Heidegger On Ontology And Mass Communication

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The disciplinary matrix of an empirical science consists of the following items: 1 leading generalizations 19 , 2 metaphysical model of entities belonging to the research domain, 3 heuristic rules 20 and 4 shared scientific values, including the shared conception of science and of aims of science. Heidegger has never made any concrete proposal concerning leading generalizations in either normal or pathologic anthropology. This, by the way, is one of the reasons why I speak of Heidegger's "project" of a science of man and not of a Heideggerian "paradigm" of such a science.

However, Heidegger did specify two main negative methodological and epistemological conditions which must be met by any scientific generalization put forward in the science of man: they must not be objectifying nor deterministic. With the next item of the disciplinary matrix of the daseinsanalytic anthropology, the "metaphysical model" of man, Heidegger is much more at ease.

He is in full agreement with Kuhn in saying that factual sciences are always developed with more general philosophical frameworks. What kind of framework is adequate in the case of anthropology? We already know Heidegger's answer: his existential analytic, presented in Being and Time , which however has to be enriched by appropriate derived existentials describing essential "regional" features of ontic phenomena.

Now, Heidegger's existential analytic implies a "destruction" or a "deconstruction" of traditional metaphysical ontology, which sees man as a natural, objective entity. For this ontology Heidegger substitutes his own "fundamental ontology", which is a description of man's modes of being in the horizon of finite original existential time. The "model" of man arrived at in that manner is no more - as it is still in Kuhn - a " metaphysical" one, in the prevailing traditional sense, but a "post-metaphysical" one, in the new daseinsanalytic sense.


The scientist guided by Heidegger's new idea of essence of man is invited to see and to interpret concrete human modes of being as manifestations of the underlying Dasein structure and not to make "assumptions" or to frame "suppositions" be they meta-physical or meta-psychological 21 about hidden entities which are thought to causally explain these same phenomena taken as natural events. As to the "heuristic models", which is the third main element of a disciplinary matrix, the procedure to be employed in producing a daseinsanalytic science of man should have the following characteristics.

Firstly, it must be descriptive, not constructive or hypothetical. The daseinsanalytic scientific anthropology's descriptions of factual phenomena which appear in the lives of concrete human individuals must be based on an interpretation of the same phenomena within the horizon of concrete motivational contexts, without ever loosing from sight the regional and fundamental existentials by which they are "determined" and made visible p. Since the life of an individual is essentially a historic phenomenon, and since the existential time is circular, the movement of the understanding must be circular itself.

From the methodological point of view, Heidegger's science of man is thus conceived as a special kind of descriptive, hermeneutic and historical factual 23 knowledge of man's being in the world. As to the fourth item of the paradigm, the "shared values", the standard norms of natural science such as measurability, calculability or indeed producibility of specific modes of human or indeed of man himself are not even considered in Heidegger's project.

Nor does Heidegger recommend looking, in the first place, for predictions, internal or external consistency, simplicity, empirical plausibility or indeed for any other "logical" value of the traditional factual science. The main values that should characterize a daseinsanalytic science of man are rather practical and even ethical: the good-health and the capacity to be somebody responsible for one's own modes of being.

This leads us to our final point, to what Heidegger has to say about "paradigmatic problems" which characterize factual sciences and guide the normal research. It is true that in presenting his general concept of a science of man, Heidegger could not possibly define its field by pinpointing concrete paradigmatic problems. Nevertheless, he does not seem to have been aware of the fact that particular scientific disciplines remain undefined as long as what Kuhn calls "exemplars" are not specified.

As we have seen, Heidegger paid no attention to the Oedipus complex and to the central role which it played in the development of psychoanalytic research and therapy. In other words, Heidegger did not develop any specific conception of permitted or recommended ways of formulating and solving problems in daseinsanalytic anthropology as opposed to the naturalistic anthropology.

This is an additional reason why his project falls short of being a paradigm. Nevertheless, Heidegger has some important things to say about fundamental ontological features of the subject matter of problems of any daseinsanalytic anthropology. The basic data of these problems must be the difficulties of the "existing man" p. The central aspect of these difficulties is the limitation of capacity to be and to be free.

