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. Gadamer and Hermeneutics: Science, Culture, and Literature, Continental Philosophy. Continental Philosophy IV. Ed. by Hugh Silverman. New York: Routledge, 1991. Pp. 213-228 (also trans. into Hungarian in 20001).
Hermeneutical Phenomenology and the Philosophy of Science
Patrick A. Heelan Department of Philosophy State University of New York Stony Brook, NY 11794
PART I: Continental and Analytic Philosophy of Science Compared
By "continental philosophy," I mean particularly eidetic, existential, and hermeneutical phenomenology, and to a lesser extent critical theory and structuralism.1 By "analytic philosophy of science," I mean Logical Positivism and Logical Empiricism and work inspired by a peculiarly Anglo-American appropriation of the work of Wittgenstein, Frege, and the Vienna and Berlin Circles. This constitutes the mainstream of the philosophy of science in English speaking countries. The two most characteristic interests of continental philosophy are (1) its preoccupation with the problem of the "constitution" of knowledge, and (2) the effect of the historical and cultural world context of science on the "social constitution" of scientific knowledge. By constitution, I mean the transcendental processes by which knowledge is constructed and presented to the knower as given by the world for the knower's acceptance or rejection. Unlike semantical analysis which is concerned with the analysis of meaning, constitution analysis is concerned with the origins of meaning. Such constitution is "hermeneutical," when it essentially involves language, natural and artifactual symbols, and historical communities of interpreters. Continental philosophy from the start sees science as an institution in a cultural, historical, and hermeneutical setting. The domain of its discourse is values, subjectivity, Life-Worlds, history, society, power as these affect the constitution of scientific knowledge, and its notion of truth is that which pertains to history, political power, and culture. Its concern with science is to interpret its historical conditions within human society--usually in Western culture.2 Science, from this perspective, is a human, social--and fallible--enterprise.
Hermeneutics and Philosophy of Science
Oh! So fallible as revealed by the experience of two World Wars and their aftermath in Europe! Could it be, some ask,3 that the scientific enlightenment and the optimism it encouraged are no more than illusions nourished by a neurotic historical transcendental unconscious? A concern of continental philosophy of science, then, will include social failure as a possible indictment of scientific practice. In contrast, the most characteristic interest of analytic philosophy is its concern with objectivity and truth, and its preference for the methods of formal logic. An analytic philosopher is typically a Tarskian semanticist buoyed by a mastering enthusiasm particularly for mathematics and the physical sciences, as the privileged pathway to literal non-hermeneutical truth about reality. There are many analytic philosophers today, such as S. Toulmin, D.Davidson, I. Hacking, H. Putnam --to mention just a few-- who have broader interests, nevertheless, the differences I have described colors differentially everything that is spoken about science by the two styles of philosophy. Analytic philosophy from the start sees science as mankind's most successful truth enterprise, the fulfilment of a classical Aristotelian --and Platonic--desire for perfect knowledge, theoria.4 Analytic philosophy-before its widespread decline into relativism--had confidence in the power of abstract reason and of experimental methods to discover the objective truth that is beyond history, culture, values, subjectivity, and power.5 The logic and methodologies of the physical sciences are generally not a matter of dispute for continental philosophy, with respect to these questions, continental philosophers generally defer to the experts who it assumes are to be found among analytic philosophers of science.6 It is important to note this widespread surface agreement about the "logic of science," because it focusses the area of dispute on the principal domain of difference, that is of metaphysics:--the metaphysics of the human knower, the metaphysics of the world as known, and of the act of knowing. In particular, the dispute comes to a focus on whether science is capable of delivering a metaphysics of nature of a classical sort or whether science is historically and socially constituted for some goal that is less than metaphysics-- more precisely, less than a classical metaphysics. Analytic philosophy generally defends the fundamental position that science is a privileged kind of knowledge, not deriving from and responsible to the projects and values of the Western cultural world or--to use Sellars's term--to the Manifest Images of our culture.7 Instead, it constitutes a socially and historically
of course. But how is science socially constituted? What kind of knowledge does it achieve? Continental philosophy will find the goal of science not in a metaphysics of nature but in society's pursuit of "technical" human interest."10 was. which (it is alleged) is not constituted by society and over which (it is alleged) society consequently has no responsibility or control. his cognitive interest differs from that of the natural philosophy of the Greeks or the Renaissance and. scientific knowledge has value and significance predominantly--though certainly not exclusively--because of the power it confers. is an attempt to account for the modern phenomenon that within the context of Western culture and history. that is. Its claim that natural science is deficient. The modern natural scientist must be guided by a technical interest in the sense of this apriori dependency of the problems upon instrumental verification. This Scientific Image of the world is truly then a classical metaphysics of nature. says Maurice MerleauPonty. for either society constitutes. however. from the divergent practical interest and world engagement that lies at the basis of the so-called 'human sciences'. the whole of the exact natural sciences differ. more reliable than any given so far. Science too must have a social constitution and. and has responsibility for all of them."11 Let us first examine the sense of its rejection of science. a social conscience. other avenues of social appropriation. In this supra-individual. or there is some privileged institution--once the Church but now--science. Edmund Husserl's directive "to return to the things themselves. Third. And in this methodologically relevant interest. that of Goethe or the romantics. or Fourth World communities separated geographically. or for Second.9 Much of this paper will be directed towards taking issue with this statement.Hermeneutics and Philosophy of Science Page # independent account of reality. religiously. Such claims made about the privileged status of science come in conflict with the philosophical analysis of science as a social institution. as well within the Western community. quasi-objective connection. and culturally from the West. in turn. The latter conclusion is deeply troubling to the modern Western conscience remembering its recent political coming of age in which the Divine Right of patriarchal Princes and matriarchal Church were fought so stubbornly for the sake of freedom for societies to determine their own political lives and destiny. gives normative form to all its institutions. however. I shall conclude that this prevalent Western mode of appropriation of science leaves open.8 As Apel says. "from the start a rejection of science. above all. .
