Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

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Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby BadgerJelly on December 19th, 2016, 4:36 am 

There is a thread here titled Philosophy and Science.

Because of that thread it makes sense to jump into this lecture because it relates very well to what is beinf discussed there. I have already quoted from this lecture piece meal elsewhere.

What I feel this should show is the gap between science and philosophy that has been created and become decisive in making it very difficult to wed the two together for "mutual" benefit. My personal view, what I see here, is that it is not the case that science stems from philosophy or that philosophy can develop from science. My view is that they are equals bind to each other on the same track. Blind in the sense that what becomes knomwn can never be unknown. We cannot really "look back" at the history of science without taking our current understanding f science with us.

Anyway, blah blah blah!

"The Vienna Lecture

Appendix I:
Philosophy and the Crisis of European Humanity

I

In this lecture I shall venture the attempt to find new interest in the frequently treated theme of the European crisis by developing the philosophical-historical idea (or the teleological sense) of European humanity. As I exhibit, in the process, the essential function that philosophy and its branches, our sciences, have to exercise within that sense, the European crisis will also receive a new elucidation.
Let is begin with something that is familiar to all, the difference between scientific medicine and the lore of the so-called nature cure. While the latter arises in the common life of the people out of native experience and tradition, scientific medicine arises from the application of the insights of purely theoretical sciences, those of the human body, primarily anatomy adn physiology. But these, in turn, are themselves based on the universally explanatory, fundamental sciences of nature as such, physics and chemistry.
Let us now turn our attention from the human body to the human spirit, the subject matter of the so-called humanist disciplines. Here theoretical interest is directed at human beings exclusively as persons, at their personal life and accomplishments, and correlatively at the products of such accomplishments. Personal life means living communalized as "I" and "we" within a community-horizon, and this in communities of various simple or stratified forms such as family, nation, supranational community. The word life here does not have a physiological sense; it signifies purposeful life accomplishing spiritual products: in the broadest sense, creating culture in the unity of a historical development. All this is the subject matter of numerous humanistic disciplines. Now clearly there exists the distinction between energetic thriving and atrophy, that is, one can also say, between health and sickness, even in communities, peoples, states. Accordingly the question is not far removed: How does it happen that no scientific medicine has ever been developed in this sphere, a medicine for nations and supranational communities? The European nations are sick; Europe itself, it is said, is in crisis. We are by no means lacking something like nature doctors. Indeed, we are practically inundated by a flood of naïve and excessive suggestion for reform. But why do the so richly developed humanistic disciplines fail to perform the service here that is so admirably performed by the natural sciences in their sphere?"

Incase you're not familiar by "European humanity" this includes the US. "European" is the extention of ancientc Greek "sciences".
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby Eclogite on December 19th, 2016, 6:40 am 

Points occurring contemporaneously with reading the lecture extract and therefore not organised by importance:

1. I have no idea what the European crisis is.
2. While I understand what H. means by "scientific medicine" I find the medical profession is even less scientific than engineers. Overall their approach seems little different from that of witch doctors and therefore akin to the nature lore that H. seeks to contrast it with.
3. H. then asks, after suitable convoluted obfuscation, why is there no equivalent for scientific medicine for components of society? Let me pretend I buy into the notion that scientific medicine is a reality. In that case what does he think Political Science is?

In conclusion, I fear, for me he has said nothing that is either accurate or useful.
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby vivian maxine on December 19th, 2016, 7:25 am 

Eclogite, that's the first time I've seen anyone with the courage to say that out loud. I can think of a million things to say but I'll just stick to being amazed. Most of us just sit at home and complain. Carry on.
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby BurtJordaan on December 19th, 2016, 10:13 am 

Eclogite » 19 Dec 2016, 12:40 wrote:While I understand what H. means by "scientific medicine" I find the medical profession is even less scientific than engineers.


I have little of value to contribute here, but as an engineer I see the mentioned professions as practicing Applied Science. Engineering also has a large Applied Math component, which is probably lacking in Medicine.

Perhaps any discipline that follows the Scientific Method in some way or other should be classified as "scientific".
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby BadgerJelly on December 19th, 2016, 11:28 am 

First off, thanks for the replies. From the above post I think both Burt and Eco highlight the issue well enough. There is an obvious difference between the exact application of engineering than that of medical science. Further still we find what was mentioned as "political sciences".

Husserl is asking why we cannot come to a more accurate "political science"? We can, as an engineer build structures, and as a doctor put to goos use the same basic physical principles in order to give individuals better health. Yet on a broader scheme, the human pursuits, science has little purchase because it lacks accuracy. In its "highest" form no one can deny the success of science as physics.

I have to admit I cut short on purpose to help highlight this point (even if it is obvious) because it is important imo.

Eco, I believe if you read through the first thread I posted on Part I of Husserl's work the title of "The Crisis of European Sciences" it may help you understand better what he is saying. There is NO opposition towards science at all. The lecture is in the Appendix of the book. I am going to cover Part II of Crisis in other threads where he gets to the bare bones of the problem.

Anyway, he continues (I have editted nothing out yet) ...

"Those familiar with the spirit of the modern sciences will not be at a loss for an answer. The greatness of the natural sciences consists in the fact that they are not content with intuitive, empirical procedure, since for them all description of nature is meant to be only a methodical passage to exact - ultimately physical-chemical - explanation. They say: "merely descriptive" sciences confine us to the finitudes of our earthly surrounding world. But mathematical-exact natural science, through its method, encompasses the infinities in their actualities and real possibilities. It understands what is intuitively given as merely subjectively relative appearance and teaches us how to investigate suprasubjective ("objective") nature itself, by systematic approximations, in terms of its unconditionally universal elements and laws. At the same time it teaches us to explain all intuitively pregiven concrete entities, whether men, animals, or heavenly bodies, in terms of what ultimately is; namely, beginning with particular, factually given appearances, to induce future possibilities and probabilities with scope and an exactness which surpasses all intuitively limited empirical procedure. The result of the consistent development of the exact sciences in the modern period was a true revolution in the technical control of nature."

