30 May 2013

Modern science's impoverished metaphysics

All modern science must rely on experimental data that can only be given in the present, even when they refer to past occurrences. Usually, the scientist must be able to see these data, even though such seeing is invariably mediated by experimental apparatuses, today mostly enormously complex, data-records and long strings of references to trusted scientific literature that records ‘black on white’ the results of previous research. The experimental apparatuses themselves are conceived and constructed within the terms of a scientific theory, i.e. a model, that tells the scientist what he will ‘see’ via the mediation of this apparatus. Seeing is believing — that is, if you believe in seeing, and also in the model mediating this seeing. The metaphysics of modern science, with its insistence on a third-person access to the world in the present evidenced by experimental data has enormous consequences insofar as it demotes, and tendentially annihilates, the ontological status of other modes of world-access in which the second person and the other two temporal modes, past and future, as such come into play. These other modes are then ‘nothing’ compared to the hard exactness of hard science with its hard-data-fed mathematical hold on the world. But then phenomena such as love, empathy and trust have no place whatever ontologically in such a metaphysics, and practices such as psychoanalysis or psychotherapy, insofar as they rely essentially on the relating of dreams, phantasies and memories to a person of trust, must be regarded as not up to the scientific mark. Even more than that, any attempt to countenance and develop a metaphysics of the second person that ranges over all temporal dimensions must be fiercely combatted or brutally ignored. Nevertheless, modern science cannot deny the ontic occurrence of such-second-person phenomena within the scope of, and essential to, human experience of the world; it is just totally at a loss to say ontologically what mode of being they have, and does not even know, nor any interest in knowing, what ontology as the investigation of beings as beings, is. As such, modern science is in denial about its impoverished metaphysical state.


  1. And, so, what would be a "metaphysics of a second person"? And is there any place for the first person?

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    2. The first person is always involved; so, properly speaking, it's a matter of bringing the phenomena of first-and-second person to the fore, rather than the exclusive scientific focus on the first-and-third person (subject-object). The first-and-second person can be called also you-and-me. A phenomenology of you-and-me demands questioning all the self-evidences of subject-object metaphysics.