Heidegger's Philosophy of Science

By Trish Glazebrook | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

"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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Heidegger's Philosophy of Science
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Abbreviations xi
  • Heidegger's Philosophy of Science xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: Metaphysics, Mathematics, and Science 14
  • 2: Experiment and Representation 65
  • 3: Science in the Institution 119
  • 4: Ancient Science 163
  • 5: Science and Technology 207
  • Bibliography 255
  • Index 267
  • Index of Greek Expressions 277
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