So we see here that the method of science, mathematised, has shifted focus away from "mere description".

I struggled with what was meant by "finitude" and "infinities" at first. If you don't understand this it simply means that items like "men" or "animals" are finite, intuitive. Whereas the "infinities" are extended by accuracy and open up a whole new "world" of infinite approximations. Sorry, if that doesn't help ... there is a reason I am using direct quotes (my attempts at writing such thoughts are simply too obscure). The "finitude" will be dealt with and shown more explicitly once I get to Part II of Crisis.
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby zetreque on December 19th, 2016, 2:04 pm 

I am sorry that I have nothing to add but I'll throw this out there.

Reality vs Not Reality
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby BadgerJelly on December 19th, 2016, 2:08 pm 

An explanation to go with that would be appreciated a great deal.

What am I meant to take from "Reality vs Not Reality"?
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby zetreque on December 19th, 2016, 2:28 pm 

I left it open ended on purpose. That's the most condensed form of how I see science vs philosophy.

To which:

...decisive in making it very difficult to wed the two together for "mutual" benefit. My personal view, what I see here, is that it is not the case that science stems from philosophy or that philosophy can develop from science...


I disagree because the imaginary can help thought to the non-imaginary and vise versa.
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby BadgerJelly on December 19th, 2016, 2:59 pm 

Zet -

I agree with you. My wording was not brilliant. I should have said "originates" rathers than "stems". Even then I guess what I said simply doesn't hold up to close inspection. Thanks.

How would you equate "Reality" and "Non-Reality" to what Husserl says? I am asking this in reference to terms such as "suprasubjective" and subjective, and "finitude" and "infinities"?

I should add, if you are not alrwady a little familiar, that Husserl was drawn to the failure of psychology. By which I assume he refers to its grasping towards the suprasubjective rather than the subjective simply because, as he says, "let itself be determined by the positivistic sciences and be blinded by the "prosperity" they produced" (I referred to this in §2 in other thread).
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby BadgerJelly on December 20th, 2016, 1:35 am 

To continue with Husserl's words where I left off ...

The Vienna Lecture

Added colour so easier to find in thread.

"Quite different, unfortunately (in the sense of the point of view we have already come to understand well) is the methodical situation in thr humanistic disciplines, and this for internal reasons. The human spirit, after all, is grounded on the human physis; each individual human psychic life is founded upon corporeity, and thus each community upon the bodies of the individual human beings who are members of it. So if a truly exact explanation of the phenomena of the humanistic disciplines is to be possible, and accordingly a far-reaching scientific praxis similar to that in the natural sphere, the humanists must not only consider the spirit as spirit but must also go back to the corporeal basis and carry out their explanations by means of exact physics and chemistry. But this fails (and this cannot change in the foreseeable future) because of the complexity of the required exact psychophysical research even in the case of the individual human being, not to mention that of the great historical communities. If the world were built up of two spheres of realities with equal rights, so to speak, nature and spirit, neither of which was prior methodically or materially, then the situation would be different. But only nature can be treated by itself as a closed world; only natural science can abstract with unbroken consistency from everything spiritual and investigate nature purely as nature. On the other hand, vice versa, such a consistent abstraction from nature does not lead the humanist, interested solely in what is spiritual, to a self-enclosed, purely spiritually coherent "world" which could become the subject matter of a pure and universal humanistic science as a parallel to pure natural science."

Now I will start selecting pieces rather than tyoe out all 30 pages of text!

"... remains limited to intuitive finitudes (*talking about the humanist*). Every example shows this. A historian, for example, cannot treat of ancient Greek history without bringing in the physical geography of ancient Greece, or of its architecture without bringing in the corporeity of its buildings, etc., etc. That seems quite obvious.
But what if the whole way of thinking that manifests itself in the foregoing presentation rested on portentous prejudices and, in its effect, itself shared in the responsibility for the European sickness? This is, indeed, my conviction; and I hope also to make it understandable that this is also a fundamental source of the unhesitating way in which the modern scientist holds the possibility of grounding a purely self-enclosed and general science of the spirit to be not even worth considering and thus flatly denies it."

He then goes on to "uproot the above argument" which he declares as "obvious at first glance."

I find here that you may think thisbis heading towards a dualistic notion, I can assure you Husserl does not take this stance at all (although there may be some scholars that do say this? I have no idea? Some call him an Idealist and other anything but).

I see an obvious relation to what has just been said by Forest in Philosophy and Science thread. Husserl remains on guard against "bungee jumping into fantasy land". To his view is about looking at ways to "view" subjectivity and his term "epoche" relates very much to what the archeologist guards against and what cognitive archeology attempts, with caution and trepidation, to navigate.
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby BadgerJelly on December 21st, 2016, 4:56 am 

The Vienna Lecture

What Husserl is saying is that we cannot think about culture without looking at the physical world (the immediate environment). What is of importance (or what I see in his meaning) is our attitude, cultural view, of the physical world beinf framed in a particular way.

