Since I am currently on vacation/going to conferences, I will probably not be posting much for the next week or so. On Friday, I presented a paper on Heidegger for the North Texas Philosophical Association and will be giving a poster presentation for the Towards a Science of Consciousness Conference in Tucson next week. The North Texas conference was slightly disappointing in that I garnered hardly any commentary for my Heidegger paper. It was a pretty specialized topic (dealing with phenomenological-ontology as a reponse to Kantian anti-realism), but since it was a continental leaning conference I expected to have a little more open dialogue about the issue of realism and anti-realism in phenomenology. Instead, the issue of realism hardly came up, and if it did, it was immediately scoffed at.
The conference has thus only reinforced my belief that many continental philosophers, phenomenologists in particular, have handicapped their wider academic relevance by refusing to discuss the possible interaction between philosophy and science. For whatever reason, the mere idea of “naturalizing” phenomenology, or at least trying to bring phenomenology in contact with modern scientific knowledge, sends phenomenologists into a wild frenzy. Apparently, if one attempts to bring naturalistic ontology into phenomenology you have committed the grave error of “contaminating” your methodology with metaphysical presuppositions about the given phenomena. For these phenomenologists, we must be open to all possibilities of experience. If someone is claiming to hear the voice of God, we as phenomenologists are only allowed to discuss this phenomena in terms of its “possibility” rather than admitting it is a hallucination. I happen to think that this is total bullshit. Any attempt to “purify” phenomenology by claiming we have no rational recourse to getting “outside” the pure givenness of phenomena to reality is to me a sure sign of intellectual stagnation and academic irrelevance. For this reason, I think few phenomenologists have grasped the true significance of Heidegger’s distinction between the phenomenon and the semblance. The voice of God is a semblance, not a phenomenon. If this makes me “metaphysically dogmatic”, then so be it. I would rather be a dogmatic naturalist than someone who cannot make up their mind on whether the very ground beneath them is “real” or not.