economic self-interest and other forms of bias and prejudice. a river is. Consequently. they are models or metaphors useful in a merely technical way to manipulate people and things. prairies. because they are imperceptible. and rivers are scientific entities. it is the pervasive background or pre-understanding present in all human dealings with things and people. I shall call it just "world". But there is a more fundamental question that is often overlooked. but how the entities of science--imperceptible to the unaided senses--relate to reality. because it alone contains objective truth and represents reality as it is unaffected by religious or racial myths.Hermeneutics and Philosophy of Science Page # Firstly. a prairie. the Phenomenology of Perception. they are just mathematical surrogates for real objects. political. like map making [ge3'ographie] relative to the countryside in which we already know what a forest. Continental philosophy's strenuous rejection of scientistic claims is motivated by one of its fundamental metaphysical positions: reality is the Life World. Since it is the entities of science mentioned in theory which give to science its explanatory power. for the question is not which heals best. and that forests. social. This is the context of perceived nature and of social realities constituted by moral. As Merleau-Ponty expressed this in a famous rhetorical passage in the preface of an early work. The attack on scientism then is an attack on the metaphysical and moral claims of rational objective knowledge such as science claims to be. it is a rejection of scientism: this is a certain presumption widespread in our culture and in the scientific disciplines that the scientific account of the world is unique and privileged. This is a philosophical conclusion. historical forces. it is the true account. It states its position: if reality is the world. scientific objects are an "abstract and derivative sign-language. whether a classical metaphysics is possible or rather whether reality should be taken to be socially constituted. Merleau-Ponty's judgment about science is typical of continental philosophy. political expediancy. then the world is presupposed by science. To hold it does not mean as some have argued with irritation that continental philosophers should prefer quacks and alchemists to modern medicine. they are nothing in the world. and religious intentions.but to the world for its concrete reference."12 Although one might dispute the suggestion that science is like a map. and science inevitably returns --not to theory-. then one can only conclude that scientific entities do not belong to the marketplace of the world. if and insofar as scientific accounts are truly objective (remembering that continental and analytic philosophy generally agree in this description of the goal of science!). . we are impelled to ask: what are they in reality? Continental philosophy concludes that.
Husserl. for example. Jurgen Habermas. he says. the theory of theory is model theory). Among them were Felix Klein.Cartesian or "Galilean" -. the later Martin Heidegger." advocated that the leadership of physics pass to mathematicians: for him. While he agreed with the theoretical orientation of the Go3"ttingen School of physics.14 led the phenomenological attack on the entrenched objectivism of current scientific belief and practice. 16 Hilbert. which was to take a look at scientific research as a human way of being-in-the-world.Hermeneutics and Philosophy of Science Page # Among those who conduct the attack on science along these lines are the early Merleau-Ponty from whom I have quoted. A closer reading of this late work.metaphysics that was assumed by Hilbert and his colleagues. Hans-Georg Gadamer. in The Crisis of European Science and Transcendental Phenomenology. however. Richard Courant. and from this viewpoint to make a philosophical re-evaluation of natural science. and "realized" with the aid of .and all science-. however. Such a view--let us call it the "Go3"ttingen view"-. seemed evident to him. the definitive understanding of physical nature is to be provided by theories which have the form of axiomatic mathematical systems of equations. and Hermann Weyl. That the metaphysics of science enriched the perceptual world with genuine-. as the Euclidean character of the physical world.17 Theory making-. During his years at Go3"ttingen (1901-1916).13 Many would include in this group the later Husserl who.19 are normed by theory (Euclidean geometry). Husserl was a friend and colleague of the brilliant circle of mathematician-physicists who were to transform physics-.in this century. Phenomenology and Natural Science: By contrast.was shared by Husserl: the theory of theories.axiomatic in thrust-. Hermann Minkowski. made a distinction between theory-making (as the method of physics) and metaphysics (as the traditional goal of science). with the motto "physics is too difficult for physicists. shows that the critique of scientific objectivity had another and more positive aim. he disagreed with the underlying-. Husserl charged that such science attempted to replace the world with a set of mathematical models and made the mistake of confusing the being of the world with the being of mathematical models.often new-scientific phenomena.became central to the method of the new physics.15 The later Husserl should be counted as the leader of this secondary movement. this secondary movement springing from Husserl's Crisis gives to science a world building character. but their preeminent leader was David Hilbert. Karl-Otto Apel.18 Such scientific phenomena. in our terms. Emmy Noether. is the axiomatic theory of Mannigfaltigkeiten (roughly. and the legions of Herbert Marcuse's and Friedrich Nietzsche's followers.
where the "things themselves" of science are not now theoretical entities but the genuine worldly phenomena of science (whatever these may be) which "fulfill" theory. A new philosophy of science.as fulfilled (or--because the sense of this term is not yet clear-. an alternative is suggested to the purely instrumentalist interpretation of science as merely serving technical interests. Whatever they are.as Merleau-Ponty said-. there are two superficially opposing views about science. It is these instruments which produce (or "corral") for scientific observation the scientific phenomena. They agree fundamentally about the nature of the human subject as a social and historical being embodied-."fulfilled")--in and through perception. with values and history. . in this case. Among them also one could make a case for the Heidegger of Being and Time22 and for the Merleau-Ponty of The Visible and the Invisible. At a deeper level. inspired by phenomenology and hermeneutics. then. can begin to address the experience (as Husserl would say) of the "things themselves" of science. these views complement one another. How scientific phenomena "fulfil" theory is the key question that will be discussed below. like all the furniture of the world. such scientific phenomena enter the world as socially-constituted items.25 about reality as the world. they are perceptual phenomena that (in some sense to be better understood) "fulfill" Euclidian theory.24 Within phenomenology.in detachable and undetachable sensory organs. and wearing the accoutrements of social power or (as the case may be) impotence. laden. the second attempts to correct that mistaken ideology by showing that scientific inquiry can and should be understood as constituted by the basic situation of the human being-inthe-world. Such a view lays the groundwork for a new scientific realism.23 Some contemporary writers in this genre are listed among the references.20 Because there are scientific phenomena in the world that "fulfill" theory. one attacks the view of science as objective theory for being a peculiar historical idealogy prevalent in the classical Western tradition of philosophy and culture. continental philosophy differs profoundly from contemporary mainstream analytic philosophy of science. 21 First among these is to be numbered the later Husserl.even of "theoretical states"-. of physical geometry. In these three respects.Hermeneutics and Philosophy of Science Page # scientific technologies of construction and measurement in the world. and about knowledge-. Such phenomena are not ideal purely geometrical entities.
