Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Origin of Experience

Henry writes:

Against rationalism we must say that all knowledge is derived from experience because the condition for the possibility of experience is itself an experience. It is because the [Kantian] category was precisely for him an experience, and a specific experience, that Biran was able to circumscribe an absolutely original ontological region which, while being the source of all experience, was no less phenomenologically given and known.

(Philosophy and Phenomenology of the Body, p. 25.)


Actually, what Maine de Biran requires of us is an identification of science with existence, i.e., an understanding that existence is already a science, not an imperfect or a provisional one, but the origin of all science, the origin of truth. The source of experience is not situated behind it but experience is its own origin.

(p. 26.)

This is like taking experience on faith. The argument "x is its own origin" precludes serious consideration of the question "How is x possible?" One might say that experience is different; experience is self-evident, not a matter of faith. But don't you still want to be able to ask, "How does experience come to be?" Naively, without any preconceptions. Isn't that a question worth asking?

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posted by Fido the Yak at 10:00 PM.


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