Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Shadows of Totalization, Part XXXVII

I want to make a very simple point—really just an accent and emphasis of something I said in the last post.

Newton is the last great natural philosopher and the first great modern scientist.

In truth, however, we do not have great regard for Newton as natural philosopher--we prefer to see him strictly as the first great modern scientist. What's more, after Newton, anyone proceeding to do the work Newton is most famous for is considered a scientist or a mathematician--never as a natural philosopher.

Though work in natural philosophy had been an integral part of philosophy since Aristotle (and is especially important in Descartes, something I want to remark more upon later,) this kind of work is not done any further by philosophers. From Newton onwards, a philosopher who wants to do philosophy and mathematics or science, must “change hats” back and forth.

Newton was a philosopher-scientist. However, history for the most part has stripped out the philosopher (here I mean the comments in Newton which we contemporaries would recognize as philosophical. I’m not even yet beginning to talk about the huge amounts of Newton’s work which would be regarded as theological or beyond that just plain loony, weird, screwball, and misguided,) and at the same time sterilizes the physics so extracted in such a way that it cannot without special effort yield or re-fertilize new philosophy.

This is probably the most crucial deactivation of philosophical ethos in the last thousand years.

It murders pragmatic practice of philosophy.

Physics and mathematics goes on to have a spectacularly productive run, but it appears to me the continuation of this (physics and mathematics in their capacity as physics and mathematics—I’m not interested here in physics and mathematics as they “relate” to politics or society,) is in crisis unless it can again touch philosophy-science, "natural philosophy."


Blogger Christoffer said...

In what way is physics and math in a crisis unless they again can become or involve philosophy? (Your words more or less).

Physics describe a purely objecive world, something that philosophy can never do.

1:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my opinion it is best not to invoke the subjective/objective binarism because of the way this binarism intercepts our perception and understanding of becoming. There is a becoming to be perceived.


10:38 AM  
Blogger Christoffer said...

It is not I who invoke a subject/object dualism, but modern science (Science as Research).

If you want to deal with modern science, you will have to take it on seriously, or it will simply disregard you. Being serious qwith something, essentially means to acknowledge it, on its own terms. In this case, it happens to be earlier named dualism. If you think you can simply stop "invoking subject/object dualism" you are incredibly naive. I almost mistook you from orla Scahntza.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both modern science and mathematics have created remarkably fertile ways to leave the subject/object binarism behind as something optional at best.

This doesn't mean however that every or even most scientists or mathematicians are aware of this or utilize it in their work. I would say most do not.

I would also say most commentators on science whether journalists, social scientists, or philosophers, are also unaware.

So, in a way, it is as if this explosion of knowledge and frontiers never happened. Philosophers don't know it happened--it should be scandalous that they don't know. But it did, and it can be knowledgeably and productively drawn upon.

I see a severe weakness in your understanding of science and mathematics in that you seem to believe these necessarily presuppose the subject/object binarism. This is actually reflective of your ignorance, not your superior engagement in the subjects.


11:44 AM  
Blogger Christoffer said...

Explain it to me then, if you please.

12:00 PM  

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