They also assume the primacy of perception for establishing world. of course) to yield the privilege it ordinarily gives to theoretical scientific descriptions. I take perception to be that form of knowing. that there are (more primitive) non-Euclidean (one could call them "Aristotelian") visual phenomena.26 In the first place.be corrected and enriched by attention to the phenomenological constitution of the perceptual horizons it (ordinarily) designates. mediated-hermeneutically. interpreted through the resources of a historically developing natural language. and on the basis of such a principle I called on our home language (contemporary Anglo-American. Its philosophical starting-point is the reflexive discovery that the human subject is defined by a set of orientations towards an already established cultural and historical world (Life-World). and they are hermeneutical. I point out 1. As subjective a priori it defines humans as being-in-the world. as objective fulfilment of possible human experience it is the object of possible perceptual acts and as such defines the reality horizons of the historical world. the essence of being human is defined as a practical understanding of a historical world. the geometry of measurement. that is. This is a principle of the primacy of perception over ordinary language. By this I meant that one's home language (ordinary language) could-. "being-in-the-world. concerned with language and its extensions which provide both for mystery and for historical development in the uncovering of truth. and the objective fulfilment of human experience. as I shall hold--by a subject's practical bodily insertion in historical world situations.Hermeneutics and Philosophy of Science Page # PART II: Hermeneutical Phenomenology Hermeneutical phenomenology shares with phenomenology a set of characteristic concerns. In my Space-Perception and the Philosophy of Science.27 In the second place. that novel scientific states are . 3. they never lose sight of the polarity between human questioners and world. the characteristic methods of phenomenology are reflective. The illustration I used was visual space where Euclidean geometry. the experience of being a human subject--is that of being-in-the-world. 2. an understanding that is worked out in and through language and other signs.and should-. Human existence--that is.28 I put forward a certain primacy of perception over langauge. has been given privilege in describing it. in which reality horizons (horizons of the world) disclose themselves to subjects as referents for language. that there is often disparity between the perceptually constituted "shape" of a phenomenon (note the Husserlian use of the term "phenomenon") and how our home language permits us to describe it. Phenomenological inquiry then is determined by the polarity expressed by the phrase." World is both a subjective historical a priori of human experience.
. among its perceivers and 2. One scientifically inspired way of analysing the essence or eidos of a perceptual object is provided by Husserl's method of the variation of profiles. Using this analogy. that such novel scientific phenomena are not phenomenologically theory-laden but praxis-laden. antecedently to all language. not by theory alone. among its profiles for each perceiver.31 This takes the eidos or inner horizon to be the symmetry or invariant of an organized system of perceptual profiles. 4. There are no primitive sensory data given to conscious awareness antecedently to all classification. (\ / ) ( \ / ) Perceivers ( ( /\ noesis (/ \O3/ ) noema ) Profiles ( / \ ) \) Figure 1: The perceptual object O is the symmetry or invariant relative to the group of profiles and perceivers. but by the skilled artistically sensitive use of readable technologies. a perceptual object (under the method of profile variation) comes to be defined as the symmetry or invariant of the transformation group 1. and consequently. of the coordinate reference frames in which it can be represented and 2. a profile being the way an object appears to a situated perceiver.30 To the contrary.29 and. Is the primacy of perception just another form of the well-worn and rightly debunked Myth of the Given? But no! The Myth of the Given which is rightly debunked is the Myth of the Empiricist Given associated with the naive empiricist principle that sensory data comprise the content to which conceptual understanding gives form. of its representations within its coordinate frames. Husserl belonged to the Go3"ttingen School of mathematician-physicists and was familiar with Felix Klein's Erlanger Programme in which a geometrical object was defined in a new way as a figural symmetry or invariant under the spatial tranformation group 1.Hermeneutics and Philosophy of Science Page # constituted as new perceptual phenomena. in phenomenological analysis a perceptual object is already a complex symmetry (see below) as well as a semantic object connected to a network of semantic relations.
the viewer can move around the chair in the reciprocal way to experience the same profiles in the same order.32 To be more precise. The former objective version of the transformation (called "active" by physicists). that is. the latter subjective version of the transformation (called "passive" by physicists) changes the perceiver in the reciprocal way. one that joins the . there is a correlative transformation of the perceiver (from one posture or situation to another) that leaves the (profile of the) object untransformed. The object then is the symmetry shared by perceivers (relative to their situations and postures) and profiles (relative to the multiplicity of their appearances to any perceiver). and when taken subjectively defines the subject. and consequently. it is a symmetry they both share. changes the object.involve the use of instruments.Hermeneutics and Philosophy of Science Page # Note that the perceptual object lies "in between" perceivers and profiles (see figure 1). in order to elevate the quality of the knowledge toward apodicticity)." It is clear from this account that a perceptual object is neither a sensory datum nor a formal construction out of sensory data. alternatively. the eidos of a perceptual object is linked to subjective "kinaestheses" (and possibly to the uses of external technologies) and to the underlying computational and other controls that govern these "kinaestheses.33 Consequently. This is the way noesis and noema "mirror" one another. already a semantic object tied in to a network of established (but revisable) semantical relations. Consider. how a viewer views a chair: the chair can be set in motion to exhibit in a certain order its spatial profiles or. for example. 2. but 1. the conditions (Husserl calls them "kinestheses") in the perceiver which make it possible for the subject actively to explore the presence (or absence) of the object in perceptual experience and to test that experience (for example. How does a scientific phenomenon come to "fulfill" its theoretical account in an act of observation? For an act of observation to take place. an existential mediation is required.and would ordinarily for scientific inquiry-. the two versions of the transformation group are (what mathematicians call) two "representations" or "models" of one and the same basic abstract group. These conditions may-. It is one and the same basic transformation group which. a symmetry within an established (but revisable) perceptual praxis. when taken objectively defines the object. By this I mean that to every transformation of the object (from one profile to another) that leaves the (posture or situation of the) perceiver untransformed.
