The Limits of Knowing and Re-Emergence of Human Feeling in Science.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 10:45
Location: Hörsaal 15 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Arne KJELLMAN, Stockholm University, Computer and Systems Sciences, Sweden, Sweden
This presentation, which builds on the “Subject-Oriented Approach to Knowing” (SOA), discusses the limits of human experience and knowing. It shows that the phenomenon of life cannot be understood unless the concept of human feeling is re-introduced into science at a very fundamental level. The claim is that in the very moment a subject/thinker/knower introduces “matter”, or the like, as something real or distinct from the subject, she has introduced a crippling matter/mind distinction from which human knowing can never recover.

With the SOA, the dichotomies of truth or falsity, right or wrong, fact or value disappear, and the role of science as a pursuit of ‘truth’ is undermined. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle applies to all forms of decision as such also truth assessments, which are now relativized along the lines of Protagoras’ ancient suggestion that “Man is the measure of all things.” As such all decisions are intimately tied to his feelings by means of the SOA’s model of human consciousness and knowing, which is in many respects close to Henry Poincaré’s 1898  proposal. This also means that all knowledge endeavours can be grouped under the same umbrella, as the physicist Ernst Mach once suggested, and the cleft between the social and natural sciences is removed.

The idea of a common objective reality gives way to the idea of a private universe – a ‘priverse’ – belonging to each and every person, and laboriously constructed on the basis of purely private experience. It is to mankind, or at least science, no longer any need to fall back on some ultimate ‘external’ power of intelligence or omnipotence. Man is by reason fully capable of handling life without the guiding principles or laws of some all-mighty God, and is consistently free to embrace ‘internal’ God/gods of his own personal desire.