Fact, Facticity, Reality: Phenomenological Perspectives
Department of Philosophy
- Austrian Phenomenological Society (ÖGPhän)
- University of Vienna
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According to the critical assessment linked to the concept of the “post-factual”, we live in an age in which scientific insights and facts are increasingly replaced by “felt truths” and “alternative facts”. At the same time, in the course of the onward process of digitalization and the spread of new information technologies, we witness a broad social development towards a reign of the factually given in the sense of naked data (Big Data), which seem to subject social life to an extensive calculability and algorithmization, apart from all anchorage in the lifeworld. In view of this ambivalent and tenuous social situation in the context of the present “truth crisis”, the conference canvasses the productive potential of phenomenological approaches for questions of the given and the factual, as well as of facticity and reality. Thereby, the focal problem is the relation between scientific facts, socio-political realities and cultural lifeworlds – a problem that becomes more and more urgent in the course of the globalization of information flows concomitant with increased intercultural intertwinings.
Indeed, these questions constitute core areas of phenomenological research. For in its entire history – from Husserl’s maxim of “going back to the tings themselves” and his critique of positivism and psychologism, via Heidegger’s dissociation of truth as aletheia from all forms of factual veracity and his analysis of the “thing”, Arendt’s reflections on politics and truth, and Levinas’s thesis of the prevalence of justice before objectivity, through to Marion’s analyses of the given and Waldenfels’s thinking of the “ruptures of experience” – questions of the given, the factual and facticity, of evidence, objectivity and reality prove to be phenomenological basic problems. Thereby, not only phenomenology’s descriptive method, but also its critical, unfolding, and opening potential comes to the fore.
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