This book proposes a new phenomenological analysis of the questions of perception and cognition which are of paramount importance for a better understanding of those processes which underlies the formation of knowledge and consciousness. It presents many clear arguments showing how a phenomenological perspective helps to deeply interpret most fundamental findings of current research in neurosciences and also in mathematical and physical sciences.
Deduction Versus Discourse: Newton and the Cosmic Phenomena Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-16 DOI 10.1007/s10699-011-9283-2 Authors Pierre Kerszberg, University of Toulouse, Toulouse, France Journal Foundations of Science Online ISSN 1572-8471 Print ISSN 1233-1821.
Kant's account of Newtonian science in terms of a priori structures of the mind has been generally interpreted as too restrictive. If Newtonian science is an instantiation of the system of categories, then, in order to retain any value, they need to be dynamized in accordance with the development of science beyond Newton. This paper suggests that the restriction in best understood as Kant attempt to provide a primary matrix of sense for any possible natural science, inasmuch as it reflects (...) the "first idea" contained in the Copernican Revolution. (shrink)
La conception de Poincaré du principe physique de relativité est examinée en rapport avec le lien problématique entre la notion de convention et celle de vérité au sens classique. L’expression formelle du principe ne recouvre pas parfaitement ses multiples sens possibles, tous ancrés dans l’idée de relativité, qui elle-même renvoie tant à l’expérience préscientifique du monde qu’à l’idéal d’unité de la nature. On est ramené à la portée générale de la conception du monde de Poincaré, qui explique en particulier sa (...) résistance à la théorie de la relativité d’Einstein.Poincaré’s conception of the physical principle of relativity is examined in relation to the problematical connection between convention and the classical notion of truth. The formal expression of the principle does not completely express all of its possible senses, which are all rooted in the idea of relativity. The latter is connected with both the prescientific experience of the world and the ideal of the unity of nature. This leads back to the significance of Poincaré’s worldview at large, explaining in particular his resistance to Einstein’s. (shrink)
Among the many controversial contributions of E. A. Milne to cosmology, the only one which is taken seriously today (to the extent that it has been absorbed as a premise in most scientific approaches to the problem of the universe as a totality) is his early suggestion that a formal equivalence may be made between Newtonian and Relativistic cosmology. My own paper suggests that, over and above any logical validity in the alleged equivalence, the actual way in which it has (...) subtly insinuated itself into nearly all contemporary speculation reveals as few things could some of the epistemological foundations that underlie the current assumptions in cosmological science. (shrink)
KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON has been studied and analyzed over and over again in relation to its profound affinity with Newtonian science. But for the very reason that the putative validity of the transcendental arguments seems to depend upon this particular form of science as its ultimate model, the claim has been made repeatedly that Kant's philosophical stance can have no literal relevance to the actual problems thought germane to twentieth century physical science. Thus, the advent of the theory (...) of general relativity during the period from 1905 to 1916 has been seen almost unanimously as a sufficiently cogent refutation of some of the essential claims made by Kant regarding the nature of space and time. In the early days of the new theory, philosophers like Schlick, Reichenbach or Meyerson did their utmost to stress the unbridgeable nature of the gap separating the transcendental ideality of space and time from the metrical field used in general relativity. Indeed, the concept of metrical field may be seen as expressing an objective quality of reality because it could not exist at all if there were no phenomena related to matter. More recently, it has been argued that the fatal unrevisability of the Kantian categories necessarily means that the Kantian conception is annihilated and swallowed up by the relativistic one. The traditional distinction drawn by Kant between the form and the content of knowledge is itself reversed, in the sense that "for Kant, the formal components of knowledge are the most stable and objective elements," whereas according to the theory of relativity, "they are the most arbitrary and subjective elements" since the formal universality of the laws of nature depends upon arbitrary transformations of coordinates. This reversal, in turn, indicates that the form-content distinction has in effect been displaced by the very different distinction between the theoretical and the observational. At best, a high degree of correspondence has been accentuated, between the regulative validity of the Kantian a priori and the epistemological foundation underlying the principle of general relativity, inasmuch as the latter's vindication is seen to depend on arguments which are far from merely empirical. (shrink)