All "disturbances" of human existence, sociological as well as medical, are of the same kind, namely, limitations of the liberty to be. The science of man does not aim at making of men objects of theoretical interest but at helping them in realizing their true nature. Becoming oneself seems thus to be the central feature of the "unknowns" of problems of any daseinsanalytic anthropological discipline In Zollikoner Seminare , Heidegger dedicated a special attention to the daseinsanalytic psychopathology and therapy. They concentrate on the heuristic model and on the paradigmatic problems of the mentioned disciplines.

The relevant pathological phenomena are gathered, says Heidegger, in the "relationship between psychiatrist and the patient" p. This concrete analytic relationship must be seen as a way of being-together. Daseinsanalytic psychiatry has therefore the task of exploring and interpreting "medical" experiences which emerge in this specific existential mode of relating to other persons. The exploration of the relationship and corresponding experiences must be based on this "entirely new method" of involvement Sich-ein-lassen , pp. The task of the exploration is solved by applying a special version of the hermeneutics, which Heidegger calls "hermeneutics of exploration".

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It presupposes "the horizon of medical experience" p. One important positive instruction for this particular mode of seeing and understanding human data is the following: "The decisive point is that the phenomenal content of singular phenomena which appear in the relationship between the analysand and the analyst be brought to language in so far as they belong to the concrete patient in question and not simply subsumed under an existential in a generic manner [ pauschal ]" p.

Accordingly, the hermeneutics of exploration does not produce interpretations directly in the horizon of the original time. Its horizon must be the circle of the concrete history of the individual Dasein under cure, i. This is this specific background of meaning which the analyst has to take as the framework of his interpretations in addition of course to waster horizons of being in the world as such. If this is not done, ontic phenomena are either not seen at all or are appreciated only in so far as they contribute to the elucidation of ontological questions, not of medical questions.

When this happens, the concrete individual existence is lost from sight and voided of its "factual content" p. This implies that in order to duly appreciate the factual content, the daseinsanalytic pathologist has to have at his disposal a number of derived existentials which allow him to see and to interpret concrete biographic pathologic phenomena. Among these are existentials for health and illness, types of diseases, nature of diseases, pathological defenses and defense organizations.

All of them must be clarified along with many others. Particular attention should be paid to the historic side of these existentials. In addition, the question of etiology has to be worked through. Concepts such as trauma must be explained. A full-fledged elaboration of genetic explanations is also highly needed.

In short, all ontic phenomena met in the clinical relationship must be understood in the light of particular modes of being in the world, which make them possible. These existentials taken together form the regional ontology of psychiatry. For all I know, such an ontology was never developed by Heidegger, nor indeed by any of his followers Binswanger, Boss. As to paradigmatic problems of a daseinsanalytic pathology, there is enough evidence that Heidegger expected daseinsanalytic pathologists to find, formulate and solve "ontic", i.

An example of Heidegger's difficulty to come to grips with concrete problems is found in a conversation between him and Binswanger, which took place in Binswanger asked Heidegger whether "the mentally ill are open to the being". Heidegger answered, yes, "for the mentally ill also have language".

And he added that "in reading psychiatric clinical cases he has had often the impression that also in mentally ill persons emerges the concern about being [ Besinnung auf das Sein ]" Binswanger , p. This remark is interesting in itself but obviously not precise enough in order to allow us relate to the question of being with clinical problems which are treated in psychiatry and in psychoanalysis.

The absence of any articulated conceptualization of psychiatric problems in the light of existential analytic is another reason for not calling Heidegger's project of a daseinsanalytic pathology a scientific paradigm. Let us now turn to Winnicott. I shall first characterize his contribution to psychoanalysis as a creation of a new paradigm for psychoanalysis and argue that this paradigm satisfies Heidegger's requirements for a daseinsanalytic science of man. In the next section, I shall try to show that Winnicott's psychoanalysis might have a stimulating effect on the development of a daseinsanalytic pathology and therapy.

