Wednesday, December 12, 2018

749: What to do with Metaphysics....?

In the previous lecture I said: The thesis then was in those 1920s: the pursuit of objectivity and the need to give meaning to life are irreconcilable,
or said in a more philosophical way: what we know or can know about life and the meaning of life, is this based on rationality, read 'science', or is it based on what we know by our gut?
This "or is it based on what we know by our gut?" you also could rephrase by "can we know it in a metaphysical sense?"
It is not easy to say what metaphysics is. Ancient and Medieval philosophers might have said that metaphysics was to be defined 
by its subject-matter: metaphysics was the “science” that studied “being as such” or “the first causes of things” or “things that do not change”. 
Modern debates on metaphysics look different, but in those days around 1925 the question of the essence of being, the meaning of being were hot issues in philosophy.
I must confess, that I always have disliked German philosophy since Hegel (1771 - 1831) and my greatest fear was the subsequent school of phenomenology.
And the most scaring philosopher was Martin Heidegger (1889 -1976) with his book "Sein und Zeit"(1927) - Being and Time.
-QUOTE- Do we in our time have an answer to the question of what we really mean by the word 'being'? 
Not at all. So it is fitting that we should raise anew the question of the meaning of Being. 
But are we nowadays even perplexed at our inability to understand the expression 'Being'? Not at all. 
So first of all we must reawaken an understanding for the meaning of this question. Our aim in the following treatise is to work out the question of the meaning of Being and to do so concretely. -END QUOTE-
That is what you read in the author's preface of "Being and Time". Some philosophers consider all this metaphysical theorizing as a kind of secular theology.
In 1928 the Wiener Kreis (Vienna Circle) was founded. 
Under this name the most influential philosophical movement of the 20th century became known, which, incidentally, was diametrically opposed to Heidegger. 
The initiator of the group was Moritz Schlick (1882-1936). He was born in Berlin and had, like most other members, studied sciences, in his case physics with Max Planck from 1900 to 1904. 
He had brought together about twenty men, including Otto Neurath from Vienna, a remarkably versatile mathematician, 
Rudolf Carnap, a mathematician who studied at Gottlob Frege in Jena, Kurt Gödel, mathematician; 
and sometimes Karl Popper, who would have great influence as a philosopher after the Second World War, was present. 
From 1929 - 1931 the term logical positivism made its appearance and as such the movement became known. 
The logical positivists are vehemently opposed to metaphysics. They wanted to dismiss every idea 
that 'there might be something beyond the world of the natural sciences and the mind, the world that is revealed to us through the senses.' 
Any claim that was not empirically testable, or was contrary to logic or mathematics, was meaningless and empty. 
In this way complete areas such as theology, aesthetics and politics were declared out of order. 
Of course there is more to say about this. The logical positivists also criticized "what we might call the German past," according to the British philosopher A.]. Ayer. 
With that past he meant the romantic and rather woolly thinking and metaphysics of Hegel, Nietzsche and Husserl. 
Dozens of  German philosophers had little interest in the empirical sciences and saw it as their duty to stand up 
for religion, morality, free will, the people and the organic nation state. Likewise Heidegger, who did not hide his sympathy for the Nazis.   
Let's focus our attention next time on the Vienna Circle movement.
Thank you for your attention again...:-))


