”If you find yourself making sense of Heidegger by relating what he’s discussing with concepts from another philosopher, you’re mistaken. Heidegger understands things in a different way, so the challenge is to discover how to think along with him. The difficulty isn’t that his way of thinking is particularly complicated, but that it is different.”
Monthly Archives: April 2011
A couple of millennia ago man developed an emergent, reflexive consciousness of self consciousness itself. Mythological man was self conscious, aware of self and reality, reality as the “over-against”, i.e. everything not oneself. With the added reflexion man was able to observe himself as part of reality. In man’s focus on pragmata, the ready to hand, man was first able to observe himself as the inventor of the tools he used, in the very process of invention. The material change simultaneous to the change in consciousness led to a new manner of thinking, but one with two fatal flaws.
First, the distinction between things that arise through poiesis and things that arise through techne was lost through man’s fascination with his own technical ability. This resulted in a posit of a ‘maker’ for all things, forgetting the self-originating sense of poiesis.
Second, the ‘absolute’ was conflated with the ‘total’ in Plato. Aware of the relativity of knowing, in the relation of the self to the known reality, and the limitations inherent in that relational, perspectival, horizonal knowing, Plato recognized that the ability to project “reality as a whole” was dependent on a privileged perspective.
Aristotle was keen enough to recognize that this perspective could not be that of a finite being, because a finite being could only have a perspective that included the whole by being outside of the whole, which is contradictory.
The solution was the posit of an infinite maker. In order for the universe to be ‘one’, the originary ‘creator’ or ‘creative force’ had to have every possible spatial-temporal perspective, since no single perspective could view or project the whole. This metaphysical view was pasted onto the Abrahamic Jehovah as the ‘prime mover’. Post-Aristotelian science, and even more so post-Cartesian science, depends on the validity of a single mathematical projection of the whole – without that premise the validity of experiment itself has no foundation. So modern ‘science’ and its methodology is premised on the assumptions that themselves required the posit of an infinite ‘prime mover’. The ‘cosmological principle’ is nothing more than a tacit admission that the assumption required for cosmology to have any meaning is a theological assumption.
The result is the inherently self contradictory stance of the ‘scientific atheist’. Without maintaining the assumptions of theism, the atheist’s ‘scientific’ methodology is unjustifiable, but he uses that precise methodology to calculate the number of the theos to zero. Since the starting assumptions are still in full force, particularly the assumptions regarding the basic requirements and nature of the theos, this achieves nothing other than a reaffirmation of Aristotle’s original notion of the ‘one’ prime mover, now shifted into the guise of a singleton involved in the supposed origin of the universe.
Atheism is inherently a theological stance, and due to the lack of theological understanding in the mind of the common atheist, it is unable to put into question any of the basic theological tenets it has inherited. It will inevitably, consequently, result in the re-positing of the ‘one’ prime mover of everything under one guise or another, and the resulting positing of the privileged position that prime mover must occupy.