I start by considering the changes which Winnicott has introduced in what can be called "disciplinary matrix" of the Freudian psychoanalysis. In the first place, Winnicott substituted Freud's leading generalization - his theory of sexuality - by an entirely different and original "working theory", namely, "the idea of a progression of dependence towards independence" within the process of emotional maturation. Winnicott is no more trying to produce "the statement of infantile and child development in terms of a progression of erotogenic zones" , p.

He conceives the maturation of a human rather as a development which starts by what he calls "spontaneous gesture" whose source is the "potential True Self". Let us be more specific about the maturational process. After the first feed, an "expectancy" is developed, a state of affairs "in which the infant is prepared to find something somewhere, not knowing what". At that moment he is ready to create: "The world is created anew by each human being, who starts on the task at least as early as at the time of birth [ The creation of the world and of the first meanings of things help the infant to solve his first "existential" tasks: to integrate into space and time, to start dwelling in the body and to relate to "objects".

The first object, the mother, has not yet the meaning of an external entity. The baby is the mother in the transitive sense of the word "be". He is neither really identical nor really distinct from the mother. In this state of almost absolute dependence, the common principle of identity does not apply to what is given in the baby's experience. Later on, the baby separates from the mother, which is a condition for his securing a sense of independence and of personal liberty.

For that to happen, the infant must become able to destroy objects, to use them and to create a new sense of reality, the externality. Only after having achieved all this can he start feeling biological and in particular sexual drives as his own impulses. After that, further personal development can start, until death, "the last fact of life". There are obvious and profound prima facie differences between Freud's theory of sexuality and Winnicott's theory of maturation. They are enough to say that Winnicott has changed the leading generalization of psychoanalysis and thus the first main element of the Freudian paradigm.

Is this change acceptable to Heidegger? The best way of answering this question is to show that Winnicott's maturation theory satisfies both of Heidegger's general requirements on such generalizations, namely, the requirement of not being objectifying and of not being deterministic. In order to decide whether the theory of maturation is objectifying and deterministic or neither of these, we may ask whether it treats human growth as a natural process. The clear answer is: it does not. Winnicott's maturational process is not, as is Freud's sexual development, the result of the activities of psychic forces life and death instincts and their mixtures within the psychic apparatus, but the manifestation of the human nature.

Human nature which is sometimes also called "essence of man" is endowed with a "growth potential" or an "integrative tendency" which "can bring the individual to his unit status" , p. While growing, the human being moves ahead driven by the need to continue to be and by all other needs that follow from this fundamental need which also belongs to the essence of man, mainly to be an independent self.

None of these needs is to be found anywhere else but in the human nature. As a matter of fact, these remarks are all based on Winnicott's ontology, the second part of what I call his "new paradigm". On one hand, in his picture of man the Freudian life and death instincts 29 as well as the mental apparatus are left out. On the other hand, Winnicott sees the human life as an interval which contains in itself its two ends: the initial state of unaliveness or of pre-dependence, and the "second death" or the return to the initial state of unaliveness.

This interval is not so much like a line segment but rather like a circle which starts moving when the individual is experiencing his absolute solitude and stops when it returns to this same point, at the cost of losing "nothing less but everything". Here is the place to recall Winnicott's idea quoted above that existence can start only out of non-existence as well as his considerations about spontaneity and its origins.

Elsewhere, Winnicott describes the dawning of a human life as a moment at which "living arises and establishes itself out of non-living, and being becomes a fact that replaces not-being, as communication arises out of silence" , p. The point of origin of an individual is such that it can never become something factual and merely relational.

It is not just that we can create the capacity of remaining isolate in our subjective world and non-communicating with the external reality. Winnicott's point is that each human being, even each human baby, is constantly concerned about his own initial state of pre-dependence, previous to any factual relationship whatsoever, and that, in addition, this initial state of absolute solitude and silence is the final point of the whole process of maturation , p.