The Discussion

[13:15] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:16] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman
[13:16] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman.
[13:16] herman Bergson: In the Stanford Encyclopedia you find a nice difficult article on Metaphysics
[13:17] herman Bergson: In Heidegger's time it was focused on existence and understanding the meaning fo being....
[13:17] CB Axel: It seems to me that philosophy without metaphysics is just science.
[13:17] herman Bergson: No....not really CB.....
[13:18] herman Bergson: But philosophy becomes a second level activity...
[13:18] herman Bergson: science contructs a picture of reality....
[13:18] herman Bergson: and philosophy analyses the concepts, science uses
[13:18] herman Bergson: And example....
[13:19] herman Bergson: what nowadays is called a metaphysical problem....
[13:19] herman Bergson: the Mental and the Physical
[13:19] herman Bergson: Is the mental pure physical?
[13:19] herman Bergson: If not what is it then?
[13:20] herman Bergson: Is cartesian dualism meaningful
[13:20] herman Bergson: We discussed these issues in several projects here
[13:20] herman Bergson: The pictures are still on the wall
[13:21] herman Bergson: SO...all these neuroscientist describe the reality of the brain....
[13:21] herman Bergson: but is this the correct way, asks the philosopher
[13:22] herman Bergson: Brain activity can be scanned and the person can say Ï experience an emotion of joy"
[13:22] herman Bergson: Then comes the metaphysical question.....
[13:22] herman Bergson: In what way does this emotion exist"
[13:22] herman Bergson: is it just another word for the scan result?
[13:23] herman Bergson: That requires philosophical analyses
[13:24] herman Bergson: This analyses might have a scientific character, because it demands rigorous logic
[13:24] CB Axel: Joy is probably a cocktail of neurochemicals.
[13:24] herman Bergson: YEs...some will say that
[13:25] Tessy (tess.messmer): we are taught emotions?
[13:25] herman Bergson: I would :-))
[13:25] herman Bergson: Yes Tess we are taught how to interact with the world
[13:25] herman Bergson: But some emotions are not taught but innate
[13:26] herman Bergson: all brains produce them in animals and human animals
[13:26] Tessy (tess.messmer): instinct?
[13:26] herman Bergson: Yes....take for instance basic fear
[13:28] Dien (djdien.bailey) is offline.
[13:28] herman Bergson: But the more abstract philosophical question do all emotional terms relate to our biochemistry
[13:29] herman Bergson: We know only little about this relation
[13:29] Tessy (tess.messmer): if sad a lot you can physically get unhealthy
[13:29] herman Bergson: we see a brain scan and there is fear....
[13:30] herman Bergson: yes...a correlation between sadness and a physical condition
[13:30] herman Bergson: so far we only seem to see correlations
[13:32] herman Bergson: That is why there are so many transcendental theories to explain what the meaning of being is....
[13:32] herman Bergson: religions do it, political believes do it
[13:32] CB Axel: Do we? I thought stress caused a release of cortisol which affects our physical health.
[13:33] herman Bergson: I prefer dopamine :-))
[13:34] herman Bergson: And endorfines
[13:34] CB Axel: The release of cortisol and therefore decline in health is more than a correlation, I thought.
[13:34] herman Bergson: I think  you will experience the effects of all these hormones  the coming weeks :-)
[13:35] herman Bergson: I guess that the release  of certain substances in your body can have very negative effects
[13:35] Tessy (tess.messmer): so there is theories for the meaning of life?
[13:36] herman Bergson: Plenty, Tess
[13:36] Tessy (tess.messmer): humm. i got lots to learn
[13:36] herman Bergson: But the eternal debate is about the question...which one is the most plausible one
[13:37] Tessy (tess.messmer): i am, still searching for one
[13:37] Tessy (tess.messmer): lol true if there is more than one
[13:37] herman Bergson: And the Wiener Kreis philosophers claimed that is was the scientific theory
[13:37] herman Bergson: You can begin with Darwin for instance
[13:38] herman Bergson: But I think that everyone rather like to focus on presents and XMas trees.....
[13:39] herman Bergson: So I suggest  that we gonna take a long nice Christmas break :-))
[13:39] Tessy (tess.messmer): :)
[13:40] herman Bergson: Resuming class somewhere after New Year in 2019
[13:40] Tessy (tess.messmer): maybe i can get a book over the holidays of Darwin?
[13:40] herman Bergson: There is plenty on the Internet Tess
[13:40] Tessy (tess.messmer): ok
[13:41] herman Bergson: Well what do you think of my idea? :-))
[13:41] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i will miss class
[13:41] CB Axel: I'm ok with that.
[13:42] herman Bergson: Ok :-))
[13:42] Tessy (tess.messmer): sounds good
[13:42] CB Axel:  °͜°
[13:42] CB Axel: I'll miss it, too, but a nice holiday will remind me of how much I miss it.
[13:42] CB Axel:  °͜°
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone:
[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): :) CB
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: *:-.,_,.-:*'``'*yaaaaaaaay*:-.,_,.-:*'``'*
[13:42] herman Bergson: Very good CB :-)
[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): omg Ciska
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: ;)
[13:43] herman Bergson: Then I wish you all the most wonderful time of the year :-)
[13:43] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): have a nice holiday Herman
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone: have a great holiday herman
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone: and everyone
[13:43] herman Bergson: Class dismissed.....ding dong :-)
[13:43] Tessy (tess.messmer): ty and you have a great holiday to !
[13:43] CB Axel: Have a nice holiday, everyone.
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone: enjoy
[13:43] Tessy (tess.messmer): everyone have a good holiday see ya when we come back !
[13:44] CB Axel: See you in the new year, everyone. Bye.

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