I borrow the notion of echo from Proust. Proust describes the last phase in the experience of a love that has died down in the following terms: “While the great tide of love has ebbed forever, yet, strolling through ourselves, we can still gather strange and charming sea shells and, lifting them to the ear, can hear, with a melancholy pleasure and without suffering, the mighty roar of the past.” Someone whom we have loved utterly but love no more is (...) in the first place “worse than dead to us.” We revile or despise that person to such a degree that we become incapable of all judgment, as if the sea’s retreat could only leave behind a beach overcome by evil. But then there is this sea shell, this reminder of past evil that diminishes its initially insuperable force, ultimately making it bearable. And once all power of judgment has yielded to the pure remembrance of a past that no longer has any influence on us, we are ready to receive what Proust calls “the omnipotent virtue of justice”; we are ready to bring the one we loved before the law, to face the “final judgment.” It is a judgment that “we render calmly and with eyes full of tears.” The paradox is that this echo of evil derives its sweetness from the fact that it is dissociated from its source, since the shell is transportable, whereas the original evil was unbearable because it is associated with the person for whom there is nothing we have not suffered. We can truly measure up to the evil, and thereby recover our powers of judgment, at least one last time, only by hearkening to its echo. (shrink)
Kant argues at the beginning of his critical work that transcendental philosophy completely banishes anything that is merely of the order of an hypothesis. Does this rejection reveal his assurance that he, like Newton, makes no hypotheses? Newton’s famous “Hypothesis non fingo” was meant to stem the multiplication of redundant hypotheses in mathematical physics. Thus, according to Newton, a Cartesian vortex dragging material particles into itself does not really explain the motion of the particles. The problem of the origin of (...) their motion has been obscured by Descartes, because the medium happens to move in a way that is indistinguishable from the particles themselves. The point is stressed by Cotes in his preface to the second edition of Newton’s Principia. Suppose the cause of gravity is explained by means of a “subtle matter, not discernible by our sight... or any other of our senses.” Any body that moves in this medium will simply follow the figure already described by the medium. We start from a purely ideal conjecture concerning the non-sensible existence of a vortex, and we end up with the conclusion that “the meanest man may understand” the ultimate causes of nature; that is, we have never really moved away from the superficial level of immediate appearances. As for Newton’s physics itself, recent historiography has shown that numerous worthy hypotheses are used in virtually all of its areas. (shrink)
“All that we require, and which can only be given us by the present advance of the single sciences, is a chemistry of the moral, religious, aesthetic ideas and sentiments, as well as of those impulses which we experience in ourselves both in the great and in the small phases of cultural and societal intercourse, and even in solitude.” In this passage from the opening paragraph of Human, All Too Human, Nietzsche prepares the ground for the transvaluation of modern culture (...) by means of a call for a renewed and enlarged understanding of chemical science. The need is a response to the dulling of modern culture: whereas the classical world-view attempted in vain to overcome such opposites as truth and error, or life and death, by seeing them from the perspective of an immutable standpoint, the more recent historical method has merely tended to dilute them in some supposedly fundamental element. Why does chemistry provide the model for the forthcoming transvaluation? (shrink)
Husserl credited Riemann for bringing the modern idea of “mathesis universalis‘ to its realization. Going beyond the logical ideal of a theory of all possible forms of theories, this paper explores the phenomenological sense of intrinsically physical geometry. Starting from Kant, how can we follow the thread of transcendental idealism in the search for the hidden presuppositions of this kind of geometry? This is achieved by reflecting on the paradigmatic experience of the earth at rest in our primary lifeworld.
Husserl's phenomenological reduction is aimed at disclosing, the potentialities of a transcendental ego as absolute ground of any possible knowledge. This absolute ground is impossible to attain in the natural attitude of the naive, non-reduced lifeworld. But the reduction is exposed to a difficulty of principle, since the language of the transcendental ego cannot be other than ordinary language. However, instead of dismissing the validity of the reduction, this problem reveals how much the transcendental ego's alienation in the natural world (...) is part of its transcendental meaning. (shrink)
Even though the concept of right is not empirical, Kant does not deduce right in a transcendental manner. If in conformity with the rational principles of transcendental philosophy, we try to understand why this is so, the answer may be found in an analogy with aesthetic reflection. Indeed, aesthetic reflection might contain the transcendental ground of violence in civil society.