McCreery, having read Richard Rorty, is well aware of Heidegger's
relationship to utilitarianism and, more precisely, American pragmatism. It
was, I believe (I could be wrong) in *The Philosophy of Social Hope*, that
Rorty observes the similarities between Heidegger and Dewey's theories of
language and then shrewdly observes that there is no necessary connection
between a philosopher's philosophical views and his politics.
Re, however, the binary opposition. While labeling the opposites
"Romanticism" and "Enlightenment" may be questionable, it is undeniable
that the Fjeld's argument was framed in convention this-or-that,
exclusive-or terms. This is the point at which my remark was directed.
While the suggestion does not lie within the parochial limits of academic
philosophy, I suggest that there is something to be learned from what is
currently labeled complexity science, where complex systems, as opposed
(yes, another binary opposition) to simplistic mechanical theories are
characterized by a set of five properties: They are
1. Systemic — relationships are important and cannot be reduced to the
properties of components.
2. Path dependent — current states are the result of particular historical
trajectories and cannot be explained solely in term of generic principles.
3. Context dependent — the implications of current states depend on
context, e.g., in forecasting the paths of hurricanes, where the influence
of other weather systems are important, or the impact of military
technologies, where, for example, plate armor made the late medieval knight
deadly to unarmored opponents but also vulnerable to arrows fired from
longbows or bullets fired from muskets.
4. Emergent — Given 2 and 3, and the possibility of tipping points/phase
shifts, unexpected outcomes may occur.
5. Episodic — Change tends to occur in bursts.
How, then, is it possible to think about things? The current state of the
art is along the lines of scenario planning. Imagine a set of
possibilities, *of which there are always more than two,* and consider the
conditions under which they are likely to be realized and the implications
if they are. It's that "*always more than two*" that informed my original
On Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 1:53 AM, T Fjeld <t.fjeld1@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Ok. Thanks for engaged responses to the quote from Heidegger. As to the
idea that the beacon of twentieth (not really twentyfirst -- that is
something McCreery needs to develop further) century philosophy
demonstrates "a binary opposition" between Romanticism and Enlightement is
a view that can only emerge with the use of Prgressive glasses. Surely what
Heidegger hints at is the all-powerful doctrine of utilitarianism, and we
are curious as to what it is that prohibits McCreery from preceiving this
We can go on to discuss what Enlightenment means, the philosophy of Kant,
universalism, etc. -- this interjection should provide us with an occasion
to clear the ground for further debate
Mvh. / Yours sincerely,
Torgeir Fjeld, PhD