"... To express more fully : the historical surrounding world of the Greeks is not the objective world in our sense but rather their "world-representation," i.e., their own subjective validity with all the actualities which are valid for them within it, including, for example, gods, demons, etc.
"Surrounding world" is a concept that has its place exculsively in the spiritual sphere. That we live in our particular surrounding world, which is the locus of all our cares and endeavors - thsi refers to the fact that occurs purely within the spiritual realm. Our surrounding world is a spiritual structure in us and in our historical life. Thus there is no reason for him who makes spirit as spirit his subject matter to demand anything other than a purely spiritual explanation for it. And so generally: to look upon the nature of the surrounding world as something alien to the spirit, and consequently to want to buttress humanistic science with natural science so as to make it supposedly exact, is absurd.
What is obviously also completely forgotten is that natural science (like all science generally) is a title for spiritual acconplishments, namely, those of the natural scientists working together; as such they belong, after all, like all spiritual occurences, to the region of what is to be explained by humanistic discipilines. Now is it not absurd and circular to want to explain the historical event "natural science" in a natural-scientific way, to explain it by bringing in natural science and its natural laws, which, as spiritual accomplishment, thenselves belong to the problem?"

Here Husserl is posing the problem of having established a "natural science" we have somewhat blocked ourselves from pursuing any form of "humanistic science" that is not inclined to take on the method of "natural science" not as supplement, but as the foundation of a supposed "humanistic science". Basically I believe here is where he highlights the "failure" of psychology (in fact today I hear people saying that neuroscience has overthrown psychology - which is inevitible because psychology has founded itself more and more on "natural science" and shifted away from the concept of "psyche"/"mind"/"spirit").

He even says "humanists" are "Blinded by naturalism" even though they attack it.

For me this is the first part of the lecture that really tries to hit hard and question the basis of psychology as a workabke field in its own right wholly apart from "natural sciences".

Can we construct a better "humanistic science"? If so how? As noted above our "natural sciences" were estblishes from a "humanist" position not a "natural" scientific one.
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby Serpent on December 21st, 2016, 2:47 pm 

He uses a really lot of words, doesn't he?

Why is there no discipline of 'social medicine'?
Well, there have been attempts at social engineering with uneven and unpredicted results. Given that, perhaps one would hesitate to apply the methods that work on an individual machine to a collection of various mechanisms. Worse: no family, with its interacting mechanisms can be assessed or repaired in isolation from its community, no community in isolation from its county, province, state... growing more complex at each level.

The second biggest obstacle to Husserl's approach: In medicine and engineering, the objective is clearly defined. In social structures, it is not only difficult to identify, but it tends to be identified by different criteria and with different aims by a number of different, equally powerful, participants. If four doctors gave you four different diagnoses and recommended four different courses of treatment, how would you choose?

In fact, the most useful consultant in the matter of social ills is an uninvolved historian. But nobody pays them the slightest attention. They're not players, any more than philosophers are.
If you really wanted to know why a social unit is in crisis, you would first have to determine the nature of the crisis, its etiology; which of its contributing factors are external and internal.
In this last bit, I suppose, there would be room for some of that spiritual world.
But ailing or damaged 'spirits' are not amenable to repair by any means other than recreation of the world-view and cultural matrix from which they originate - and that is impossible.
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby zetreque on December 21st, 2016, 5:20 pm 

BadgerJelly » Mon Dec 19, 2016 11:59 am wrote:Zet -

I agree with you. My wording was not brilliant. I should have said "originates" rathers than "stems". Even then I guess what I said simply doesn't hold up to close inspection. Thanks.

How would you equate "Reality" and "Non-Reality" to what Husserl says? I am asking this in reference to terms such as "suprasubjective" and subjective, and "finitude" and "infinities"?

I should add, if you are not alrwady a little familiar, that Husserl was drawn to the failure of psychology. By which I assume he refers to its grasping towards the suprasubjective rather than the subjective simply because, as he says, "let itself be determined by the positivistic sciences and be blinded by the "prosperity" they produced" (I referred to this in §2 in other thread).



I have attempted to read the OP a couple times and the way the author writes does not speak to me. I can't clearly make out what he is talking about. He appears to mix science and personal and then separates them at the same time.

I think that natural medicine has both a scientific methodology and non-scientific. It has both reality and non-reality. It's far too ambiguous at the moment to say anything along those lines without specific examples.
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby BadgerJelly on December 23rd, 2016, 7:44 am 

Zet -

I assume Husserl was simply showing how the finite attitude of medicine developed into more of an infinite task through the use of the exact sciences of physics and chemistry. It seems you are refering to "Reality" as purely a physical reality and not a humanistic reality by how you've interpreted this (or rather how I have interpreted your use of "Reality versus non-reality")? Husserl is talking about the idealisation of the suprasubjective (objective) view of reality not as opposition to pure subjectivity (obviously because we are subjective only through our community of humanity!), but as an extension of, an "ideal". This is not said to undermine "science" merely delineate how this extension into views of reality has success and what is going on from a subjective view parallel to simply "being-in-the-world", to steal the phrase. The important point being about the infinite task of science parallel to, rather than opposite in my mind, to the finitude of the personal attitude.

If the language is too ambiguous I can only apologise. When I address Part II of "Crisis" in another thread you'll probably be more comfortable with the subject matter there. This thread, and previous one, are meant as a way to gain some understanding of what Husserl is doing and as a way to get a little accustomed to the terms he uses and his style of writing.

Anyway, to continue (only 20 pages to go!) ...

The Vienna Lecture

"Let us illuminate first of all the remarkable, peculiar character of philosophy, unfolding in ever new special sciences. Let us contrast it with othrr cultural forms already present in prescientific mankind : artifacts, agriculture, domestic arts, etc. All these signify classes of cuktural products with their own methods for assuring successful production. Otherwise (trans. note: I.e, apart from the methods, which persist through time.) they habe a passing existence in the surrounding world. Scientific acquisitions, on thebother hand, after their method of assured successful production has been attained, have quite another manner of being, quite another temporality. They are not used up; they are imperishable; repeated production creates not something similar, at best equally useful; it produces in any number of acts of production by one person or anybnumber of persons something identically the same, identical in sense and validity. Persons bound together in direct mutual understanding cannotnhelp experiencing what has been produced by thier fellows in similar acts of production as being identically the same as what they themselves produce. In a word, what is aquired through scientific activity is not something real but something ideal."