and thematizing account.Hermeneutics and Philosophy of Science Page # observer to the observed object by a causal link.and how is the "score" implemented? These questions are answered by a parallel study made from a standpoint "outside" S.'s.x.'s. based on a mathematical-experimental praxis.34 Such an account of the link between measured phenomena and theory. one that looks on perception actively as performance within a given outer horizon. and the question naturally arises. in a given medium. but rather in the Heideggerian sense of giving an abstractive. What is the nature of this mediating link and what kind of mediation is supposed? The classical tradition of physics from Galileo to Hilbert and from Newton to the Go3"ttingen School assumed that the link was measurement.e. and others have shown.38 Secondly.. objectivizing. i.'s act of perception in a scientific-explanatory way.x.t. that measurement processes were perfectible. plays a characteristic scientific theoretical or explanatory role. Such an analysis supposes that there is another human standpoint S.39 The subject who performs such a study is S.t. (see figure 2). however.35 Theory is never uniquely determined by data. The new inquirer is S. Hesse. How the eidos comes to be implemented in a particular medium at a given time and place is the subject of a different kind of inquiry.36 I shall explore below the view that there is a hermeneutical link37 between theory and data and that this link is to be understood partly on the model of language and partly on the model of that kind of interpretation which is exemplified in artistic performance. The outcome of such an analysis may look in some respects like a theory of the phenomenon. from which a scientific theoretical study can be launched of the structural and semiotic conditions pertinent to the performance of the act . An appropriate method for the inquiry into the eidos or inner horizon of O is a phenomenology such as Husserl's. different from S. this is a phenomenological (I also call it an "experimental") study. principally of phenomena or perceptual objects.x. The constitution of a perceptual object O is studied from a standpoint "inside" the constituting act by the one experiencing the phenomenon.x.t. that is. indeed that they were infinitely perfectible converging in the limit on the one objective and true theoretical scientific model. Such a study focusses on the "kinesthetic" and information-theoretic structure of the act of perception treating this as a special kind of human performance in the world. which focusses on S. it is not necessarily theoretical in the modern scientific sense. if so.. Even Husserl took this to be the case. The result of such a phenomenology may be the recognition that ordinary ways of speaking about O need to be revised. is mistaken as Duhem. S. does it have a "score"--something like a musical score-. a word about constitution or object formation.
." a semiotic system--that directs the performance of the perceptual act." However. Such a theory is a kind of "musical score" that is implemented in the world by S. It has to be studied by a scientific theoretical-explanatory analysis reaching into the conditions of possibility of the act of perception as a hermeneutical act of performance (see figure 2). While S.Its product is a scientific theory.is hermeneutical in a new and existential way.a "score. of O by S. but that is assumed). we make the following suppositions: 1.-. and such an explanation has the principal features of a modern scientific explanation.there is some underlying embodied representation-. How such a theory is implemented in the world in a particular medium at a particular place and time constitutes the account of the existential hermeneutic of perception. experiences the phenomenon.PA ." a "text. that within the structure of perception itself--from the standpoint now of S. Guided by the view that making perceptual sense of the world is a hermeneutical enterprise of the kind described.'s perception.-. as we shall see.x. that the constitution of a perceptual object--in this case. Such a semiotic system is an ontological structure of S. S.x.x. 2.'s act of perception. How performance is related to its "score" at a given time and place and in a given medium-. its indirect object is the object of this perception.'s act in an appropriate way--actually (we surmise) according to the way a performance is guided by its "score.t. This is the scientific-explanatory theory of the perceptual object.within a given outer horizon-. . "explains" the phenomenon. through performance.x. perceiving nor to a phenomenological analysis by S.is interpretative (eidetic too as to its kind.x.. and as a consequence.x. but it addresses the perceptual object only indirectly by describing the formal semiotic conditions that govern any perceptual performance that terminates in such an object. Such a scientific explanatory "theory of the perceptual object" does not describe the perceptual object directly.t.Hermeneutics and Philosophy of Science Page # of perception. O. The direct object of this analysis is S.x. It directs the eidetic functions of S. still less does it reduce the perceptual object to something merely there. it is not one accessible to the perceiver S.x.
Such I take to be the hermeneutical process of the constitution of the perceptual object as such.x.x. as a kind of theory that "explains" the hammer in the hammering. the theory is the hammer-eidos or inner horizon.x.t.t. and for S. The implementation of theory in a particular medium means something different for S. Provisionally. but for S. It is not necessarily a "musical score" known to the perceiver but one discoverable in principle (we presume by a theoretical scientific inquiry). Consider Heidegger's example of the hammer. rather in the sense appropriate for the performance of an artist. the tool designer's blueprint. for example. we may think of perceiving as an active performance.x. but when being so used the character of being a hammer--its eidos--hides itself from the user within the transparency of the action executed. it could be any structure internal to the instrument that makes hammering possible. Whether or how in a particular situation or medium the "score" can be "played" is in addition a matter for the performer's "interpretative" skills. and the scientific theoretical-explanatory role S.x. the eidos of the hammer is implemented . theory means something different. i..40 The hammer reveals itself as hammer while it is being used for hammering.t. The eidos nevertheless is there. Such performance is also hermeneutical. The term "hermeneutics" is taken here in a new and extended sense suggested by Heidegger's transformation of phenomenological inquiry in Being and Time..( semiotic system) -> Object ^ | | | S.hides itself in the performance. We may think of perception as a noetic performance depending on a "score" which directs the implementation of an eidetic program in a given medium or directs the search for its fulfillment in a given medium. which enables the "musical score" of hammering to be performed.e. the phenomenological role S . but not in an epistemological sense.t. like making music.. Just as the performer's memory of a piece of music--the mnemonic of the music making-.. = theoretical inquirer Figure 2. Perception is hermeneutical in this new and existential sense. What "existential hermeneutic" means in the scientific-explanatory context is for the time being unclear. so the eidos of the hammer hides itself in the execution of hammering.Hermeneutics and Philosophy of Science Page # Phenomenological Inquirer S.---------------------. For S. The two modes of inquiry into perception.. For S.