When seen in the light of this "model", man is obviously not a natural entity. Nowhere in nature do we find a creature concerned about something like "essential solitude". It is equally clear that the concept of causality does not apply to human life conceived in that way either. Indeed, there is no possible causal chain between "not being " and "the fact of being", if these terms are used in the sense of Winnicott. There is an additional simple argument which proves these two theses: since the process of human growth creates the externality itself, that is, the very conditions of possibility for there being objective causal processes at all, it cannot itself be seen as an objective causal process.

As Winnicott says, the place where we live our life is not a preexisting objective reality. The inevitable conclusion is that Winnicott changes, in a radical way, both the leading generalization and the basic ontology of psychoanalysis. In Freud, the human development takes place in nature and obeys general natural laws, in particular, the law of causality which assumes the form of the principles of pleasure and its extension, the reality principle. In Winnicott the coming to be of a person is due to the non causal need to be which can only come to fruition under equally non causal devoted presence of other human beings.

The process of maturation is conceived as a human history, not as a natural deterministic sequence of events. Winnicott's view of man and his coming to be a person differs not only from the Freudian one, but also from any traditional metaphysical model. No traditional metaphysics can make any sense of talking about man as a place where being becomes a fact and replaces not-being. Since Plato, the Western metaphysics accepts to talk about non-being only via negationis , that is, by considering it a privation of being, without ever acknowledging non-being as an independent original dimension.

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It would seem therefore that Winnicott's views are non-traditional in a very radical sense, inviting comparative studies with philosophies which definitely do not think about non-being from the vantage point of being but go the other way round, taking the being as an emergence out of non-being, ex nihilo. I say "emergence ex nihilo " and not "creation ex nihilo , because the idea of creation still preserves the preeminence of being or presence over non-being or absence. If I am right here, then Winnicott's description of human nature belongs to the conceptual landscape of non-metaphysical or perhaps I should say, post-metaphysical ways of thinking.

For reasons hinted to in our first section the idea that the possibility of absence constitutes the meaning of the presence Heidegger is generally considered to be the first thinker in the whole Western tradition to try to open and to keep unveiled the dimension of transcendence. It would seem therefore that the first two items of Winnicott's paradigm - his leading generalization and his philosophic model of man - can very well stand the critical evaluation form the Heideggerian point of view.

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Heidegger - Being & Ontotheology

Bazerman, C. Benjamin, W. Arendt Ed.

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    Dreyfus H. Dreyfus New York: Free Press. Eco, U. Peirce's Notion of Interpretant. MLN — Heidegger, M. William Lovitt. The Basic Problems of Phenomenology. Albert Hofstadter. Heidegger M. History of the Concept of Time. Theodore Kisiel. Husserl, E. Experience and Judgment: Investigations in a Genealogy of Logic. Philosophers that worked to combine analytic philosophy with hermeneutics include Georg Henrik von Wright and Peter Winch.

    Roy J. Howard termed this approach analytic hermeneutics. Wilhelm Dilthey broadened hermeneutics even more by relating interpretation to historical objectification. Understanding moves from the outer manifestations of human action and productivity to the exploration of their inner meaning. In his last important essay, "The Understanding of Other Persons and Their Manifestations of Life" , Dilthey made clear that this move from outer to inner, from expression to what is expressed, is not based on empathy.

    Empathy involves a direct identification with the Other. Interpretation involves an indirect or mediated understanding that can only be attained by placing human expressions in their historical context. Thus, understanding is not a process of reconstructing the state of mind of the author, but one of articulating what is expressed in his work. Dilthey divided sciences of the mind human sciences into three structural levels: experience, expression, and comprehension.

    Heidegger himself did not complete this inquiry. Advocates of this approach claim that some texts, and the people who produce them, cannot be studied by means of using the same scientific methods that are used in the natural sciences , thus drawing upon arguments similar to those of antipositivism.