He then goes on to talk about "that which is acquird as valid, as truth" and the infinite task of science and "retaining persisting validities" and says ...

"Extrascientific culture, culture not yet touched by science, consists in tasks and accomplishments of man in finitude. The openly endless horizon in which he lives is not disclosed; his ends, his activity, his trade and traffic, his personal, social, national, and mythical motivation - all this moves within the sphere of his finitely surveyable surrounding world. Here there are no infinite tasks, no ideal acquistions whose infinity is itself the field of work, and specifically in such a way that it consciously has, for those who work in it, the manner of being of such an infinite field of tasks.
But with the appearance of Greek philosophy and its first formulation, through consistent idealizatio, of the new sense of infinity, there is accomplished in this respect a thoroughgoing transformation which finally draws all finite ideas and with them all spiritual culture and its [concept of] mankind into its sphere. Hence there are, for us Europeans, many infinite ideas (if we may use this expression) which lie outside the philosophical-scientific sphere (infinite tasks, goals, confirmations, truths, "true values", "genuine goods," "absolutely" valid norms), but they owe their analogous character of infinity to the transformation of mankind through philosophy and its idealities. Scientific culture under the guidance of ideas of infinity means, then a revolutionization [Revolutionierung] of the whole culture, a revolution of the whole manner in which mankind creates culture. It means a revolutionization of [its] historicity, which is now the history of the cutting-off of finite mankind's development as it becomes mankind with i finite tasks."
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby neuro on December 23rd, 2016, 9:05 am 

zetreque » December 21st, 2016, 10:20 pm wrote:I have attempted to read the OP a couple times and the way the author writes does not speak to me. I can't clearly make out what he is talking about. He appears to mix science and personal and then separates them at the same time.


Overall, I believe that it is admirable to read the original writings of an author, but it actually is hard work, confusing and often misleading.

In most cases, the author will address beliefs (and misconceptions) that prevail at their own times, and this makes it difficult for a reader (after a century) to precisely grasp the point, and to understand why the author wastes so many words to declare something which appears to be quite trivial. This (triviality) actually is the demonstration that the author is valid, because what he/she said has entered common sense (!). It is like reading Proust after having read all 20th Century literature: you would ask yourself what the hell is so relevant in the "Recherche"... Everything is relevant, because all of it has become common sense and material for any writer after it.

So, I believe it might be ok to post the original writings, but one should possibly try and frame the thing in terms of the overall contribution those writings have given to our current culture.

Everything Husserl writes may be grasped more easily if one considers that his aim was to define a methodological approach to study the human being, its psyche, its culture.

BadgerJelly wrote:Basically I believe here is where he highlights the "failure" of psychology (in fact today I hear people saying that neuroscience has overthrown psychology - which is inevitable because psychology has founded itself more and more on "natural science" and shifted away from the concept of "psyche"/"mind"/"spirit").


This may also be framed and become clearer: if you do not develop a reasonably "independent" "scientific" way to study the human psyche, then you are forced to either accept that subjectivity (and the psyche) cannot be studied, exactly because of its being subjective (and not generalizable, not explained by any general laws) or try and reduce the question, i.e. limit your study of the psyche to what can be explained of it by reducing it to neuroscience.

In order to understand what Husserl is talking about, I believe it is important to keep in mind that:
1) he wants to develop a method to "scientifically" study human psyche, culture, humanities
2) he does not want to get there by a reductionist approach, as if everything in humanities could be explained by physics, chemistry, biochemistry, physiology, neuroscience
3) he realizes that this enterprise faces the crucial issue that in the attempt at building an observational method in this field the observer also is the observed

So, what he is aiming at is an observational approach that may let us describe the processes of the human mind and culture, as objectively as possible, without being misled by a preformed theory or forced to make such description consistent with what we know of the biological basis and the material constraints of the human mind and culture.

My impression is that his phenomenology has this origin and aim, and knowing this makes it much more easy to follow what he is writing
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby Serpent on December 23rd, 2016, 10:18 am 

But don't anthropologists already do that?
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby neuro on December 23rd, 2016, 10:20 am 

Serpent » December 23rd, 2016, 3:18 pm wrote:But don't anthropologists already do that?

"already" now or at Husserl's time?
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby BadgerJelly on December 23rd, 2016, 10:56 am 

Neuro -

Thanks for comments.

This lecture was before he wrote "Crisis" and is meant by me as an introduction to Crisis (Part II) on this forum.
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby vivian maxine on December 23rd, 2016, 12:10 pm 

I may be contributing something totally useless here. If so, pretend you didn't see it. I went searching for a definition of 'phenomenology' because it seemed to be being used at this forum in a different way than I knew it to be used. What I found was interesting. Skipping the Webster definition that was familiar to me, I turned to Wikipedia.

