from it.
I never have understood,  what this would bring us and in the light of present day neuroscience it looks like a superfluous theoretical construct..
Phenomenology never really reached the Anglo-American world and has been mainly a continental philosophical school.
The French philosopher Merleau-Ponty died in May 1961. As far as I know he was the last great philosopher of the phenomenological school.
What has become of phenomenology today, I have no idea, but that may be because I never was a fan of this kind of philosophy.

But I can tell you that in 2006 a society was established to promote phenomenological philosophy in the Netherlands.
And this society published quite recently  (january 2018) "Fenomenologie als houding" - Phenomenology as attitude -.
Thank you for your attention....^_^

The Discussion

[13:19] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:20] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): seems to me the man was obsessed by this idea of phenomenology
[13:20] herman Bergson: One problem with this kind of philosophy is that it easily confuses psychology and philosophy
[13:20] CB Axel: So there is a reality outside of each of us, but since we can only experience it through our own minds we don't really know it?
[13:20] herman Bergson: Looks like it indeed Beertje....
[13:21] herman Bergson: That is indeed the case, CB
[13:21] herman Bergson: So, rationalist philosophers focused on the mind to find absolute truths
[13:22] CB Axel: Maybe if we connect all of humanities minds together we can understand reality.
[13:22] CB Axel: And maybe animal minds, too.
[13:22] herman Bergson: A typical Cartesian tradition in Europe
[13:22] herman Bergson: It wont solve the problem....
[13:22] herman Bergson: It all depends on the assumption of an external material world...
[13:23] herman Bergson: a materialist says....I am even part of it.....
[13:23] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): were would this world be?
[13:23] CB Axel: So there might not be a world outside of my mind?
[13:23] herman Bergson: Heidegger wrote a book "Die frage nach dem Ding"
[13:24] herman Bergson: Asking for the thing.....that is....what is real....what is there
[13:24] herman Bergson: No world outside your mind......
[13:24] herman Bergson: hmmmm....
[13:24] herman Bergson: First question is....WHERE does your mind exist?
[13:25] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): no idea
[13:25] herman Bergson: Next.....WHERE does this mind come from?
[13:25] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): why do we have a mind?
[13:26] herman Bergson: at least we experience our mind existing in TIME....
[13:26] herman Bergson: and in a way we also have a felling of SOMEWHERE
[13:26] herman Bergson: From an evolutionary point of view we have a mind to help us survive
[13:27] Ruby Rossini is offline.
[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): is that also for animals and plats?
[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): plants
[13:27] herman Bergson: yes, I'd say
[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): they survive also
[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): so they have a mind
[13:28] CB Axel: I wish the chicken in the far chair over there would speak up. I'd love to hear her point of view. °͜°
[13:28] herman Bergson: all organisms interact with their environment in the process of survival
[13:28] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): spinach has a mind?
[13:28] herman Bergson: not in the way we have a mind.....
[13:29] CB Axel: I would think it has a mind the way a jellyfish has a mind.
[13:29] herman Bergson: But plants show very clever ways of interaction to survive
[13:29] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): do they feel pain?
[13:29] herman Bergson: I dont think so.....
[13:30] herman Bergson: that requires nerves
[13:30] CB Axel: Many people think plants feel something like pain.
[13:30] herman Bergson: Some people do indeed
[13:30] herman Bergson: Mowing your lawn is thus in fact massmurder
[13:30] CB Axel: The lovely smell (lovely to us) of newly mown grass is believed to be a distress signal sent out by the grass.
[13:31] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): strange idea that the world outside doesn't excist, oly in my mind
[13:31] CB Axel: I wouldn't go so far as to call it murder. The grass lives on. °͜°
[13:31] herman Bergson: And what happens when you walk on the grass....?
[13:32] herman Bergson: Is that grass torture?
[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes
[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): :)
[13:32] CB Axel: Probably.
[13:32] bergfrau Apfelbaum: then are vegetarians, murderers?
[13:32] CB Axel: Yes.
[13:32] bergfrau Apfelbaum: grins
[13:32] herman Bergson: hehe...Bergie...:-)
[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): we all are
[13:32] herman Bergson: serial killers even
[13:32] CB Axel: So I wish they'd leave me alone about eating meat!