it conceals itself from standpoint S.that is given phenomenologically in experience. and environmental elements.'s experience. through "tuning" the medium to the instrument and the instrument to the medium to play the "score" for hammering. and environment help "shape" the phenomenon. At the level of phenomenology then the perceiver S. to the extent that O reveals itself to standpoint S.t. In each case. belong to different cognitive communities since they are engaged in totally different causal. to express in language..'s horizons of experience are more universal than S. body.t.t. gives the following account of this implementation: a hammer is a structure for hammering. what it is--the perceptual object O-. interpretation in this latter sense is existential. nevertheless. theoretical. In a sense that will be clarified below. may or may not be aware of making an effort to interpret.t. such phenomenological "immediacy" of O to S. is compatible with an ontological structure of the act that is hermeneutical in an existential sense. i.. that is. hermeneutical. that is from the intention of realizing . S. somatic. is the perceptual "score" for hammering? One surmises that it includes neurophysiological.'s or privileged. and S.t. is acquainted with it directly and S. Rather is it the standpoint of a properly situated human researcher--usually a scientist in the modern sense-. S. as well as computational and other semiotic elements.t.Hermeneutics and Philosophy of Science Page # hermeneutically. S.x. is acquainted with it indirectly.who takes as his/her research object the structure of perception treated as an intentional activity embodied in somatic and environmental instruments. language. In relation to the object O.x.x..t. their horizons are existentially complementary. the standpoint of the scientific theoretical researcher S. nor can it be presumed that they coincide with the horizons of S.x... It is a general characteristic of perception that perception is the experience of "given presence" or "given absence. It cannot then be presumed that S.e. what for S. Returning to perception. Since a perceiver has very limited access to the way neurophysiology. where the eidos of O is explained by the "shaping" it receives from the praxis of perception.x. and existential relationships to their respective subject matters. hammering itself is a performance which is possible in a given medium only through interpretation.e. i." Perception "receives" its object from the world (from "reality") as "given" by that world or discovers its absence from that world likewise as "given" by that world. and vice versa. but then neither is it the standpoint of a transcendental ego nor of a universal mind.x.t. This is best seen from the explanatory viewpoint of S.x. presence or absence is experienced as the appropriate worldly response to the inquiring intentions of the perceiver.x. is not that of S..
They bring ideal (or seemingly transcendental) normativity to the here and now. an object with the anticipated perceptual content.x." for only on that condition will the medium and "score" succeed in presenting to S. say. What role language plays in this depends on how "language" is understood. personalities. but all the (even microscopic) somatic agencies of the perceiver and environmental clues (or responses) in the world that collaborate in making perceptual sense of the world. These intentionladen motions and environmental clues or responses are a part of language in the constitutive sense and (as I shall hold) can be studied in a scientific theoretical-explanatory way. The necessity of such "tuning" makes perception a performance and a work of artistry.x. between text and meaning.Hermeneutics and Philosophy of Science Page # in the given medium (to the extent possible and desirable) the objective transformation group. for example. "Language" in this sense as constitutive of sense must be taken to include not just words and sentences.x. Making perceptual sense of the world is an individual and social art that involves the ability (kinestheses) to perform transformative motions in a medium so that a common. One could. the "score" is (existentially) prior to what is perceived. and repeatable experience of presence or absence. for the medium must be "tuned" to the possibilities of the "score. it is also (existentially) posterior to what is constituted. shareable. they are not. sufficient for human language. perhaps. there is a certain reciprocity. of a piece of music is an interpretation of the tradition within a given musical medium. On the other hand. simply define such "shaping" as the work of "language" in which case perception would be constitutively linguistic. Such a "shaping" is interpretative in the way an artistic performance. spaces. it exercises a certain control over the possibilities of what can be presented to S.x.42 Spoken words and sentences--paroles-. On the one hand. it does not permit arbitrary objects to be constituted. and between score and performance. of successful involvement or frustration can be realized.'s) immersed in their current worldly involvements with exemplary epochs. however." 41 Consider S.belonging to the home language of a human community enrich the common experience by linking present agents and speakers (S. In every hermeneutical activity. and transactions adumbrated in the oral narrative resources of a culture. Although they may be sufficient for animal language. and . Such reciprocity is called "the hermeneutical circle. within any given perceptual medium for any given desired purpose..
and Newton. It can also bring to our attention the existence of other knowledge communities than ours with different and alien norms. Just so. what this is or should be. have past-. of sentences. Written language--language-. but) of context-dependent descriptive languages. from written language.Hermeneutics and Philosophy of Science Page # make possible a self-perpetuating community (of S. with what reason? In constraints on human agency (on what is morally possible. For these great scientists.as parole-. and the old was seen as somehow transformed in relation to the rational field of the new.43 for example. I argued in Space-Perception and the Philosophy of Science. Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions the problem of incommensurability of (especially successor) theoretical frameworks has haunted the study of science and its history.or alien-communities maintained different reality norms from ours. Galileo. with what right? In the understanding of society (whether it has a direction. and worth pursuing). have people pursued different norms. hermeneutics arises as the appropriate method to study questions of the kind: with respect to world. and if so.'s) characterized by repetitive short-term projects pursued against a background of permanent norms "given (as it were primordially)" together with the world. Such narratives permit the individual speaker to appropriate the norms of the group that share orally-. and if so. The later scornful repudiation of the Galenic tradition is rather an obstacle to our present understanding of the rational evidence that Harvey was able to perceive in his own discovery. has shown for anatomy that the older anatomical traditions were in some sense preserved and transformed in Harvey's own understanding during the progress of his anatomical studies. that such structures fit into the formal model of a lattice or quantum logic (not. and history. Copernicus. language.brings history into being by evoking the normative differences that existed between past communities and our own.S.x. the new science was seen somehow as within the field of rationality of the old.accomodation and assimilation). and who should control it). The world is now a set of projects "given" to humans within a traditional culture and to be fulfilled by repetition or reenactment (or--to use Piaget's terms-. as often taken. Thus. just.44 This led me to call for recognition of an epistemological principle normative for human knowing: disparate horizons and disparate langauges do and should seek upper bounds in an extended quantum . Challenged as we are by synchronic and diachronic pluralisms in perception. De Mey. science. culture.the same home language. can there be different legitimate views? Ever since T. Kuhn has shown for astronomy how the later scorn for Aristotelian physics obstructs our understanding of the evidentiary character of Copernicanism for its earliest proponents.