Wikipedia has a very good article about phenomenology as it is used here. It doesn't pin it down as an exact study in a particular way but discusses points of view of Husseri and many other philosophers. It even calls defining the word "dangerous". My thought is that there might be some points in the article that contribute to what Badger is covering. As I said, if it is not pertinent, pretend I was not here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenomenology_(philosophy)
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby Braininvat on December 23rd, 2016, 1:28 pm 

It even calls defining the word "dangerous".
(referring to the wiki article on phenomenology)

That made me laugh. The pulsating heart of philosophy is nailing down specific and coherent definitions for all terms being used. AFAICT, phenomenology is the study of the subjective aspects of existence and the nature of observation, by means of what the article calls "systematic reflection." As Neuro said, Husserl sought to study this without resorting to a reductive method (e.g. the chemistry of nerve transmission in the brain, the cell biology of neurons, digital and analog encoding of signals, etc. ), but through formal principles of attending to thoughts and observing the observer's role in the most universal (common to all thinking creatures) way possible. Sounds to me like he wanted to get away from fads and metaphysical bias? I wish he were easier to read, but perhaps it's possible to read others who write about him as a kind of "crutch" at the outset.
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby vivian maxine on December 23rd, 2016, 1:53 pm 

Braininvat » December 23rd, 2016, 12:28 pm wrote:
It even calls defining the word "dangerous".
(referring to the wiki article on phenomenology)

That made me laugh. The pulsating heart of philosophy is nailing down specific and coherent definitions for all terms being used. AFAICT, phenomenology is the study of the subjective aspects of existence and the nature of observation, by means of what the article calls "systematic reflection." As Neuro said, Husserl sought to study this without resorting to a reductive method (e.g. the chemistry of nerve transmission in the brain, the cell biology of neurons, digital and analog encoding of signals, etc. ), but through formal principles of attending to thoughts and observing the observer's role in the most universal (common to all thinking creatures) way possible. Sounds to me like he wanted to get away from fads and metaphysical bias? I wish he were easier to read, but perhaps it's possible to read others who write about him as a kind of "crutch" at the outset.


Too bad Husseri didn't explain that as well as you do.
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby neuro on December 23rd, 2016, 1:59 pm 

vivian maxine » December 23rd, 2016, 6:53 pm wrote:
Too bad Husseri didn't explain that as well as you do.

This is what I meant in saying that framing a discussion, just to let people know what you are talking about, may help people tackle the original writings of an Author.
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby Serpent on December 23rd, 2016, 6:36 pm 

neuro » December 23rd, 2016, 9:20 am wrote:
Serpent » December 23rd, 2016, 3:18 pm wrote:But don't anthropologists already do that?

"already" now or at Husserl's time?

Yes, they were active in the late 19th century. Granted, they were making up or 'adapting' a lot of their findings; they did a good deal of speculating. But they did something at the time that they generally don't anymore: look at the past and other cultures from a decidedly European perspective.
OTH, psychology and sociology have also come a long way since his time, and the present crisis is very different. So you have to wonder how much of his writing is still relevant.

I don't venture a guess, as I don't understand most of it.
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby BadgerJelly on December 24th, 2016, 4:59 am 

As an aside, I would add there is a subtler element to what Husserl uncovers. This is something I see both Heidegger and Derrida taking on after Husserl, and in my opinion become distracted by and taking "phenomenology" in a specific direction.

What I am talking about is the use and structure of concepts. Through objectivistic and reductist methodology of science we've come to acquire some very specific concepts that outside of scientific understandinf would be difficult, if not impossible, to grasp.

As a very obvious example "phenomenology" has a specific meaning. Often when I say phenomenology to someone only familiar with the term "phenomenon" framed in a scientific eye they misconstrue the concept and call it "fantasy" or "imagination". Once you use the term enough and understand it in a communal way (through reading text or conversing with others), you establish the concept. In science concepts given to us through physics have humanistic description beyond the mere collection of data. The science doesn't tell us anything, the concepts we attach to the data describes the observation. When we uncover new phenomenon (in the physical scientific sense) we apply previous concpets and occasionally find a fresher/newer perspective.

An individual may have an amazing and potentially world chnaging "idea". This is utterly useless if it cannot be held accurately in a communal way. The idea begins with the subject because of the community. If the idea cannot we given in a strong enough concept to others then it will fail to gain any hold in society. Science, through mathematical science, has the benefit of surpassing a subjective "descriptive" procedure. Even if the "idea" can not be brought into a lingual conceptual form if it is used to meet a mathematically valid formula that can be applied to reality then it surpasses common communal interaction and it may take decades or centuries before it can be elucidated in humanistic language rather than in an abstracted mathematical langauge.

Anyway, if you have something to say about this tangent PLEASE pm me or create a thread for that. This is about me trying, and learning, how to present Husserl's "Crisis and Transcendental Phenomenology". Given all of your comments I hope I can present Part II in a clearer manner.

I have never attempted anything like this before so please be patient and forgiving.

In Part I, in previous thread, Husserl said philosophy "threatens to succumb to skepticism, irrationalism, and mysticism." This was said at the beginning of his work. He is mosy certainly not looking to disregard reason as redundant.
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby BadgerJelly on December 24th, 2016, 5:30 am 

To move past my rambling and to hopefully give some understanding of a common terms Husserl employs "world-life" and "horizon".

The Vienna Lecture

"How is the essentially original attitude, the fundamental historical mode of human existence, to be characterized? We answer: men obviously always live, for generative reasons, in communities, in family, tribe, nation, which are themselves in turn divided, in varying degrees of complexity, into particular social groups. Now natural life can be characterized as a life naïvely, straightforwardly directed at the world, the world being always in a certain sense consciously present as a universal horizon, without, however, being thematic as such. What is thematic is whatever one is directed towards. Waking life is always directedness toward this or that, being directed toward it as an end or as means, as relevant or irrelevant, toward the interesting or the indifferent, toward the private or public, toward what is daily required or intrusively new. All this lies within the world-horizon; but special motives are required when one who is gripped in this world-life reorients himself and somehiw comes to make the world itself thematic, to take up a lasting interest in it."
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby BadgerJelly on December 25th, 2016, 6:00 am 

.An endTo continue directly from the above and then I will select what I deem appropriate quotes over next 7-8 pages. The gist is an overall look at the thematic attitudes of "theoretcial" and "mythical-religious" as personal being within a community and within a system of education.

