What is the basic philosophy of physics

IS THERE A EUROPEAN PHILOSOPHY?

  
  

I. WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY?

The expression European philosophy is, one might think, a tautology. Because philosophy, the Greek expression already reveals it, is a European or occidental phenomenon, a certain form of human reason, one characteristic (gr. character: Character, main characteristic) Type of relationship between (European) people and the world, which is about the true being of this relationship. Truth (gr. aletheia) is the basic word of occidental philosophical reason. Philosophical truth aims at the disclosure of an unshakable relationship of being. In the face of what nature (gr. physis) in their changeable productions, the philosophical search for truth strives for something that makes this process possible meta-physical Reason. Philosophy is the search for what remains behind the appearances. She takes the apparitions as Appearances come true by looking for what remains (being) seekswhich means that they are the apparent assertions of the myth, this or that be so and so (been) ‘, checks by itself. Whereupon? Namely, on being. European philosophy Europe is an oceanid, a Greek nymph, initially a name for the Greek mainland, later also a flower-picking princess kidnapped by Zeus in the form of a bull on the beach in Syria or Canaan is exactly this so developed question about being. 

Is there a non-European philosophy? If one takes what has been said seriously, then one must answer this question in the negative. That goes against the zeitgeist. Weren't there comparable forms of human reason in other cultures? Isn't this view shaped by a European prejudice? Doesn't the success and expansion of occidental science and technology, which is developing on the basis of philosophical questions, offer conclusive evidence that philosophy, science and technology, even if they should have arisen only in Europe, nevertheless have a universal character? The Eurocentric view also shows ignorance of comparable phenomena, for example in Far Eastern traditions. The view of what one could call the particularists is opposed to the view of the universalists. They claim that there are indeed phenomena of reason caused by culture, but that there are the human reason gives. This is independent of culture and time. Human reason is philosophical the expression philosophical reason is the real tautology if it is characterized by the following properties:

  • it obeys universal logical laws, namely the principle of identity, the principle of contradiction and the principle of the excluded third party;
  • it turns critically against the claims of myth, religion and theology. So one really shouldn't speak of European philosophy, but of philosophy in Europe or in Asia, and so on.
  • I want this philosophical dispute between particularists and universalists - although I am aware that the popular arguing with the help of -isms is peculiar to the pigeonhole thinking explain in more detail using an example. In his book Distortion. The metaphysics in Martin Heidegger's thinking. With a look at Japan (Munich 1991, p. 271ff) Elmar Weinmayr refers to Heidegger's attempt "to bring changed European thinking into a fruitful confrontation with East Asian" thinking "", Heidegger himself said in the preface to the Japanese translation of the lecture On the question of the determination of the cause of thinking (in: H. Buchner, ed. Japan and Heidegger, Sigmaringen 1989, p. 230). 

    Why is? It is about European modernity and the "Europeanization of the earth" (Heidegger). But is there, we could change the title of this essay, a non-European modernity? Isn't the expression "European modernity" a tautology? Or is modernity a culture-independent phenomenon, so that we would have to talk about modernity in Europe, in Japan, etc.? For Weinmayr there is such a thing as a Japanese "non-European modernity" (op.cit. P. 295) Shouldn't one then also allow the expression "non-European philosophy"? 

    In the above quotation, Heidegger puts the word "thinking" in relation to "East Asian" in quotation marks. At first sight this seems to be a humiliation, namely as if he wanted to deny the Asian cultures not only the capacity for philosophy, but even that of thought. This assertion, however, represents a great misunderstanding. Heidegger tries to do justice to the different traditions of thought in their peculiarity. In contrast to the European philosophical tradition, which shows a universalistic tendency and which culminates in the current Europeanization and mechanization of the earth, he wants the East Asian one Think distinguish. The goal of this particularization is not the mutual isolation, but "a fruitful discussion". Weinmayr notes that Heidegger's view of philosophy as something specifically European agrees with Hegel. 

