09/23/21

Looking at Mark Spencer’s Essay (2021) “The Many Phenomenological Reductions” (Part 4 of 4)

0014 Despite the hazards involved, there are opportunities.  

The Christian realist cannot speak in terms of metaphysics, because those words are not allowed in polite scientific society.

Perhaps, the Christian realist can convey the same meaning, presence and message with phenomenological terms, which are designed to sidestep the dictates of the positivist intellect.  The language of phenomenology is adapted to not wake the sleeping dog of science.

0015 Spencer ends the article in an impasse.

The impasse is theatrical.

Spencer declares, “Phenomenology longs to speak the language of metaphysics.  Metaphysics longs to speak from the platform of phenomenology.  Why can’t we find an accommodation?”

The phenomenologist cannot answer by saying, “An accommodation will destroy us both.”

0016 For Christians and phenomenologists alike, there is something to be learned from Mark Spencer’s 2021 essay, “The Many Phenomenological Reductions and Catholic Metaphysical Anti-Reductionism”, appearing in the summer issue of the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, and Razie Mah’s commentary, available at the smashwords website.

Science cannot be ignored.

09/22/21

Looking at Mark Spencer’s Essay (2021) “The Many Phenomenological Reductions” (Part 3 of 4)

0009 Sound is a very interesting thing.

Dogs can hear sounds that humans cannot.

Does that mean that humans cannot be effected by inaudible sounds?

Can humans be impacted by inaudible sounds?

0010 These questions have proper grammatical form, but they do not speak to the heart of the matter.

Phenomenologists speak in a specialized language that scientists do not hear.  The scientist’s ears are tuned to hear about measurements, models and precisely defined terms.  Phenomenology does not speak of phenomena in scientific terminology.

The guard dog of science is on the prowl for another language that scientists do not want to hear, the language of metaphysics.  So, phenomenologists also do not speak of phenomena using metaphysical terms.

0011 In short, phenomenologists strive to be impactful while being inaudible.

0012 Mark Spencer does not reflect on the tentative engagement between phenomenology and science.

He innocently explores an accommodation between Christian realism and phenomenology.

After all, both indirectly situate science.

0013 Well, forget the “after all”. 

Spencer does not mention science at all.

As such, he threatens to wake the sleeping dog of the positivist intellect.

His proposals make phenomenologists jittery.

Talk of metaphysics will upset a delicate arrangement.

09/21/21

Looking at Mark Spencer’s Essay (2021) “The Many Phenomenological Reductions” (Part 2 of 4

0006 The scenario depicted in the prior blog appears in Comments on Mark Spencer’s Essay (2021) “The Many Phenomenological Reductions”, available for purchase at smashwords.

Search for Razie Mah, Mark Spencer, and phenomenological reductions.  The electronic article in smashwords, or some other electronic literature venue, should appear.

0007 The engagement between phenomenology and science is delicate.  Phenomenologists attend to the same phenomena as scientists.  But, they do not compete with scientists.

Scientists directly situate phenomena using the empirio-schematic judgment (which is first diagrammed in Comments on Jacques Maritain’s Book (1935) Natural Philosophy), in the normal context of a positivist intellect.  The positivist intellect has a rule.  Metaphysics is not allowed.

Phenomenologists sidestep science, by contemplating phenomena, while reducing their field of consciousness to exclude the machinations of science, among other distractions.  The goal is to identify what the thing itself must be, without any metaphysical baggage… er… I mean… terminology.  Anything that sounds like metaphysics will raise the ire of scientists.

0008 It is like tiptoeing around a sleeping dog.  The metaphorical dog protects science against metaphysics.  It has been known to gnaw on the bones of its victims, especially the ones who uttered the word, “hylomorphism”.  That word sounds totally metaphysical.  “Hyle” is Greek for “matter”.  “Morphe” is Greek for “form”.

To the sleeping dog of science, physics is the master of the house.

The master of the house says, “No metaphysics.”

09/20/21

Looking at Mark Spencer’s Essay (2021) “The Many Phenomenological Reductions” (Part 1 of 4)

0001 What is Phenomenology?

Phenomenology belongs to (what John Deely calls) the Age of Ideas, starting with the Western civilization’s turn from scholasticism towards mechanical philosophy.

0002 Mechanical philosophers, such as Rene Descartes (1596-1650 AD) say, “Forget final and formal causation.  Think in terms of material and instrumental causalities.  Attend to phenomena, the observable and measurable features of our world.  Then, build mathematical and mechanical models using well defined terms.”

0003 Later, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) codifies a reaction against this fixation, arguing that we must not forget the thing itself (the noumenon).  Sure, phenomena are crucial to scientific observations and measurements.  But, the noumenon cannot be objectified as its phenomena.

0004 Then, Edmund Husserl (1856-1939) declares, “I have developed another way to situate phenomena.  By consciously focusing on phenomena, while bracketing out all this measurement business, along with other distractions, I can identify the noumenon, what the thing itself must be.”

0005 Now, there are two ways to situate phenomena.

First, scientists directly situate phenomena through observations and measurements.  They build models.  They are not interested in the thing itself.

Second, phenomenologists virtually situate phenomena through a method of bracketing assumptions, such as the empirio-schematic judgment, to end up with a noumenon, what the thing itself must be.