Thursday, November 14, 2013

What is postmetaphysical?

This is the heading of an IPS thread from 2010. I've recently added a few posts to pick up the topic again, starting here and copied below. Check out the thread periodically for more updates.

I'm returning to this thread since it is a good question, one that defines a part of name of the forum. I'm quoting from Bryant's Democracy of Objects below, as it is clarifying in this regard:

"Bhaskar's defense of ontological realism begins with a very simple transcendental question: '...what must the world be like for science to be possible?' In asking what the world must be like for science to be possible, Bhaskar is asking a transcendental question and deploying a transcendental mode of argumentation. The question here is not, 'how do we have access to the world?' or, 'how do we know the world?' but rather what must be presupposed about the nature of the world in order for our scientific practices to be possible. As Deleuze reminds us, the transcendental is not to be confused with the transcendent. The transcendent refers to that which is above or beyond something else. For example, God, if it exists, is perhaps transcendent to the world. The transcendental, by contrast, refers to that which is a condition for some other practice, form of cognition, or activity.

 "Additionally it should be noted that transcendental questions are not foundationalist in character. Transcendental questions do not seek an absolutely secure and unassailable foundation for knowledge or practice. [...] As such, transcendental inquiry sidesteps the epistemological project inaugurated by Descartes and so compellingly critiqued by Hume, by disavowing the project of seeking for an absolute foundation for knowledge"  (42-3).

 Let's also consult Habermas, since he wrote Postmetaphysical Thinking. From the SEP entry on him:

"Habermas adopts a more naturalistic, 'postmetaphysical' approach (1992a), characterized by the fallible hermeneutic explication or 'reconstruction' of shared competences and normative presuppositions that allow actors to engage in familiar practices of communication, discourse, and inquiry. In articulating presuppositions of practice, reconstructive analysis remains weakly transcendental. But it also qualifies as a 'weak naturalism' inasmuch as the practices it aims to articulate are consistent with the natural evolution of the species and located in the empirical world (2003a, 10-30, 83ff); consequently, postmetaphysical reconstruction links up with specific forms of social-scientific knowledge in analyzing general conditions of rationality manifested in various human capacities and powers.

"Habermas's encounter with speech act theory proved to be particularly decisive for this project. In speech act theory, he finds the basis for a conception of communicative competence (on the model of Chomsky's linguistic competence). Given this emphasis on language, Habermas is often said to have taken a kind of 'linguistic turn' in this period. He framed his first essays on formal pragmatics (1976ab) as an alternative to Niklas Luhmann's systems theory. Habermas understands formal pragmatics as one of the 'reconstructive sciences,' which aim to render theoretically explicit the intuitive, pretheoretical know-how underlying such basic human competences as speaking and understanding, judging and acting. Unlike Kant's transcendental analysis of the conditions of rationality, reconstructive sciences yield knowledge that is not necessary but hypothetical, not a priori but empirical, not certain but fallible. They are nevertheless directed to invariant structures and conditions and raise universal, but defeasible claims to an account of practical reason."

Also see Appendix II of Integral Spirituality (p. 271) which starts with a section called "What is postmetaphysics?" E.g.:

"Kant’s critical philosophy replaced ontological objects with structures of the subject. In essence, this means that we do not perceive empirical objects in a completely realistic, pregiven fashion; but rather, structures of the knowing subject impart various characteristics to the known object that then appear to belong to the object—but really don’t; they are, rather, co-creations of the knowing subject. Various a priori categories of the knowing subject help to fashion or construct reality aswe know it. Reality is not a perception, but a conception; at least in part. Ontology per se justdoes not exist. Metaphysics is then a broad name for the type of thinking that can’t figure this out. Or, metaphysics is thinking that falls prey to the myth of the given."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.