Philosophical Balance

The Analytic/Continental distinction in philosophy is an endless treasure trove of meaning for those interested in a study of truer considerations of how reality would be fundamentally situated. For myself, my impression of mathematics has increased as of late and I feel it has a closer relationship to hermeneutics than before; Husserl had studied math extensively after all and also my feeling about this is also more so after having read Quine’s very illustrative essay “Ontological Relativity”(Columbia University Press, 1969). But Ontology as taken from Heidegger’s perspective at least would certainly not be mathematics, this is because the outlook on which some area may be based must be completely freed for that area to evolve of its own accord ex. Geology and Abstract Expressionist painting are independent of each other and do not need a common basis for each area of inquiry to do the tasks that it does. Each field has a separate “being” and does not need any  more unifying principle than that, so numerically these need not be associated with each other. Yet metaphysical naturalism asserts that the universe would be basically knowable through mathematical modelling. So a fissure of rock and a group of paintings might not be similar as  numerical phenomena but yet they are both there, together in some way. Philosophy should seek to understand why something might be rendered, through an empirical outlook and yet be an aspect of being, as Being-in-the-World as this is understood through the sense given, at least in Sein und Seit.

To dig deeper into this apparent rift between the two subject areas requires that we consider how the relationship evolved and how it stands today. Wittgenstein says “That of which we cannot speak, thereof we must be silent.” and yet, a dialogue persists between the Analytic and phenomenological outlooks. Hans-Georg Gadamer places great emphasis back onto language in “Truth and Method”(1960), so though we are brought back into traditional hermeneutics through this text the responsibility to limit our inquiry through language only, is also expressed here. The dialogue continues, and this is because though we can never escape language(or possibly mathematics) as a fundamental expression of reality, the ideas that are more evocative of what that most basically says are, housed there. And yet empirical ideas, repudiate metaphysics; but a conceptual “idea” is just not some, thing per se. So pure empiricism sort of becomes like a driverless car, it has direction but no controls and your journey through reality loses the most basic attribute of a narrative, something that’s adjusted through a writing structure, or controls over where and what language does. Phenomenological thinking basically resists automated thought, it is evocative of thought as a plan, act, doing or contructedness; the creator of language is more emphatically expressed as a phenomenological word. Concepts are the basis of these words, and unlike Locke, phenomenology would say that language would be based in a concept at its inception, not just empirically informative things. Kant says “Concepts without intuitions are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind”, and this indicates why a metaphysical structure also, permits that language itself be made into speech. But to put the relationship back to rights as Gadamer would put that, language is that through which the descriptive metaphysical process takes place. So for example you might say “The sky is blue, I am merry” but the brightness of the sky would not be knowable if there were not some increment or gradient through which, a bright or blue sky might be considered as such. Language makes the description possible, metaphysical structure does the describing. Hence the adjective “blue” is not just a basically empirical idea but there are other colors that are encountered necessarily along with that, not just rod and cone receptors in the eyes but, a spectrum that is kept somewhere other than just the eyes(perhaps in thought, the center of perception). This does not say that anybody who would be questioned about a set of colors from anywhere would also, thereby have a full conception of a color theory. But the ability to make small distinctions would certainly suggest that to some extent, ex. how many colors would Eskimo peoples have for cloudy skies or varieties of snow? Yet they would never really have seen Autumn or Summer and would not know how color presents itself in, a Van Gogh or Monet painting? So the empirical idea of what, specifically would be bound up with experience would not necessarily be necessary for a great variety of what might be empirically described to be possible. Watching the weather forecaster does not require that you have yourself experienced the greater reaches of weather, you have a more concept laden idea of that, as storms, cold fronts, winds, rains, hail, snow, wind chill are all made comparative to each other. Weather is a conceptualized idea at its base too, and its report is merely a matter of language that embodies ideas of that phenomenon as something that could be cognitively real.

Analytic ideas provide much in the way of providing a basic picture of reality but, not much more. That reality might be conceived as some sort of picture idea, does not itself say though how, and by what variety of increment that picture would be constituted. The continued dialogue between Phenomenological views and Analytic discourse will help to fill out more and, make richer an otherwise perhaps overly laconic description of reality. Reality has a color and that color must be balanced, evocative, perspicuous and threshed out with a fuller vivacity.