    In the Lectures on the history of philosophy writes Hegel: 

    But while for Hegel individuality and freedom of self-confidence are the distinctions of occidental philosophy, for Heidegger occidental philosophy means the metaphysical expression of man’s existence in the world. The "central question" of the relation between man and world is: 'what is that being'? (gr. ti to on). In the face of beings, the occidental philosopher asks not only “what is this or that”, but “what means that this or that means be? Or 'what constitutes the being of this particular being?' This question about being poses beings on the horizon of a standard in which they should participate. So when we ask about a mountain from a philosophical and occidental point of view, we don't ask as if we intend to climb this mountain, but rather we want to see the mountain as 'being'. 

    But what is, in general terms, beings in beings? It is precisely this question that is at the beginning of Western thought, namely with Parmenides. So Heidegger in: What does thinking mean? (Tübingen 1971, p. 137). What makes us think is not the nominal but the verbal participle: 

    The thematization of this difference not in relation to this or that being, but in relation to being as Being is what characterizes the western tradition of thought, philosophy or metaphysics. Philosophical thinking in a sense corresponding to this experience is an engaging in the experience of the presence of what is present or of the being of being, but in which this presence in the sense of what remains does not become questionable. In what way? To the extent that the emergence of what is present requires, as we could say, a formal framework in order to act as a present to be noticed. The modern European tradition of thought since Kant understood this framework as a priori, i.e. as a condition of the possibility of (objects of) experience. For Heidegger, the experience of being is one timeExperience more precisely: the experience of time in the mode of the present, in relation to which the past and the future count as the no-more or as the not-yet-being , but not in the capsule of consciousness, but in existence as Being-in-the-world is justified. 

    The logical Correspondence of the being of beings is a matter of logic as it has been expressed since the emergence of philosophy in Greece. Heidegger writes: 

    So the occidental logic is not particular by belonging to a limited cultural or even linguistic group. Furthermore, this does not mean that other cultures have not asked themselves the question of being or of logical principles. But the development of the occidental thought tradition shows that these and other elements appeared in a unique constellation which is called philosophy. 

    What can bring these traditions to a "fruitful confrontation" is not only that the world addresses us differently, but that we as humans are exposed to an open, common and indefinite area in which we do it one way or another Determining as to be able to perceive something specific. If the occidental thought tradition is able to thematize this open space, it opens up the possibility of an intercultural dialogue in which the respective differences are neither leveled nor reduced to an apparent minimum consensus. In other words, even the Western character of thought is not absolute. Other constellations are possible. We Westerners can learn this from non-European traditions of thought. But if we want to transform, we have to understand our own history. Philosophy in the occidental sense is not just an academic discipline, but an expression of all living conditions. It would be fatal if we tried and spread the belief that what is European in the European tradition of thought is basically not European at all, but rather general human. This hidden or open Eurocentrism cannot simply be countered with an orientalism. 

    Only when we have recognized the specific constellation or the respective context do we not run the risk of one general denominator let's say the logical principles or the critical attitude towards the myth to overlook its different functions and meanings. A basis for a "fruitful discussion" with other thought traditions is not given by the historical statement that already in ancient India thought was 'logically', but rather the perception of the specific area of ​​experience from which everyone thinks. The principle of identity does not apply between traditions of thought which of course applies to the respective relation of a tradition to itself, such as: European philosophy is European philosophy but the one, if we can call him that, Theorem of kinship (See M. Heidegger On the way to language, Pfullingen 1979, p. 136 as well as the approaches of the late Wittgenstein over Language games as Life forms). This in turn sets the willingness to perceive and transform one's own Prejudices as well as the relativization of one's own tradition of thought, and thus ultimately also the relativization of philosophy itself. 