because scientific theory implies a move--an explanatory move-. is natural language a theory about the world. the latter contribute to the historical and social constitution of scientific phenomena as beings in the world. PART III: Elements of a hermeneutical and phenomenological philosophy of natural science A philosopher of science in the phenomenological or hermeneutical tradition would then be guided both in the choice of significant problems and in the manner in which these are treated by insights into constitutional problems.47 In this regard." What is meant by theory-ladeness in this context is that whatever is observed (inside or outside of science) involves things which are not directly observed but are implied by the semantic network of the language. The two processes dialogue with each other until the last word is spoken.e." 48 2. it just describes the phenomena in the world.. . into human embodied subjectivity. different from and possibly critical of those found in analytic philosophy of science for the past fifty years.46 Such scientific phenomena are "dressed" for the world by standardized scientific instruments used as readable technologies.Hermeneutics and Philosophy of Science Page # lattice. Let me mention some ways in which such a philosophy of science would be different from analytic philosophy of science. Scientific theory: One often hears today that all observation whatsoever is "theory-laden.): theory is used by S. to develop an institutionalized praxis for the preparation and presentation of phenomena. that is. our instruments are detachable organs. however. explanatory-theoretical) connections. but it is praxis-laden and the product of an interpretative art.beyond natural or naturalized perception.x. Such semantic connections are not scientific (i.) and theoretician (S. In neither sense. the new thrust would center on experimental phenomena and how they come to be constituted as perceptual objects. 1. what Merleau-Ponty says (in "Eye and Mind") is relevant: "our organs are no longer instruments. Central to this is the dual and complementary roles of experimenter (S. and into world as reality.t. but it is not a scientific explanatory theory of the natural phenomena of the world. when reflexively articulated is theoretical.45 This is one of the regulative principles suggested by a hermeneutical phenomenology of the scientific tradition. until a stable phenomenon of known symmetry is produced.x. on the contrary. to construct readable technologies. Experimental phenomena: In contrast with the dominant classical interest in scientific theory making.they are theoretical.t. and such technologies are used by S. Its semantic network. although in another sense-recognizable to Heideggerians-. Such a phenomenon is not formally theory-laden.
Hermeneutics and Philosophy of Science Page # A theory then is not just another name for a semantic network. Such processes use readable technologies to set up a correspondence between phenomena on the one hand recognized as present by S.t. it is itself world-building in that it furnishes our world with new things.x. Such a correspondence is local. contextual. 3. such embodied theories "dress" the phenomenon and such "dressing" can become the basis for a description of the phenomenon. One often reads that scientific phenomena are theory-laden. "Horizonal Realism. Theory is not just a useful conceptual model with technical applications. and within this context. Whether theories describe is problematical. Such phenomena are more aptly called "praxis-laden" than "theory-laden." This is in philosophical opposition to . Scientific theory and scientific phenomena are related within the context of a hermeneutic of sign and object. historical. and realizable only within a standard institutionalized praxis. What is meant is that observed scientific phenomena have the same names as elements of scientific theory and exhibit regularities of behavior predictable on the basis of the theory." the objects of a descriptive semantic network and the regularities among their behaviors. must become a means of seeing. The empirical reference of the mathematical theory is the set of phenomena "corralled" by the processes of preparation and measurement within local media." for the theory has become embodied in a public praxis. Perceptual Realism: The thesis of the primacy of perception entails that theory is justified by being used to introduce new scientific phenomena to the perceptual world. there to be naturalized as citizens. "explains. because of the mediation of outer horizons. Hermeneutical or Horizonal Realism: Turning to the current debates in epistemology and the philosophy of science. through standard embodiments in instruments. for in addition a scientific theory.51 4. It should not imply that one must know the theory in order to be able to recognize the named phenomena or compute the regularities among such phenomena. to emphasize the primacy of perception. there are only many-to-one and one-to-many mappings. a form of scientific realism is defended here which I call "Hermeneutical Realism" or sometimes. (the theoretician).49 When standardized. 50 Science then is not just a technique for manipulating the environment. Scientific phenomena can be empirically given by a standardized praxis without the observer having to know more about the theory than the names it uses. (the experimenter) and numbers on the other hand read from instruments by S. but they do "explain" phenomena by stating coordinate conditions which must be fulfilled by every procedure of preparation and measurement. a theory is about what underlies.