    Moreover, they claim that such texts are conventionalized expressions of the experience of the author. Thus, the interpretation of such texts will reveal something about the social context in which they were formed, and, more significantly, will provide the reader with a means of sharing the experiences of the author. The reciprocity between text and context is part of what Heidegger called the hermeneutic circle.

    Among the key thinkers who elaborated this idea was the sociologist Max Weber. Hans-Georg Gadamer 's hermeneutics is a development of the hermeneutics of his teacher, Heidegger. Gadamer asserted that methodical contemplation is opposite to experience and reflection. We can reach the truth only by understanding or mastering our experience.

    According to Gadamer, our understanding is not fixed but rather is changing and always indicating new perspectives. The most important thing is to unfold the nature of individual understanding. Gadamer pointed out that prejudice is an element of our understanding and is not per se without value. Indeed, prejudices, in the sense of pre-judgements of the thing we want to understand, are unavoidable. Being alien to a particular tradition is a condition of our understanding.

    He said that we can never step outside of our tradition—all we can do is try to understand it. This further elaborates the idea of the hermeneutic circle. Bernard Lonergan 's — hermeneutics is less well known, but a case for considering his work as the culmination of the postmodern hermeneutical revolution that began with Heidegger was made in several articles by Lonergan specialist Frederick G.

    His work differs in many ways from that of Gadamer. Karl-Otto Apel b. He applied his model to discourse ethics with political motivations akin to those of critical theory. He also criticized Marxism and previous members of the Frankfurt School for missing the hermeneutical dimension of critical theory. Habermas incorporated the notion of the lifeworld and emphasized the importance for social theory of interaction, communication, labor, and production.

    He viewed hermeneutics as a dimension of critical social theory.

    His main statement regarding symbolic understanding of the world is that meaning is a symbolic healing of injury. Two other important hermeneutic scholars are Jean Grondin b. Mauricio Beuchot coined the term and discipline of analogic hermeneutics , which is a type of hermeneutics that is based upon interpretation and takes into account the plurality of aspects of meaning. He drew categories both from analytic and continental philosophy, as well as from the history of thought.

    Two scholars who have published criticism of Gadamer's hermeneutics are the Italian jurist Emilio Betti and the American literary theorist E. New hermeneutic is the theory and methodology of interpretation to understand Biblical texts through existentialism. The essence of new hermeneutic emphasizes not only the existence of language but also the fact that language is eventualized in the history of individual life.

    Robinson are the scholars who represent the new hermeneutics. The method of Marxist hermeneutics has been developed by the work of, primarily, Walter Benjamin and Fredric Jameson. Benjamin outlines his theory of the allegory in his study Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels [31] "Trauerspiel" literally means "mourning play" but is often translated as "tragic drama". Jameson's Marxist hermeneutics is outlined in the first chapter of the book, titled "On Interpretation" [48] Jameson re-interprets and secularizes the fourfold system or four levels of Biblical exegesis literal; moral; allegorical; anagogical to relate interpretation to the Mode of Production, and eventually, history.

    Karl Popper first used the term " objective hermeneutics " in his Objective Knowledge Its goal is to provide all scholars who use the methodology of objective hermeneutics with a means of exchanging information. Our approach has grown out of the empirical study of family interactions as well as reflection upon the procedures of interpretation employed in our research. For the time being we shall refer to it as objective hermeneutics in order to distinguish it clearly from traditional hermeneutic techniques and orientations.

    The general significance for sociological analysis of objective hermeneutics issues from the fact that, in the social sciences, interpretive methods constitute the fundamental procedures of measurement and of the generation of research data relevant to theory. From our perspective, the standard, nonhermeneutic methods of quantitative social research can only be justified because they permit a shortcut in generating data and research "economy" comes about under specific conditions. Whereas the conventional methodological attitude in the social sciences justifies qualitative approaches as exploratory or preparatory activities, to be succeeded by standardized approaches and techniques as the actual scientific procedures assuring precision, validity, and objectivity , we regard hermeneutic procedures as the basic method for gaining precise and valid knowledge in the social sciences.