The thing I find of interest in this is human praxis, how we view The World as The World. Meaning how we can thematically frame The World as "out there", as our selves "being-in-the-world", being in an "aboutness" of the world, as being a part of and apart from The World. All these relations are understood by Husserl as within the world-horizon (this is something I failed to express in another thread where I referred to the analogy of being "within" a sphere. I hoped that analogy would work for people more inclined towards holding fast to objective positivism, sadly I failed to get very far with that, maybe this makes that attempt a little clearer?).

The Vienna Lecture

Like I said, continuing directly from previous quote ...

"But here a more detailed exposition is required. The individual men who reorient themselves, as men within their universal life-community (their nation), continue to have their natural interests, each his individual interests; through no reorientation can they simply lose them; (*note here, this could be said to be "bracketing" which does not mean to ignore only "put out of play") this would mean that each wouls cease to be what he has become since birth onward. In any circumstances, then, the reorientation can only be a periodical one; it can have habitually enduring validity for one's whole remaining life only in the form of an unconditional resolve of the will to take up, at periodic but internally unified points of time, the same attitude and, through this continuity that intentionally bridges the gaps, to sustain its new sort of interests as valid and as ongoing projects and to realise them through corresponding cultural structures.

... the interests of the new attitude are meant to serve the natural interests of life or, what is in essence the same thing, natural praxis. In this case the new attitude is itself a practical one. This can have the sense similar to that of the practical politician, who, as a natural functionary, is directed toward the general welfare, i.e., who in his praxis would serve the praxis of all (and thus mediately also his own). This, of course, still belongs to the sphere of natural attitude, which is essentially differentiated according to the different types of community members and is in fact one thing for those who govern and the community and another for the "citizens" - these terms being understood, of course, in the broadest possoble sense.

... The theoretical attitude, though it is again a vocational life, is totally unpractical. In the sphere of its own vocational life, then, it is based on a voluntary epoche of all natural praxis, including the higher-level praxis that serves the natural sphere."

Just want to pause and attempt to translate this last passage. What is being said is that the "theoretcial attitude" has no direct practical life purpose. "theoria grows and becomes an end in itself or a field of interest."

"Yet it must be said immediately that this is still not a matter of a definitive "severing" of the theoretcial form the practical life or of a division of the theoretician's concrete life into two life-continuities that sustain themselves without any interrelation; socially speaking, this would signify the emergence of two spiritually unrelated cuktural spheres. For yet a third form of universal attitude is possible (as opposed to both the religious-mythical attitude, which is founded in the natural attitude, and the thteoretcial attitude), namely, the synthesis of the two interests accomplished in the transition from theoretical to the practical attitude, such that theoria (universal science), arising within a closed unity and under the epoche of all praxis, is called (and in theoretcial insight itself exhibits its calling) to serve mankind in a new way, mankind which, in its concrete existence, lives first amd always in th natural sphere. This occurs in the form of a new sort of praxis, that of the universal critique ofnall life and all life-goals, all cultural products and systems that have already arisen out of life of man; and thus it also becomes a critique of mankind itself and of the values which guide it explicitly and implicitly."

The next bit jumped out at me because you may have heard me refering to "patriotism" as being basically the same as "religion".

"... It is a known fact, but also a necessity essentially available to insight, that religious-mythical motifs and a religious-mythical praxis belong to every civilization living in the natural sphere - i.e., prior to the outbreak and effects of Greek philosophy and thus of a scientific world-view. The mythical-religious attitude exists when the world as a totality becomes thematic, but in a practical way; by "world" we mean here, of course, the world which is concretely, traditionally valid for the civilization in question (a nation for example), i.e., the world as a apperceived mythically"

Again I will pause to say what is obvious to me here. Theoretcial attitude is markedly different from practical attitude (although they are both, as Hussel stated previously, clearly related). To continue precisely where I left off ...

"Here not only men amd animals and other subhumans and subanimal beings but also superhuman beings belong to the mythical-natural world (trans. note : substituting Welt for Einstellung.). The gaze which encompasses it as a totality is practical - not that [the indivdual] man, who in natural straightforward living is immediately interested only in particular realities, could ever come to state in which everything together would suddenly become practically relevant for him in the same way.
... In this priesthood the linguistically structured "knowledge" of the mythical powers (understood as persons, in the broadest sense) arises and spreads. Of itself, it takes on the form of mystical speculation which, appearing as naïvely convincing interpretation, reconstructs the myth itself.
... But all this speculative knowledge is meant to serve man in his human purposes so that he may order his worldly life in the happiest possible way and shield it from disease, from every sort of evil fate, frkm disaster and death. It is understandable that this mythical-practical world-view and world-knowledge can guve rise to much knowledge of the factual world, the world as known through scientific experience, that can later be used scientifically. But within their own framework of meaning this world-view and world-knowledge are and remain myhtical and practical, and it is a mistake, a falsification of their sense, for those raised in the scientific ways of thinking created in Greece and developed in the modern period to speak of Indian and Chinese philosophy and science (astronomy, mathematics), i.e., to interpret India, Babylonia, China, in a European way.
Sharply distinguished from this universal but mythical-practical attitude is the "theoretical" attitude, which is not practical in any sense used so far, the attitude of ***** (some Greek word?), to which the great figures of the first culminating period of Greek philosophy, Plato amd Aristotle, traced the origin of philosophy. Man becomes gripped by the passion of a world-view and world-knowledge that turns away from all practical interests and, within the closed sphere of ots cognitive activity, in the times devoted to it, strives for and achieves nothing but pure theoria. In other words, man becomes a nonparticipating spectator, surveyor of the world; he becomes a philosopher; or rather, from this point on his life becomes receptive to motivations which are possible only in this attitude, motivations for new sorts of goals for thought and methods through which, finally, philosophy comes to be and he becomes a philosopher.

...

