Studies in Phenomenology



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SCIENCE, KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING: WITTGENSTEIN BETWEEN PHENOMENOLOGY AND POSITIVISM

Title in the language of publication: SCIENCE, KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING: WITTGENSTEIN BETWEEN PHENOMENOLOGY AND POSITIVISM
Author: ONDŘEJ BERAN
Issue: HORIZON. Studies in Phenomenology.
Vol. 8, №2 (2019), 460-486
Language: English
Document type: Research Article
DOI : 10.21638/2226-5260-2019-8-2-460-486 PDF (Downloads: 2275)

Abstract
The paper explores some philosophical consequences of the phenomenological criticisms addressed (indirectly) to logical positivism. It introduces arguments by Husserl and Patočka concerning the duality inherent to the notion of world, as suggested by modern scientism: the real world is alleged to be different from, and hidden behind, the everyday appearance (perception) of the world and things within it. Carnap’s project of reconstructing (scientific) knowledge in reductionist terms of psychological—atomic sense-data—and, ultimately, physical objects distinguishes him from Husserl: for the latter, meaningful experience originates in primitive encounters with meaningful things. Both, however, share a certain preoccupation with reductionist analyses of scientific rigour, while this tendency has been abandoned in Wittgenstein’s works. His expanded notion of verification betrays motivations of a phenomenological kind. He tries to show that the relationship between simpler and more complex contents of knowledge is a relationship between contents playing different, but interlinked, roles within our practices of understanding and making ourselves intelligible. Understanding other people and the events in their lives in terms of a soul (and what happens to it) is not a marginal, eccentric, or derivative case: it is the central, primitive form of this understanding. Wittgenstein’s working with the notion of ‘soul’ parallels Husserl’s analyses from Ideas II.

Key words
Phenomenology, logical positivism, knowledge, natural world, verification, soul, Wittgenstein.

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