    The meaning of criticism could also change through this "fruitful discussion". The laws of logic would not have changed either, but outside of the metaphysical framework, or, to use Nietzsche to speak, without the "resentment" that arises from the "spirit of vengeance" and is directed against becoming, would look completely different . In this sense Weinmayr writes that in Japan there is something like a different "modernity" "than the European-American one" (ibid. P. 277). Seen from here, it is justified to speak of a "Japanese philosophy" only in connection with the Kyoto School. Weinmayr writes: 

    "With the remark that there is no philosophy or metaphysics in China or India, Heidegger does not claim that there is no thought in these cultures and traditions. He only points out that in other non-European worlds and thought traditions Thinking has not assumed the typical European form of justifying, unifying, willing and constant representation and that this position has not turned out to be the decisive way of experiencing and shaping reality that ultimately forms all world relations. Heidegger's interest in intercultural dialogue arises - In the language of this work - the assumption or expectation that other worlds of origin are not shaped by a place in the same way as the European world and that the dialogue with such worlds of origin gives impetus for an attempt to twist and transform what is now universal , European Ge-Stells can result. " (op.cit. p. 275)
    II. PHILOSOPHY IN ...

    As an example of the universalist thesis, I take Gregor Paul's book Philosophy in Japan. From the beginning to the Heian period. A critical investigation (Munich 1993). We have learned here with a thorough I am almost tempted to say: German-Occidental Do investigation. The first twenty pages of this 454-page study deal, how could it be otherwise, about "the basics". In the title of the first section, the word "mystifying prejudices" appears in relation to "supposedly specifically Japanese thinking", along with "doubts about the applicability of the word" philosophy "". Paul notes the rarity of the expression "Japanese philosophy" and attributes it to the prejudice of supposedly fundamental differences between East and West. According to this, philosophy has only existed in Japan since the Meiji period (1868-1912). The founder of Japanese philosophy would be Nishida Kitaro (1870-1945), founder of the Kyoto School, according to Hartmut Buchner (editor of the volume mentioned Japan and Heidegger) and Elmar Weinmayr. Japanese thinking would be based on a special conception of nature as well as in Zen Buddhism. It would also be based on a special "Japanese" logic. This would be of an aesthetic nature and would not obey the above-mentioned logical laws that are peculiar to European logic. This then leads to a lack of clarity of expression, that is, to 'mystifications'.

    The controversy can be summarized syllogistically as follows: 

    Philosophy is A 
    A occurs only in Europe 
    So a non-European philosophy is not possible.
    For Gregor Paul, philosophy is a "fundamental ability and practice" of human beings for logical reflection. It is "innate" in humans (p. 4). This thesis can be challenged both phylogenetically and ontogenetically. For Paul there are no "illogical cultures". With regard to this "fundamental ability", according to Paul, "there are no significant differences between cultures and philosophies" (p. 4). Insofar as they think logically, all human beings are potential philosophers. In order to interpret foreign cultures one has to presuppose this "methodological principle of all understanding in general". In other words, those who want to contradict the logical rules are committing a performative contradiction. They are a kind of a priori of the universal community of interpretation encompassing all differences. As Western philosophers said earlier, they determine the essence of man. But now, according to the refutation of the second premise, these rules can be found not only in the West, but also in India, China and Japan. The rules of logic are the same as those of Aristotle. These logical laws are accordingly "language-independent". The decisive factor, however, is not whether these laws have been discussed, but their actual application. An aesthetic language does not in itself mean logical inconsistency. So the opinion that Japanese logic is aesthetic and not logical in nature is bottomless. 

    For Paul the term is determined philosophy not in terms of content, but methodologically, in relation to myth, religion and theology. According to their claim, philosophical propositions are critical propositions and philosophies are systems "which ultimately have an epistemological character". In this way, according to Paul, a distinction is made between philosophy and doctrines as early as ancient India. The word used in Japanese for "philosophy in the western sense" since the 19th century (tetsugaku) is not the only name. The word has also existed in Buddhism since the 8th century immyo, which means something like "science of reasoning". Demythologization not only existed in Greece, but also in China and India. Supernatural explanations of nature lost their meaning, an abstract, culture-independent terminology was developed, and criticism took the place of tradition and authority.

