Heidegger's Philosophy of Science

Heidegger's Philosophy of Science

Heidegger's Philosophy of Science

Heidegger's Philosophy of Science

Synopsis

This book concerns itself with an issue that is not sufficiently addressed in the literature: Heidegger's philosophy of science. Although a great deal of attention is paid to Heidegger's later critique of technology, no one has systematically studied how he understood "science." Many readers will be surprised to learn, through this book, that Heidegger developed the essentials of a fairly sophisticated philosophy of science, one that in many ways invites comparison with that of Thomas Kuhn. Glazebrook demonstrates that Heidegger's philosophy of science is not neatly divided into "early" and "late" (or "Heidegger I" and "Heidegger II") but is, rather, an ongoing development over at least three periods, bound together as an analysis of modern science and an uncovering of other possibilities for understanding nature. Glazebrook states in her introduction, "This reading of Heidegger is radical. It cuts to the root of his thinking, for I argue that what are taken to be Heidegger's many and significant contributions to philosophy--that is, his overcoming of metaphysics, his rereading of the ancients, his critique of technology and representational thinking, his vision and revision of language, truth, and thinking--have at their core an inquiry into science that drove his thinking for sixty years. I am not arguing for a new reading of a few texts, or for adjustments and refinements of existing readings of Heideggger. Rather, I am bringing to light a new basis on which to interpret his work as a whole."

Excerpt

"On the longest day he ever lived," said Father Richardson, "Heidegger could never be called a philosopher of science" (1968:511). What exactly does it mean, to be a philosopher of science? the label received widespread adoption only in the late 1950s, and one of the few things philosophers of science agree upon is that the discipline is not clearly demarcated. the breadth and diversity of philosophy of science is due in large part to the fact that the term "science" itself covers a wide range of practices and modes of thought. Social science, for example, may be no more scientific than the sociology of science is philosophical, or just as scientific as the latter is philosophical. One thing is clear: the task of the philosopher of science is, at least in part, to ask what constitutes science.

Heidegger is certainly a philosopher of science in this respect. Over several decades he explores the thesis that science is the mathematical projection of nature. From its incipience in "Der Zeitbegriff in der Geschichtswissenschaft," to its full formulation in Being and Time, to the analysis of representation in "The Age of the World Picture," to the entanglement with technology in What Is Called Thinking?, to the setting up of the real in "Science and Reflection," the idea that science is the mathematical projection of nature runs throughout Heidegger's work as a background against which his critique of modernity unfolds. This conception of science binds together his thinking of the question of science over sixty years.

The several analyses of science that Heidegger undertakes during his life have been remarked on and described, but never interpreted as a coherent movement throughout his thought. John Caputo has argued that there are two essences of science in Heidegger's work: a hermeneutic one and a deconstructive one. the former he uncovers in Being and Time and suggests is an "existential genealogy" (1986:44), inseparably bound to an alleg-

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