of natural and artifactual signs constituting the human body as an instrument of perception. and laden with the ambiguity of a historical perception. and common goals.55 8. and bound together--to the extent that bonds exist--by bonds of mutual trust. or abstract theories. . which mutually exclude. good will. in addition. linked by linguistic and nonlinguistic channels of intercommunication. but through human embodiments in readable technologies. The human knowledge community: The community of human knowers is then comprised --and necessarily so-. while retaining their identity. Through these. 6. scientific entities are "dressed" so as to exhibit themselves in a specific socio-cultural world as part of the furniture of this world. Modern physics: The complementarity of observational data in quantum mechanics is accounted for in this way as the expression of a common and pervasive aspect of the human being-in-theworld.52 5. including illustrations. and drawing alone do explanatory scientific entities get their social and historical constitution as realities. mathematical models. 9. 53 The spatiality of objects. simultaneous access to common experiential horizons. with the consequence that some kinds of phenomena. composed of people who have knowledge only through the hermeneutical use --methodological and existential-. language.54 7. History of science: The history of science is more than the history of scientific writings and discourse. but a reflection on the manifold historical possibilities of the human community. are characterized by complementarity understood as a consequence of the way some embodiments preclude the exercise of others. Such a Realism is not the Scientific (Theory) Realism of current philosophy of science but a Scientific (Phenomena) Realism.of irreducible complementary subcommunities.56 A hermeneutic phenomenology of being-in-the world is not then an individual subjective idealism. is a function of the embodiment and interests we bring to it. like other natural and naturalized objects of perception. there is the history of the culture of standard scientific instruments with special reference to readable technologies.Hermeneutics and Philosophy of Science Page # the Instrumentalism of many phenomenologists and critical theorists. for not through books. fail to show themselves in the same way to differently embodied inquirers. Information as hermeneutical: Information theory can and should be re-construed within the context of a methodological and existential hermeneutic of systems of signs. for example. Complementarity: Scientific phenomena. however.
they are continuous and indistinguishable. each in relation to perception with its different mode of embodiment and different hermeneutical interests--these are complementary. it would be necessary to go beyond the semantics of mere truth-functional discourse to the practical dimension of discourse.58 Where does this leave the account of explanation in the natural sciences? It shows that if explanation is limited to a. the former alone is called "explanation" and it is taken to be the characteristic of the natural sciences.57 It is clear that a more comprehensive account of the notion of explanation in the natural sciences employs both of these activities. the constitutional aspect of explanation which deals with the origins of phenomena.. If the concept of explanation were to be so enlarged.. Apel.Hermeneutics and Philosophy of Science Page # 10. and (4) among the respective communities of inquirers involved in the different phases of the inquiry. see Bubner (1981). and other continental philosophers. . In the vocabulary of Ricoeur.. then the phenomena in question cannot be natural pre-scientific phenomena as Logical Positivism and much of Logical Empiricism assumes. artistic. to the causal. The latter is called "understanding" and this is taken to be characteristic of the human sciences. In addition. but it is historical. i. However. and hermeneutical. nomological. and deductive relationships among phenomena and their descriptions.e. pp. 69-154. if the notion of explanation is enlarged (as it should) to include b. For an overview of ontemporary German work on the philosophy of science. one has to distinguish carefully between a. but naturalized scientific phenomena constituted by institutionalized processes of preparation and measurement. one would have to distinguish (2) between semantic and perceptual contexts--they are different.59 NOTES 1. then explanation is no longer just computational or derivational. and b.e. the nomological or computational aspects of explanation which deal with correlations among phenomena. and consequently to distinguish (5) between truth-functional sentential logic and a quantum logic of the existential contexts of discourse. i. See the references for a listing of some of the more important works in this tradition.. Scientific explanation: Where then does this leave the account of explanation in the natural sciences? In the first place. how scientific phenomena are constituted in local media. social. (3) between the perceptual contexts of natural world horizons (unaided by technologies) and those of naturalized world horizons in which readable technologies are used--when the last word is spoken.
Heelan (1987). such as G. for example. ix.Hermeneutics and Philosophy of Science Page # 2. see also Heelan (1987). p. M. 413. Husserl (1970c). 20. 49. (1971). Apel (1980). H. p. Marcuse. for an excellent review of Heidegger's thought on the mathesis of the natural sciences. and Kockelmans (1985) and (1986). and the works referenced below. Merleau-Ponty (1962). Habermas. Cf. Such are the background assumptions. Apel (1980). 3. 4. Foucault. 8. Cf the works of J. Cf. pp. 409-411. 252. 55. J. 10. and others. Reid (1970) 18. Quotation marks usually signify that there is something problematical about the usual meaning of the term and includes a promise to deal with the problem below--or later. Suppe (1974) for an excellent overview of the analytic tradition of the philosophy of science. 409-411. say. also prefigured in Husserl (1952). p. Husserl (1970b). viii. p. it is not. A view going back before psychoanalysis to Nietzsche and picked up later by many. p. 9. see also Pavlovic (1981). 15. 13. 16. Heidegger (1962) sees modern science as the heir to classical metaphysics. Marcuse. Cf Zucker (1982). constituted by human life but it is (according to the classical authors) a sharing of the exemplary ideas of the Demiurge. of Apel. 5. however. M. Gadamer. Gadamer (1975). Habermas. Ellul. 12. 17. Cf. See Kockelmans (1985). chapter V. 14. and Simpson (1983). Heidegger. See." Also see Gadamer's comments in (1975). Husserl (1970a). 11. Bernstein. and Zucker (1982). Sellars (1963). pp. Gadamer (1981) and (1975). Bachelard. See Husserl (1970a). my free translation. p. and others. 7. 6. Merleau-Ponty (1962). and Heidegger. the metaphysics (as he says) of the merely "present-at-hand. 19. (Aristotelian) Theoria is a disinterested form of general knowledge often taken as the ideal of science. who misreads Peirce in this respect. .
