Phenomenology and the Philosophy of the Natural Sciences
In the assessment of scientific theory and practice, the critique of the analytic/empiricist view of science made via the phenomenological orientation of Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau- Ponty and others towards the Lifeworld and Heidegger’s hermeneutics (or interpretation) of experience has made it possible to assign different roles to theory and praxis. Theory is assigned to technological design for the purposes of environmental control, while praxis is assigned to ontological understanding for the purpose of human culture. Scientific theories then have a ’Janus-like face,’ one side looks in the direction of computational and technological control which is not constitutive of scientific knowledge but is merely a resource or tool for multiple praxes, the other looks in the direction of human culture which is ultimately constitutive of ontological scientific knowledge. This bivalence underscores the prevalence of metaphor in scientific discourse and, in particular, in medical science and clinical practice under conditions where modern culture and the analytic/empiricist view tend to mask the presence of metaphor in such discourse. It was shown, however, that under the broader analysis of phenomenology, metaphor is as fundamental for true scientific discourse as literality is for the analytic/empiricist view. Since the theoretical is mathematical and both the practical and the praxical are empirical, it makes no sense to predicate mathematical models literally of the phenomenological Lifeworld; at best, the two must come together consciously in some unambiguous but metaphorical way guided by professional experts in the spirit of (what Aristotle called) ‘phronesis’ (prudent action), aware that they are seeking no more (and no less) than a praxical consensus about a set of relevant soluble Lifeworld issues.
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Heelan, Patrick (1987)Husserl argues in the Crisis that the prevalent tradition of positive science in his time had a philosophical core, called by him "Galilean science", that mistook the quest for objective theory with the quest for ...