[13:33] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i'm a vegetarian, I only eat meat out of a can
[13:33] herman Bergson: Well...but all these statements are based on the assumption that there exists an outside world
[13:33] CB Axel: Isn't that a tinatarian?
[13:33] herman Bergson: A canary
[13:33] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lol, cb
[13:34] CB Axel: If there is no outside world, why am I so worried about paying my bills?
[13:34] CB Axel: I owe, therefore I am.
[13:34] herman Bergson: That is why this kind of philosophy is so unproductive....
[13:35] herman Bergson: A Merleau-Ponty has extensive descriptions of that happens between the observer and the observed....
[13:35] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): what did this man do all day?....didn't he go out or have a drink with his friends?
[13:35] herman Bergson: Husserl?
[13:35] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes
[13:35] herman Bergson: Guess most of the time he was writing
[13:36] CB Axel: He should have stopped writing long enough to go out for a drink or two.
[13:36] herman Bergson: Philosophizing in the German Idealistic way
[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i get a picture in my mind of the pale, skinny man who never laughs
[13:36] CB Axel: I philosophize best when I'm just a little tipsy.
[13:36] hannes Breda is online.
[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): ..handles CB the red wine...
[13:37] CB Axel: LOL
[13:37] CB Axel: thx
[13:38] herman Bergson: Guess we all should continue with a good wine now....:-)
[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): good idea Herman
[13:38] bergfrau Apfelbaum: oh yes good idea:-)
[13:38] herman Bergson: There still exist supporters of this kind of philosophy.....
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): would this last?
[13:39] herman Bergson: I suggest we leave them to their Society of Phenomenology
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): :)
[13:39] herman Bergson: I dont know, Beertje.....maybe only is a sense that people study the theories out ofr historical interest
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): to me they have very strange ideas
[13:40] CB Axel: I still don't think philosophy can be a science.
[13:40] herman Bergson: If you want strange ideas, then try to read Heidegger :-)
[13:40] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): ok, I will do that
[13:40] CB Axel: What kind of experiments can be done to prove any of this?
[13:40] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): :))
[13:41] herman Bergson: Oh  they have invented that CB.....they call it Thought experiments....
[13:41] CB Axel: Thought experiments prove nothing.
[13:41] herman Bergson: You begin with a .....Suppose you are ....etc....
[13:42] herman Bergson: and then the only tool you can use in the experiment is logic
[13:42] herman Bergson: for instance.....a classic one is this......
[13:42] herman Bergson: You step into a teleport machine....
[13:43] herman Bergson: Due to a malfunction you are teleported to another planet, but you also stay at the location you teleported from
[13:43] herman Bergson: Now we have here the classic problem of the Self, personal identity....
[13:44] herman Bergson: Who is who....
[13:44] herman Bergson: am I me here....or am I me on that other planet?
[13:45] CB Axel: I guess if reality only exists in one's mind, then that works.
[13:45] herman Bergson: The problem with Hussel was that he invented all kinds of new words....
[13:45] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): words no one knows?
[13:46] herman Bergson: yes...
[13:46] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): :)
[13:46] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): clever man
[13:46] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): so he was always right
[13:46] CB Axel: °͜°
[13:46] herman Bergson: within his theory maybe yes :-)
[13:47] CB Axel: Within the world inside his mind.
[13:47] herman Bergson: But he never came to a complete coherent system
[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): of course not
[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): there issn't one
[13:48] herman Bergson: Well....we have to make a few assumptions.....
[13:48] herman Bergson: and have the philosophers fight over the truth of the assumptions :-)
[13:48] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): :)
[13:49] herman Bergson: that is the essential task of philosophy.....
[13:49] herman Bergson: to constantly question our assumptions
[13:50] herman Bergson: But if you have no questions left for the moment we might concludde this clas today :-))
[13:50] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it was a nice class, thank yo Herman
[13:51] CB Axel: Yes. Thank you.
[13:51] herman Bergson: Thank you all for your participation again....:-)

[13:51] herman Bergson: Class dismissed :-)

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