27. Ihde. Holton. Hacking. Hubert Dreyfus. also the historical work of T. Joseph Kockelmans. and the critique of logical empiricism by J. and Simpson (1983). Fleck. Dreyfus. Toulmin. G. von Wright. R. G. and T. 22. the sociological studies of such as B. M. and Zucker. the thrust of this latter movement has much in common with a variety of contemporary Anglo-American movements (or counter-movements) that have all tended to undermine the traditional belief in the objectivity of science. Mulkay. see Seigfried (1980). for example. to mention a few. See. Polanyi. See also. See Gadamer (1975). 23. p. and Kockelmans (1985). Merleau-Ponty (1964b. 25. Compton. Rorty. and N. R. Barnes. For a study of the implications of Heidegger's early views for a philosophy of natural science. S. pp. and to give support instead to the view that science is a function of human life. Wartofsky (see Suppe. 1968). 29. Feyerabend. Kisiel (1977). but I believe all would appreciate their relevance to the basic problematic of a phenomenological philosophy of science. M. Kuhn. Grene.S. and historical-cultural-technological environment. This is a view that many recent authors have been defending after M. for example. Toulmin (1960. . Compton. Gary Gutting. S. David Hemmendinger. Marjorie Grene. P. Hans Seigfried. 1981). Heidegger (1962). Among writers currently working in the genre of a phenomenological philosophy of natural science are.S. Elizabeth Stro3"ker. Shapin. for example. See Heelan (1983a) and (1988). Kisiel. 28. M. M. and M. 30. Hesse. the referenced works of Compton. 24. 1974 for summary).Hermeneutics and Philosophy of Science Page # 21. Fleck. also Pavlovic (1981). Sellars (1963). Bloor. Kuhn. 1972). Hanson. social values. Latour. Despite its different vocabulary. and Francis Zucker. G. Wolfe Mays. Woolgar (see Knorr-Cetina. Don Ihde. Polanyi. 178. Cartwright. Merleau-Ponty (1964b). 397-431. 26. D. and S. Robert Crease. Among those who notably fail to exploit aggressively the positive implications of the insight that the standpoint of science cannot be objective and universal is. for example. Not all of these would agree with the positions here enuntiated.and L. Laudan. pp. N. L. I. 409-411. Gadamer. to mention just a few. Merleau-Ponty (1964a). Joseph Rouse. John J. Theodore Kisiel. who share this project. Galison. cf Gadamer (1975). P. L. Holton. Ricoeur (1981). B.
also.Hermeneutics and Philosophy of Science Page # 31. See Kockelmans (1985). It is in fact characteristic of a successful hermeneutic that the signs disappear from the objective field. however. Existential hermeneutics is the name for the ontological character of human understanding. I make a terminological distinction between "datum" and "phenomenon". 33. see Husserl (1952). the difficulty of linguistic studies suggests this. it may be difficult to recover anew or perhaps uncover for the first time the objective system of signs that is being used. 35. thus. e. The nature of this mediation is suggested by the view of the early Heidegger that all human knowledge is existentially hermeneutical. 36. as it has been bymost writers in the phenomenological tradition. a datum is to a phenomenon as a profile is to a perceptual object. 37. 22 for the critique of technology that follows from this position. 1970a). . Duhem (1954) and Hesse (1980) on the underdetermination of theory by data. as a culmination of the classical tradition. See Heelan (1987). Once a sign system is used successfully. For the notions of essence and specific essence. See Wigner (1967) for a physicist's account of the importance of transformation groups in physics. they become transparent and do not occupy a place in the objective perceptual field. and Ricoeur (1981). it may sometimes be the case that the signs were never presented or understood as a system antecedent to being used interpretatively. The constituting role of scientific technologies has generally been overlooked wherever science has been accepted. 34. Heelan (1983b).. Methodological hermeneutics is the traditional discipline which concerns itself with the meaning of signs. data. Once the signs are successfully interpreted. See also Heelan (1987) for an interpretation of these as related to the representations of active and passive transformation groups. A perceptual essence is for Husserl the invariant (noematic) law among the set of profiles (perspectives) through which a perceptual object reveals itself to a perceiver who explores it actively (noetically) with his or her body. 32. provide the profiles of the phenomenon X that is being measured.See Heidegger (1962)in which existential hermeneutics is introduced. See Bleicher (1980) for a general overview. See Husserl (1952. for the last point. Heidegger (1977) begins with a critique of modern science and modern technology and eventually ends with something like the kind of resolution which lies at the basis of this paper. sect.g. I have proposed to give an account of this as structured by a relationship between objects meant and the underlying codes to which they are related. a set of measured values of X.
For Gadamer's view on the role of language in the making of a human world. such as Hanson and Churchland. However. especially 1. 188-195. pp. and so the choice between the frames they offer to describe the sun is no more than a matter of convention. See Hanson (1961).1825. also Gadamer (1975). 48.228-2. A particular "dressing" is a particular set of perceptual profiles constituting a particular perceptual essence for the scientific entity. Heelan (1983a). see Peirce (1931-1958). The Heideggerian notion of theory. See Heidegger (1962).Hermeneutics and Philosophy of Science Page # 38. . 6f. and Churchland (1979). 43. p. chapters 10 and 13. for example. see Gadamer (1975). Cf Heidegger (1962). 45. See. 192-201. 397-447. 1. there is a truly scientific difference between sun-centred and earth-centred theories because these are related to different laws of dynamics. See Heelan (1983a). for their treatment of this question. 44. vol. Dreyfus (1980).338. 47. 49. not revolutionary and with nothing to do with complementarity. p. 11. pp.184. 188-195. 42. Heidegger (1962).353. 125-190. make an analogous claim that science transforms the way we perceive the world. the discussion in Suppe (1974). 46. pp. say. pp. 41. 51. for the interpretative character of perception and science. See Peirce (1931-1958). as found. in Heidegger (1977) and the later works. chap. chap. Peirce on "Thirdness". instead of Kepler and Tycho Brahe for in the latter case the evidence was merely kinematical. 50.308. one would chose to compare Aristotle (and the old dynamics) with Newton (and the new dynamics). Many. also 2. See Heelan (1983c) and (1988).212. and Heelan (1983a). 40. See De Mey (1982). 178. 5. The "dressing" analogy is not to be pushed too far. Cf. pp. 98. Heelan (1983a). 15. pp.189-5. 30-35. this is also a position held by Peirce. pp.3001. 1. see 5. To find a valid argument. is well articulated in Kockelmans (1985) and (1986). there is no "naked" entity. Merleau-Ponty (1964b). that something--a sign--is taken to stand for something--an object--by an interpretant--the act of interpretation by a community of interpreters. just as there is no "naked" perceptual essence.. 39. The argument they present is based solely on the kinematical aspects of the prescientific and scientific theories.
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