Advertisement

Science, Lifeworld, and Realism

An Ethical Critique of Scientific “Objectivism”
  • Sami Pihlström
Chapter
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 320)

Abstract

The picture of science as aiming at empirically supported descriptions and explanations of an objective, mind-independent, and value-neutral reality is deeply rooted in our culture. This picture has, however, been severely criticized by major thinkers representing various philosophical traditions: Edmund Husserl on the basis of transcendental phenomenology,1 William James and John Dewey on the basis of pragmatism,2 and Ludwig Wittgenstein (Investigations) on the basis of his conception of language-games as the location of all linguistic meaning — not to speak about the postmodernist and neopragmatist streams of thought fashionable today. The critique can be summarized as the thesis that a pre-scientific lifeworld — or “form of life”, or practice — is an a priori grounding, or a transcendental condition, of the scientific enterprise.3 The very idea of describing and explaining natural phenomena taking place in an objective, spatio-temporal reality is grounded in the deeper idea of there being certain structuring conditions for the world which human beings experience in the course of their actions. As Husserl writes:

Der Transzendentalismus [...] sagt: der Seinssinn der vorgegebenen Lebenswelt ist subjektives Gebilde, ist Leistung des erfahrenden, des vorwissenschaftlichen Lebens. In ihm baut sich der Sinn und die Seinsgeltung der Welt auf, und jeweils der Welt, welche dem jeweilig Erfahrenden wirklich gilt (Husserl, 1982, p. 75).4

Keywords

Human Practice Transcendental Phenomenology Transcendental Idealism Transcendental Philosophy Transcendental Basis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Adams, E. M. (1998). On the possibility of a unified world view. In (Hahn, 1998 ), pp. 69–85.Google Scholar
  2. Bengt-Pedersen, C. and Thomassen, N., editors, (1998). Nature and Lifeworld: Theoretical and Practical Metaphysics. Odense University Press, Odense.Google Scholar
  3. Fine, A. (1998). Scientific realism and anti-realism. In Craig E., editor, Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, volume 8, pp. 581–584. Rout-ledge, London and New York.Google Scholar
  4. Hahn, L. E., editor, (1998). The Philosophy of P. F. Strawson. Open Court, Chicago and La Salle.Google Scholar
  5. Heidegger, M. (1960). Sein und Zeit. Max Niemeyer, Tübingen, ninth edition.Google Scholar
  6. Husserl, E. (1970). The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology: An Introduction to Phenomenological Philosophy. trans. David Carr, Northwestern University Press, Evanston.Google Scholar
  7. Husserl, E. (1982). Die Krisis der europäischen Wissenschaften und die transzendentale Phänomenologie: Eine Einleitung in die phänomenolinebreak logische Philosophie. Felix Meiner, Hamburg.Google Scholar
  8. Kuhn, T. S. (1970). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, second edition.Google Scholar
  9. Mohanty, J. N. (1989). Transcendental Phenomenology: An Analytic Account. Basil Blackwell, Oxford and Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  10. Moore, A. W. (1997). Points of View. Clarendon Press, Oxford. Niiniluoto, I. (1999). Critical Scientific Realism. Oxford University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  11. Pihlström, S. (1996). Structuring the World: The Issue of Realism and the Nature of Ontological Problems in Classical and Contemporary Pragmatism. Acta Philosophica Fennica 59, The Philosophical Society of Finland, Helsinki.Google Scholar
  12. Pihlström, S. (1998). Pragmatism and Philosophical Anthropology: Understanding Our Human Life in a Human World. Peter Lang, New York.Google Scholar
  13. Pihlström, S. (1998). Peircean scholastic realism and transcendental ar- guments. Transactions of Charles S. Peirce Society, 34: 382–413.Google Scholar
  14. Pihlström, S. (2003). Naturalizing the Transcendental: A Pragmatic View. Prometheus/Humanity Books, Amherst, NY, forthcoming.Google Scholar
  15. Putnam, H. (1990). Realism with a Human Face. Harvard UniversityPress, Cambridge, Mass. and London.Google Scholar
  16. Putnam, H. (1994). Words and Life. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass. Si London.Google Scholar
  17. Pylkkö, P. (1998). The Aconceptual Mind. John Benjamins, Amsterdam Si Atlanta.Google Scholar
  18. Reenpää, Y. (1967). Wahrnehmen, Beobachten, Konstituieren: Phänomenologie und Begriffsbestimmung der ersten Erkenntnisakte. Vittorio Klostermann, Frankfurt am Main.Google Scholar
  19. Sellars, W. (1963). Science, Perception and Reality. Routledge and Kegan Paul, London.Google Scholar
  20. Strawson, P. F. (1985). Skepticism and Naturalism: Some Varieties. Methuen, London.Google Scholar
  21. Strawson, P. F. (1998). Reply to E. M. Adams. In (Hahn, 1998 ), pp. 8690.Google Scholar
  22. Tuomela, R. (1985). Science, Action and Reality. D. Reidel, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  23. Williams, B. (1987). Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy. Fontana Press, London.Google Scholar
  24. Wittgenstein, L. (1960). Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus: Logisch-philosophische Abhandlung. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main.Google Scholar
  25. Wittgenstein, L. (1953). Philosophical Investigations. Translated by G.E.M. Anscombe, Basil Blackwell, Oxford.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sami Pihlström
    • 1
  1. 1.University of HelsinkiFinland

Personalised recommendations