In this attitude, man views first of all the multiplicity of nations, his own and others, each with its own surrounding world which is valid for it, is taken for granted, with its traditions, its gods, its demons, its mythical powers, simply as the actua world. Through this astonishing contrast there appears the distinction between world-representation amd actual world, and the new question of truthh arises: not tradition-bound, everyday truth, but identical truth which is valid for all who are no longer blinded by traditions, a truth-in-itself. Part of the theoretcial attitude of the philosopher, then, is his constant prior resolve to dedicate his future life always, and in sens of a universal life, to the task of theoria, to build theoretical knowledge upon theoretical knowledge in infinitum."

Husserl then goes on to talk about communalization of "philosophy".

"...Through sympathetic understanding thet either become philosophers themselves, or, if they are otherwise vocationally too occupied, they learn from philosophers. Thus philosophy spreads in a twofold manner, as the broadening vocational community philosophers and as a concurrently broadening community movement of education [Bildung].
...
Philosophy, spreading in the form of inquiry and education, has a twofold spiritual effect. On the one hand, what is most essential to the theoretical attitude of philosophical man is the peculiar universality of his critical stance, his resolve not to accept unquestioningly any pregiven opinion or tradition so that he can inquire, in respect tonthe whole traditionally pregiven universe, after what isbtrue in itself, an ideality. But thisnis not only a new cognitive stance. Because of the requirement to subject all empirical matters to ideal norms, i.e., those of unconditioned truth, there soon resukts a far-reaching transformation of the whole praxis of human existence, i.e., the whole of cultural life: henceforth it must receive its norms not from the naïve experience and tradition of everyday life but from objective truth. Thus ideal truth becomes an absolute value which, through the movement of education and its constant effects in the training of children, brings with it a universally transformed praxis. If we reflect a little more closely on the manner of this transformation, we immediately understand the unavoidable result : if the general idea of truth-in-itself becomes the universal norm of all the relative truths that arise in human life, the actual and supposed situational truths, then this will also affect all traditional norms, those of right, of beauty, of usefulness, dominant personal values, values connected with personal characteristics, etc.

...

Now if the movement of education extends over larger and larger groups of people, and naturally over the higher or dominant groups, those less exhausted by the cares of life, what are the results? Clearly this leads not simply to a homogeneous transformation of the general satifactory life of the national state but probably to great internal schisms in which this life and the whole national culture suffer an upheaval. Those conservatives who are satisfied with the tradition amd the philosophical men will fight each other, and struggle will surely occur in the sphere of political power. The persecution begins at the very beginnings of philosophy. Men who live for these ideas become objects of contempt. And yet, ideas are stronger than any empirical powers.

...

One more important thing must be mentioned concerning the comportment of philosophy toward the traditions. Fro there are twonpossibilities to be considered here. What is traditionally valid is either completelt discarded, or its content is taken over philosophically and thereby formed anew in the spirit of philosophical ideality. An outstanding case of this is religion. From this I would exclude the "polytheistic religions." Gods in the plural, mythical powers of every sort, are objects of the surrounding world having the same reality as animals and men. In the concept of God the singular is essential. Proper to it, from the human standpoint, is the fact that God's ontic validity and his value-validity are experimenced as an absolute internal bond. The next step here is the coalescence of this absoluteness with that of philosophical ideality. In the general process of idealization, wbich proceeds from philosophy, God is logicized, so to speak; indeed he becomes the bearer of the absolute logos. I wouls cite as something logical, incidentally, the fact that religion appeals theologically to the evidence of belief as a peculiar manner, and the deepest manner, of grounding true belief. National gods, on the other hand, are [simply] there without question, as real facts in the surrounding world. Prior tonphilosophy no one poses questions critical of knowledge, questions ofr evidence."
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby BadgerJelly on December 29th, 2016, 4:12 am 

I will tie up the final 10 pages of the lecture as best I can now.

The Vienna Lecture

"I too am certain that the European crisis has its roots in a misguided rationalism. But we must not take this to mean that rationality as such is evil or that it is of only subordinate significance foe mankind's existence as a whole. ...

Reason is a broad title. According to the old familiar definition, man is the rational animal, and in this broad sense even the Papuan is a man not a beast. He has his ends and he acts reflectively, considering the practical possibilities. The works and methods that grow [out of this] go to make up a tradition, being understandable again [by others] in virtue of their rationality. But just as man and even the Papuan represent a new stage of animal nature, i.e., as opposed to the beast, so philosophical reason represents a new stage of human nature and its reason."

What I see here is a differentiation made between "tradition" in a practical sense, and a philosophical "tradition" taken on in a non-practical sense; for its own sake, for the reason of reason not a reason to be applied towards a direct practical problem.

As a strange example I will just write now like this and not think about what I am saying much and simply display an appropriation of my thoughts as the stream forth from my head without analysis or direct contemplation of what they mean or where they may lead to.

Now I can look at what I wrote and systematically cut it into pieces containing nouns and verbs, distinguish an overall theme and create an understanding by looking for patterns within the structure, what the meaning of certain words are, what words are separate and meaningless if presented on their own. We come to rationalise language. It is not that language is rational in any ideal sense only that it can be rationalised and understood with a logical underpinning and use of various types of antonyms and synonyms. We do not in a practical sense, as adults, generally sit around asking ourselves what is "cat"?, not that we cannot ask this question it is simply that in the obviousness of its meaning we do not naturally come to ask this question (naturally in the sense of an everyday practical living-in-the-world way).

Anyway, there are dangers here ...

