Galileo Galilei famously pronounced, "il grandissimo libro della natura è scritto in lingua matematica" ('the grand book of nature is written in mathematical language', Opere Il Saggiatore 1623). This pronouncement goes along with an affirmation of the experimental scientific method, according to which the phenomena appearing to the senses are to be made measurable and measured. This dogma of mathematico-empirical scientific method has long since become the self-evident common sense of our Modern Age, as if it were incontrovertibly true. Even those hanging onto faith today tend to want to put their bets both ways. In truth, however, mathematico-empirical scientific method is an historical hermeneutic casting of an age pronouncing AS what beings AS such are to present themselves to the human mind. This hermeneutic AS is everywhere denied by science, today's hegemonic analytic philosophy and common sense, by the former two mostly with overweening hubris. It is conveniently skipped over in favour of relying on the supposed 'naked facts' themselves in the presupposed external 'objective' world registered by the presupposed interior, 'subjective' consciousness with the aid of its elaborate experimental apparatuses.
One consequence of this hermeneutic cast is that it can only be read properly in mathematical language. Those who cannot read this language are forever at one remove, and therefore treated with much condescension and arrogance by those scientists in the know. Those who do not unquestionably go along with mathematized science's absolute pretensions to effective, efficient power — most often via its technologies and whilst incessantly peddling its great usefulness and benefits for humankind — but rather seek to radically dispute the tunnel vision of this totalizing hermeneutic cast, are called on to themselves become infiltrating guerillas by learning mathematical language with critical, subversive hermeneutic intent.
I am reminded of the old General Semantics proverb that "the finger pointing at the moon is not the moon." I guess that if your finger can claim credit for sending a man to the moon, you get to ignore the proverb.ReplyDelete