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domingo 16 de abril de 2017, por Cardoso de Castro

KOCKELMANS  , Joseph J.. HEIDEGGER AND SCIENCE. Lanham: University Press of America, 1985, p. 1-3

The empirical sciences constitute an essential dimension of our modern world. This is the reason why the meaning and function of the empirical sciences cannot be fully understood except within the general framework of an effort to come to a better understanding of our modern world, taken as a whole. Thus here, too, we encounter already at the very beginning the hermeneutical circle, a circle which makes it necessary to constantly move from part to whole and from whole to part.

The modern world obviously has many other "regions"; in this connection it may suffice to mention the following dimensions of our world: religion  , morality, the arts, our social institutions, the political dimension, and education. To come to a full understanding of the meaning and function of science our efforts will, therefore, necessarily lead us to the question of precisely how the development of the empirical sciences has affected our conception of, and the manner in which we relate to, these other dimensions of our world.

From the experiences we have had with the sciences and with the technological projects which they have made possible, it is clear that the influence of the sciences on the world as well as on most of its dimensions has had both positive   and negative sides. It is impossible to come to a full understanding of the meaning and function of the empirical sciences if one is not   willing to look very carefully at both of these aspects. It would be difficult, if not simply impossible, to deny the positive dimension of the sciences. In each science new vistas have been opened up and each empirical science has shown us many new and unexpected possibilities. Yet it is clear also that in every science modern man has become confronted with often unexpected problems, difficulties, and dangers.

Now it is not possible to look at both the positive and negative dimensions of the empirical sciences if it is not made clear first from what broad ontological perspective one is to look at the sciences. If one looks at the empirical sciences merely from a logical, linguistic, methodological, or epistemological point of view, these influences of the sciences will neither be fully realized, nor fully understood and evaluated. This is the main reason why an ontological view or perspective on the sciences is so important: precisely what is empirical science (in light of the many other human options and possibilities in the "cognitive" order), precisely what are its prospects, and what are its limits?

From the Renaissance   and certainly from the Enlightenment onwards it has always been assumed without question that science, and the scientific method in particular, constitute the genuine and true approaches to the truth, regardless of what one is to understand here by "truth," and regardless of what kinds of truths one is looking for. This conception gradually led to the view that whatever comes from our heritage, tradition  , and all non-scientific human efforts (such as religion, morality, the arts, the socio-political praxis  , etc.) is to.be subjected to the judgment of reason as reason itself has been understood from the perspective of science and method.

Anyone who questions this "blind" belief in science and method is automatically taken to have a negative stance in regard to the sciences and, thus, implicitly at least to promote occultism, irrationalism, and in the final analysis, nihilism. Yet it is difficult to understand why adopting a questioning attitude in this case is necessarily to be identified with negativism. Most people feel that it is correct to question religious, moral  , social, and political conceptions; yet many seem to think that it is inappropriate to question the sciences, i.e., to ask questions about the positive and negative aspects of our engagement in the empirical sciences. It is often alleged that anyone who dares to ask questions about the empirical sciences is somehow afraid to learn the "genuine" truth about the convictions that have come to to use from our heritage.

And so it is of great importance from the very start to stipulate clearly that in Heidegger’s view the sciences undoubtedly belong among the greatest achievements of modern Western man. Once this has been made clear, it is then important to realize that the sciences, like all other human achievements, share in the finitude, the temporality, and historicity of man. Thus it remains important to ask the question of precisely what science is, how it is to be related to all the other orientations of man toward the world, what its prospects and what its limits are, what kinds of contributions the sciences can make to meaningful discourse about religious, moral, aesthetic, social, political, and educational issues, and what the areas are in which, in this regard, one may not expect a positive contribution from the sciences, simply because of the fact that one appears to run into issues which lie far beyond the competence of the scientific method.

Today we find ourselves in an era of complete scientization: in the religious domain nothing can be accepted that cannot be legitimated scientifically; in many instances philosophical reflections on moral and aesthetic issues are replaced by psychological and sociological investigations about certain aspects of these issues; Habermas in my view correctly speaks of a scientization of the entire political domain; several authors have complained about the scientization of our educational framework. To make the claim that such a universal scientization is unwarranted and dangerous is not tantamount to promoting anti-rationalism. To make such a claim merely means that one finally begins to take the sciences very seriously, and that one is willing to make a systematic effort to discover precisely where one may expect positive contributions from the sciences and precisely where one will have to turn to other forms of "rational" discourse.

Whatever one may think about these issues, it is of the greatest importance to continuously keep in mind that in his ontological concern with the sciences, Heidegger was not guided by a basic mistrust of the sciences; rather he was always engaged in a serious effort to stake out their positive possibilities. I plan to return to these issues in some of the chapters to follow.