" ... The humanity of higher nature or reason requires, then, a genuine philosophy.
But now this is the danger point: "philosophy"; here we must certainly distinguish between philosophy as a historical fact at a given time and philosophy as idea, as the idea of an infinite task. Any philosophy that exists at a given historical time is a more or less successful attempt to realise the guiding idea of the infinity and at the same time even the totality of truths. Practical ideals - namely, ideals discerned as eternal poles of which one cannot lose sight throughout one's whole life without compunction, without being untrue to oneself and thus becoming unhappy - are by no means always clearly and determinately discerned; they are anticipated in ambiguous generality. Determinateness results only when one concretely sets to work and succeeds, at least in a relative way. There is th constant threat of succumbing to one-sidedness and to premature satifacation, which take their revenge in subsequent contradictions. Hence the contrast between the great [common] claims of the philosphical sysyems [ and the fact that] they are nevertheless incompatible with one another. Also, there is the necessity - and at the same time the danger - of specialization.
In this way, a one-sided rationality can certainly become an evil. One can also say: it belongs to the essence of reason that the philosophers at first understand and labor at their task in an absolutely necessary one-sided way. Actually there is nothing perverse in this; it is not an error; rather, as we said, the straight and necessary path they must take allows them to see only one side of the task, at first without noticing the whole infinite task of theoretically knowing the totality of what is has other sides as well."

Husserl then proceeds to talk about philosophy as passing "through naïveté", and this being where irrationalism offers criticism.

"... In this naiveté, then, unavoidable as a beginning stage, are caught all the sciences whose beginnings were already developed in antiquity. To put it more precisely, the general title for this naïveté is objectivism, taking the form of the various types of naturalism, of the naturalization of the spirit. Old and new philosophies were and remain naïvely objectivist."

Now he makes a rare attempt to explain this in an easier manner...

"I can make what has been said understandable only in rough outlines. Natural man (let us consider him as man in the prephilosophical period) is directed toward the world in all his concerns and activities. The field of his life and his work is the surrounding world spread out spatiotemporally around him, of which he counts himself a part. This remains the case [even] in the theoretical attitude, which at first can be nothing other than that of nonparticipating spectator of the world, whereby the world loses its mythical character. Philosophy sees in the world the universe of what is, and the world becomes the objective world as opposed to representations of the world, those which vary according to nation or individual subject; thus truth becomes objective truth. In this way philosophy begins as cosmology; it is first - as it were, obviously - directed in its theoretical interest toward corporeal nature, since, after all, everything given in space-time has in any case, at least atbits basis, the existential formula of corporeity. Men and animals are not merelt bodies, but in the orientation toward the surrounding world they appear as something with bodily existence and thus as realities ordered within universal space-time. In this sense all psychic occurances, those of the particular ego, such as experiencing, thinking, willing, have a certain objectivity. The life of the community, that of families, peoples,etc., then seems to be resolved into that of particular individuals as psychophysical objects; the spiritual interrelation of psychophysical causality lacks a purely spiritual continuity; physical nature is everywhere invloved.
The historical course of development is prefugured in a determined way by this attitude toward the surrounding world. Even the most fleeting glance at the corporeity to be found in the surrounding world shows that nature is a homogeneous, totally interrelated whole, a world by itself, so to speak, encompassed by homogeneous space-time, divided into particular things, all being alike as res extensae and determining one a other causally. Quite rapidly, a first and great step of discovery is taken, namely, the overcoming of the finitude of nature already conceived as an objective in-itself, a finitude in spite of its open endlessness. Infinity is discovered, first in the form of the idealization of magnitudes, of measures, of numbers, figures, straight lines, poles, surfaces, etc. Nature, space, time, become extendable idealiter to infinity and divisible idealiter to infinity. From the art of surveying comes geometry, from the art of numbers arithematic, from everyday mechanics mathematical mechanics, etc. Now without its being advanced explicitly as a hypothesis, intuitively given nature and world are transformed into a mathematical world, the world of the mathematical natural sciences. Antiquity led the way: in its mathematics was accomplished the first discovery of both infinite ideals and infinite tasks. This becomes for all later times the guiding star of the sciences."

He then says "everything spiritual appeared as if it were [simply] spread over [the surface of] physical bodies. (wie der physischen Körperlichkeit auferlegt)"

...

"Whatvwe must do, however, in connection with our problem of the crisis, is show how it happens that the "modern age," which has been so proud for centuries of its theoretical and practical successes, finally becomes involved in a growing dissatisfaction, indeed must view its situation as one of distress. In all the sciences distress is felt, ultimately as a distress concerning method. But our European distress, though it is not understood, concerns very many people.

... no objective science can do justice to the [very] subjectivity which accomplishes science. Someone raised on natural science takes it for granted that everything merely subjective must ne excluded and that the natural-scientific mehtod, exhibiting itself in sibjective manners of representation, determines objectively. Thus he seeks what is objectively true even for the psychic. Here it is immediately assumed that the subjective that has been excluded by th physicist is to be investigated as the psychic in psychology, and then naturally in psychophysical psychology (* I guess today we would term this broadly as neurosciences). But the researcher of nature does not make clear to himself that the constant fundament of his -after all subjective - work of thought is the surrounding life-world; it is always presupposed as the ground, as the field of work upon which alone his questions, his methods of thought make sense. Where is that huge piece of method subjected to critique and clarification [-that method] that leads from the intuitively given surrounding world to the idealization of mathematics and to the interpretation of these idealizations as objective being? Einstein's revolutionary innovations concern the formulae through which idealized and naïvely objectified physis is dealt with. But how formulae in general, how mathematical objectification in general, receive meaning on the foundation of life and the intuitively given surrounding world - of this we learn nothing; and thus Einstein does not reform the space and time in which our vital life runs its course."

Okay ... I think it best that I write out the last couple of pages in full. I will do this in another thread because these last pages offer up a pretty good summation.
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Re: Husserl: The Vienna Lecture

Postby BadgerJelly on December 29th, 2016, 11:53 am 

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