    Conclusion: from Japanese philosophy to speak is as inappropriate as to speak of one German physics. Insofar as sentences relate to logic and experience, the language in which they are composed is relatively unimportant. The following 420 pages are intended to make the thesis plausible that in Japan, even before the adoption of Buddhism in the 6th century AD), philosophy in the sense of critical thinking was developed. Philosophy is logical-critical thinking. Such thinking existed outside of Europe. So there aren't any European philosophy, rather Philosophy in...Either you are a universalist and thus a philosopher or you take the side of faith and claim that there are areas or experiences where the logical rules do not apply, or that thinking is language-dependent. This leads to "mystifying prejudices" etc.

    In my opinion, this view of philosophy is nothing more than the dogmatization of a certain form of occidental metaphysics, which aims to be objective, empirical, universal, etc., but in truth both the differences within one's own history - for example between the meaning of the prima principia in Aristotle and in modern times - as well as between very different traditions of thought. Instead of the common to search, do you think you have already found it (with yourself and with others). With the same method one could think that not only the logical principles, but that which justifies them in the European modern age ego cogito constitutes the essence of the human being and should therefore already be found in these or that texts from China or Japan. Something similar could be said with regard to, for example, that other principle not mentioned by Paul, the principium grande, the principle of reason, principium rationis sufficientis (Principle of sufficient reason), which was formulated by Leibniz after a long European ferment. But one could also use the universally successful modern European natural science and the modern technology based on it as common ground for an intercultural conversation and, as Joseph Needham has impressively demonstrated, prove it in Asian cultures, or, what is known to be politically explosive, the Human rights, or even the free market economy, etc.

    The accusations of obscurantism, mystification, irrationality etc. against the particularist, however, miss the point. They are blind to their own European, ancient and modern soil on which they stand. In the past, the Europeans came with the cross and propagated them true religion. Now they come up with logic, rational reasoning, etc. and proclaim that this message is really universal. You can even prove that wherever the homo sapiens separates itself critically from myth, religion and theology, one philosophical Culture emerges that connects us at least methodologically, beyond all cultural differences and makes us into real (universal) people.

    IS THERE A NON-EUROPEAN PHILOSOPHY?

    But it would be too cheap to play off particularism and universalism against each other. Because ultimately particularism would have to reveal itself as a disguised universalism. Conversely, every assertion that this or that is universal is in turn a particular assertion, even if it dresses itself purely logically or methodologically. In other words, what it means to be human is what we are - Europeans and non-Europeans, Japanese and non-Japanese, Greeks and barbarians, Jews and non-Jews, Christians and non-Christians, philosophers and non-philosophers and like everyone dichotomic terms of exclusion and being chosen may also be called - seek. That everyone presupposes a certain common basis for this search is hermeneutically necessary and legitimate if one is aware of one's own as well as of the common historical limitations of such concepts of being.

    The awareness of the openness of human existence is in turn an insight that has grown in European philosophy, which has led to a "fruitful debate", for example, between Heidegger's thinking and the Kyoto School. But I think that the studies of Gregor Paul, which were made on the basis of occidental logic and (modern) rationality, also make a contribution to this, even if they do not Confrontationbut have a convergence on purpose. It would be conceivable to go the opposite way, in that (European) philosophy is read with strange eyes, who believe that they can be found in it. Misunderstandings are not infrequently a source of creativity. But to say: philosophy is, if one thinks logically and critically, and questions belief in God, is almost touching naivety. Between a seemingly universal concept of philosophy and a mere cultural relativism, the path of "fruitful debate" opens up, which does not lose sight of the differences when there are similarities and, despite all the differences, after a common ground to be founded historically seeks.

