Download On Historicizing Epistemology: An Essay (Cultural Memory in by Hans-Jörg Rheinberger PDF

By Hans-Jörg Rheinberger

Epistemology, as mostly understood through philosophers of technological know-how, is quite distant from the historical past of technology and from old matters more often than not. Rheinberger indicates that, from the past due 19th in the course of the past due 20th century, a parallel, substitute discourse sought to come back to phrases with the particularly basic event of the thoroughgoing clinical alterations caused by the revolution in physics. Philosophers of technology and historians of technology alike contributed their proportion to what this essay describes as an ongoing quest to historicize epistemology. historic epistemology, during this feel, isn't so curious about the realizing topic and its psychological capacities. really, it envisages technological know-how as an ongoing cultural recreation and attempts to evaluate the stipulations lower than which the sciences in all their range take form and alter over the years.

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It is able to do this because, according to that account, concepts themselves (at least non-categorial ones) are originally formed out the very material through which one is able to apprehend objects in intuition in the first place. As I shall eventually argue in Chapter Six, what specifically conceptual form adds to any such mode of apprehension is simply a kind of embedding of that same material, by means of the "forms of judgment," in a higher order consciousness of a special sort. Insofar as the material in question is not merely externally associated with an intuition, but is as much ingredient in it as sensations ever could be, when one apprehends appearances through them, then we would at least have an explanation of how concepts might be "applied" to immediately apprehended objects, and how those objects might be conceptually "taken" in this way or that, without having to abandon our notion that the immediate objects of consciousness are intentional correlates of the apprehension of them.

There is a final advantage in the proposed account, with respect to the sort of "phenomenalism" that it supports. It allows us to avoid the problem of circular- Page 29 ity that may appear to affect varieties of phenomenalism. The apparent difficulty is this. Such views seem to demand a phenomenalistic analysis of judgments regarding ordinary objects. Such an analysis, presumably, will involve judgments to the effect that certain sorts of perceptions are or would have been obtainable, given satisfaction of the appropriate antecedent conditions.

But the suggestion is unacceptable. The suggestion implies that the state of imagining a bowl of soup, and in general the state of imagining any object, is derivable by mere subtraction from that of imagining that something is the case. Consider the thought that there actually is, or might be, a bowl of soup somewhere. On the suggestion in question, the state of imagining a bowl of soup, at least with respect to its "content," is obtainable by mere subtraction Page 17 from this one. The only relevant difference would be that the content of imagining a bowl of soup involves only a part of the content that is involved in a case of imagining that there is, or might be, a bowl of soup somewhere.

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