    However, we do not simply reject alternative approaches dogmatically. They are in fact useful wherever the loss in precision and objectivity necessitated by the requirement of research economy can be condoned and tolerated in the light of prior hermeneutically elucidated research experiences. In archaeology , hermeneutics means the interpretation and understanding of material through analysis of possible meanings and social uses. Proponents argue that interpretation of artifacts is unavoidably hermeneutic because we cannot know for certain the meaning behind them.

    We can only apply modern values when interpreting. This is most commonly seen in stone tools , where descriptions such as "scraper" can be highly subjective and actually unproven until the development of microwear analysis some thirty years ago. Opponents argue that a hermeneutic approach is too relativist and that their own interpretations are based on common-sense evaluation. There are several traditions of architectural scholarship that draw upon the hermeneutics of Heidegger and Gadamer , such as Christian Norberg-Schulz , and Nader El-Bizri in the circles of phenomenology.

    Lindsay Jones examines the way architecture is received and how that reception changes with time and context e. Adrian Snodgrass sees the study of history and Asian cultures by architects as a hermeneutical encounter with otherness. Environmental hermeneutics applies hermeneutics to environmental issues conceived broadly to subjects including " nature " and " wilderness " both terms are matters of hermeneutical contention , landscapes, ecosystems, built environments where it overlaps architectural hermeneutics [59] [60] , inter-species relationships, the relationship of the body to the world, and more.

    Insofar as hermeneutics is a basis of both critical theory and constitutive theory both of which have made important inroads into the postpositivist branch of international relations theory and political science , it has been applied to international relations. Steve Smith refers to hermeneutics as the principal way of grounding a foundationalist yet postpositivist theory of international relations.

    Radical postmodernism is an example of a postpositivist yet anti-foundationalist paradigm of international relations.


    Some scholars argue that law and theology are particular forms of hermeneutics because of their need to interpret legal tradition or scriptural texts. In the Middle Ages and Italian Renaissance , the schools of glossatores , commentatores , and usus modernus distinguished themselves by their approach to the interpretation of "laws" mainly Justinian 's Corpus Juris Civilis. It was an interpretative Renaissance. Subsequently, these were fully developed by Thomas Aquinas and Alberico Gentili.

    Since then, interpretation has always been at the center of legal thought. Friedrich Carl von Savigny and Emilio Betti , among others, made significant contributions to general hermeneutics. Legal interpretivism , most famously Ronald Dworkin 's, may be seen as a branch of philosophical hermeneutics. Italian philosopher Gianni Vattimo and Spanish philosopher Santiago Zabala in their book Hermeneutic Communism , when discussing contemporary capitalist regimes, stated that, "A politics of descriptions does not impose power in order to dominate as a philosophy; rather, it is functional for the continued existence of a society of dominion, which pursues truth in the form of imposition violence , conservation realism , and triumph history.

    Vattimo and Zabala also stated that they view interpretation as anarchy and affirmed that "existence is interpretation" and that "hermeneutics is weak thought. Psychoanalysts have made ample use of hermeneutics since Sigmund Freud first gave birth to their discipline.

    Vattimo, Gianni | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

    In Freud wrote that the title he chose for The Interpretation of Dreams 'makes plain which of the traditional approaches to the problem of dreams I am inclined to follow The French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan later extended Freudian hermeneutics into other psychical realms. His early work from the s—50s is particularly influenced by Heidegger, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty 's hermeneutical phenomenology.

    Psychologists and computer scientists have recently become interested in hermeneutics, especially as an alternative to cognitivism. Hubert Dreyfus 's critique of conventional artificial intelligence has been influential among psychologists who are interested in hermeneutic approaches to meaning and interpretation, as discussed by philosophers such as Martin Heidegger cf. Embodied cognition and Ludwig Wittgenstein cf.

    Discursive psychology. Hermeneutics is also influential in humanistic psychology. The understanding of a theological text depends upon the reader's particular hermeneutical viewpoint. Mircea Eliade , as a hermeneutist, understands religion as 'experience of the sacred', and interprets the sacred in relation to the profane.