    One result could be a non-European philosophy, comparable to the non-European modernity mentioned by Weinmayr. Is there a European philosophy? Is it perhaps at the end? At their end? From the point of view of a non-European philosophy, one can perhaps understand it better than it understands itself. That would be your chance to change again. Just as European philosophy has brought about diversity in unity, so the examination of philosophy with other traditions of thought not only brings additional diversity within of philosophy, but also reveals a relativization of philosophy as such. The view of a non-European observer, however, is in turn different from the view of Kant or Heidegger on metaphysics. If these points of view are for you Moment touch, then both can see themselves differently in the other's gaze. You will look in vain for a privileged view. The search for it shows that one has withdrawn from the perspective of the other.

    Are the particularists the real universalists and the universalists only particularists in disguise? Thinking in drawers only has an introductory function, but ultimately it leads to distortions and polemics.

    The reproach of obscurantism, mysticism, mystification, etc., repeated by Paul, is as unproductive as the reverse reproach of illuminism or narrow-minded (European) rationalism. The recognition of universal logic takes on the aura of a religious dogma in Paul. One can, however, think critically about the principle of identity, provided one is prepared to question the "attitude of imaginative thinking". Heidegger's writing The set of identity as well as the lecture series The sentence of the reason, are examples of the fact that we can think about this proposition with logical means. 

    The expression occidental logic states, as in the case of the occidental philosophythat the logical principles were not only thematized in isolation, but that their universality was a universal conception of being (a ontology) owe. The history of Western philosophy offers numerous examples from the beginning from Parmenides and Plato to Cusanus, Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer to Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Heidegger different logics, not to mention the concept of rationality or the relationship between thought and myth, or philosophy and theology. Perhaps in its unity it can be understood as a confrontation with the premises presupposed by Paul (logic, rationality).

    European philosophy is the attempt, it is the attempt, of a reason that assures itself in different ways. The proof that other cultures could also think logically or that they wrote books on logic shows the existence of non-European (metaphysical) thinking. I would reserve the expression of a non-European philosophy for those cases in which a conscious and independent reception of European philosophy has taken place within the horizon of its own traditions of thought.

    To speak of philosophy only because certain logical principles are applied or thematized, or because thinking critically deals with tradition, dogmas, myths, etc. is legitimate, but always runs the risk of universalizing the standards of European rationality in such a way that the own contextual differences and those of others are no longer visible. The contours and breaks of occidental metaphysics are also lost.

    There is a European philosophy and there is also a non-European philosophy and a non-European modernity. There is non-European thinking. Paul's attacks on the Kyoto School "as a representative of an originally Japanese way of thinking" (Paul, op.cit. P. 136) would be superfluous if these distinctions were taken into account. However, Paul would have to change his understanding of philosophy. But since he has so much feeling for an aesthetic language and is able to discover a (logical) meaning behind the apparent, and not entirely apparent, obscure texts of Eastern traditions, one wonders why this is not the case, for example, during a conversation between the thinking of Heidegger and the Kyoto School should succeed. He could allow the sacred principles of logic to continue to apply, but he would have to be prepared not simply to take them for granted, but to think about them with them. Perhaps then a new book would emerge with the title: Think in Japan, or another: The Kyoto School: A Non-European Philosophy, or even another: The ontological limits of the universal logical principles. A critical investigation. Kant even has one Critique of Pure Reason written and in 1927 a book was published in Europe with the title Being And Time.

    LITERATURE

    Buchner, H. Ed .: Japan and Heidegger, Sigmaringen 1989. 
    Hegel, G.W.F .: Lectures on the History of Philosophy, Frankfurt a.M. 1986. Vol. 18.
    Heidegger, M .: What does thinking mean? Tübingen 1971.
    -: On the matter of thinking, Tübingen 1976.
    -: On the way to language, Pfullingen 1979.
    Ohashi, R. Ed .: The Philosophy of the Kyoto School. Texts and introduction, Freiburg / Munich 1990.
    Paul, Gregor: Philosophy in Japan. From the beginning to the Heian period. A critical investigation, Munich 1993.
    Weinmayr, E .: Disfigurement. The metaphysics in Martin Heidegger's thinking. With a look at Japan, Munich 1991.

    See also:
    Polylog magazine
    Society for Intercultural Philosophy


    Last change: July 12, 2017